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December 2018

December 31, 2018: 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. 

December 31, 2018: 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 Ave.

December 31, 2018: 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

December 31, 2018: 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 

December 31, 2018: 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

December 31, 2018: 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

December 31, 2018: 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

December 31, 2018: 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 Aud 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


December 31, 2018: 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

December 17, 2018: 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

December 20, 2018: 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.

December 20, 2018: 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.

December 20, 2018: 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 Ranch.

December 20 - 21, 2018: What was the Star of Bethlehem? A comet, a supernova or something else? Explore that question with Howard Hochhalter, one of South Florida Museum's staff astronomers who will  take you on a journey to Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago using the Planetarium's ability to travel through time and space. See the skies the magi saw. 5:30 p.m, and 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $8 Museum Members, $10 Non-Members. Reservations required. South Florida Museum, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton 


December 20 - 23, 2018: 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. 

December 21, 2018: Get your toes tapping at "Jazz at Two" with the Lorri Hafer Quartet. Lorri & Mike Hafer present the “Music of their Life”. Music of composers, such as, Gershwin, Ellington,  Jobim, Harry Warren, and the swinging sounds of the Big Band Era and jazz standards. Quartet features former Ellington bassist, John Lamb. $10 for Sarasota Jazz Club members, $20 for non-members. 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Rd


December 21, 2018: 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 


December 21, 2018: Check out Friday Night Free Music with Mindy Simmons (Christmas music) in the Gazebo in Centennial Park in downtown Venice. Bring your lawn chair or blanket. 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. Free admission. Downtown Venice


December 21 - 23, 2018: 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

December 21 - 23, 2018: 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. Admission: $10, Kids 5 and under are free. Free parking. Hunsader Farms, 5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton, FL.

December 22, 2018: 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

December 25, 2018: 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 Ave


December 26, 2018: 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


December 26 - 30, 2018: 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. Continues January 1, 2019. 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota

December 27, 2018: 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, Sar.

December 27 - 30, 2018: 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

December 28, 2018: Get your toes tapping at "Jazz at Two"with The 2018 Jazz Club Scholarship recipients performing.  Many of the fourteen 2018 scholarship recipients will perform with a house trio - TBA - and in jazz jam format. The talent of 
these young musicians will amaze you. $10 for Sarasota Jazz Club members, $20 for non-members. 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Universalist Church of Sarasota, 3975 Fruitville Rd

December 28  - 30, 2018: The Sarasota Arts & Antiques & Design Show will feature 40 select dealers from across the country with fine antique furniture, silver, bronzes, antique & estate jewelry, crystal, porcelain, pottery, paintings, prints, vintage clothing and accessories, and much more!  Fri: & Sat: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sun: Noon - 5 p.m. Weekend admission $8 at the door. Free parking. Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 North Tamiami

December 29, 2018: Honk horns and explore all sized trucks at Touch a Truck live and in person for kids ages 10 and under! A fun, free family event, enabling kids to touch, sit in and explore a wide range of trucks. Free. 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Manatee County Public Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd, Brad.