2013 Holiday event calendar
Here's a list of holiday community events for children of all ages. To add your event to this list, email firstname.lastname@example.org
"Let It Snow": Planetarium at South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton
The South Florida Museum will present a new holiday show "Let It Snow," 2:15 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 11:15 a.m. Saturdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 24. The show features a new variety of festive classic from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, and includes a stunning multi-media finale by the Trans Siberain Orchestra. The soundtrack is visually enhanced with thematic animation, special effect and all-dome scenery. The 32-minute program is a fun and entertaining experience for all ages, especially families. The show is included with general admission tickets to the South Florida Museum. General admission: $15.95 adults, $13.95 seniors ages 65 and older, $11.95 children ages 4-12, free to children ages 3 and younger, military with proper ID and free to museum members. For detailed information, call 941-746-4131, ext. 0 or www.southfloridamuseum.org.
Sugar Plum Shoppes: Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton
The shopping event of the season, the Sugar Plum Shoppes at Renaissance on 9th, is back and will be open for business 4-8 p.m. Dec. 5 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 6. Shoppers are invited to a holiday gift market extravaganza where local vendors offer holiday gifts, home decor, jewelry and the latest fashion accessories. The Generations Gift Shop and Second Generation Thrift Shop will have special deals on holiday merchandise as well as a wide variety of boxed gifts in festive packaging. There will be door prizes, holiday cocktails and food specials available for purchase. Proceeds of the sales will benefit the programs of Meals on Wheels PLUS and The Food Bank of Manatee. Information: 941-749-0100 or www.renaissanceon9th.org.
An Olde Fashioned Village Christmas: Village of the Arts, Bradenton
"An Olde Fashioned Village Christmas," 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 7. Festivities includes lighting of the 1920's cottages throughout the Village, carolers, barbershop quartet, Manatee Players Dickens Carolers, Christmas Tea Room, vintage holiday fashions, antique quilts, dolls, toys and a visit from Santa. Information: www.villageofthearts.com.
Christmas in the Park: Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee Agricultural Museum, 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto
Enjoy creatively decorated buildings, kids' crafts, Santa, entertainment and more at this 1940s-themed event 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6-7 featuring activities including letter to soldiers, a "Memory Tree" in the Military Museum, "Cooking on a Ration" recipes to collect in each of the park buildings, contests for prizes, model trains, a petting corral and letters to Santa. The Jolly Old Elf himself will be arriving by fire truck at 6 p.m. Bring your camera for a photo with Santa. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Bring a canned food item for First United Methodist Church of Palmetto's food pantry and drop them of at park entrances. On Friday night, the Palmetto Public Library across the street will be doing face painting, holiday photos and children's book and holiday ring giveaway. Information: 941-721-2034.
Annual Christmas Craft Sale: Horseshoe Cove, 5100 60th St. E., Bradenton
The Horseshoe Cove annual Christmas Craft Sale will be 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 7 featuring fine hand paintings, lighted Christmas wreaths, knitted and crocheted items, casserole carriers, jewelry, Afghans, wood carvings, scrubbies, purses, sweat shirts, kitchen towels, candy, woven baskets and handmade penguins. Coffee and homemade coffee cake will be available for purchase. Information: email@example.com.
Family Night at the Museum "Toy Stories": South Florida Museum, 201 10th St., Bradenton
Celebrate the history and fun of the holidays and design your own toy at Family Nights at the Museum 4-8 p.m. Dec. 7, featuring a screening of "Toy Story 3" and a special Planetrium and Manatee presentation. Museum admission is half-priced after 4 p.m. during Family Nights. Regular tickets are $15.95 adults, $13.95 seniors ages 65 and over, $11.95 children ages 4-12, admission is free for children ages 3 and younger, museum members and active military with valid ID. Information: 941-746-4131 or www.southfloridamuseum.org.
"A Night Before Christmas" at G.T. Bray park: 5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W, Bradenton
The Manatee Parks and Recreation Department's annual "A Night Before Christmas," will be 4-7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 with Santa arriving by helicopter at 4 p.m.. The event will feature various family friendly activities including 10 tons of snow, face painting, bounce houses, inflatable slide, trampoline power jump, hayrides, cookie crafts, and visits with Santa. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-742-5923.
Craft Sale and Small Business Expo: Palmetto Elks Lodge 2449, 4611 Fourth Ave. E., Palmetto
A Craft Sale and Small Business Expo will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 7 featuring more than 40 vendors offering jewelry, soaps, candies, nuts, fruits, sea shells, baby gifts, scarves, stockings, Christmas crafts, picture frames, handmade cards, chair massage and skin care, wreaths, home products, facials, sewing and crochet and much more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit Palmetto's Elks Charity Fund. Information: 941-722-6937.
Manatee Performing Arts Center Guided Tours and Holiday Shopping Event: 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton
The gift shop at the Manatee Performing Arts Center, Wishes Boutique, will be open for a special holiday shopping event 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and for guided tours of the theater 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Dec. 7. Browse through holiday-inspired items including hand-crafted jewelry, hand knitted scarves, stained glass, small paintings created by Manatee Players volunteers. Proceeds will benefit the Manatee Players. Information: 941-749-1111.
Country Christmas at Dakin Dairy Farms: 30771 Betts Road, Myakka City
Country Christmas at Dakin Dairy features Christmas Carol Hayrides ($5), Live Manger family photo opportunities with costumes ($5), pony rides ($3), roasting marshmallows, hot fresh picnics, use your smartphone to answer hidden scriptures in the maze and geo-nav clue hunt that ends at the Manger with a video. Hours: Open until 8 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 21 with Old Miakka Farmers Market on site 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 5pm Sat. Sunset Tours at 5 p.m. Saturdays through February. Visit www.DakinDairyFarms.com for more information or call 941-322-2802.
Annual Holly Faire: Heritage Village West Clubhouse, 4100 66th St. Circle W., Bradenton
The fourth annual Holly Faire will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 7 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8, a unique arts, crafts and gift show, featuring multiple local artists offering painted gourds, stained glass, wood turning, photography, jewelry, clay sculptures, paper and jean purses, island images, ornaments, embroidery, T-shirts, baskets, florals, watercolors poinsettias, exotic plants, holiday decorations, baked good, gift baskets and more. Lunch is available for purchase 11 a.m.-2 p.m. both days. Information: 941-795-1006.
"Winter Dreams, A Holiday Ice Spectacular!": Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. E., Ellenton
Ellenton Ice and the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club will present "Winter Dreams, A Holiday Ice Spectacular!" 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8. The show will feature beginning, adult and competitive skaters, and the national and international pair competitors. Tickets: $18 adults, $15 seniors ages 60 and older, $10 children ages 9 and younger. Information: 941-723-3663 or www.ellentonice.com.
The 36th annual Entre Nous Holiday Tour of Homes: various locations, Manatee County
The public can visit various homes located in Manatee County decorated for the Holidays by area designers, artists and florists, during the 36th annual Entre Nous Holiday Tour of Homes 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Visitors can purchase gifts and sample offerings from multiple local shops and restaurants at various locations along the route. Tickets: $15-$20. Information: 941-748-8579 or http://entrenousmanatee.org.
Holiday Bake Sale: Island Players, 10009 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria
The Off Stage Ladies of the Island Player's Holiday Bake Sale will be 4 p.m. Dec. 8 featuring cakes, pies, brownies, holiday cookie trays, candy, coffee cakes, muffins and much ore. Proceeds will benefit Island Players. Information: 941-799-2181 or 941-518-4431.
Gamble Plantation Historic State Park "Plantation Christmas": 3708 Patten Ave., Ellenton
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida Division, the Gamble Plantations Preservation Alliance and the Florida Park Service will host the Plantation Christmas Open House 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8. Visitors can enjoy the lavishly decorated Gamble Mansion and the Patten House, and travel the Old South during the day through the many lifestyle demonstrations of that time period featuring costumed volunteers and the Fourth Florida Volunteer Infantry in military dress re-enacting a Confederate encampment. There will be music, crafts and fun for everyone. Admission is free. Information: 941-723-4536.
Inaugural Braden River Boat Parade: The Old Braden River Historical Society will hold the inaugural Braden River Boat Parade at 5:30 p.m. at Linger Lodge, 7205 85th St. Ct. E., Bradenton. Boaters can check in at 4 p.m. Bring chair and vote for your favorite boat via phone or text message at 941-320-8811 or by paper ballot. The parade will end at Linger Lodge. There will be an auction of items and a presentation of awards. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-320-8811 old www.oldbradenriver.org.
Holidays Around the Ranch: Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Celebrate the Holidays Around The Ranch on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch 6-9 p.m. Dec. 13. Watch the lighting of the tree over the fountain, work on crafts in Santa's workshop, ice skate on an acrylic ice rink with skates provided, there will also be children's dance and music groups and welcome Santa's arrival too along with more festive activities.
Winter Wonderland: Old Main Street, Bradenton
A family-friendly street festival featuring kid's crafts, entertainment, food and craft vendors, and a snow mountain with sledding is 5-9 p.m. Dec. 14. Don't miss Santa and Mrs. Claus. Information: Email firstname.lastname@example.org,
Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade: Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto
The Bradenton Yacht Club will host a Holiday Boat Parade viewing party beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14. The parade, featuring boats decorated with holiday lights, will start at
DeSoto Point and will end at the Bradenton Yacht Club. A fireworks display will be at the end of the parade. The event is open and free to the public. Information: 941-722-5936 or visit www.bradentonyachtclub.com.
Lighted Boat Parade: Anna Maria Sound
Cortez Yacht Club's eighth annual Holiday Lighted Boat Parade begins Dec. 14 near Mar Vista & Moore's Stone Crab restaurants on north end of Longboat Key at dusk (6-6:30 p.m.) and will travel north to the Seafood Shack Marina & Restaurant, 127th Street West, Cortez. Awards ceremony will follow the parade at the Seafood Shack. Grand prize is $500. Boaters interested in participating and competing for prizes are required to pre-register by calling 941-780-3547.
"A 1913 Florida Cracker Christmas," annual holiday festival: Manatee Village Historical Park, along Old Main St., Bradenton
The Manatee Village Historical Park will host "A 1913 Florida Cracker Christmas," a family-friendly street festival 5-9 p.m. Dec. 14, featuring kids' crafts, entertainment, model railroads, food and craft vendors and live music by Gary Reinstrom, The EZ Keys and The Eighth Notes. Information: Christine A. Brown at 941-741-4075.
Christmas on Bridge Street: along Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Bridge Street will change from its tropical hue into a Winter Wonderland 3-10 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Bridge Street's Christmas on Bridge Street, featuring snow, Santa, live holiday music, special performances and kids' activities. Special sales, gift baskets and wreath giveaways, gift ideas, a lighted boat parade, and a Children's Craft and Cookie Bazaar area where area school children can make and sell handmade holiday items, Christmas crafts and baked goods. Information: 941-713-3105 or www.bridgestreetmerchants.com.
Santa's Magical Workshop: 1703 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton
Visit Santa's workshop with his working elves, tour four unique rooms of Santa magic and fun, and walk the enchanted lighted garden at Gulf Shore Animal League's "Santa's Magical Workshop" 6-9 p.m. Dec. 14-15 and 21-22. Photo opportunities with Santa are $5. Entry donation: $5, children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. All proceeds will benefit Gulf Shore Animal League. Information941-747-2284.
Holiday Lights Bus Tour: Senior Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton
The Senior Enrichment Center at Renaissance on 9th will host a Holiday Lights Bus Tour 5:30 p.m. Dec. 19. Guests will begin with dinner at the 9th Street Bistro and then depart on an evening bus tour to view holiday light displays. Cost: $10. Space is limited and reservations are required: 941-749-0100.
Manatee County Area Transit Tour of Lights: State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29, Bradenton
The Manatee County Area Transit will host the popular Tour of Lights 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21. Buses depart from State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W., Building 29. Riders need only bring a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toy for admission. The food will be donated to local social service networks and the toys will be given to the Toys for Tots program. Seating is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Passengers should arrive no later than 6:30 and should be ready for departure at 6:45 p.m.
Holiday Nights during Art After Five at the Ringling: Ca'd 'Zan, John and Mable Ringling museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
The Ringling will celebrate the holidays during Art After Five with the following events: a decorated Ca'd 'Zan 5-8 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 26, dance to the music by Yesterdayze Dec. 19 on the Bloger Campieollo, and bring a toy as admission during Holiday Splendor of the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots of Sarasota 5-9 p.m. Dec. 5. Admission to Holiday Splendor is one unwrapped toy per guest or $10 for adults and $5 for visitors ages 6-17 without the donation of a toy. Admission to Art After Five is $10 for adults, $5 for visitors ages 6-17, and is free for Museum members. Information: 941-359-5700 or www.ringling.org.
Annual Holiday Nights of Lights: St. Armands Circle Park, Sarasota
The 35th annual "Holiday Night of Lights is St. Armands kick-off to the holiday season and will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 featuring an annual Christmas Carol Sing-along, followed by the "Santa Parade" lead by the Wells Fargo Stage Coach, the arrival of Santa in his spectacular sleigh and a tree lighting ceremony. Photos with Santa are available throughout the evening. The public can enjoy holiday entertainment, special store promotions and gracious hospitality provided by the many shops and restaurants. The event is free and open to the public. Information: www.starmandscircleassoc.com.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens annual Holiday Lights Celebration: 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Sarasota Jungle Gardens will show off its annual Holiday Lights Celebration 6-9 p.m. Dec. 6-7, 13-15, 20-24, 26-29. The gardens' trails and exhibits will be adorned with holiday lights. Holiday-themed activities include roasting marshmallows, visiting with Santa and more. Special dinner menus are offered for purchase. Admission: $11 adults, $6 children ages 6-12, children ages 2 and younger are admitted free. For a complete schedule of events call 941-355-111, ext. 306.
"Santa Jaws at Mote Marine": 'Tis the season to meet Gilly, Santa's helper shark at Mote Marine Laboratorium and Aquarium nonn-2 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. Guests can take pictures with Mote mascot Gilly the Shark, who will be dressed for the holidays as Santa Jaws. Photo ops with Santa Jaws are free with admission to Mote. Aquarium visitors can also see more than 100 marine species, including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and fish of all shapes and sizes. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota. For hours, and ticket prices, call 941-388-4441 or www.mote.org.
Lights in Bloom: Selby Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Explore Selby Gardens and view life-size garden-themed holiday lights presented by Lights in Bloom creator Bob McComb, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20-23 and 26-30. Don't miss the chance to see the new Ann Goldstein Children's Rainforest Garden decked out with holiday lights for the first time. Enjoy festive live music while dining on grilled entrees, delicious kids' "Merry Meals," and delightful holiday snacks. Children of all ages will love exploring the rainforest garden aglow with holiday lights. Kid-friendly activities, such as creating fun crafts, will be available in the Kids' Corner. Santa and his elves make an appearance Dec. 20-23. Admission is $17 for adults, children age 11 and younger admitted free. Information: 941-366-5731 or www.selby.org.
"Ice on the Diamond -- A Holiday Celebration": Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota
SIn a first for Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles will present world-class skaters in "Ice on the Diamond - A Holiday Celebration," a dazzling, holiday-themed show on a specially engineered ice stage on the ballpark's main field at 7 p.m. Dec. 20. The show's cast includes a world-class team of national and international skaters. Soloists are Michael Chack, a U.S. national bronze medalist, and Erica Archambault, a U.S. junior national champion. Triple gold medalists Stephanie Kuban and John Hunt are the lead pair. The storyline is advanced by actors Joe Gnoffo and Casey Peterson as "elves" who narrate the show. Ensemble and specialty skaters are Greg Bonin, Ben Blandford, Dianna Ramos, Rachel Reynolds and Freddy Hernandez. Ticket prices are $5 to $30, with a limited number of Gold Circle seats at $45. Children ages 2 and younger, sitting on a parent's lap, are free. For ticket information and box office hours, visit www.orioles.com/sarasota or call 941-893-6300. Parking is $5 in the East and North Lots, with a portion of proceeds supporting the Sarasota Y.
TAMPA & ORLANDO
Grinchmas, Macy's Holiday Parade: It's the most wonderful time of the year at Universal Orlando Resort. From Dec. 7 through Jan. 4, families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando's Holidays celebration. Come face-to-face with The Grinch at Grinchmas, watch larger-than-life balloons float through the streets during the Macy's Holiday ParadeTM and hear Christmas music sensation, Mannheim Steamroller, perform beloved holiday classics with a modern twist. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, guests will smile from ear-to-ear during the heartwarming live show, "Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular," featuring The Grinch and the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests can meet the mean, green one himself and the Whos daily and, on select dates, enjoy a special breakfast with the characters. At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy's Holiday Parade will fill the streets with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in the famous New York City parade. Guests will be immersed in the spirit of the season with holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with the big man himself, Santa Claus. Following the parade, the acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios on Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22. Information: www.universalorlando.com.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: The Magic Kingdom will host Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party featuring 19 magical nights beginning at 7 p.m. Nov. 8-Dec. 20. Guests with special event tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor with lively stage shows featuring Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, USA. The nights include a holiday "Celebrate the Magic" castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular. Party dates are Nov. 14-15, 17, 21-22 and Dec. 1, 3, 5-6, 8, 10, 12-13, 15, 17, 19-20. The park is at 3111 World Dr., Lake Buena Vista. For park hours, tickets and detailed information visit www.disneyworld.com/christmasparty.
2013 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: Busch Gardens' "2013 Christmas Town," featuring Santa's House, Penguin Point, SnowWorld by Coca-Cola and much more, will transform the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests' senses to continue the beautiful new tradition for families on 18 select nights Nov. 29-Dec. 23. Guests can look forward to special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and regular daytime Busch Gardens admissions is not required or included. For park location, hours and tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com.
Wild Wonderland at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: Meet Santa and his merry mammals, real reindeer, at Wild Wonderland featuring animated displays, a million twinkling lights, free Zoo rides and traditional holiday treats creating a whimsical world of holiday magic 6:30-10 p.m. Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23, and 26-30. On Dec. 13 zoo visitors can also celebrate the season with the Zoo's primate family as the primates open special presents from Zoo staff and docents as part of their enrichment program. The "Presents for Primates" is included free-of-charge- with Zoo admission. For location, hours and tickets, call 813-935-8552 or www.lowryparkzoo.com.