Whether you're looking for theater, music, fairs, festivals or parades, there's something coming up nearby to help keep you and your family in the Christmas spirit.
"Dickens at the Crosley": Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail, Bradenton
The adaptation of the Dickens classic is just one of four pieces in an evening billed as "Dickens at the Crosley." The others are adaptations of "The Gentle Giant" by Oscar Wilde, "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore, and "The True History of the Hare and the Tortoise" by Lord Dunsany. The Crosley production has actors playing Powel and Gwendolyn Crosley, who in turn portray characters in the classic stories. Show times: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 and 20 and 7:30 p.m. only Dec. 17. Tickets: $15-$25 plus service charge. Information: 941-722-3244, bradentongulfislands.com/crosley-theater.
"Winter Wonderland": Greenbrook Park, 6655 Greenbrook Blvd., Lakewood Ranch
The Marketing class of Manatee Technical College is inviting the public to a "Winter Wonderland" holiday celebration 3-6 p.m. Dec. 19 featuring games, crafts, entertainment, photos with Santa, and amusement. Game and amusement tickets will be sold at the event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit local charities and SkillsUSA. Information: 941-751-7900, ext. 1020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Holiday Reflections on the Lake": Lake Manatee State Park, 20007 S.R. 64, Bradenton
Lake Manatee State Park will host its inaugural "Holiday Reflections on the Lake," 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 19. The goal of the event is to collect items for the Myakka City Foundation and Nate's Honor Animal Rescue. Activities include a self-guided night walk along a trail decorated with reflective holiday-themed decorations, a children's craft station and a Night Geocache. Night caching uses reflective trail markers to lead you to a cache. In lieu of an entrance fee, donations are accepted. Donations for Myakka City Foundation are one new unwrapped toy per car load or one canned food item per person. Donations for Nate's Honor Animal Rescue are: wet puppy food Science Diet or Pedigree brand, and Fancy Fest for kittens and cats, one can per person. Equivalent cash donation will be accepted in addition or in lieu of requested items. Information: 941-741-3028.
Annual Snow Fest Sarasota: Ringling Shopping Center, across Payne Park at 170 Shopping Ave., Sarasota
The annual Snow Fest Sarasota will be noon-10 p.m. Dec. 18-20 featuring 200 tons of real snow, snow slides, snow play area, giant snow pictures with Santa, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Santa Reindeer rides, face painting, games, and performances from local artist. All day snowslide wristbands are $10. Admission: $7 adults, children ages 12 and younger are admitted free. Information: snowfestsarasota.com.
Classic Holiday Movies: Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa
Enjoy the warmth and light of the season with classic holiday film favorites, with a visit from Santa and sing-alongs before every show. The schedule is: "It's A Wonderful Life" 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 21-23, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-20, and "Home Alone," 3 p.m. Dec. 27. Tickets: $10 adults, $8 children. Information: 813-274-8981 or tampatheatre.org.
Holiday Lights Spectacular: Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Sarasota's Jungle Gardens will host its annual Holiday Lights Spectacular celebration 6-9 p.m. Dec. 18-24, 26 and 27 featuring a myriad of joy-filled activities such as strolling down "Candy Cane Lane," roasting marshmellows, photos with Santa, sandsculpting ornaments, magician Nathan Coe Marsh and live entertainment at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission: $11 adults, $6 children ages 3-12. Children ages 2 and younger are admitted free. Information: 941-355-5305 or sarasotajunglegardens.com.
Annual Christmas on Bridge Street: along Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Celebrate the season at The Bridge Street Merchants' annual "Christmas on Bridge Street" 4:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 19 featuring live music by Russ and Brandi and the Dickens Carolers, various elementary school-aged singing groups, the chorus from Rowlett Academy and the Joyful Noise Choir from Roser Church in Anna Maria. Visitors can also view the Cortez Yacht Club's Boat Parade at dusk. There will be a kids craft and cookie bazaar, arts and crafts, and a silent auction. Information: 941-536-4257.
Annual Winter Luminary Walk: De Soto National Memorial, 8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton
De Soto National Memorial will light its trails with thousands of luminaries 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 19. The evening will feature live music by the Manatee High School Orchestra. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Shuttle from King Middle School, 600 75th St. NW., start at 6 p.m. and run until 9 p.m. Information: 941-792-0458 or nps.gov/deso.
St. Petersburg Holiday of Arts: South Straub Park, 250 Bay Shore Dr. NE., St. Petersburg
The St. Petersburg Art Alliance and the City of St. Petersburg will host its second annual Holiday of the Arts 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 19-20 featuring local, regional and national artists and artisans offering handmade original fine art including paintings, jewelry, glass, ceramics, metalwork, fiber art and woodworking. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 941-487-8061 or stpeteartsalliance.org/localevents.
Annual Horseshoe Cove Golf Cart Parade; along Caruso Road and S.R. 70 E., Bradenton
Bring chairs, the family and your pets to the 17th annual Horseshoe Cove Golf Cart Parade beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22. The parade will be led by Santa and his reindeer and 55 decorated golf carts, traveling down Caruso Road onto SR 70 to Westwinds Manor Mobile Home Park. All carts will be brightly lighted and each will have its own Christmas theme. Information: 941-751-3450.
"Christmas on Main": Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
Snow is coming to Main Street at "Christmas on Main," 6-8 p.m. Dec. 23 featuring a community candlelight service 8-8:30 p.m., games, music, rides, pictures with Santa and Elsa, and snow. Information: 941-907-9243 or visit lakewoodranch.com/mainstreet.
Circus Sarasota Annual Holiday Celebration: Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota
Celebrate the holiday season in circus style watching 115 students from the ages of 8-18 performing traditional circus acts with a modern flair from the Nutcracker to Frozen, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 26, 28-29. Tickets: $20 adults, $15 children. Information: 941-355-9335 or circusarts.org.
New Year's Eve Main Street Live: along Main Street, Bradenton
The Old Main Street Merchants will host a New Year's Eve party 5-10 p.m. Dec. 31 featuring food vendors, shopping, and live music by the classic rock band Big Daddy. The event is free and open to the public. Information: facebook.com/OldMainStreet-MerchantsAssociation.
Annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge: Gulf Drive at Seventh Street South, Bradenton Beach
Clancy's Irish Pub will host the eighth annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge beginning with the plunge at noon Dec. 31 with a post-plunge at Clancy's 6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton, featuring door prizes and live music by The Tropix Trio. All proceeds will benefit the Caring for Children Charities. Information: 941-794-2489.
First Night St. Petersburg: various locations, downtown St. Petersburg
First Night St. Petersburg, a dfamily oriented New Year's Eve Celebrationof the Arts will be 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 31 featuring music, art and entertainment at over 25 venues. There will be ice skating, drum circle, five-minute protraits, giant puppets rsoltuoin fire projects, human foosball and various bands and performers throughout the night. The public can walk from venue to venue and a First Night Trolley will travel along Second Avenue Northeast transporting visitors between the Shuffleboard Club and the waterfront parks. All riders will need to have a First Night Admission button. Cost: $10-$15 adults, $5-$10 children ages 6-12, children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. Information: 727-823-8906 or firstnightstpete.com.