LOCAL INFO December 2, 2023


Experience the enchantment of the 45th Annual Holiday Night of Lights, transforming St. Armands Circle into a Gulf Coast holiday haven. Immerse yourself in the festive kick-off at 5:30 p.m., followed by a joyous Christmas Carol Sing-a-long at 6 pm. Help Santa count down the final 10 seconds to illuminate the Circle with our 60-foot Christmas tree!

December 1–3
Siesta Beach Seafood & Music Festival
Partake in the festivities at the 6th Annual and enjoy fresh seafood and live music at Siesta Key Pavilion. Indulge in a diverse menu featuring locally sourced, sustainable seafood, meat and vegetarian options, and a variety of side dishes and desserts. Quench your thirst with a selection of alcoholic, non-alcoholic, and fruit drinks. Bring family and friends for a delightful weekend by the Gulf Coast.
December 1–21
North Pole Express
Embark on a magical 35-minute journey from Parrish, Florida, to the North Pole. Disembark at the festive North Pole station to meet Santa, enjoy entertainment, activities, campfires, and indulge in unlimited hot chocolate and cookies with your train ticket. Additional food and beverages are available for purchase. Dates, times, and ticket prices vary. All children aged one and up require a ticket for the enchanting North Pole Express by the Florida Railroad Museum.
December 2
27th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade
Join the festive spirit at the 27th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade, a beloved tradition that has enchanted the community for nearly three decades. Delight in a vibrant procession featuring dazzling floats, marching bands, and festive displays. Gather with family and friends along the parade route to celebrate the season’s magic and create lasting memories. Don’t miss this joyous spectacle that embodies the holiday spirit and brings the Sarasota community together.
December 3
Sarasota Veg Festival
A festival for all, this distinctive event showcases local eco-friendly and cruelty-free products and food. Explore the science behind the advantages of a plant-based diet through expert speakers, cooking demos, vendors, and animal rescues. Enjoy family-friendly entertainment and activities at this inclusive gathering promoting sustainability and well-being.
December 4
Sweet Caroline Tour
Witness the ultimate Neil Diamond Concert Celebration with the world’s No. 1 Diamond performer, Jay White. This authentic experience, born from Neil Diamond’s retirement and global demand, showcases Jay and the Sweet Caroline Tour Band delivering hits and gems with the same energy and artistry that defined Neil’s incredible 50-year career.
December 7
Chanukah on Main Street
Celebrate Chanukah with Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch! Enjoy a concert by Rappin Rockin Regge Rabbi, Dr. Laz, and the Color Orbeez Menorah. Activities include a Gelt Drop, Color & Light Bubble Show, Dreidel Moonbounce, and more. Indulge in Kosher BBQ, Kona Ice, and a Latke Bar. Don’t miss street art, face painting, music, and exciting raffles!
December 7
Christmas Walk
Experience festive delights during extended hours at shops along Miami, Tampa, and West Venice avenues. Enjoy live music, delectable treats, and the enchanting twinkle of lights on decorated trees. Take a leisurely stroll, reveling in the warm glow emanating from holiday-adorned storefront windows for a truly magical holiday atmosphere.
December 7–10
World Champions Cup
The inaugural World Champions Cup, a revolutionary annual three-team golf tournament, unfolds at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton. Featuring Team International, Team Europe, and Team USA, this PGA TOUR-sanctioned event showcases legends in a unique nine-hole format. A perfect blend of golf tradition and innovation, celebrating international talent on a global stage.
December 8–30
Lights in Bloom
Revel in the return of the festive tradition, Lights in Bloom! Experience over two million lights adorning the breathtaking Selby Gardens, illuminating every garden and walkway. Enjoy food, activities, and entertainment amidst the enchanting display. Recognized as No. 8 among the Best Botanical Garden Holiday Lights in the country by USA Today, this event promises a magical celebration.
December 9
An Old Florida Christmas
Experience an old-fashioned Florida holiday celebration at Manatee Village Historical Park. There will be food, crafts, music, and vendors selling handmade crafts and goods. There will be a free “make and take” seasonal crafts portion as well. The Victorian and Florida pioneer-inspired décor will make you feel like you are walking through a Christmas movie!
December 9
37th Annual Holiday Boat Parade
Experience the festive Boat Parade on Sarasota Bay sponsored by Suncoast Charities and Marina Jack. Admission is free and the best place to view the parade is at Bayfront Park or Marina Jack. Bring unwrapped toys for charity. Route may change based on weather. Enjoy VIP perks at Marina Jack, including open bar, food buffet, and prime parade viewing.
December 14
Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony
Embracing the festive spirit as an annual tradition, the world’s top-selling soprano and acclaimed Grammy® Award-nominated artist, Sarah Brightman, is back with her A Christmas Symphony tour! Joined by an orchestra, choir, and special guests, this enchanting holiday extravaganza will showcase Sarah’s rendition of beloved holiday classics and her greatest hits.
December 15
Publix Jingle 5K
Join the festive fun at the largest holiday 5K Run/Walk in Sarasota and Manatee counties! The Publix Jingle 5K, supporting Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Foundation and the Big Bill Foundation, offers a spirited start to the season. Navigate the illuminated 3.1-mile course with street lights, snow machines, and holiday music. The post-race celebration features delicious food, beverages, and exciting activations!
December 23
Christmas on Main
Celebrate Christmas on Main at Lakewood Ranch on December 23, 4–8 p.m.! Join the town’s grandest Christmas party with free games, rides, photo booths, and family attractions. Cap off the festivities with a special candlelight service 7–8 p.m. Don’t miss the chance to meet Santa himself during this joyous family event!
December 31
New Years Eve at Waterside
Ring in the New Year at Waterside Place Plaza on December 31, 6 p.m. to midnight! Presented by Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, join the festivities with DJ Truth’s live music, delectable food trucks, drinks, and games for all ages. Experience the highlight: a stunning live Drone Light Show presented by Waterside Place and Capstan Financial Consulting Group.
LIVE Local Theatre
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Running through January 4: Step into the past and let Crazy for You whisk you back to the Roaring Twenties! This Tony Award®-winning, romantically rhythmic musical comedy has captivated audiences around the globe. Immerse yourself in the timeless tunes of Gershwin, including classics. Filled with comedic flair, dazzling dances, and wholesome family fun, Crazy for You is a delightful, brand-new production of a charmingly old-fashioned musical, expertly crafted under the direction and choreography of Denis Jones.
Florida Studio Theatre
Deck The Halls runs through December 24. Experience a fresh take on everything that makes Christmas and Hanukkah special in Sarasota! Deck the Halls presents a brand-new rendition with original songs and sketches, gearing up audiences to celebrate the holidays, Florida style. Anticipate palm trees adorned with decorations, sea swimming, sand snowmen, and more. A cherished Sarasota holiday tradition, Deck the Halls welcomes families to embrace the festive spirit and participate in the interactive fun of this annual show.
Lemon Bay Playhouse
The Christmas Express runs through December 17. In the dreariest place on Earth, Hilda complains about the monotony of running Holly Railway Station. However, everything changes when Leo Tannenbaum unexpectedly arrives on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, the old radio springs to life, the carolers sound angelic, and the whole town embraces the Christmas spirit. Packed with quirky small-town characters, this nostalgic theatrical card joyfully unravels the wonders of Christmas, leaving everyone longing for a ride on The Christmas Express. You do not want to miss out on this show!
Sarasota Circus
Running through December 31: Join Nik Wallenda and the Circus Arts Conservatory for the holiday extravaganza, A Brave New Wonderland at UTC’s holiday-themed Big Top. Experience a heartwarming journey blending the magic of winter holidays and diverse traditions. With breathtaking performances, captivating stories, and the inspiring message of “Never Give Up!” by Wallenda, Brave New Wonderland aims to unite audiences by celebrating both the magic of the season and the strength found in embracing diversity
Players Centre for Performing Arts
A Tuna Christmas runs through December 17. In this side-splitting follow-up to Greater Tuna, the holiday season descends upon the third tiniest town in Texas. Radio station anchors Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie find themselves narrating the merriment of Christmas, which includes the fierce rivalry in the traditional lawn-decorating competition. Meanwhile, in other noteworthy updates, the ambitious Joe Bob Lipsey’s staging of A Christmas Carolfaces a precarious situation due to unpaid electric bills.
Van Wezel
December 13 only: Marie Osmond—An Orchestral Christmas. Over an illustrious six-decade career, Marie Osmond has thrived in the entertainment industry as a renowned singer, television performer, talk show host, dancer, actor, author, entrepreneur, and public speaker. Achieving international superstardom, her debut single Paper Rosessoared to the No. 1 spot on two Billboard charts, solidifying her status among musical royalty. Sharing the stage with her is the talented Daniel Emmet.
Manatee Performing Arts Centre
She Loves Me runs through December 10. A perfect holiday treat! In this aromatic tale of mistaken identity and letter exchanges, two quarrelling perfume clerks remain oblivious to the fact that they’re actually in love. Regarded as one of the most delightful musicals, this is a heartwarming romantic comedy infused with sweet innocence and a dash of old-world sophistication.
Sarasota Opera House
December 17–18 enjoy The Nutcracker. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness Clara’s timeless tale and her enchanting adventures. Experience the holiday magic with The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company, students from The Sarasota Ballet School, and The Sarasota Ballet’s Margaret Barbieri Conservatory. The performances will also feature dancers eager to showcase their talent in The Sarasota Ballet School’s rendition of The Nutcracker.
Urbanite Theatre
It’s the Regional Premiere of The Sound Inside runs through December 3. Bella Baird, an isolated creative writing professor at Yale, finds an unexpected connection when she mentors Christopher, a brilliant yet mysterious student. Their lives and the narratives they craft about themselves become intricately woven together, leading Bella to make a request of Christopher that leaves them both uncertain about its feasibility.
McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre
Drag Queen Bingo Extravaganza on December 10. Bingo excitement awaits! Join the fun with Tamiami Trails and special guest stars in a lively variety show. Enjoy hilarious live performances by the region’s fabulous Drag Queens, with three thrilling Bingo games called throughout the event. It’s a night of laughter, celebration, and glamour at this dazzling cabaret!
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Joyful Joyful runs through December 30. Join in the holiday celebration with the spirited and uplifting performances of Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s singers, dancers, and musicians! Experience a delightful blend of new interpretations of traditional holiday tunes, infused with gospel and pop elements, offering a joyful and soulful twist to your favorite seasonal music.
Venice Theatre
Running through December 20: A Christmas Carol. Celebrate the season with gratitude as Venice Theatre presents the musical rendition of A Christmas Carol, bringing the festive spirit of the year-end holidays. Seasoned performers from past productions, including Brad Wages as Scrooge, unite with new cast members to share Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption and renewal.
Local Farmers Markets
Downtown Sarasota
Saturdays 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Downtown Bradenton
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Saturdays 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Lakewood Ranch
Sundays 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Phillippi Farmhouse Market
Wednesdays 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Atlanta Braves Farmers Market
Wednesdays 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.