2018 End of Summer and Early Fall Events in Sarasota County

Although afternoon temperatures may currently suggest otherwise — August is one of the hottest months of the year in Florida — the back-to-school sales, Labor Day weekend barbecues, and the gradual emergence of all things pumpkin-spiced make it clear that summer is winding down.

Brace yourselves: temperatures in the low-70's-degrees Fahrenheit are coming.

As Summer 2018 draws to a close, Sarasota County offers plenty of ways to shop and save with the third annual Shoptember promotion. Also visitors can take advantage of the fresh fall breezes in a series of air-conditioned events, outdoor festivals, and more.


The Third Annual Shoptember returns to Sarasota! Promotion lasts all month long! Presented by Visit Sarasota County, area retailers and shopping districts are offering specials and deals. Deals can be found at SarasotaShoptember.com. September 1 - 2 (10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.): The 10th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival is a two-day event taking place in the streets of downtown Venice, featuring an array of affordable ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, metal works, and other crafts.

September 1 - 3: The two-week Englewood Pioneer Days Festival culminates in a jam-packed Labor Day Weekend. Featured Pioneer Days events include a Fish-a-Thon (August 26), Cardboard Boat Races (September 1), the Shipwreck Dance (September 1), a Diaper Derby (September 2), a Corvette car show, (September 1 and 2), and more. The Pioneer Days Parade takes place on Labor Day, Sept. 3, starting at 9:00 a.m. at St. Raphael's Church

September 3 (9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.): The Sarasota Succulent Society's annual Labor Day Sale takes place on Monday, September 3 at 1310 38th St, Sarasota. With plants priced at a steal, this is one of just four big Succulent Society sales offered annually. The Sarasota Succulent Society operates out of a 1938 Depression-era home that is tucked away just off the beaten path — and is only open three hours per week, otherwise, throughout the year. Don't miss the rare opportunity to explore a hidden gem in North Sarasota this Labor Day!

September 6 (8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.): The fall edition of Ringling Underground, a monthly showcase of avant-garde art and eclectic indie music taking place on the grounds of the Ringling Museum, runs annually from September through November. General admission is $15; students with a college ID get in free.

September 8 (10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.): Celebrate International Literacy Day with Literacy Under the Trees at Oscar Scherer State Park, featuring a variety of literary activities for all ages. Donate a gently-used book or present a library card for free entry.

September 14 (5:00 - 9:00 p.m.): Hit up the September edition of the Van Wezel's Friday Fest  with high-energy rock, bluegrass, and country music from the Sarasota-Manatee based rockers, Dr. Dave Band.

September 15 (9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.): Join the effort to "Keep Sarasota Beautiful" at International Coastal Cleanup Day, taking place on beaches throughout Sarasota County. Registration opens in August.

September 15 (1:00 p.m.): Mix, mingle, and sample a taste of the finest culinary and craft cocktail offerings from nearly two dozen of downtown Sarasota's celebrated restaurants at A Taste of Downtown Sarasota, benefiting Sarasota Youth Opera programs. Tickets for this event are $65.

September 22: Did you miss the chance to participate in International Coastal Cleanup Day last week? National Public Lands Day will provide additional volunteer-based environmental cleanup opportunities at Celery Fields and Oscar Scherer State Park on September 22.

September 22: Print your tickets starting on August 15 for free admission to The Ringling during the Smithsonian's annual Museum Day celebration, taking place on September 22.

September 30: Perhaps you didn't know you were in the mood for a theatrical, acrobatic, synchronized water-skiing spectacular — but now that you know that's a thing, you won't want to miss out on the chance to catch a show by the long-running Sarasota Ski-A-Rees. The Ski-A-Rees kick off their fall season, which runs through November 11, on September 30. Free water shows take place every Sunday at 2:00 p.m., so don't miss out on this splashing good time!


October 3: (9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.) every Wednesday October through April): The Phillippi Farmhouse Market kicks off its season on October 3. The Farmhouse Market takes place weekly on Wednesdays at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

October 3: Birding season officially begins in October, coinciding with the cooler autumn weather in Sarasota. Check in with the Sarasota Audubon Society calendar for field trips and activities taking place during the fall and winter months.

October 3: The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe kicks off the 2018-2019 season with Raisin (based on Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun"), running October 3 through November 11.

October 4 (8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.): The October edition of Ringling Underground (every first Thursday of the month, September through November) takes place on the evening of October 4.

October 6 (12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.): Sarasota's 4th annual Beer, Bands & BBQ, presented by the Music Compound located at 1751 Cattlemen Road, features live 45-minute music sets from popular local bands, a selection of local and domestic brews on draught, and classic barbecue — as well as "BBQ-inspired" dishes, such as BBQ pizza.

October 6 - 7 (10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): The 24th Annual Downtown Sarasota Craft Festival is a two-day event taking place in the streets of downtown Sarasota, featuring an array of affordable ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, metal works, and other crafts.

October 7 (3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m): The 3rd annual Porchfest SRQ takes place at Arlington Park on during the afternoon and evening of October 7. This grassroots community music festival is one of the most unique music fests taking place in the area, in which Arlington Park residents open up their front porches and yards to serve as pop-up outdoor music venues, showcasing local bands.

October 11 (11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.): Donte's Den Foundation's Top Dog 2018 "Fashion, Fur, and Fun" Dog Show and Sunday Brunch will take place on the bayside lawn of Sarasota's Van Wezel. This annual benefit supports the mission of Donte's Den to provide cozy, long term and permanent care in home-like settings for dogs whose owners are unable to care for them due to illness, injury, long term travel, military deployment, or abandonment.

October 12 - 13: Giving Hunger the Blues, now in its 22nd year and taking place at the Van Wezel Auditorium, features live jazz and blues music on the Sarasota bayfront from national, regional and local performers. 100% of proceeds from this charitable concert go to the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Program, which works to put food on the table for hungry families in the greater Sarasota region during the holiday season.

October 13 (8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.): The 13th annual Sarasota Master Gardener Plant Sale is one of the biggest yearly plant sales taking place in Sarasota County. This family-friendly event also features sustainable gardening education, landscape problem diagnosis, and an open house highlighting all UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County has to offer.

October 13 - 14: The 12th annual Hungarian Festival is an entertaining and educational weekend that elevates and celebrates Hungarian culture through music, cuisine, dancing and more.

October 14 (2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.): The 19th annual Morton's Firehouse Chili Cook Off, benefiting the Sarasota Firefighters Benevolent Fund, takes place at Morton's Gourmet Market. The event features live entertainment, hearty bowls of charitable chili, and friendly competition between local fire departments competing for the "Best Bowl of Firehouse Chili" on south Florida's Gulf Coast.

October 19 - 21: The Women's Sertoma Club of Venice hosts its annual Sun Fiesta, it's biggest scholarship fundraiser of the year, in October. Sun Fiesta weekend events include a 5K run, the Miss Sun Fiesta pageant, live music and dancing, food vendors, an arts and crafts festival, kids' activities, and the annual "Bed Races" event — which, yes, is exactly what it sounds like. Don't snooze on the opportunity to push a bed-turned-vehicle through the streets as fast as you can, because you can.

October 20 (12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.): The annual Sarasota Pride Fest will take place at J.D. Hamel Park. The 2018 festival theme is "Rainbow Resistance" and will feature LGBTQ vendors and services, live music, food vendors, and more in a family-friendly outdoor festival setting.

October 20, 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: The Newtown Nation Farmers Market presents the third annual "Big Mama's Collard Green Fest" at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex. Local and professional chefs from the greater Sarasota region descend on this popular event annually for a friendly competition to determine whose greens reign supreme. Arrive hungry to chow down on collards cooked up Southern, Creole, Cajun, and Caribbean style, as well as other soulful Southern classics including mac and cheese, shrimp boils, cornbread, and more. Vegan options available!

October 26 (4:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.) and October 27 (10:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.): It's time to bust out your favorite kilt and enjoy the breeze between your knees at the 3rd annual Sarasota Celtic Music Festival at Nathan Benderson Park. Enjoy live music (be prepared for bagpipes) and traditional Irish dancing, Celtic cuisine, kids' activities, the Braveheart Kilt Run 5K, and the Sandy Paws Dog Parade, which includes a "Most Celtic Dog" contest.

October 28 (7:00 a.m.): The 9th annual Tour De North Port bicycle ride is a great way to take in the sights through some of the most beautiful outdoor settings Florida has to offer. Cyclists are encouraged to ride at their leisure (this is not a race) along on-road routes that stretch across 15, 35, or 65-mile sections of Florida's unique, indigenous pine flatwoods.

Ringling Underground Watercolor
Ringling Underground Watercolor