There’s so much to do in Manatee! Here’s 12 fun things
Holiday boat parades
Yard decorations are nice and all, but you haven’t experienced the holidays in true Florida fashion until you’ve seen a boat parade.
There are two great options to consider in the area this Saturday.
The Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade keeps the holiday spirit afloat with a waterfront display that winds its way from Snead Island, past Palmetto, beside the Green Bridge and ends up on the Bradenton side of the river.
The parade can be seen from Snead Island (around 6:30 p.m.), parts of Riverside Drive in Palmetto (around 8:15 p.m.), the Green Bridge Fishing Pier and sidewalk areas (around 8:30 p.m.) and the Riverwalk Gateway at Bacarrota Avenue and First Avenue West (around 8:45 p.m.).
Alternatively, grab a reservation at Riverhouse Reef & Grill or Pier 22 Restaurant for a more exclusive view.
Details: Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the Manatee River. Free.
Info: 941-721-3800. facebook.com/HolidayBoatParade.
The Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights features large vessels decked out in their holiday finest. Stake out a spot at Bayfront Park, City Island, Centennial Park or Marina Jack Restaurant and enjoy the show.
Details: 6 p.m. Saturday on Sarasota Bay. Free.
The Life of Moses Levy
A new exhibit and series of lectures at The Al Katz Center in Bradenton will explore the life and times of Moses Elias Levy.
Levy fought for the rights and safety of persecuted Jews and promoted the abolition of slavery decades before the Civil War took place, and in 1822 built a working community for refugees deep in the Florida wilderness.
Lectures are scheduled for Dec. 9, Dec. 16, Dec. 25 and Dec. 30. The exhibit is open to the public during events and by appointment during the months of December and January.
Details: Lecture one, “The Life of Moses Levy” is at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Al Katz Center for Holocaust Survivors & Jewish Learning, 5710 Cortez Road W., Bradenton. $10.
The Pops Orchestra of Bradenton and Sarasota is welcoming the holidays with some humor.
Rich Ridenour’s act, “Hi, I’m Rich,” combines piano and comedy. Also performing is local singer Lauren Nielsen, the second runner-up in the 2018 Ms. Florida pageant. The show will feature many holiday favorites.
Details: 3 p.m. Sunday at Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota. 7:30 p.m. Monday at Neel Performing Arts Center, 5820 26th St. W., Bradenton. $20-$30. $5 for students with valid ID.
Info: 941-926-7677. thepopsorchestra.org.
December Art Walk
The theme for December’s Art Walk in Village of the Arts is “A Village Wonderland.”
If you’re on the hunt for something unique or unusual for those on your shopping list this year, the Village of the Arts is a great place to look. The neighborhood’s galleries offer local, handcrafted art and objects of all sorts.
The December event will feature holiday lights and decorations, live music, strolling entertainment and treats.
East West Health Center will host a drum circle during the event starting at 6:30 p.m., and CopaMoca will host an acoustic jam session starting at 7 p.m.
Details: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Village of the Arts Free.
Vintage flea market
The Vintage Flea Market at Ginny’s & Jane E’s Coastal Store is a chance to peruse curious goods of all kinds, including art, decor, jewelery and antiques.
Details: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Ginny’s & Jane E’s Coastal Store and Cafe, 9806 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria. Free.
“The Fence” is the largest public photo exhibition in North America, and it stops in eight city parks every year.
Lucky for us, Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota is one of them this time around.
The open air gallery features compelling photography from photographers of all skill levels. Photos are grouped so as to tell stories and illustrate thematic messages.
“This is a great opportunity for our area to see some of the world’s best photography,” said Stephen Rodriguez, president of Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, which manages Nathan Benderson Park. “We’re proud to be one of the eight host venues.”
Details: Through Jan. 31. Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Free.