As 2020 continues to rear its ugly head, I find myself still learning about the difference between the people who have the luxury of hiding indoors and preaching from soapboxes and the people who realize that lives are at stake right now in more than just one way. The performers that are out of work. The small businesses built over generations whose doors are now permanently shuttered. The fledgling family restaurants and the empty theaters. I'm taken again and again with the people who are willing to think outside of the box right now to balance between keeping us safe and allowing us to earn our livelihoods.
The latest example of this? The Jolly Creek Holiday Festival and Marketplace. It's taking place this season at Boggy Creek in Kissimmee, just under at hour from Walt Disney World. I've been there before for an airboat ride and talked about that awesome experience here. But this is something even more special – because Jolly Creek was created as a way to keep performers and entertainers employed during the holiday season, despite these challenging times. In addition to the airboat rides, you'll find food and drink, an awesome small business marketplace, and a rotation of performers given a beautiful and safe space to perform for the crowds that love them this holiday season.
They have three entertainment acts lined up so far, with more coming online soon. They also contract with many other Central Florida based organizations, including Orlando Productions, Radio One, Kirby Rentals, Boggy Creek Airboats, The Santa Company, Jingle Bell Lights, and TS Productions. I don't think you could understate how important this work is to all of these groups this year.
The Jolly Creek Society Orchestra, The Vocalitas, and the Mistle-Tones
Headlining the night is the Jolly Creek Society Orchestra – which you might know better by their former moniker: The Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. That's right – they've reunited for the event. I've never been so touched to see a group of people given the chance to do what they love.
Select nights throughout the event will also involve other performances.
There's The Vocalitas, a female vocal trio singing Christmas music with a retro vibe.
And also the Mistle-Tones – who you might know from Universal's Islands of Adventure. They're an awesome a cappella group performing holiday hits with nothing but their voices.
Santa Claus Meet & Greet
The man with the bag, visiting Florida for the Christmas season. Where else do you get to meet Santa (socially distanced, of course!) on an airboat?!!
Giving Back Even More
Like their Halloween sister event, Scream n' Stream, which donated $2288 of their net proceeds, Jolly Creek is also committed to giving back to the community. They are continuing their partnership with Feed Hope Now and donating a portion of their proceeds to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Guests may also make direct donations at any Jolly Creek point-of-sale.
Tickets to Jolly Creek are available HERE and start at $14 for children under 10 years old. Children 10 and older pay the adult price, which starts at $22 per ticket. Children 3 and under are free. Activities that are included with a general admission ticket are:
- access to the holiday village, filled with dazzling lights, decorations and photo opportunities,
- all outdoor Christmas concerts,
- socially-distanced meet & greet with Santa Claus,
- access to the vendor marketplace, and
- Annabelle the Alligator Scavenger Hunt.
There are also discounts available for essential personnel and guests who have annual passes to any Central Florida area theme park. Essential Workers can use code ESSENTIAL at checkout to save 15% on tickets. Then all they have to do is bring their essential worker ID, business card, or badge to gain entry. Annual Passholders can use code AP at checkout to save 10% on their tickets, then present their valid annual pass to gain entry. Any AP works, including Disney, Universal, Sea World, Legoland, Busch Gardens, and Fun Spot. And last but not least, all guests can always save as much as 35% off the door price by buying their tickets online, in advance, at www.jolly-creek.com. And like so many things these days, this is a limited capacity event – so know that it may sell out.
Add-On and VIP Experiences
The Jolly Creek Holiday Festival contains a variety of optional activities and merchandise available at an additional cost, including:
- Holiday and traditional s'mores, starting at $5.00
- Holiday Crafting kits, starting at $4.00
- Holiday Gem mining, starting at $7.00 (find the red or green ornament, and you could win prizes like free hot cocoa or even an airboat ride!!)
- Unique Jolly Creek Merchandise — including a spirit jersey for $49.99 and a collectible metal camping mug for $14.99 which includes a serving of hot cocoa.
Food & Beverage
The onsite Boggy Bottom BBQ restaurant will also be open throughout the Festival, serving up classic BBQ dishes, along with a special holiday menu.
Private Buyouts and Parties
Jolly Creek is also available for private buyouts and parties – which is SO tempting. Rental rates start at $650 for basic holiday village access and use. Additional packages are available that can include entertainment, food and beverage, crafts, s'mores, and more. The holiday village without the marketplace can accommodate up to 200 guests at one time while maintaining proper social distancing protocols.
And last but oh so not least, December 21, 2020 will be Paw-liday Nights at Jolly Creek. This special dog-friendly event allows humans to bring their canine companions with them to enjoy every aspect of the event. Dogs can sit with humans during the Christmas concerts, or even have their photos taken with Santa Claus! (Breed and weight restrictions apparently apply so I guess I'm probably not bringing Delhi.)
Low bow for perhaps the most joyful Lysol picture ever taken…
All team members, entertainers, vendors, and guests will have their temperature checked before being permitted into the holiday village or marketplace. Those with temperatures of 100.4 or higher will not be admitted into the holiday village or marketplace.
The holiday village has also been outfitted with plenty of social-distancing markers and signs. Face coverings over your nose and mouth must be worn at all times, except when directly eating or drinking while stationary. Audio reminders will be played throughout the village and Santa's Helpers and team members will make friendly reminders whenever necessary.
* * * * * * *
All in all? I'm impressed. Yet another example of a group that was willing to think outside of the box to make it work in 2020.
You can get your tickets online right HERE. If you visit Jolly Creek this holiday season, I'd love to hear from you!
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * *
If you’re planning a trip to Disney and want a fun way to rock a mask, check out my designs at TeePublic right HERE!! If you cannot or choose not to visit now and are looking for a way to bring the magic home, I’d love for you to check out my Core Memory Candle collection right HERE. And as always, stay safe and be kind, my friends.