Holiday Activities at the Pinewood Cultural Park

November 27, 2019| By Amanda Sieradski

Holiday Activities at the Pinewood Cultural Park

The Pinewood Cultural Park is lighting the way to the holidays this winter with activities spread across its campus at the Florida Botanical Gardens, Heritage Village and the Gallery at Creative Pinellas.

Staying true to period decorations, curator of education at Heritage Village, Susan Schneck, says that the Holidays at the Village display uses no electric lights other than the tree in their Visitor Center. With the help of the local chapter of the International Quester Organization, which is committed to preservation, restoration, and education, the highlight of the tour is the House of Seven Gables, a Victorian-style home built in 1907, she adds.

“The tree, which is the focal point of the decorations, features classic and delicate glass blown ornaments,” says Schneck. “It is wonderful to see people feel the charm and spirit of the holidays as they enjoy and appreciate past traditions. Just seeing one particular ornament will often lead to a fond holiday memory and story to share.”

Holidays at the Village opens Wednesday, Dec. 4 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 5. Schneck is currently seeking holiday music and visual artists to help deck the halls and asks that any interested performers or creators contact her at 727-582-2472 or

This year’s Professional Association of Visual Artists’ (PAVA) annual Members’ Awards Exhibit at Creative Pinellas will be on display at various times Dec. 6 through Dec. 28. The show runs in conjunction with the botanical gardens’ annual Holiday Lights in the Garden.

“The timing of the PAVA exhibit at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas with the Botanical Gardens’ holiday lights and Heritage Village holiday festivities is a win-win, offering something for all members of the family,” says Christina Paluszek-McClure, PAVA’s publicity chair.

Our partnership really “blossomed” this year, she adds, as the arts organization hosted plein air painting events at both locations. During these events, PAVA members created works of art while painting outdoors. Some of these works, which highlight the gardens’ holiday foliage as well as Heritage Village’s period decorations, garlands and greenery, will be on display during the Members’ Awards Exhibit in a special partner section at the Gallery at Creative Pinellas. These plein air pieces are available to purchase, and 25% of sales will be donated to the location that inspired the image.

This year, PAVA will also present a Young Artists’ Gallery alongside the Members’ Awards Exhibit. “It will feature the artwork from children from the Pinellas Parent Educators Association (PPEA). Throughout the year, PAVA works with both Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Pinellas Parent Educators Association to hold various workshops and art experiences for the children involved in these organizations,” says Paluszek-McClure.

Additionally, the Members’ Awards Exhibit will showcase 150 works from award-winning professional artists in paint, pastel, wood, ceramics, photography, metal, glass, fiber, digital, mixed media and jewelry. All pieces will be available to purchase.

Art lovers can take a first look at the exhibit during its grand opening weekend, Friday, Dec. 6, 4:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Saturday’s hours coincide with the Florida Botanical Gardens’ annual Gift & Plant Sale. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, more than 45 vendors will sell an assortment of tropical plants, orchids, herbs, fruit trees and other plants.

After this weekend, the exhibit will open Thursday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 23, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. In its final weekend, the gallery will open Thursday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Dec. 27, 3 to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 28, 12 to 4:30 p.m.

The 19th annual Holiday Lights in the Garden kicks off Friday, Nov. 29 and will run through Saturday, Jan. 4. Every year, the botanical gardens come to life with laser and LED lights displays and sculptures. Preparations for the season begin in early spring, and many volunteers spend the summer counting, separating and testing lights for the holiday display, says FBG communications coordinator Emily Bloxam.

“We have several new additions to displays, including six large rebar turtles completed by artist Rebecca Austin of Parlor City Arts,” she adds. “We also have wonderful displays made of grapevine, hay, burlap and greenery to bring a horticultural touch to the gardens.”

The date extension on this high-volume event means more opportunities to catch performances by regional talent. Interested artists and performers are encouraged to reach out early and fill out the sign-up sheet email or call 727-582-2117 to snag a spot in the line-up. Though entertainment slots are mostly full for this year, Bloxam says the botanical gardens are already connecting with performers from the Tampa Bay area for 2020. Businesses and individuals who want to support this family-friendly annual event can learn more about sponsorship here.

“Our final night will serve as a kick off for a year of 20th anniversary celebrations and our goal is to bring 20 events to 2020 for our 20th,” says Bloxam. “This year, we will be open through January 4, which means New Year’s Eve, so we have a few surprises up our sleeve.”

Dates to Remember at Pinewood Cultural Park

Holiday Lights in the Garden – Florida Botanical Gardens

Friday, Nov. 9 through Saturday, Jan. 4, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Holidays at the Village – Heritage Village

Wednesday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Jan. 5: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

PAVA Members’ Awards Exhibit – The Gallery at Creative Pinellas

Grand Opening Weekend: Friday, Dec. 6, 4:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Regular Exhibit Hours: Thursday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 23, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Closing Weekend: Thursday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Dec. 27, 3 to 8:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 28, 12 to 4:30 p.m.

Gift & Plant Sale – Florida Botanical Gardens

Saturday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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