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Winter Wonderland Highlights Weekend Activities

Share your photos from the annual winter festival on Bradenton Patch

This weekend will be one of the biggest of the holiday season as snow, santa, lighted boats and runners populate the downtown waterfront to celebrate the holiday.

The weekend will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday with the 17th annual Jingle Bell run/walk to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Registration starts at 5 p.m. for those who have not already registered for the run.

The run is the warm up for the main event: Winter Wonderland, with its mountain of snow and sledding for the kids, along with a party so festive that the Jolly Old Elf from the North Pole makes a point to stop by every year.

Marianne Barnebey, the councilwoman who started Winter Wonderland 17 years ago and has been organizing it ever since, said that Santa wouldn't miss this pre-holiday stop because Bradenton holds a special place in his heart.

Barnebey said it takes a lot of work and just the right timing to make everything come out just right. Her husband Mark Barnebey and her children have been by her side ensuring the perfect holiday event for Santa, his elves and Bradenton's families and visitors.

The 17th annual Winter Wonderland festival is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday with food, arts and crafts vendors, along with games for kids, hay rides and of course, Santa's workshop created by Westminster. The event’s signature attraction, the snow sledding mountains, will be in the parking lot north of Old Main Pub. There also will be a miniature mountain for toddlers who want to sled.

Barnebey said it takes a lot of work and just the right timing to make everything come out just right. Her husband Mark Barnebey and her children have been by her side ensuring the perfect holiday event for Santa, his elves and Bradenton's families and visitors.

The Bradenton Fire Department's antique fire truck departs from the south end of Old Main Street around 6 p.m. to escort Mr. and Mrs. Claus to the entrance of Westminster Courtyard, 222 Old Main St., where they will meet with kids until about 8:30 p.m.

At about 8 p.m. the Bradenton Yacht Club’s 15th An­nual Holiday Boat Parade will be passing the downtown waterfront. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and is ex­pected to pass the downtown waterfront between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

The downtown festivities are expected to attract between 15,000 and 20,000 people this weekend. And Patch knows you'll be taking lots of photos. So look for our Winter Wonderland photo page on Saturday and be sure to upload your photos and share your day with friends, neighbors and family.

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