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2023 Winter Season List of Events, Parades, Festivals & More on the Suncoast

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Christmas tree and sand snowman on beach

 

Winter on the Suncoast promises a tapestry of vibrant events and activities that cater to all tastes. We invite you to immerse yourself in the festive spirit, whether through captivating artistic displays, live music performances, or culinary delights that reflect the local flavors. From cultural gatherings to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice areas during these wonderfully cooler months.

November Events

Nov 18 | 9am-4pm: Peruse arts and gifts just in time for the holidays at the 21st Annual Fall Art Show & Sale hosted by the Creative Arts Association of Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, 8175 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Free parking and admission.

Nov 18 | 9am-4pm: It’s time for the 3rd Annual Grilled Cheese Festival, where you can taste one of America’s finest edible creations. This family-friendly event features food trucks, kids’ activities, a beer garden, live music and more. CoolToday Park, 18800 S. West Villages Pkwy, Venice. Free admission.

Nov 18 | 5:30-8:30pm: Bradenton’s Holidays in Paradise 2023 starts off with  Light Up Bradenton Beach, featuring caroling, hot chocolate and lighting of the Bridge Street Christmas Tree at the Post Office. Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach. Free.

Nov 18-Dec 31:  Join world-famous “King of the High Wire” Nik Wallenda for the magical holiday spectacle, A Brave New Wonderland, under the Circus Arts Conservatory Big Top at UTC. Audiences will experience a heartwarming and visually stunning journey that includes thrilling circus acts, mesmerizing aerial performances, and uplifting holiday storytelling. CAC Big Top, UTC, 210 N Cattlemen Rd. Dates, times, and ticket prices vary.

Nov 18-19 | 10am-5pm: Explore original, handmade fine arts and crafts at The Sarasota Fall Fine Art Festival. This 2-day art show is Held in JD Hamel Park at Main Street and Gulfstream in downtown Sarasota. Free admission.

2 knights about to joust

Nov 18-19 & Nov 25-26 | 10am-5:30pm: Go back in time to the 1400s during the Sarasota Medieval Fair. Explore their new location, the Woods of Mallarranny, and its 47 acres of lush natural surroundings. Interact with knights, minstrels, jesters, artisans and more. Enjoy watching human combat chess and live jousting while enjoying music, food and Medieval merriment. Located at 29847 Route 70 E, Myakka City. Ticket prices vary. Free parking.

Nov 18-19 | 10am-5 pm: Pick up some new artwork for your home or just enjoy looking at the Sarasota Open Air Fine Arts Show. Over 50 artists will showcase their creations in painting, sculpture, clay, glass, wood, jewelry and more. Food trucks and live music enhance this local-favorite festival. Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. $5 parking, free admission.

Nov 18-19, 25-26, Dec 2-3, 9-10 | 10am-6 pm: Bigger and bolder, the 4th Annual Suncoast Renaissance Festival will take you on a journey back in time to experience Renaissance music, dancing, jousting, immersive experiences and more. Over 100 stage shows daily, various food and treats, and artisan merchants. Enjoy 4 different themed weekends, Pirate, Fantasy, Viking and Celtic Christmas. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. Ticket prices vary. Kids under 5 are free.

Nov 20 | 5:30-9pm: Come out for Ringling by the Bay—an evening filled with live music and dancing to the tunes of Paisley Craze at the Bolger Campiello. Food and drinks for purchase amidst the vibrant atmosphere. Ringling Museum Grounds, located at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets $20/$25.

Nov 22 | 7-11pm: Join band 22N in downtown Bradenton for live music and fun for a Pre-Thanksgiving Celebration. Celebrate an evening of great music, food and drinks. 450 12th St W, Bradenton. Free.

Nov 23: Run, walk, or jog for a good cause in the 6th Annual Florida Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Kids Dash starts at 7:15 and the 5K run/walk starts at 8 am. Race shirt, medal, and Publix pastries for participants. Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Entry fee $20-$40.

Man at women getting food from a food truck

Nov 24-26: Indulge in irresistible aromas and flavor explosions with the Sarasota International Food Truck Rally & Music Festival. Get ready for a culinary escapade featuring a diverse array of delectable cuisines. Savor these delicious delights while listening to a lineup of talented local musicians and perusing arts and crafts vendors. Fri 4-10pm; Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 11am-6pm. JD Hamel Park, 299 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota. Free admission.

Nov 25 | 5-9pm: Get into the festive spirit at the 38th annual Light Up Siesta Key & Village Holiday Parade. The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. at Avenida del Mare and Beach Road, leading into the Village. Christmas Tree Lighting and a parade filled with local businesses welcoming Santa. After the parade, meet Santa at the Siesta Center for free photos and gift bags for the first 250 kids. Enjoy free public transportation via the Siesta Breeze Trolley from Turtle Beach to the Village, live music, carolers, treats, and holiday bargains. Siesta Key Village, Sarasota. Free.

Nov 25-26 | 10am-5:30pm: Go back in time to the 1400s during the Sarasota Medieval Fair! Explore their new location, the Woods of Mallarranny, and its 47 acres of lush natural surroundings. Interact with knights, minstrels, jesters, artisans and more. Enjoy watching human combat chess and live jousting while enjoying music, food and Medieval merriment. Located at 29847 Route 70 E, Myakka City. Ticket prices vary. Free parking.

Nov 25-26, Dec 2-3, 9-10 | 10am-6pm: Bigger and bolder, the 4th Annual Suncoast Renaissance Festival will take you on a journey back in time to experience Renaissance music, dancing, jousting, immersive experiences and more. Over 100 stage shows daily, various food and treats, and artisan merchants. Enjoy 4 different themed weekends, Pirate, Fantasy, Viking and Celtic Christmas. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. Ticket prices vary. Kids under 5 are free.

Drummers in a parade with santa hats on

Nov 25 | 5:30pm: Kick off the holidays with the 47th City of Venice Holiday Parade. This cherished event brings together over 100 local businesses, schools, churches, social groups, and music ensembles, showcasing their enthusiasm and creativity. It’s a community extravaganza catering to all ages. Food and drinks available for purchase from high school booster clubs, Scouts, and local nonprofit service groups stationed all along the parade route. Pre-parade activities start at 5:30 pm; parade starts at 6:30pm. With over 40,000 expected visitors, plan ahead with a map of the parade route and chair set-up guidelines here. Free.

Nov 25-26: Celebrating its 16th season, the Atomic Holiday Bazaar is Sarasota’s cherished indie arts and craft show. Showcasing a vibrant array of quirky and one-of-a-kind handmade items, it’s a must-visit event for unique finds. Sat 12-5:30pm; Sun 11am-5pm. Robarts Arena, Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. Entry $6, kids 12 and under free.

Nov 29-Dec 30: Celebrate the season with high-spirited, uplifting songs with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Joyful! Joyful! Singers, dancers and musicians perform a blend of new takes on traditional holiday, gospel-infused and pop songs offering a joyful, soulful twist on your favorite seasonal music. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 N Orange St, Sarasota. Matinees 2pm; Evenings 7:30pm; ticket prices vary.

Nov 30, Dec 7 & 14 | 5-8 pm: Experience Holiday Splendor at The Ringling, a festive celebration supporting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots initiative in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Join in for a joyful occasion filled with musical performances by local schools, interactive art activities, and a complimentary Holiday Book Market where children can choose a free book. All venues will be open for self-touring of the Museum, Ca’ d’Zan, and the Circus Museum. Food and drinks available for purchase. Please enter through the Visitor’s Pavilion. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art located at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL. Admission is free with the donation of an unwrapped toy per person, supporting Toys for Tots. Without a toy donation, regular admission applies: $15 for adults and $5 for children. Guests are encouraged to shop in the Museum Store, which has a large selection of toys under $20.

Nov 30 | 6-8pm: Get ready to embrace the magic of the season at Downtown Sarasota’s cherished annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. This heartwarming celebration, set against the charming backdrop of Selby Five Points Park. Prepare for festive delights as you step into the park and treat your senses to music and delightful offerings and refreshments that add warmth to the crisp evening air. Selby Five Points Park, located across from the Selby Public Library, Sarasota.

Nov 30-Dec 6: Discover Sarasota’s newest signature park, The Bay, during their Ever Green Days at The Bay, where you are surrounded blue waters and lush greenery on Sarasota Bay. Enjoy a wide range of interactive, eco-friendly experiences, family-friendly activities, guided eco-tours, hands-on environmental programming, and more! Events at The Bay are free and open to everyone, so bring your family and friends and find your adventure! The Bay Park, 1055 Blvd of the Arts, Sarasota.

festive drinks on table with lights in background at a nightime festival

December Events

Dec 1 | 5:30-9pm: Lakewood Ranch invites you to the Holiday Tree Lighting and Music on Main, a concert and block party. Experience the tree lighting at 5:30pm. followed by live music by Shell and the Crabs. Santa will be there for photos and cheer. Enjoy food vendors, activities for kids, and more along Main Street. Bring chairs, leave coolers at home. Leashed dogs are welcome. Overflow parking at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Off University Parkway, east of I-75. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch. Free admission.

Dec 1 | 5:30-9pm: Celebrate the 45th Annual Holiday Night of Lights at St. Armand’s Circle, the official kickoff to the holiday season! Enjoy a special performance, Christmas Carol sing-along, Santa’s arrival, and the lighting of a 60-foot Christmas Tree. Take photos with Santa from 6:30-8pm while enjoying live music and holiday entertainment. Located across the John Ringling Bridge from downtown Sarasota, FL. Free.

Dec 1-2: Get ready for the 11th Annual Bradenton Blues Fest at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion in Rossi Park! Prepare for a stellar lineup featuring 9 incredible blues talents. Local craft beer, wine, delectable food, and festival merchandise. The music kicks off on Friday at 6pm and continues on Saturday from 11am-8pm. Located at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion at Rossi Park, located at 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton. Tickets come in various prices and packages, starting at $20.

Dec 1-3: It’s the 5th annual Siesta Beach Seafood & Music Festival where you can at indulge in the freshest seafood cooked on-site by local restaurants with live music from top Florida groups. Vegetarian and non-seafood options available. Siesta Beach Pavilion, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. Fri 12-9pm, Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Free admission.

Dec 1-Jan 2: Get ready to glide into winter fun at UTC. The Rink at UTC, presented by the Tampa Bay Lightning, is open from November 11th to January 2nd, offering daily skating adventures. Skate away from Monday to Friday, 4-10pm, and on weekends from 11am-10pm. The Rink also operates from 11am-10pm on school holidays. The Rink is in the East District at UTC, 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota.

image from waist down of people running

Dec 2 | 8am-12pm: Join the Jingle & Jog 5K Run/Walk supporting The Haven and their mission to empower individuals of all ages with disabilities. Your registration covers a race t-shirt, delicious food, refreshing drinks, and a swag bag. Embark on this scenic journey starting from The Haven’s stunning 32-acre campus, surrounded by lush Florida landscapes. The route offers a smooth path shaded by majestic oak trees. Check-in begins at 7am and race starts at 8am. Haven Campus, 4405 DeSoto Rd, Sarasota, FL. Register for $35, $40 after Nov 30. No on-site registration available.

Dec 2-3, 9-10 | 10am-6pm: Bigger and bolder, the 4th Annual Suncoast Renaissance Festival will take you on a journey back in time to experience Renaissance music, dancing, jousting, immersive experiences and more. Over 100 stage shows daily, various food and treats, and artisan merchants. Enjoy 4 different themed weekends, Pirate, Fantasy, Viking and Celtic Christmas. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. Ticket prices vary. Kids under 5 are free.

Dec 2 | 7pm: Don’t miss the 27th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade, held downtown on the first Saturday evening of December! Join the thousands of participants and viewers as decorated floats, lively marching bands, and the special guest of honor, Santa Claus, create an unforgettable spectacle. The Parade route winds along Main Street, promising a must-see holiday tradition!

People walking at an art festival

Dec 2-3 | 10am-5pm: Visit Lakewood Ranch’s Holiday of the Arts to explore an array of original, handmade arts, crafts, and specialty products from artisans across America. Discover exquisite pieces in painting, sculpting, jewelry, photography, candles, ceramics, wearable art, and more. Main Street in downtown Lakewood Ranch. Admission is free.

Dec 2-3: Delight in a holiday market, horse and carriage rides, kids’ crafts and activities, family events and contests, holiday-themed carnival games, live music, and special appearances by Santa & Mrs. Clause at 5th annual Jingle Jam at CoolToday Park. Sat from 10am-7pm and Sun 10am-8pm at CoolToday Park, 18800 S. West Villages Pkwy, Venice, FL. Free.

Dec 3 | 10am-3pm:  You’re invited to the Christmas Open House at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park. Step back in time to the Old South with lifestyle demonstrations, exploring the traditions of that era. Experience the enchantment of a 19th-century Christmas as Gamble Mansion will be lavishly decorated, offering a unique glimpse into history. The Ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will be dressed in period costumes from the 1840s to 1870s, adding an authentic touch to the festivities. Enjoy free tours of the lavishly decorated Gamble Mansion. Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, located on U.S. 301 in Ellenton. Admission is free.

Dec 3 | 11am-2pm: Celebrate the 17th anniversary of the iconic Bowls of Hope event at Ed Smith Stadium. Join over 1,500 guests at this beloved family-friendly gathering, showcasing 40 of our community’s finest restaurants and caterers serving soups, bread, desserts, and more. Attendees get to choose a beautifully handcrafted bowl to keep, generously donated by local potters, artists, and students while enjoying a modest meal as a reminder of the empty bowls they help to fill. Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St, Sarasota. Tickets prices vary.

Dec 7 & 14 | 5-8pm: Experience Holiday Splendor at The Ringling, a festive celebration supporting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots initiative in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Join in for a joyful occasion filled with musical performances by local schools, interactive art activities, and a complimentary Holiday Book Market where children can choose a free book. All venues will be open for self-touring of the Museum, Ca’ d’Zan, and the Circus Museum. Food and drinks available for purchase. Please enter through the Visitor’s Pavilion. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art located at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL. Admission is free with the donation of an unwrapped toy per person, supporting Toys for Tots. Without a toy donation, regular admission applies: $15 for adults and $5 for children. Guests are encouraged to shop in the Museum Store, which has a large selection of toys under $20.

Dec 8 | 6-10pm: See big cats and other animals at the Big Cat Best of Bash at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary. Featuring live music, prizes, an incredible animal show, a food drive, pony rides for kids, food trucks, beverages, animal Show, and more. Capture memorable moments with Santa, meet Special Animal Guests, and participate in exciting raffles. 7101 Palmer Boulevard, Sarasota. Adults $30, children 5-12 $20, 4 and under free.

male and female ballet dancers in pose for nutcracker ballet

Dec 8-9: Experience a dazzling rendition of the beloved holiday favorite, The Nutcracker, presented by The Sarasota Ballet School in collaboration with The Venice Symphony. Witness the ballet complemented by the enchanting melodies of Tchaikovsky’s timeless score performed by the Venice Symphony orchestra. Dec 8 at 7pm and Dec 9 at 3pm. Venice Performing Arts Center, located at One Indian Ave, Venice. $35 to $75.

Dec 8-Jan 3: Experience a stunning display of over 2 million lights at Selby Gardens’ 20th annual “Lights in Bloom” celebration, illuminating the gardens and walkways. Experience the enchanting display of life-size garden-themed holiday lights, transforming the gardens into a magical tropical wonderland. Capture unforgettable holiday photos amidst this breathtaking backdrop and enjoy family-friendly activities and entertainment. Food and beverages available for purchase from 6:30-9pm nightly; early entry at 5:30pm on select nights. Date are Dec 8-10, 12-23, 26-30, 2023; and Jan1-3, 2024. Various ticket prices and packages Admission free for children 4 and under.

Dec 9-10 | 10am-6pm: Bigger and bolder, the 4th Annual Suncoast Renaissance Festival will take you on a journey back in time to experience Renaissance music, dancing, jousting, immersive experiences and more. Over 100 stage shows daily, various food and treats, and artisan merchants. Enjoy 4 different themed weekends, Pirate, Fantasy, Viking and Celtic Christmas. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. Ticket prices vary. Kids under 5 are free.

Dec 13-17 | 6-9pm: Explore Winter Nights Under the Lights at Palma Sola Botanical Park! Experience acres illuminated with twinkling lights, meet Santa, indulge in delicious treats from food trucks, and enjoy live holiday music. Explore the gift market, savor hot cocoa and cider, and hop on delightful hayrides. Tree decorating contest, children’s crafts, and support Toys for Tots. 9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton. Admission is free, donations appreciated.

image of the Ca d'Zan on the Ringling Museum campus

Dec 14 | 5-8 pm: Experience Holiday Splendor at The Ringling, a festive celebration supporting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots initiative in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Join in for a joyful occasion filled with musical performances by local schools, interactive art activities, and a complimentary Holiday Book Market where children can choose a free book. All venues will be open for self-touring of the Museum, Ca’ d’Zan, and the Circus Museum. Food and drinks available for purchase. Please enter through the Visitor’s Pavilion. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art located at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL. Admission is free with the donation of an unwrapped toy per person, supporting Toys for Tots. Without a toy donation, regular admission applies: $15 for adults and $5 for children. Guests are encouraged to shop in the Museum Store, which has a large selection of toys under $20.

Dec 15: Get ready to put bells on your toes at the 12th Annual Lakewood Ranch Jingle 5k Run/Walk, supporting the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Foundation Nursing Scholarship Program. Runners will receive a special commemorative 2022 medal and bib number. Onsite registration starts at 4pm, race starts at 7pm. Stay for the post-race party featuring food and beverages. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch. Entry fees vary.

Dec 16 | 5:50pm: Experience the festive Christmas Glow Run 5K—a fun event for  the whole family. Filled with festive holiday ornaments, lights, music, and glowing decor, this run/walk takes place around the lakeside course. Enjoy complimentary glow products, live tracking, and a magical snowfall finish. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota. $45; $55 race day.

Dec 16-17 | 10am-5pm: Time for 2nd Annual Bradenton Riverwalk Holiday of the Arts Festival, which showcases the talents of over 100 artisans from Florida and across the US, presenting an outdoor gallery brimming with exquisite original artwork. Explore a diverse range of artistic creations, including paintings, photography, sculptures, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking, mixed-media, fiber art, and more. Should you seek something unique, consider commissioning a personalized, one-of-a-kind piece of art crafted just for you. Riverwalk Pavilion, 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton. Free admission.

Up close view of man and women holding festive drink outdoors

Dec 16-Dec 30: Celebrate the season with high-spirited, uplifting songs with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Joyful! Joyful! Singers, dancers and musicians perform a blend of new takes on traditional holiday, gospel-infused and pop songs offering a joyful, soulful twist on your favorite seasonal music. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 N Orange St, Sarasota. Matinees 2pm; Evenings 7:30pm; ticket prices vary.

Dec 18 & 17 | 6:30pm: Experience the enchantment of The Nutcracker with two mesmerizing performances at the Sarasota Opera House. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with magical performances by The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company, students from The Sarasota Ballet School and The Sarasota Ballet Conservatory. Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota. Ticket prices vary.

Dec 18 | 5:30-9pm: Come out for Ringling by the Bay—an evening filled with live music and dancing to the tunes of Paisley Craze at the Bolger Campiello. Food and drinks for purchase amidst the vibrant atmosphere. Ringling Museum Grounds, located at 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. Tickets $20/$25.

Dec 23 | 4-8pm: Celebrate the biggest Christmas party in town at Christmas on Main in Lakewood Ranch! Free games, rides, photo booths, and attractions for all ages and a candlelight service. Santa makes an appearance from 4-7pm. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch. Free.

Dec 26-Jan 3: Experience a stunning display of over 2 million lights at Selby Gardens’ 20th annual “Lights in Bloom” celebration, illuminating the gardens and walkways. Experience the enchanting display of life-size garden-themed holiday lights, transforming the gardens into a magical tropical wonderland. Capture unforgettable holiday photos amidst this breathtaking backdrop and enjoy family-friendly activities and entertainment. Food and beverages available for purchase from 6:30-9pm nightly; early entry at 5:30pm on select nights. Date are Dec 8-10, 12-23, 26-30, 2023; and Jan1-3, 2024. Various ticket prices and packages Admission free for children 4 and under.

Dec 31 | 1pm-1am: It’s 2024 SRQ New Year’s Eve Pineapple Drop Block Party! Festivities begin at 1pm with the Pineapple Drop at midnight, taking place at Lemon Avenue and Main Street, accompanied by a dazzling firework display over Sarasota Bay. Enjoy live music, carnival rides, games for kids, food and drinks, including special offerings at local bars and restaurants. The music kicks off at 8:30pm. Free admission.

 

2023 Winter Season List of Events, Parades, Festivals & More on the Suncoast was last modified: November 30th, 2023 by Allison Purcell

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