Tampa's Winter Village tradition with ice rink returns with new safety protocols

An annual holiday tradition in downtown Tampa is returning. However, like everything else this year, there are some changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park will feature the usual riverfront 5,000 square-foot ice skating rink and a nightly light show topped with holiday music. It opens on Nov. 20. 

The rink will operate at half capacity and tickets must be purchased online and in advance. All skaters are required to wear a mask.

Ice skating tickets can be purchased at www.WinterVillageTampa.com.

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Tickets are not required for the rest of the Winter Village. The light show will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This year, organizers are adding a train ride around the park. The cars will be limited to one family at a time and will be sanitized between rides, according to city officials. "The Curtis Hixon Park Choo-Choo" will have 12 seats and three cars. It will make 10-minute loops around the park during the light show from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Also, Santa Claus will randomly appear throughout the evening. There will be fewer vendors to allow for social distancing and food merchants will use single-use utensils.