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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
The Sun

Twas four months before Christmas at Freedom Plaza

BY PEGGY BURGESS
Special Correspondent

Published:

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Don’t be fooled by the 90-degree temperature reading. It’s looking really chilly out there as the holiday season approaches.

At least that’s the impression Freedom Plaza residents get when they look at the bulletin board’s bountiful display of special holiday excursions on tap. They wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear sleigh bells jingling.

This happens every August as it’s a prime month for securing good seats at area holiday shows. And Freedom Plaza residents do enjoy entertainment excursions.

Though sign-up lists for all these trips are filling fast, nonresidents are always welcome to put their names and phone numbers on the wait-list to join any Freedom Plaza excursion – should space become available. If you’re interested, call the Resident Programs Office at (813) 642-1213 or (813) 642-1215 weekdays during business hours.

Here are a few of the performances they’ll take pleasure in this year:

Because there are so many marvelous holiday treats ahead, Freedom Plaza starts things off with its first Christmas show excursion on Nov. 23. This is Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Lakeland’s Youkey Theater. A spin-off of Cirque de Soliel, this Broadway musical and holiday spectacular incorporates some gravity-defying feats rolled into one. A pre-show dinner at the venue is included.

Kenny Rogers Christmas and Hits comes next Nov. 30 at St. Petersburg’s Mahaffey Theatre. Everyone recognizes the distinctive voice of this legendary music icon and looks forward to hearing him sing not only Christmas songs, but also favorites like “The Gambler.”

And it’s not even December yet.

The 11th of that month brings “The Ditchfield’s Christmas Memories 15th Anniversary Show” at Sarasota Opera House. The Ditchfields are acclaimed as one of America’s most versatile family ensembles and offer a wide variety of musical styles.

Then on Dec. 15 it’s off for a three-day jaunt to Fort Myers for the annual Dinner in the Diner train ride and boat excursion to view Christmas lights on Punta Gorda’s waterfront. The following evening travelers will enjoy “A Christmas Carol, the Musical” at the Broadway Palms Dinner Theater.

Though these excursions will undoubtedly be full and the participants delighted to be a part of the group, residents will definitely be back at Freedom Plaza “nestled all snug in their beds” by Christmas Eve. How else will Santa, with his bag of goodies, know where to find them?

Peggy Burgess is an associate of Freedom Plaza and a columnist for The Sun.

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