Holiday fun is in full swing with a boatload of Christmas delights in the offing.
One of this weekend's biggest attractions will be the Winter Wonderland and Holiday Boat Parade. The event will kick off with the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk at 5 p.m. Friday.
The holiday extravaganza goes full force with Winter Wonderland festivities on Old Main Street from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
There will be three mountains of snow, special performances, free hay rides, face painting and food vendors on site. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance.
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The hugely popular Boat Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at the mouth of the Manatee River, then it will make its way to the downtown river front between 8 and 8:30 p.m.
Don't forget to check out the light displays along the Riverwalk. All the events are free.
-- Herald staff report
Village of the Arts "An Olde Fashioned Christmas": Village of the Arts, between Ninth and 14th streets west, Bradenton
The Village of the Arts will host "An Olde Fashioned Village Christmas," 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 8. Stroll through this quaint village festooned with holiday lights to the sounds of Christmas Carolers and the Barber Shop Quartet and enjoy a visit with Santa and special holiday treats and sugar plums and a Christmas Tea Room at restaurants throughout the village. Special displays of antique quilts, toys, dolls and vintage holiday fashions by Retro Rosie and the latest one-of-a-kind creations by local village artists. The 12th annual lighting of the village will be at 6 p.m. Information: 941-746-4556 or visit www.villageofthearts.com.
Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade: various locations, Sarasota
The 26th Annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 8. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park. The parade route has been expanded by an additional turn marker at the southwest side of Bayfront Park. All boats must now pass approximately one third of the Sarasota Bay side of Bayfront Park within a few yards, to be considered for judging. The Bayfront Park spectator viewing area has been expanded to include the entire Northern tip of the island near the fountain. A VIP viewing areas has been moved to the Marina Jack's fuel dock. Information: www.suncoastcharitiesforchildren.org.
VIP Holiday Boat Parade Party: Pier 22, 1200 First Ave. W., Bradenton
Pier 22 will host the VIP Holiday Boat Parade Party 6 p.m. Dec. 8 featuring a Champaign toast, holiday buffet dinner and VIP seating to view the Holiday Boat Parade on the Manatee River. Cost: $49.95. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Information: 941-748-8087.
Breakfast with Santa: Renaissance on 9th, 1816 Ninth St. W., Bradenton
Treat your children, grandchildren and friends for the holidays and enjoy a full breakfast with special Christmas pancakes for the little ones, caroling and time for each child to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus, 8:30-10:30 a.m. Dec. 8. Each child will receive a free Christmas book from Santa. Tickets: $15 adults, $10 children. Information: 941-757-2900, ext. 204.
Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade and Santa Open House: various locations
The Anna Maria Island Privateers will hold its annual Christmas Parade Dec. 8, followed by a Santa Open House at Coquina Beach where Santa will be handing out gifts to the youngsters. The parade, featuring multiple decorated floats, leaves the Bay Front Park in Anna Maria City at 10 a.m. and will proceed through three island cities, ending at Coquina Beach. There will be free hot dogs and sodas for children. Information: 941-752-5973 or visit www.amiprivateers.org.
Atomic Holiday Bazaar: Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Florida's original indie arts and craft show "Atomic Holiday Bazaar" will be 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9 featuring vintage apparel, jewelry, housewares, clothing, antique assemblage, vinyl and other items. Tickets: $5 adults; free for children age 12 and younger. Information: 941-366-7761.
Anna Maria Island Art League "Winterfest 2012": Holmes Beach City Hall Field, 5801 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach
Browse and purchase original artwork created by the highly regarded local, regional and national artists selected to participate in Winterfest 2012, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 8-9. In addition, the festival features live music by the Anna Maria String Band, KoKo Ray, the Gumbo Boogie Band, State Road 64, The Hurricanes, The Anderson Brothers and The Bontrager Sisters. Also featured will be the annual AMIAL's "Young at Art" children's art exhibit and hands-on activity area. A selection of food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-778-2099.
"Plantation Christmas" Open House: Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, 3708 Patten Ave., Ellenton
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida Division, the Gamble Plantation Preservation Alliance and the Florida Park Service will host a "Plantation Christmas" Open House 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9 featuring many lifestyle demonstrations from the Old South of that time period, lavishly decorated Gamble Mansion and Patten House, authentic costumes, the Fourth Florida Volunteer Infantry in military uniforms re-enacting a Confederate encampment, music, crafts and fun for everyone. Admission is free. Information: 941-723-4536.
Holiday Classics Movie Series: Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa
The Tampa Theatre will deck its historic halls with a month long celebration of holiday films that highlight the season and include the following: "White Christmas, 3 p.m. Dec. 9, "Miracle on 34th Street, 3 p.m. Dec. 16, "It's A Wonderful Life," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, and 3 p.m. Dec. 23. Guest can experience beloved holiday favorites on the big screen and sing along to Christmas carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer before each show. Tickets: $9 adults, $7 children, seniors, military and Tampa Theatre members. A special presentation "A Rockapella Holiday," featuring the "kings of contemporary a capella music," will be 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20; Tickets: $35 adults, $26 children. Information: 813-274-8981 or visit www.tampatheatre.org.
"Holiday Splendor": The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art hosts its annual Holiday Splendor benefitting the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots of Sarasota and Manatee Counties drive 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 13 featuring hundreds of local school children perform holiday classics in the festive looking Museum of Art Courtyard. Admission: free with a donation, per person, of an unwrapped toy and to children ages 5 and younger. Admission without a toy is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-17. Information: 941-359-5700, ext. 5705 or visit www.ringling.org.
"Snow Fest Sarasota": Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Celebrate the season with "Snow Fest Sarasota" 5-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday Dec. 14-23 with forecasted snow for 10 scheduled days and experience tubing, giant snow slides, bounce houses, caroling, ice skating, Christmas trees, Christmas shows with "Santa's Extravaganza" on stage daily, 20 ft. snow globe and DJ Grinch, meet Rudolph and Frosty, and enjoy the Jellybean Jugglers, face painting, hands on arts and crafts, Santa's Circus, pony rides and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Proceeds of the event will benefit the Lazarus Foundation Kids Force. Admission is free. Parking $5. Information: 941-365-0818 or visit www.snowfestsarasota.com.
DeSoto National Memorial Fourth Annual Winter Luminary Walk: 8300 DeSoto Memorial Hwy., Bradenton
DeSoto National Memorial will light its trails with thousands of luminaries 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Fourth Annual Winter Luminary Walk. The event will feature live music by Juan R. Leon, Amberly Waterman, the Manatee High School Chamber Orchestra, State Road 64, Bluegrass and more. Visitors will encounter historical re-enactors along the trail. A free shuttle service will be offered to and from the event from King Middle School. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. All events and activities are free. Information: 941-792-0458 or visit www.nps.gov/deso.
"A 1912 Florida Cracker Christmas": Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton
Celebrate 100 years of Christmas tradition in Florida 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 15 at "A 1912 Florida Cracker Christmas" featuring traditional colors and Victorian-Era decorated museum, historic buildings, Whistle Stop Gift Shop and "Old Cabbage Head." Visitors can enjoy heritage shopping, hands-on crafts, rare and enchanting vintage silent films and seasonal music by the Manatee Players' Dickens Christmas Carolers, Southeast High School Chamber Orchestra, Bashaw Elementary School Chorus, and Peace Lutheran School Junior Chimes. Santa's "Rein-dogs" will visit the park and there will be photo opportunities with Santa. Admission: $5 adults, children ages 12 and younger are admitted free. Information: 941-741-4075.
Christmas on Bridge Street: Bridge Street, Anna Maria
Bridge Street will be changed from its normal tropical paradise into a winter wonderland 3-7 p.m. Dec. 15. The event will feature a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday music and performances, special sales in all shops, holiday treats, gift basket and wreath giveaways, a lighted boat parade and a Children's Gift Bazaar where children make and sell handmade cookies and holiday items. Information: 941-713-3105.
Selby Gardens' Annual "Lights in Bloom": Mary Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Get in the holiday spirit at Selby Gardens' annual Lights in Bloom celebration 6-9 p.m. Dec. 15-23. Stroll through the Gardens and view life-size garden-themed holiday lights and enjoy live holiday music and dance performances under the banyans. Visit Kids' Corner for holiday crafts for children of all ages to enjoy. Dinner and beverages are available for purchase. Admission: $13 members, $15 nonmembers, children ages 11 and younger are admitted free. Information: 941-366-5731 or visit www.selby.org.
Santa's Magical Workshop Grand Opening: 1703 Palma Sola Blvd., Bradenton
Golf Shore Animal League announces Santa Magical Workshop Grand Opening 6-9:30 Dec. 15-16 and 22-23. Stop in for some vintage Christmas spirit and visit with Santa and his working toy shop elves. Enjoy four rooms of unique Christmas fun and walk in the lighted garden. There will be photo opportunities with Santa for children and pets alike. Entry donation: $7 adults, $5 children ages 10 and younger. Proceeds will benefit Gulf Shore Animal League. Information: 941-747-2284 or visit www.gsalinc.org.
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 p.m. Dec. 19. Guest will begin with dinner at the 9th Street Bistro and then depart on an evening bus tour to view spectacular holiday light displays in Bradenton. Cost: $10. Space is limited and reservations are required: 941-749-0100.
"Arthur Christmas": Riverwalk on the Manatee River, Bradenton
Reels at Rossi Movie: "Arthur Christmas," 7 p.m. or dark Dec. 21 in the Pavilion and Event area. For a full schedule of events, hours and admission prices, call 941-840-0113 or visit.
DEC. 7: Sarasota-Manatee Bach Festival "A Baroque Christmas," 8 p.m., Church of the Redeemer, 222 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota; $20 adults, $5 students. Information: 941-955-4263.
DEC. 8: Belle Canto "A Very Merry Holiday Concert," 8 p.m., The Glenridge Performing Arts Center; $10 members, $15 nonmembers, tickets include post-concert reception.
DEC. 9: Musica Sacra Cantorum "A Cathedral Christmas," 3 p.m., St. Boniface Episcopal Church, 5615 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota; $15 advance, $20 at the door. Information: 941-349-5616.
DEC. 9: 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball 2012, 6 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa; $23-$159.
DEC. 12: Gloria Musicae: Sarasota Music Archive Chamber Concert "Holiday Choral Magic," 10:30 a.m., Selby Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota; no charge. Information: 941-861-1168.
DEC. 12: The Ditchfield Family Singers "Christmas with the Ditchfields," 2 p.m., Manatee Players Theatre; $25 adults, $12 children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-748-5875.
DEC. 15: Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 2 and 8 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa; $32.75-$70.75.
DEC. 16: Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra "Island Holiday," 2 p.m., Cross Pointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach; $20. Information: 941-778-8585.
DEC. 16: 21st Annual Christmas Concert and Community Carol Sing "A Festive Season of Joy," 7 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; free will donation.
DEC. 18: Gloria Musicae's "Celebrating the Season," 7:30 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota; $35 adults, $15 students. Information: 941-360-7399.
DEC. 21: Wynonna Judd "Wynonna's Rockin' Christmas," 8 p.m. The Mahaffey; $39-$69.
DEC. 22: Wynonna's Rockin' Christmas, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; $30 and up.
DEC. 28: Midtown Men, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; $10 and up.
JAN. 1: Salute to Vienna, 8 p.m., Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; $30 and up.
Manatee High School: Davis Centre for the Performing Arts, 902 33rd St. Ct. W., Bradenton
Dance Theatre of Bradenton: "The Nutcracker," 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9; $15 and up. Information: 855-222-2849.
Manatee Players: Riverfront Theatre, 102 Old Main St.
"Forever Plaid; Plaid Tidings," 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 23; $13-$26. Information: 941-748-5875.
Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave.
School of Russian Ballet "The Nutcracker," 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 9; $15-$32. 941-359-0099, ext. 101.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall: 777 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota Ballet's "The Nutcracker," 8 p.m. Dec. 14, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 15; $10-$90. 941-359-0099, ext. 101.
PLATO: Ramada Waterfront Hotel, 7150 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
PLATO ByKids4Kids: "The 12 Days of Christmas," 7 p.m. Dec. 11-12 and 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 15; $10 adults, $8 children. PLATO Platinum Players: "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," 2 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 16; $15. Information: 941-363-1727 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Progress Energy's Mahaffey Theater: 400 First St. S.
Moscow Ballet "Great Russian Nutcracker," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28; $32.50-$190. State Ballet of Russia "Cinderella," 3 p.m. Jan. 6; $27.50-$57.50. "Scattered," 7 p.m. Jan. 27; $25-$45. Information: 727-893-7832.