<p>There's no snow on the ground, and Jack Frost will almost certainly NOT be nipping any noses this close to the Equator &mdash; but Sarasota County has plenty of festive traditions to set the mood for the winter holidays. Take a look at how best to enjo
Several local spots will be illuminated with holiday cheer like St. Armands Circle

Christmas and Other Holiday Events in North Sarasota County

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the bay, dolphins glistening. It's a beautiful sight, wearing shorts in sunlight, walking in a Florida wonderland...

October 7, 2019

There's no snow on the ground, and Jack Frost will almost certainly NOT be nipping any noses this close to the Equator — but Sarasota County has plenty of festive traditions to set the mood for the winter holidays. Take a look at how best to enjoy the sights, sounds, and spirit of the season at these local events.


St. Armands Holiday Night of Lights

December 6, St. Armands Circle

Holiday Night of Lights (6:00 - 9:00 p.m.) is St. Armands Circle’s official kickoff for the holiday season. The tree lighting takes place at 5:30 p.m., Santa arrives for photos at 6:30 p.m., and guests can enjoy live performances, special store promotions, and holiday specials at nearby shops and restaurants throughout the evening.

Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens

December 14 - January 4, Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens puts on one of the most spectacular light displays of the season at Lights in Bloom (nightly, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.) by transforming the gardens into a tropical holiday paradise with over two-million lights that set the bayfront property aglow. Enjoy nightly visits from Santa on the dates leading up to Christmas Eve, as well as tropical butterflies and dragonflies, and holiday activities for the whole family.


Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade

December 7, Downtown Sarasota Main Street

Celebrating its 24th year in 2019, 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.

Pinecraft Village Christmas Day Parade

December 25, Pinecraft Village

The Christmas Day Parade in Sarasota's Amish and Mennonite community of Pinecraft is a charming local tradition celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019. Starting around 1:00 p.m., the parade kicks off in the Der Dutchman parking lot at 3713 Bahia Vista Street and winds through the neighborhood. The Pinecraft Christmas Parade draws over a thousand spectators each year.

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

December 14, Sarasota Bay at Centennial Park and Bayfront Park

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!


Holiday Splendor at the Ringling

December 5, The Ringling

Bring an unwrapped new toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots toy drive to gain free admission to Holiday Splendor at the Ringling (5:00 - 8:00 p.m.). The event features holiday music performed by local students among the art and throughout the museum galleries and courtyard.

Sarasota Ochestra's Sounds of the Season

December 11 - 15, Sarasota Orchestra

Treat your senses to the symphonic Sounds of the Season, an installment of Sarasota Orchestra's Great Escapes short works series. Get lost in sugar plum fairy dreams with selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, as well as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Holly and Jolly Sing-a-Long, the Hanukkah Festival Overture, and other holiday selections.

School of Russian Ballet Presents "The Nutcracker"

December 15, Sarasota Opera House

See the holiday classic Nutcracker Classical Ballet in the historic Sarasota Opera House, an acoustical jewel located in the heart of downtown Sarasota's "Theater Row." Grab food from one of our award-winning local restaurants nearby during a comfortably cool December night, or perhaps something warm to drink as you stroll past lights and the massive Christmas tree in nearby Five Points Park.


Sailor Circus Presents: The 12 Days After Christmas

December 27 - 30, Sailor Circus Arena

For a uniquely Sarasotan experience, be sure to catch a Sailor Circus High Flying Holidays performance to close out the holiday season. For more than 70 years, youth performers ages 8 to 18 have honed their craft at Sarasota's Sailor Circus. This holiday-themed performance features aerialist acrobatics, lightning-fast juggling, trick roller-skating, and more! Get tickets online or by calling the Circus Arts Conservatory at 941-355-9805 starting November 4.

Deck the Halls of Ca D'Zan

December 12, 19, 26, and January 2, The Ringling

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.

SRQ Gingerbread Festival

Dec. 6 - 15, The Mall at UTC

Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida hosts the 11th annual SRQ Gingerbread Festival featuring a gingerbread village with gingerbread houses from more than 150 local schools, businesses, nonprofits, and youth groups. Visit this baked-good winter wonderland in between shopping around the Mall at UTC and vote your favorite as a winner!

Atomic Holiday Bazaar

December 14 - 15, Sarasota Municipal Auditorium

Sarasota's indie-craft market holiday shopping extravaganza, Atomic Holiday Bazaar, is the go-to spot to snag one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. Celebrating its 14th year in 2019, Atomic hosts hundreds of "misfit maker" vendors and thousands of guests over two days at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. The market will be open from 12:00. - 5:00 p.m. for two days on the second weekend of December.

Celebrate Chanukah


A Taste of Chanukah

December 22, Phillippi Estate Park

Chabad of Sarasota welcomes all to join the 9th annual Taste of Chanukah Food and Music Festival at Phillippi Estate Park. From 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. you can enjoy catered kosher food in addition to entertainment and activities for the whole family. Experience arts and crafts, face painting, a full color laser light show, carnival games, human chess, magicians, and more.

A Movie and Chinese

December 25, The Larry Greenspan Family Campus for Jewish Life

For Jewish travelers and families looking to celebrate a long-standing tradition of eating Chinese food and watching movies on Christmas, the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee hosts an annual celebration. Tradition: A Movie and Chinese – Fiddler on the Roof Sing-Along takes place December 25 from 3 to 8 p.m. at their campus on 582 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota.

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