Bradenton has been enjoying warm weather while the rest of the country shivers. But for people who prefer a snowy Christmas to a warm and sunny one, Winter Wonderland is returning to offer a taste of the Great White North.
About 15,000 people turn out every year to see a section of Bradenton's Old Main Street covered with some 20 tons of ice, with snow slides and a bunny slope.
It's set for the Saturday evening, and it's free.
Former Bradenton City Council member and mayoral candidate Marianne Barnebey started Winter Wonderland in the mid-1990s and has been organizing it ever since. It's grown into one of the largest holiday events in Bradenton.
Nearby that same evening is another local holiday tradition, the Bradenton Yacht Club's Holiday Boat Parade. This will be the 16th annual edition of the parade, which will bring a procession of lighted boats past the downtown waterfront. It starts at the yacht club, at 4307 Snead Island Road in Palmetto, at 6:30 p.m., and should be visible Bradenton's downtown waterfront shortly after. The best viewing from downtown will probably start around 8:30 p.m.
It's too late for boat owners to enter, but, of course, it's free to watch the parade pass by.
Details: 5-9 p.m., Old Main Street, Bradenton; free.
-- Marty Clear