Team Renick’s Ultimate Guide to Holiday Fun…in Sarasota, the Beaches and Beyond!
Getting Fit and Festive: Fun 5K’s for your Family
Frosty 5K Race
December 15 | 6:30 a.m.
It's the Frosty 5K Race featuring a single-loop course followed by a festive post-race party. Participants receive: Custom Frosty finisher's medal for all finishers, Drawings for Door Prizes, Custom Frosty 5K Awards and more. Plus a Costume Contest with prizes for the most creative interpretations. Race morning packet pick-up for pre-registered participants: 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Race begins at 8 a.m. Post-Race Celebration begins with the first Frosty 5K finisher until 10:00 a.m. Costume Contest at 9:15 a.m. Awards: 9:30 a.m. Race starts from Twin Lakes Park, through the adjacent neighborhoods, and finishing on the path around the lake. Twin Lakes Park, 1/2 mile east, off I-75 exit 205.
Annual Jingle 5K Run/Walk
December 21 | 4:00 p.m.
With bells on your toes? It's the Annual Jingle 5k Run/Walk. It's a festive way to enjoy the season and tie jingle bells to your shoelaces, which they will supply, along with lighted flashers.There is Holiday music along the course and live music at the finish plus there is a huge post race party with lots of fun. Registration fees vary from $11 - $35. Day of registration commences at 4:00 p.m. Kids races begin at 6 p.m, 5K Run/Walk begins in waves at 7 p.m. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch. Click here for registration.
Holiday Lights: Where to See the Holidays Sparkle!
Selby Gardens' 15th Annual "Lights in Bloom" Celebration
December 20-23 | 6:00 p.m.
More than a million lights shine and twinkle brightly during the Selby Gardens 15th annual "Lights in Bloom" celebration where you can explore and view life-size garden-themed holiday lights that transform the gardens into a tropical wonderland. The tropical holiday paradise includes nightly visits from Santa and his elves (before Christmas Eve), children’s arts and crafts activities and games, plus live entertainment with SoulRCoaster and The Hydramatic. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill including a cash bar. 6:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. nightly. Admission: $20 Member Adults; $25 Non-Member Adults; $7 children 5 - 12; Free for those under 5. **Closed on Christmas Day.** Continues Dec. 26 - 30, 2018 and January 1, 2019. 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL.
National Wreaths Across America Day
December 15 | 10:00 a.m.
It's National Wreaths Across America Day at Sarasota National Cemetery to Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes. We will have a Memorial Service, then Family Members will be allowed to place their loved one's wreath first. The General Public will then place the remaining wreaths and when doing so, say the name of each and every veteran aloud and thank them for their service to our country. You are not only welcome to sponsor a wreath but to attend the wreath-laying ceremony as well. By sponsoring a remembrance wreath you are demonstrating your patriotism and thankfulness for our nation's armed services and the veterans who have served. Ceremony begins at 10:00 a.m. Parking is first come, first parked. There is no handicapped parking available. Sarasota National Cemetery, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL.
Moonlight Movies at the Beach
December 15 | 5:00 p.m.
It's another in the series of Moonlight Movies at the beach brought to you by the Sarasota Film Festival and Sarasota County. Bring your blanket or chairs to enjoy Elf on Siesta Key Beach. Free. Movie begins shortly after sunset. 5 p.m.ish - 9 p.m.ish, Siesta Key Beach, 948 Beach Rd.
Christmas Gazebo Starlight Cinema
December 20 | 5:40 p.m.
It's the Christmas Gazebo Starlight Cinema feature film. This is a free event for the whole family to enjoy. The movie is Home Alone, and just in time for the Holidays. You are welcomed and encouraged to bring your chairs and blankets to sit under the stars and enjoy the movie in Historic Downtown Venice. Free. 5:40 p.m. Centennial Park Gazebo, downtown Venice, FL.
Holiday Music and More!
Southside Village Holiday Stroll
December 14 | 5:00 p.m.
Take a stroll. A holiday stroll during the Southside Village Holiday Stroll! Check out Santa and live music from Music Compound's holiday concert. There will also be a snow slide, wall climbing and more. Free. 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. Hillview Street, Southside Village, Sarasota, Fl.
The Manatee Community Concert Band Presents "Celebration! A Holiday Concert
December 15 | 7:00 p.m.
Celebrate the Holiday Season as The Manatee Community Concert Band performs: "Celebration! A Holiday Concert." The concerts will be filled with your favorite holiday music. Donations accepts. Free general seating. 7 p.m. Neel Performing Arts Center, 5820 26th St. W., Bradenton, FL.
27th Annual First Church Christmas Gala and Carol Sing
December 16 | 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy the Music of the Season and The 27th Annual First Church Christmas Gala and Carol Sing. "The First Church Singers join in a stirring collaboration with the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra (AMICCO) to perform the popular Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah and The Many Moods of Christmas by Robert Russell Bennett. The combined forces of these two choirs and full orchestra will surround you with the sounds of Christmas at its finest. First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave, downtown Sarasota. 7 p.m. (Parking available in Zenith garage). Free will offering accepted.
Ringling by the Bay
December 17 | 6:00 p.m.
Come out for Ringling by the Bay featuring live music and dancing with Big Night Out. Food and drinks available for purchase. 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Admission: $5 - $15. Tickets may be purchased in the Visitors Pavilion on the day of the event. Limited seating is available. Ringling Museum grounds, Bayshore Gardens. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 941-358-3180.
Christmas Story and Carols on the Beach
December 22 | 5:00 p.m.
Come sing Christmas carols and hear the Christ child’s birth story on the beach as the sun goes down over the water. Bring your chairs, your blankets for a casual and contemporary early Christmas service hosted by Christmas for Sarasota and Church of the Palms. 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Siesta Key Beach, 946 Beach Rd, Siesta Key, FL.
New Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade
December 15 | 5:00 p.m.
Bradenton Beach Marina will present the New Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade. It will take place after the festivities at Christmas on Bridge Street, which starts at 5 p.m. along the ICW off Anna Maria Island. The parade route will begin near the Cortez Bridge and head south to the Longboat Pass Bridge. The parade will then turn back to the north and pass the Bradenton Beach City Pier and end at the Bradenton Beach Marina. The boat parade may be watched from the Cortez Bridge, where the parade will begin and the Longboat Pass Bridge where it turns around. Word is the best location to view from will be the Bradenton Beach City Pier. Parade is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Free. Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island. 941-778-2288.
Annual Pinecraft Christmas Parade
December 25 | 1:00 p.m.
The annual Pinecraft Christmas Parade usually draws over 1,000 spectators to this Sarasota Amish and Mennonite Community for the parade, traditionally held on Christmas afternoon, winding through the neighborhood streets. Started by local resident Mike Miller in 1999, it's the biggest event of the year in the neighborhood. Assemble in parking lot at Der Dutchman restaurant, 3713 Bahia Vista Street, beginning at 1:00 p.m. or right soon after lunch. Parade starts soon after that. Anyone is welcome to ride in parade. Pinecraft is near the intersection of Bahia Vista Avenue and Beneva Road in Sarasota.
Holidays Around the Ranch
December 14 | 6:00 p.m.
Celebrate the Holidays Around The Ranch on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch. Watch the lighting of the tree over the fountain, work on crafts in Santa's workshop, ice skate on an acrylic ice rink with skates provided, there will also be children's dance and music groups, the Choo Choo Express and welcome Santa's arrival in a beautiful white, horse drawn carriage, too, along with more festive activities. 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Free admission to the public. Food & Drink available. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch, FL. (East of I-75 off University Parkway.)
Country Christmas at Hunsader Farms
December 14-16 & 21-23 | 6:00 p.m.
Experience a Country Christmas at Hunsader Farms complete with hayrides, kiddie train rides, a petting zoo, Christmas village, pictures with Santa, outdoor Christmas movies on a big screen and more than 250,000 twinkling Christmas lights. There will also be food vendors and more. 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. Repeats 12/21 - 12/23. Admission: $10, Kids 5 and under are free. Free parking. Hunsader Farms, 5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton, FL.
A Night Before Christmas with Santa Claus
December 15 | 10:00 a.m.
Manatee County's annual A Night Before Christmas features Santa Claus visiting G.T. Bray Park to meet with all the children. The event will include face painting, bounce house, snow, hayrides, and much more. This awesome event is great for kids of all ages. Concessions will also be available. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. G.T. Bray Park, 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton.
An Old Florida Christmas
December 15 | 11:00 a.m.
You're invited to Celebrate An Old Florida Christmas. Experience an old-fashioned Florida holiday celebration with family-friendly entertainment, vendors selling handmade art, "make and take" seasonal crafts for adults and youth, food vendors, and vintage silent holiday films - something to delight every age! Every corner of Manatee Village Historical Park will be dressed with splendid Victorian and Florida pioneer inspired décor. While on the museum grounds, explore landmarks like "Old Cabbage Head", the Junior Junction playground, museum exhibits, and the Whistle Stop Gift Shop. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission: Adults $5, 12 & under are free as is parking. Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Avenue East (State Road 64), Bradenton, FL.
Holidays at the Point: Rockin' Around the Point
December 15 | 5:00 p.m.
Enjoy Holidays at the Point with Rockin' Around the Point! Holidays at The Point is bringing fresh new life to their past event, Holly Days and Mangrove Lights with a new tradition, "Holidays at the Point." Bring the whole family for an evening of fun and festivities. Enjoy live music and holiday treats in the Sunken Garden and White Cottage Lawn. 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Tr., Osprey, FL. Tickets and more info here.
Christmas on Bridge Street
December 15 | 5:00 p.m.
Get into the holiday spirit during Christmas on Bridge Street with Santa going from store to store in a golf cart to visit kids and take pictures, live musical entertainment in front of the Bridge Tender Inn, holiday crafts activities for kids, Christmas Carolers and more as well as food, beer and wine available and specials at participating bars and restaurants. The Privateers will also be on hand at the Drift In Holiday Fund Raiser. Free admission. 5 p.m. - 10 p.m. Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL.
Deck the Halls at Ca' d'Zan
December 20 & 27 | 5:00 p.m.
It's your chance to enjoy "Deck the Halls at Ca' d'Zan" on the grounds of the Ringling Museum. The mansion is all decked out for the holiday season including a 10' tall tree during extended hours. 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 Free for members and included with "Art After Five" admission. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. 941-358-3180. Also on 12/27 & 01/03/19.
Christmas in Lakewood Ranch
December 20 | 6:30 p.m.
It's time to Celebrate the Christmas season with the sights and sounds of the season including carriage rides, carolers, lighting displays and Santa himself strolling the streets and bringing Christmas Cheer to all. Free. 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Main Street at Lakewood
Live Nativity at Big Cat Habitat
December 21-23 | 12:00 p.m.
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary have a live Nativity scene including live animals: camels, donkeys, goats and other animals. Come enjoy this very special time of year with the all the animals. 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Adults $18, 12 and under $8. Active Military and Veterans receive free admission. 7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL.
Siesta Key "Santa Stumble" Pub Crawl
December 26 | 8:00 p.m.
It's the Siesta Key "Santa Stumble" Pub Crawl hosted by the Block that Roxx in Siesta Key Village from 9 p.m. - close (SKOB, Gilligan's Island Bar, Daiquiri Deck and 3.14 Pi.). They will offer $4 16oz Bud Light, Bud, and Ultra. Souvenir Shirts, Souvenir Koozies (while supplies last) and other prizes and Giveaways throughout the night. Kettle of Fish will be playing at SKOB from 8 p.m. - 12 a.m. Siesta Key Village, Siesta Key, Fl.
Big Top Holidays
It's the Sailor Circus Annual Holiday Spectacular, "Big Top Holidays" with amazing performances. Watch as more than 100 kids flip, fly and soar in this dazzling holiday production! Tickets at the box office at Nathan Benderson Park or on line: Under the Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL. Click here for more info
New Year's Eve Pineapple Drop
December 31 | 1:00 p.m.
Celebrate New Year's Eve in downtown Sarasota with the annual Pineapple Drop! The ‘party under the stars’ kicks off on Gulf Stream and Main at 1:00 p.m. The Pineapple drops at midnight followed by a fantastic firework display on Sarasota's bay front with a great view - without leaving the party! There will also be live musical performances by some of Florida and the region's top musicians. General admission is free. VIP Tent admission is $130 that includes an open bar serving premium drinks and a tented seating area with a dedicated service staff. More information including musical acts will be posted as the event nears. The annual downtown celebration is estimated to attract more than 20,000 - 25,000. 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 a.m. Free admission.
New Year's Eve "Main Street Live" in Downtown Bradenton
December 31 | 5:00 p.m.
Ring in the New Year at "Main Street Live," the New Year's Eve 2018 Celebration on Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton. Live music along with dozens of vendors selling food, beverages and arts and crafts. Street closes to normal traffic at 3:30 p.m. Party goes till midnight. Free admission but you must be at least 21 to enter the bars. Starts at 5 p.m. Old Main Street between Manatee and 3rd avenue.
Starlight and Fire Family New Year's Eve Party
December 31 | 6:00 p.m.
It's the Starlight and Fire Family New Year's Eve Party at White Cottage features family fun. Bring the whole family for an evening of bonfires, s’mores roasting, music, games, crafts for kids and more! Enjoy lite bites and a cash bar. (No outside food or drinks permitted.). 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. General Admission: $15 per adult/teen or $7 per child (12 and under).Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL. More info at 941-966-5214.
4th Annual New Year's Eve Gala at the Powel Crosley Estate
December 31 | 8:00 p.m.
It's the 4th New Years Eve Gala at the Powel Crosley Estate. Start your evening in one of three grand Parlours for a delicious, five course menu and live music. Guys and Dolls get a choice of every entrée. At 9:30 p.m, the dinner hall changes to a jazzing Speakeasy Soiree. Join the card games (the house will comp a little poker dough); sneak down to the pavilion for a the bayside lounge; or in true prohibition style, bottoms up with a Sidecar, Bees Nee or Gin and Tonic, and dance under the stars with our swinging DJ. Complimentary champagne toast for the midnight countdown. Get all dolled up in your finest. Dinner starts at 8:00 p.m.; Speakeasy Soiree starts at 9:30 p.m. Joint closes at 1 a.m. or until the spirits run out. Dinner and Speakeasy Soiree: $145 per person. Speakeasy Soiree only: $45 per person. Pre-paid reservations required. 21+. Cash bar. Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 941-312-0000. More info and reservations here.
"Sarasota's Most Sophisticated and Diverse New Year's Eve Experience"
December 31 | 8:00 p.m.
Enjoy what's being billed as "Sarasota’s most sophisticated and diverse New Year’s Eve experience: a black-tie event featuring a private journey through tropical holiday light displays, passed hors d’oeuvres, a seated four course dinner, live entertainment and dancing at Michael’s on the Bay. You'll enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the luxuriously decorated surroundings followed by dancing and entertainment and a great view of the fireworks over the bay and champagne toast. Begins at 8 p.m. Party on until 1 a.m. $250.00 per person. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL.
New Year's Eve Beach Bash
December 31 | 8:00 p.m.
Ring in 2019 at the New Year's Eve Beach Bash. The band will be Triggerfish. $10 general admission cover charge. $25 VIP on the beach gets you a server, and seat at a table. $60 plus tax and gratuity gets you VIP upper deck with table, chair, server and dinner buffet. Fireworks at midnight. $10 and $25 cover tickets sold day of. $60 VIP sold in advance. 8 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. $10 cover includes live entertainment, fireworks. Sharky's on the Pier, 1600 Harbor Drive, S., Venice, FL.
The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Neil Diamond Concert Celebration
December 31 | 9:00 p.m.
Say farewell to 2018 at the Van Wezel at "The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Neil Diamond Concert Celebration" to fund raise for Parkinson Place. The event will include a VIP cocktail reception, upscale dining, Neil Diamond tribute concert featuring Jay White backed by a 14-piece band, including some of the original Neil Diamond band members, the feature film "Beautiful Noise" and an after party featuring dance band Chameleon. Proceeds benefit Parkinson Place and the Parkinson Research Foundation. Reserved concert seats, after party tickets and exclusive VIP packages are priced from $28 - $450. Tickets on sale April 14, 2018. Event time: 9 p.m. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. More info and tickets here.
Sarasota New Year's Eve Red Carpet ILLUMINATION Party
December 31 | 9:00 p.m.
It's THE Sarasota New Years Eve Red Carpet ILLUMINATION Party, the 3rd year at such a great remodeled Historic venue. This years theme is ILLUMINATION! The Auditorium will be transformed in to a GLOWrious spectacle. Valet, Open Bar, Huge Dance Floor & Light Show, Entertainment - LIVE & DJ, Catered Appetizers by Premiere Catering of Bradenton and Sarasota and Jpan sushi & grill, Dessert Station by Seasons 52 & Der Dutchman Sarasota. Tickets: ALL Inclusive: $150 in advance, $200 at door if not sold out. 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL. More info & Tickets.
8th Annual Fireworks on the Bay
December 31 | 12:00 a.m.
It's the 8th Annual Fireworks on the Bay hosted by Marina Jack. Dramatic Fireworks Show traditionally at midnight and live music along with special dinner and entertainment packages available for purchase throughout the day and evening. Viewing is free from anywhere downtown including Bayfront Park and Island Park. This event benefits the Suncoast Charities for Children. Midnight. All areas of Marina Jacks will be open for lunch at 11a.m. In the evening special menus and entertainment will be featured. Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL.