It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Christmas light displays start popping up in Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties right after Thanksgiving — and some even sooner.
The longest-running holiday events includes Christmas at Tara in Vero Beach, the Magic of McKee Festivspanl of Lights in Vero Beach, the Holiday Lights Spectacular in Fort Pierce, the Garden of Lights in Fort Pierce, the Winter Wonderland Light Show in Port St. Lucie and the Jensen Beach mansion.
Here’s a list of the biggest and brightest public displays across the Treasure Coast.
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Christmas at Tara
Where: Grall Law Group, 7555 20th St., west of Vero Beach
When: Sunset to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, sunset to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through New Year’s Eve
Details: The drive-thru experience features about 500,000 miniature lights and 90 figures across the lawn. The drive is about a quarter-mile around the lake in front of the building. The time it takes depends on the number of vehicles in line. Stay in your vehicles.
Magic of McKee Festival of Lights
Where: McKee Botanical Garden, 350 U.S. 1, Vero Beach
When: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 15-17, 20-23, 28-30
Details: The garden is illuminated with thousands of LED lights, lighted holiday displays and festive decorations. The event includes Santa visits, a large-scale train display, music from a 1924 Wurlitzer Band Organ, outdoor holiday movies, intermittent snow flurries, performances by local entertainers and special holiday treats for sale.
Cost: $15 for adults, $13 for ages 13-17 and 65 and older, $10 for ages 2-12 and military members, free for McKee members and kids younger than 2
Holiday Lights Spectacular
Where: Marina Square on Melody Lane near the City Marina at 1 Avenue A, Fort Pierce
When: 6-9 p.m. nightly after Sights & Sounds on Second Christmas Parade until first week of January
Details: Over 100,000 lights are synchronized to holiday music. Lights are wrapped around palm trees throughout Marina Square.
Garden of Lights
Where: Heathcote Botanical Gardens, 210 Savannah Road, Fort Pierce
When: 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 25-26; Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23, 29-30
Details: Colorful light displays are featured throughout 5-acre gardens. Take a photo with Heathcote the Bear.
Cost: 10 for non-members, $5 for members, $3 for ages 6-12 and free for kids younger than 6
Golden Ponds Christmas Drive-Thru
Where: Golden Ponds Community, 1800 Golden Ponds Drive, Fort Pierce
When: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 17
Details: Residents decorate their homes each year for this public drive-thru. Arrive early to get in line.
Winter Wonderland Light Show
Where: Port St. Lucie Community Center, 2195 S.E. Airoso Blvd.
When: 7-9 p.m. nightly Dec. 1-31
Details: Over 40,000 brightly colored holiday lights are synchronized to holiday music with six leaping arches to provide a kaleidoscope of color, plus 10 oak trees and 10 palm trees adorned with lights and two 6-foot-tall deer displays for photo opportunities.
Holiday Lights at The Gardens
Where: Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens, 2410 S.E. Westmoreland Blvd.
When: 5-9 p.m. Nov. 25-27; Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23, 30
Details: The event features over 2,500 LEDs lights, music, performers and food trucks. Carpooling is recommended because of limited parking.
Jensen Beach mansion
Where: 4545 N.E. Ocean Blvd., about a half-mile north of Jensen Beach Causeway, on South Hutchinson Island
When: Sunset until about 11 p.m. nightly through first week of January
Details: Drive by or walk around outside of 50,000-square-foot home; cars park on grass along both sides of State Road A1A
Carnival of Lights
Where: Martin County Fairgrounds, 2616 S.E. Dixie Highway, Stuart
When: 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 25-27; Dec. 2-4, 9-11, 16-18
Details: The event includes over 50 holiday light displays, carnival rides and games, free activities for kids, food trucks, craft vendors, live Nativity scene by Redeemer Lutheran Church, festive music and a petting zoo.
Cost: $10 admission, free for ages 10 and younger (pay at the gate)