MacDill Happenings

Things to Do in and around MacDill AFB

Archive for the ‘Events’

Last Minute Shopping in the MacDill Area

December 19, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Christmas Gifts in Cardboard Box and Packing Peanuts

The countdown to Christmas is in the single digits!  It’s less than a week away and it’s the homestretch for shopping.  But Tampa offers some great locations and opportunities for shoppers!

  • Tonight Hyde Park Village has “Moonlight Market” from 5pm to 9pm. It’s a great place to purchase holiday gifts from local inexpensive boutiques.  And Santa will  be there for the kids to visit!
  • The MacDill AFB Exchange is prefect place to shop and because you need a military ID to shop it won’t be too crowded.  If you’re having a holiday party, then the Class Six store should be on your list!
  • The Ellenton Outlet Mall has over 50 stores that should have everything on your Christmas list. It’s open till 9pm tonight and 10pm on Saturday.
  • Shops at Wiregrass in New Tampa has a great light show that will get you in the Christmas spirit.
  • The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota is one the areas newest malls and it located just off of I-75.
  • The Westfield Brandon Mall is on holiday hours and will be open till 10pm tonight.
  • In Tampa, you can choose from Westshore Plaza and International Plaza. They are within miles of each other and both offer great dining opportunities.

Enjoy the weekend and get that shopping done now.  And don’t forget to shop online and just pay for the shipping charges.

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Things To Do In Tampa This Weekend

December 18, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

palm tree lightedIt is that last exciting weekend before Christmas and some of you may need something fun to do besides shopping. Or maybe shopping and some fun!! Well here are some great events going on near the MacDill and Tampa Bay area. If you are participating in the boat parade I would love to see some pictures on our MacDill Happenings Facebook page.

  • Moonlight Market” at Hyde Park Village takes place on Friday from 5pm to 9pm. Enjoy a holiday shopping and boutique stroll with local gourmet foods, gifts, accessories, clothing and furniture.  This is the prefect opportunity to do your holiday shopping!
  • The holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be playing this weekend at the Tampa Theatre will the first show on Friday evening at 7:30pm.  There will be sing along Christmas carols before the start of the movie  and snow falling outside the theatre!
  • Relax Friday evening starting at 6pm at the Sail Pavilion outside next to the Tampa Convention Center.  Enjoy the free music and have a little dinner from the food trucks that will be there.
  • On Saturday evening at 6:30pm, the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade will motor and sail around Davis Islands, Harbour Island and through Garrison Channel. A great to see the boats will be on the SS American Victory.
  • A Taste of Chanukah. This is event is in Sarasota but sounds very fun. Visit the Sarasota Fairgrounds from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm. This event is FREE!!
  • Don’t forget about Glow Golf and Football Frenzy at the base. Glow Golf takes place on Friday December 19th at the Bay Palms Golf Course on MacDill form 6:00pm until 9:00pm. Football Frenzy is held every Sunday at the MacDill bowling lanes. Kick off is at 1:00pm!

So many fun things to do this weekend!! I hope everyone will get to take a little time out from shopping and enjoy all of these fun events going on in MacDill AFB area. If you know of an event that you would like to share please post it here in the comments or share it on our Facebook page!

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How to Give This Holiday Season

December 15, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events, News, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Christmas Gifts in Cardboard Box and Packing Peanuts

The holiday season is a time of giving and for most of us we want to share what we have with those not as fortunate as us. Here in the MacDill AFB we can find lots of ways to help those in need including our own veterans and service members.

Sometimes the question comes up as to who should we donate to and is this charity actually a reliable charity. In a recent article “A Quick Guide for Choosing a Charity” written by Dawn Smith she shares information on how you can research a charity that you are interested in. This resource is especially helpful for us transient military families. A new base means new charities that are asking for donations. Use  sites such as Charity Navigator to check on a charity your would like to donate to.

Here are a few of my favorite charities to donate to in the MacDill AFB area.

  • Toys For Tots. Nothing to be said about this amazing operation!
  • Rough Riders 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. this group is constantly taking care of the children of Tampa and at Christmas their teddy bear drive tries to give a stuffed animal to every needy child in the area.
  • The Central Florida USO. Another great organization giving back to our service members and their families.
  • The Salvation Army. I can not resist putting a few dollars in the red kettle. My children learned at a young age to donate to the kettle.
  • Metropolitan Ministries. Not only does this charity feed the homeless on a daily basis the organization also tries to make sure struggling families in the area have gifts for the holidays.
  • Food For All Holiday Campaign at Publix. This is an easy way to donate you can just add a few dollars to your total and the donation will go to this great cause.
  • The Fisher House at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital. Another great charity to help our veterans and their families.
  • If you would like to find out to help military families in need you can contact the Airman & Family Readiness Center for information.

These are just some of the charities I give to during the holiday season I am sure you can share a few with me as well. I would love to hear of any other charities here in the Tampa area that are in need of donations. You can share here in the comments section or on our Facebook page. Remember as you shop to check for programs such as Amazonsmile that make giving very easy and convenient.

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Christmas Events in Tampa on Sunday!

December 13, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Communities, Events No Comments →

YouTube Preview Image

One of the highlights for a Christmas event on Sunday is the  Tampa Theatre presentation of the holiday classic “White Christmas” on Sunday. This 1954 classic musical stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. Filmed in Technicolor, White Christmas features the songs of Irving Berlin, including the title song, “White Christmas”. A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. Also before the film, join everyone in singing Christmas carols along with the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. There are mini tours of the theatre before every show. So make sure that you get there early. The start time of the movie is 3pm, but doors open at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for the General Public.  Chosen by LIFE magazine as one of “America’s 21 Wonders,” Tampa Theatre is one of America’s best-preserved examples of grand movie palace architecture. Built in 1926 as one of America’s most elaborate “movie palaces”, the Tampa Theatre today is a historical treasure of Tampa. Inside the Tampa, audiences are transported to a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard replete with old world statuary, flowers, and gargoyles. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is a member of the League of Historic American Theatres.

The “Santa Speedo Run” takes place in Ybor City at 1pm. This 1-mile run benefits Brighter Seasons for Children with an entry fee of $35.

Winter Wonderland at the Lowry Park Zoo starts at 6:30pm. Check out Santa and his reindeer along with the million Christmas lights on display. Admission is $15.

Let us know about other events that you plan on attending during the holidays!

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Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Plant Museum until 23 Dec

December 12, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events No Comments →

YouTube Preview Image

Stop by the Henry B. Plant Museum during December and experience the charm of a 19th century holiday at the Tampa Bay Hotel during the Victorian Christmas Stroll. This event runs daily until 23 Dec from 10am to 8pm. With a lavishly decorated tree in each room of the museum and lush greenery draped throughout the Grand Hall, Victorian holiday traditions are brought to life. Antique toys are scattered about the museum, in addition to elegantly wrapped packages, imaginative decorations, and ornaments which capture the warmth of past holiday traditions. There is a special exhibit of antique toys dating from the 1890’s to 1930’s. During this era, the most popular gifts include dolls and dollhouses, board games, wind-up toys, rocking horses and sleds. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day when the carolers will music for your merriment. Visitors are invited to sing with the carolers from 6pm to 7:45pm in front of the 15-foot tree in the hallway. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and $9 for children 18 to 4. This Monday and Tuesday are Discount Days for admission. Discount admission is reduced to $11 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for children.  Stop by the Museum store and choose from a large selection of unique Christmas gifts.  If you’re a recently arrived military family, then this is prefect opportunity to find out about the history of Tampa at unique Tampa institution. The Henry B. Plant Museum is located near downtown Tampa along the banks of the Hillsborough River next to the University of Tampa.

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Things to Do In Tampa Bay

December 11, 2014 By: Laura Category: Events No Comments →


Christmas events are taking place all over the Tampa Bay area.  The little chill in the weather will make seem a little more Winter like this weekend, so get and enjoy it!

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Things To Do in the Tampa Bay Area

December 04, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Events No Comments →

Courtesy of the City of St Pete

There may not be any snow on the ground and the temperature may seem a little too warm for the season, but it is holiday time in the Tampa Bay area. There are plenty of holiday events going on this weekend! The weather is a great relief from the summer temps and humidity so it is a perfect time to enjoy the amusement parks and everything else going on in the Tampa Bay area.

If we’ve missed an event, please let us know. Better yet, send me a tweet @MacDillHappenin!

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Events on MacDill AFB This Week!

December 01, 2014 By: Laura Category: children, Dining, Events, Schools, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Christmas Tree

It’s busy week here on MacDill AFB.  Just like out in Tampa, there are many holiday events on base that everyone in the family can enjoy.

  • With the busy holiday season upon us this is big news especially if you eat on base is that today is the grand re-opening of Diner’s Reef!  You can check out the new barbeque station during lunch and also receive free samples.
  • On Tuesday is the Holiday Tree Lighting from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Memorial Park.  There will be refreshments and holiday performance by students from Tinker Elementary School.
  • The big event that the kids will especially love is on Friday night at SeaScapes.  There will be a “Frozen Beach Party!”  The fun starts at 5pm.  “Frozen” will be shown at 6:30pm on the outside screen.  Bring your own blankets and lawn chairs.  Elsa and Anna will be there to greet the kids.  There will other kids activities and giveaways.  There is a $2.99 kids menu.  For adults, the Crab Night specials will be on the menu along with the everyday bar menu. With the purchase of a meal, there will be free ice cream sundae bar!
  • Just what the kids want to think about during the holidays – school!! If you are considering using one of the magnet programs for the next school year you will want to attend  the Hillsborough County Public School system Magnet School Info Fair. From 11am to 1pm, there will be several magnet school representatives who will discuss their programs at the Navy Operations Support Center.  The NOSC is by the big radar that looks like a huge golf ball by the golf course.

MacDill AFB will busy this week with lots of holiday fun and great information. If you have an event you would like to share please do so in the comments section of this blog or on our Facebook page.

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Celebrating Thanksgiving Florida Style in the MacDill AFB Area.

November 26, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events, Military Life, Self Improvement, Things to do Near MacDill AFB No Comments →

Thanksgiving Florida Style

Thanksgiving Florida Style

I did a search for Thanksgiving events in the MacDill area and one of the articles that came up was “How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Florida“. It gave me a blog idea for our area. Celebrating Thanksgiving in Florida is a unique experience. Here are some of the ideas the article shared:

  • Have your Thanksgiving Feast out of doors. Try grilling your turkey and add local citrus to you menu. I am not sure if out of doors will work this year but I know in the past we have celebrated at the beach.
  • Instead of watching the Macy’s Day parade on the television check the Universal Studio’s Orlando version out. I would suggest getting there early and purchase your tickets at the IT&T office on MacDill AFB.
  • Another alternative to the Macy’s parade would be the Thanksgiving Day parade at Walt Disney World. Again purchase your tickets on base or at the Shades of Green military hotel at Disney. You may just want to spend the weekend there it is a beautiful resort.
  • If you are looking for some great roller coasters and beautiful Christmas decorations without driving to Orlando then check out Busch Gardens Christmas Town starting on Friday the 28th of November.

Here are a few more ideas to help you celebrate Thanksgiving in the MacDill area.

  • This is not so much unique to Florida but you can always go shopping on Thanksgiving. A lot of the stores at both West Shore Mall and Brandon town center will be open. For military families it looks like no shopping services will be open on base. Here is the link to the AAFES  page for MacDill.
  • Invite a single service member or a family with a deployed spouse over for thanksgiving dinner.
  • I am not sure if this is allowed but take a plate of goodies up to the Security police at the gate.
  • Maybe dinner out is what you are looking for. You may have lots of company in town for the holiday or you just want a low key stress-free dinner. Here is a list of restaurants that WFLA has reported will be open.
  • End the days celebrations by taking in the sunset at the beach on MacDill or any of our other the local beaches. We have used the sunset at the beach as a great family photo opportunity. Great for Christmas cards.

Lots of uniquely Florida ideas . I am not sure if the weather will cooperate for outdoor celebrating this year but I am excited to wear one of my sweaters to dinner. I would love for you to share how you celebrate Florida style. Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

From all of us at MacDill Happenings we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and pray for a safe and bountiful day for all of our service members deployed and celebrating away from loved ones.

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Things to do in Tampa Bay!

November 21, 2014 By: Laura Category: Dining, Events No Comments →


It’s been a little cooler than normal, but it should start warming up this weekend!  This weekend is filled with plenty of holiday fun and it is still a great time to watch the sunset from the beach.

  • Enjoy the beach at Treasure Island during Sanding Ovations. This is Treasure Island’s Master Cup Sand Sculpting Competition and Music Festival, a four day competition of ten sand sculpting masters from throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
  • Even with the warm up, you can go ice skating in downtown Tampa.  Tampa’s Downtown On Ice rink opens up on Friday evening and for $10 you will receive a pair of ice skates and 90 minutes on the ice.
  • The Seaboard Seafood Festival runs on Saturday and Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa.
  • The Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Street Party takes place at Hyde Park Village in south Tampa on Saturday starting at 5pm.  This is great event for kids. Check out the food trucks, vendors and free music!
  • On Saturday in St. Pete stop by Shopapalooza and get your holiday shopping done early where you can shop from over 100 vendors!
  • Learn about the cigar making history of Ybor City during the La Verbena Festival from noon to 5pm on Sunday.

If you have suggestion on other things to do, please leave a comment.  Enjoy the weekend!

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