An Attempt to Salvage “Fun for the Holidays”

While “Fun for the Holidays” looked like something that everyone was going to be excited about, the reality was not what anyone had pictured.  The amount of lights was wan in comparison to what was described prior to the events opening, although the forest of Christmas Trees was as plentiful and in tune with music as had been promised.  Many were expecting the pier to be lit up with lights showing the story of “Christmas Under the Sea,” and not a film projected onto the sand.  You wouldn’t know there was a video being projected onto the sand until you were on the pier, but once there you’d see the creative devices showing the film on either side.

However, many children seemed to have fun at the event.  Several comments had been heard about the “ice skating” rink which was setup, even being compared with ‘plastic covered in baby oil.’  No one seemed impressed with the attempt to create an ice skating environment by the beach. Shortly after Thanksgiving the entry price was lowered, most likely due to lack of community participation.

It seems that the event has still been found lacking in the eyes of the community.  The event has added extended dates- lasting till December 30th now and has extended the ‘ice skating’ hours, Thursday- Saturday from 10am-5pm and 6pm-10pm and Sunday from 12pm-4pm.  They have also added more light displays; a Snowmen Cove with 6-foot snowmen, Santas Galore in Action, a Nativity Scene, and more!  They will be rotating out vendors each night, as well as having carolers and a fire pit (with complimentary s’mores supplies).  From December 15th-17th and 22nd-23rd, Mike Jones will be selling and signing his book, Salvaged Santa.  He will also be accepting donations for the Salvage Toy Program.

New Additions for Children:

  • Visit with Santa including a gift bag sponsored by Gulf World Marine Park
  • Photograph with Santa and photo download
  • Holiday face painting
  • Caricature drawings
  • Christmas sand art project (Children 18 and under)
  • Flip, Flop and Snowflake coloring station
  • Reindeer food recipe-making station
  • One additional free item each night.  Always a surprise!


Will these changes and new additions be enough to salvage “Fun for the Holidays” or is it too little too late?

10 thoughts on “An Attempt to Salvage “Fun for the Holidays”

  1. If the lights were anything as you have posted here… it is beautiful! I have always loved the lights of Christmas and going to display events or just plain riding around and looking at neighborhood homes decorated.
    I imagine the children did love to see the lights…. and the grown ups too, if they could stop complaining. It’s sad to say but it seems nowadays everyone just loves to complain about the least little minor thing. If they didn’t like the skating rink display maybe next year it will be changed or laid out differently. Our neighbors made one laying our blue lights in the shape of a pond, outlining it with green. They then put swans with white lights on them in different areas of the blue lights….. I thought it was planned out & looked great. It really takes imagination to decorate differently & make it eye-catching for people to visit and be a money making place.
    I will not blame the economy as many may do because people tend to go & visit, purchase even in difficult times. Lowering the price was a big step, maybe it was too high….. you didn’t mention the price.
    Hopefully next year will be better for this event.


  2. While I think the spirit of this effort was fantastic, I think it’s “too little, too late.” However, I certainly commend the TDC trying to get more people down here and create a holiday celebratory venue. I think the execution was pretty good (all except the skating rink), but the draw was dismal to say the least.

    Of course, I’m not sure that anyone would have been able to predict that, going into this. Hindsight’s 20/20, right?

    Moving forward, we now know not to spend $1 million on a Christmas village. And especially not $400,000 on a digital projection of Santa on the side of a gulf front condo – although it is pretty awesome.

    Here’s another suggestion, though: What if next year, we took that $1 million and put it towards decorating a few select neighborhoods with Christmas lights. You know, pick a few that well represent our area and deck them out. Make it free and to where people didn’t even have to get out of their cars.

    Growing up, in Dallas, we used to drive all over to look at Christmas lights.


    1. Jason, where in the world have you been….. I surly have missed you & your brilliant stories & writings!
      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!


  3. Your honesty in your writing is very much appreciated Jason. It is refreshing, since there are plenty of news/articles fabricating these days! I have not been to any of the displays, but I drive down Front Beach on my way to work every day and during the day it looks like nothing, but haven;t ridden by at night. I think charging the $10 or whatever it was to see all three “displays” is what turned alot of people off, and you couldn’t just walk from one to the next with ease.


      1. Lol – no worries!

        Actually, I sold PCBDaily and moved on quite a while ago. I was still writing every now and then, but as of October I began pursuing my new company – Panama City Beach Luxury Properties.

        It’s a vacation rental company that provides the best places to the best guests. 🙂

        We’ve grown tremendously fast and have done exceptionally well.

        You should check us out sometime at


  4. I have been IMPACT Marketing for over 10 years.
    We need not to copy other cities that have Temporary
    Ice Skating and a Parking lot filled with lighted Christmas
    Trees. Why copy what Northern visitors already see in their town.
    I have a huge Idea that would bring a half million people to PCB during
    the Holiday Season. If someone would stop & listen maybe things wouldnt
    be so dismal. My idea would cost ALOT less than a million $. The WHOLE
    Community would benefit from it, not just a ” certain part ” of the Beach.
    Stop Spending BP money on useless ideas. Save that BP money for greater


  5. Having just moved to Panama City, I thought that the Fun for the Holidays was a very cute idea. I loved that the Panama City POPS opened the show before the tree lighting, I thought they were very good. I also thought the Santa Vision was pretty awesome, as well as the Christmas Under the Sea (which I did not know how they were going to do that or what to expect). If this is the first year for Fun for the Holidays, I think that it’s a very good starting point. As with all events, there are things to learn from in order to do it better the following year.


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