Happy Holidays

There’s always something fun to do in Sarasota, and when the holidays come around, there are even more things to do! Check out this list below so you can find and plan which festivities you want to attend.

Weekend of December 6th

Holiday Night on St. Armands

St. Armands Circle proudly presents “Holiday Night of Lights”. St. Armands is THE holiday destination, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, as the Circle magically comes to light and life with grace and elegance.

Lakewood Ranch Main Street

The street is lined with food vendors, beer trucks, and sponsor booths, as well as rides and activities for the kids presented by Grace Community Church. Proceeds from the event will benefit a local non-profit organization each event.

Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade

The Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade is an tradition that draws an estimated 25,000 spectators. The parade includes more than a thousand participants, floats, and – in vintage Sarasota fashion – circus wagons! Santa and Mrs. Claus plan their annual beach vacation to coincide with the parade each year — so stick around to say hello to the parade’s guests of honor from the North Pole! The parade kicks off at 7:00 p.m. at the east end of Main Street at Washington Blvd, and travels west to Gulf Stream Avenue, running approximately two hours.

Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts

Lido Beach transforms into an outdoor gallery of extraordinary original handmade fine art, created by the works of local, regional and national artisans. Explore a spectacular tapestry of art woven from creations in painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, metalwork, woodworking and more.

Holiday Market

The markets will take over the parking lot with 50+ local makers on December 7-8th from 11 AM – 5 PM. Shop from handmade jewelry, body products, candles, holiday decor, and more!

Weekend of December 13th

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

The Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (6:00 p.m.) is an annual tradition celebrating more than three decades of festive floatin’ on the waters of Sarasota Bay. An armada of approximately two-dozen brightly-lit boats, ranging from small water crafts to luxury yachts, set the bay a-twinkling with fun holiday decorations and seasonal tunes. Pull up a folding chair along the shore at Bayfront Park or Centennial Park and enjoy this aquatic-take on a holiday classic!

Weekend of December 20th

Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources is hosting the 15TH ANNUAL Breakfast with Santa!

This popular children’s event will include a breakfast buffet, holiday music, a toy giveaway, holiday crafts, a gift raffle and of course, a visit from Santa himself. (Parents or caregivers and families should accompany children.)

Thursdays in December

Deck the Halls of Ca D’Zan

Deck the Halls of Ca D’Zan is a special holiday edition of The Ringling’s year-round Art After Five offering (Thursdays, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.). Enjoy after-hours tours of the Ringling’s 1920s Ca D’Zan Mansion with its halls decked for the holidays.

 

Spring Break is right around the corner. It’s a great time to head down to Sarasota, visit the beautiful Siesta Key Beach, hang out with friends and go on a kayak tour! What better way to relax with nature, take a much needed break from school while hanging out with friends, than on a kayak tour?

Spring Break

You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, school is almost done for the semester and it’s time to refresh. A kayak tour on beautiful Lido Key nestled in the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, close to Siesta Key Beach is just what you need to relax and have some much needed fun. Grab a bunch of your closest friends for an adventure filled trip you won’t soon forget!

Your kayak tour will get you up close and personal with some beautiful wildlife. We typically see bottle-nosed dolphins. They call our area home due to the warm shallow waters. We also see manatee, they love the sea grass we have in addition to the shallow water. We have plenty of exotic birds including pelicans, herons, egrets, hawks, egrets and roseate spoonbills. You can also see turtles and sting rays, as well as many different types of fish jumping about. We can’t control the wildlife we see, but these are some of what you can see on a typical day out.

Our journey into the exotic mangrove tunnels is a whole other experience. It’s quiet and serene, it’s shaded too. The mangroves are home to crabs and sea stars. The mangroves have different paths which lead you into the sun-filled grass flats of brushy bayou and Big Grass Lagoon.

Come and discover an eco kayak tour into the shallow protected waters of Lido Keys, a unique experience during your Spring Break, one you won’t soon forget. Book your tour today!

There’s no shortage of end of summer events in Sarasota. Even when summer is winding down, there are always plenty of fun things to do in and around Sarasota. Whether you are spending the day at the beach or out on a kayak, Sarasota is the place where summer never really ends!

 

End Of Summer Events

 

If you missed out on your chance to help the beaches with the most recent beach clean-up, there’s another volunteer based clean up event located at the Celery fields, and another at Oscar Scherer State Park. Both take place on Saturday September 22nd.

For those not familiar with the Celery Fields, it’s a place loved by locals for running due to its hill. The clean-up will focus on the mound (hill) by removing nuisance plants and weeds. Volunteers are encouraged to bring pruners, gloves, hats sunscreen, water and bug spray. For more information, check out the event here.

September 22nd is also a great day to take advantage of $7.00 admission to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.  Mote Marine is an independent, nonprofit marine research institution, with world-class marine scientists who are committed to the belief that conservation and sustainable use of our oceans is done through research and education.  Florida residents can enjoy discounted admission the whole month of September. Their research not only focuses on understanding the population dynamics of dolphins, manatees, sea turtles and sharks. But also on the conservation and restoration efforts which relate to these species and ecosystems.  Mote Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236.

Also on September 22nd is free admission to the Ringling during the Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day!  For more information and to print your tickets follow this link.

Now’s your chance to check out the amazing Sarasota Ski-A-Rees! They’re back in action for their fall season beginning on September 30th! They have free shows which take place every Sunday at 2pm, you don’t want to miss it, and they’re spectacular!

February is an exciting month full of events in Sarasota! After you’ve enjoyed yourself kayaking on the beautiful waters of Lido Key, explore the island with these fun things to do!
Sarasota Events

The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees are back for another exciting season with their water ski team! Free shows take place on Sunday’s at 2pm. The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees a non-profit organization. Membership in the organization is open to youth interested in learning about and developing skills related to water skiing and water safety, and to adults who desire to educate, coach and supervise these youth.

The 30th Annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts takes place Saturday February 10th and Sunday February 11th from 10am -5pm on Main St. in Sarasota, FL. Admission to this outdoor art show is free! Sunshine Artist Magazine consistently ranks this as one of the top 100 Fine Art Shows and is one of the area’s biggest and best art events. Meet some of the best artists in the nation, displaying life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewels, photography and more.

Thunder by the Bay is rolling back into Sarasota from February 15-18. This event continues to honor veterans, active duty military and first responders at this 2 day festival. It is full of events around Fruitville, the Sarasota Fair Grounds, and Main Street. This year, there is also full service camping available at the Sarasota Fair Grounds.  From a wide variety of live music, to bike shows, food vendors, and block parties, there is plenty to do all weekend long! Check out the schedule of events here.

Don’t miss the 24th Annual Siesta Key Craft Festival on Saturday February 24th and Sunday February 265th from 10am -5pm on Ocean Blvd in Sarasota, FL. Take in the sand and sea as you discover beautiful creations from over 100 crafters exhibiting and selling their work in this outdoor gallery which is sure to be a spectacular festival!

There’s no shortage of fun events in Sarasota during the winter months, or in “season” as the locals like to call the winter months. January is a month full of festivals and events to get the New Year started off right. With average high temperatures between 71-75 degrees during winter months, it’s the perfect time to take in some festivals.

Spring Training

Single game tickets for all 16 games at Ed Smith Stadium are on sale now! Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home to the Baltimore Orioles, will have their opening game in February.  If the Oriels aren’t your team, right down the road in Bradenton are the Pittsburgh Pirates at Lecom Park. Both teams kick off spring training with games on February 23rd.

3rd Annual Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival

The Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival will be held the weekend of January 20th. The event takes place on Gulfstream and Main, near JD Hamel Park. General admission is free, as well as downtown weekend parking.

There will be plenty of seafood dishes to choose from such as grouper, mahi-mahi, stone crabs, oysters, shrimp, soft-shell crabs and more. It is also meat and vegetarian friendly as well. Plus there will be an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Some of Florida’s top musical groups will be performing live onstage in such genres as R&B, rock, soul, jazz and Caribbean to entertain us as we dine!

Festival hours are 10am-6pm both Saturday and Sunday.

15th Annual St. Armands Circle Art Festival

Every year the Annual St. Armands Circle Art Festival is listed in Sunshine Artist Magazine’s top art shows in the country. The festival has a large gathering and has easily become a favorite in Sarasota County.

Admission is free. The event is located in St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, FL, and takes place Saturday January 27th and Sunday January 28th from 10am – 5pm.Fun Events in Sarasota

Are you looking for fun things to do in Sarasota during the Fourth of July weekend? Sarasota is the place to be, there’s plenty of fun filled events, including fireworks, and boat races!

Sarasota Grand Prix Events

Thursday – June 29

Celebrate the Grand Prix with their Festival Kickoff Party. The party takes place from 6-10pm at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens.

Friday – June 30

Powerboats will be on display throughout downtown Sarasota in the “BOATS ON MAIN” Downtown Block Party. Visitors have the chance to meet the race teams; there will also be food, drinks, and music!

Saturday – July 1

The Grand Prix Fan Fest will take place in the Van Wezel Parking Lot. There you can see the teams preparing for the race, and watch the race live from underneath a tent. There will be food, music, a full bar and many vendors. And the Miss Powerboat P1 Swimsuit Contest begins at 1pm.

Qualifying Races run from 9:30am – 3:30pm at Lido Beach.

Sunday – July 2

Sunday features another Grand Prix Fan Fest, this one is at Centennial Park and includes food, music, a full bar and many vendors as well as the ability to view the races from underneath a tent.

Powerboat races run from 9:15am- 4:00pm with the best viewing on Lido Beach.

The full schedule of events can be found here.

Fireworks

Sarasota Fireworks

Tuesday – July 4

The Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular begin around 9pm; this marks the end of the Sarasota Grand Prix Festival. Fireworks can be viewed from anywhere downtown.

The 27th Annual 4th of July Fireworks on Siesta Key begin around 9:15pm. They are launched from the north near the volleyball courts, so viewing is best south of the Public Beach, and on Crescent Beach. Of course either of the Sarasota fireworks displays can be viewed from the Gulf, or the Intracoastal Waterway. Keep in mind that these are popular events, so plan ahead for crowds.

You can always ditch the fireworks and fanfare and spend time with family, at a cookout, on America’s Best Beach, or better yet, hop on a kayak and spend a beautiful day on the water! You won’t be disappointed.

We wish you all a safe, and fun filled Independence Day!

 

Valentine's DayThings to do in Sarasota (Part 3)

Many visitors feel that Sarasota is a place to get away from it all and relax. Yes, that might be true for some, but others, love our beautiful area for all it has to offer. We have nightlife; you can relax at the beach, we have shopping galore, and plenty of water sports.

After a fun filled day on the water, what else can you do some may wonder. Located in close proximity to downtown Sarasota is Siesta Key Village. The village is everything you’d expect from a beach town. It is quirky, quaint and fun. There are plenty of places to stop and get a drink, eat, and of course, plenty of shopping!

If you’re going to be in Sarasota for Valentine’s Day, you won’t want to miss their Valentine Stroll. On February 14th, EVERYONE GETS A KISS. Yup, you read that right; all you have to do is look for pink and red balloons at participating merchants. There will be live music throughout the Village, and those merchants participating will be distributing candy kisses! There’s no need to worry about parking, there will be a pedi cab as well as golf carts taking you from the Siesta Public Beach parking lot to the Village.

A little later in the month, head on down to Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road to take part in the 23rd  Annual Siesta Key Craft Festival. The festival features more than 100 crafters showing and selling their work in an outdoor gallery. If you want it, you can probably find it with everything from jewelry to artwork. You don’t want to miss this. The festival takes place on the weekend of the 25th.

 


		

Things to do in Sarasota

Things to do in SarasotaWhen you hear of Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach, beautiful Gulf Coast Waters, and gorgeous white sand beaches probably come to mind. All of those are true, but there is so much more to do; All year long. This is especially true during the holiday season. Some people might think that being in a warm gorgeous place, that it wouldn’t feel like the holidays. Between decorations, holiday gatherings and local events, there’s not a chance that you can’t get caught up in it all.

Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, home of the circus king John Ringling and his wife is one of those places. Thursday nights in December, starting at 5pm are the Holiday Nights at Ca’ d’Zan. Admission is free with museum admission. The Ca’ d’Zan is all dressed up for the holidays. The decorations feature festive fireplace mantels, balconies, doors and a gorgeous 10-foot-tall tree that stands in the Grand Court.

Another holiday special is Lights in Bloom. This takes place at the beautiful Selby Gardens from December 16th through December 30th from 6pm - 9pm (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Visitors can stroll through magical gardens filled with beautifully lit flowers, butterflies, dragonflies and more. Also included in this tropical paradise are miniature garden trains, Santa and his elves (before Christmas Eve), plus live entertainment nightly.

While not a holiday tradition, you don’t want to miss out on the Siesta Beach Seafood & Music Festival taking place December 3rd and 4th. This unique event blends food, music and visual entertainment offering tastes of delectable seafood creations and delicious drinks prepared by the top restaurants in Siesta Key and Sarasota.  Not only that, but there will be outstanding musical performances by local and regional musicians in a diversity of genres. Finally, there is an outdoor gallery of arts, crafts and food products. So while it might not be a holiday themed activity, you can complete your holiday shopping with some one-of-a-kind items!

Stay tuned to catch our next edition of “Things to do in Sarasota”.