Are you ready for the weekend? Us too.
If you don’t have plans yet, we’re here to help.
Here’s a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa Bay and beyond.
Are we missing a big event? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Fun for everyone
Nautical Flea Market: Ahoy there, treasure seekers: A Cortez tradition returns this weekend, and there will be a hoard of nautical goods up for grabs.
“If you love boats, swoon at the sight of an anchor, taste the salt of the sea in your dreams then this event is for you!” museum staff says. “Searching for deals among the piles of new, used and eclectic maritime treasures has never been so much fun.”
Vendors will deal in used and new fishing supplies, power boat equipment, diving gear, sailing gear, antiques and decor.
It’s also a chance to trade nautical paraphernalia.
Even the music will have a seafaring twist. Folk artist Treble Hook will cast out some laid back tunes starting at 10 a.m.
Parking is available at the F.I.S.H. Preserve east of 119th Street West.
Details: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez.
Lakewood Ranch Boofest: Boofest is a family-friendly Halloween festival on Lakewood Ranch Main Street.
Kids can dress up, trick-or-treat and participate in a costume show and face-painting, and there’s spooky balloon art to see, live dancing and performance art to watch and plenty of spooky tunes.
Grab VIP tickets for access to the USF Culinary Lab on Main, where you can enjoy food, beer, wine, spooky punch and extra kid’s fun; they’re $50 for adults and $10 for kids.
Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday. 8100 Lakewood Main St., Bradenton. Free.
Pumpkin Patch Express: The Florida Railroad Museum invites you on a festive locomotive adventure on the last weekend of October. The objective: Pick out the perfect pumpkin.
The Pumpkin Patch Express experience includes a hay ride, Lincoln log building, crafts and kid’s activities. The highlight is a trip by rail to a pumpkin patch, where each child can pick a special gourd to take home.
From there, it’s up to you to turn that pumpkin into the best jack-o-lantern on the block.
Details: Trains depart at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish. $14.50-$32.50.
Info: 941-776-0906. frrm.org.
Last weekend of pumpkin fests: Fruitville Grove Farm Market’s 31st annual Pumpkin Festival features a free petting zoo, playground, live music, decorated photo spots and pie-eating and costume contests. Parking and admission also are free.
Activities in the $1-$10 range include pony rides, carriage rides, a wildflower maze, a kids fun zone and pumpkin painting.
Food trucks and food vendors will be on site every day of the festival.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Fruitville Grove, 7410 Fruitville Road, Sarasota.
▪ Hunsader’s 28th annual Pumpkin Festival offers crafts, live music, hayrides, pumpkin games, a corn maze, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo, train rides and more family-friendly activities.
There’s also a bounty of food and desserts to try, such as homemade ice cream and pumpkin pie.
Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hunsader Farms, 5500 County Road 675, Bradenton. Admission: $10. Children 10 and under: Free. Parking: $5.
Puppy parade at Bradenton Farmers’ Market: On Saturday, the Bradenton Farmers’ Market will host one of its most popular events of the year: the Howl’ween pet parade for pups in costume.
Registration starts at 10 a.m. and the parade begins at 10:30 a.m. A minimum donation of $5 is suggested to enter; proceeds benefit Friends of Manatee County Animal Services and local animals in need.
Awards will be given for best overall costume, best dog/owner costume combo and more categories to be announced.
While at the market, stroll Old Main Street, stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, shop for crafts, listen to local live music, check out cooking demonstrations and more.
Details: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. 400 12th St. W., Bradenton. $5 to enter; free to watch.
Fine art fair: Crafters and artisans from around the county will congregate at The Mall at University Town Center this Saturday and Sunday for the second annual Fine Art Fair.
“Stroll amidst life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewels, photography, ceramics, a separate craft festival and much more,” organizers say.
Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota. Free admission.
Haunted trails: Are you brave enough to face what lurks in the deep, dark woods?
Find out at Friends of Oscar Scherer State Park’s “Haunted Trails,” which returns for its seventh scary outing this year.
The event includes fun activities and a trick-or-treat trail for children and a scary trail and haunted house for older adventurers.
Local food vendors will be on site to keep your belly from moaning.
Canned goods will be collected for an All Faiths Food Bank canned food drive.
Tickets for this event are advanced purchase only, and they go fast, so don’t miss out.
Details: 7:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 1843 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey. Adults: $10. Children 6-12: $5.
SCF scares: A petrifying pair of annual Halloween events organized by State College of Florida students returns this year.
▪ Haunted holidays: It seems that Halloween isn’t the only holiday with scare-power. In “Seasons of Fright” at SCF Venice, the fictional stars of other holidays (think the Easter Bunny and Cupid) will get a nightmarish makeover.
The haunted house is produced by the college’s Pop Culture Club. Each year, a percentage of the proceeds benefit Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, a Sarasota non-profit.
Details: 7-10 p.m. Thursday and 7-11 p.m. Friday. SCF Venice Lakeside Pavilion, 8000 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, $3; cash only.
▪ “Haunted House of Hoops:” State College of Florida’s men’s basketball program is hosting some Halloween fun at SCF’s Manatee-Sarasota campus on Thursday.
Haunted House of Hoops features a costume contest, games and a “trunk or treat.” See the team’s talent in action during a dunking contest and three-point shootout.
A haunted hallway will materialize in the gymnasium.
This free event is recommended for ages 6 to 14.
Details: 6 p.m. Thursday. Hal Chasey Gymnasium at SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W., Bradenton. Free.
Halloween shindig at Council’s: Council’s Burgers, Beer & Billiards in downtown Bradenton will host a night of pre-Halloween festivities on Friday night featuring music by experimental rockers Too Loud! and a display of local art.
So throw on a costume and head for the place where beer, burgers and good times are in abundance.
Details: 7-9 p.m. Friday. Council’s Burgers Beer & Billiards, 536 12th St. W., Bradenton. $5 cover. Cash only.
Authentic Oktoberfest: Lucky Frog Restaurant is a favorite local spot for good food — good German food, to be specific.
Lucky Frog’s Oktoberfest celebration will include authentic cuisine, traditional Oktoberfest games and live German folk music by local duo Petra and Teresa.
Menu offerings include dishes with spaetzle (German egg noodles), potato pancakes, bratwurst, frankfurter, schnitzel, goulash and more. Don’t forget an apple strudel or piece of black forest cake for dessert.
Details: 5-8 p.m. Saturday. Lucky Frog Restaurant, 4625 Cortez Road W., Bradenton.
Boo Bash at Joyland: Joyland Country Music Night Club will celebrate Halloween in a big way this Saturday.
$3000 in cash prizes are up for grabs in a costume contest hosted by 92.1 CTQ country radio host Maverick.
A DJ will sling live music, and The Voodoo Cowboyz will also perform.
Details: 7 p.m. Saturday-2 a.m. Sunday. Joyland Country Music Night Club, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton. $10 advance. $15 door.
Night market and food truck rally: Motorworks Brewing’s monthly beer garden bazaar features lots of local vendors showcasing their wares under the old oak tree.
Explore local arts and crafts, sip a beer, grab a bite from some of the area’s finest food trucks, and listen to live music.
The event is family friendly, pet friendly and free.
Twinkle Yochim & Rock Soul Radio will perform from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Details: 6-10 p.m. Friday. Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Free.
NEW IN TOWN — Jersey pizza on the beach: Local New Jersey-style pizza maker Solorzano’s Pizzeria has expanded into Manatee County with a new, fourth location on Longboat Key.
Pizza-making goes back generations in Philip Solorzano’s family, and he says they have perfected their methods.
The menu offers pizza by the pie or the slice as well as salads, starters, calzones, wings and subs.
Solorzano’s Pizzeria is at 5610 Gulf of Mexico Dr. # 4 in Longboat Key.
DRINK THIS — Beer built for a Florida fall: We’re more than a month into the season formerly known as fall — but it seems that summer days are here to stay. Luckily, there’s a beer for that.
Darwin Brewing Company’s Summadayze IPA is a staple creation that helped put the beermaker on the map.
The India Pale Ale is made with a blend of Nugget, Cascade, Columbus and Zeus hops for a tropical burst of flavor that’s downright refreshing in Florida weather.
Find it on tap at the brewery and on store shelves.
Darwin Brewing Company is at 803 17th Ave. W. in Bradenton.
DON’T FORGET DESSERT — Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate: Every day is a good day for a bite of chocolate. Or two. Or five.
Richey’s Chocolates has been a sugary haven for generations of Bradenton locals, and you won’t find fresher sweets anywhere in town.
The confectionery offers many classic chocolates year round, and seasonal creations are a good reason to stop in and see what’s new.
Richey’s Chocolates is at 4710 Manatee Ave. W. in Bradenton.
Live music highlights
Dr. Dave Band at Caddy’s at the Pointe: Dr. Dave and band play a high-energy blend of music that they describe as country-grass-rock.
Details: 6-10 p.m. Friday. Caddy’s at the Pointe, 801 Riverside Dr. E., Bradenton. No cover. Info: caddysatthepointe.com.
Raw Vinyl at Peggy’s Corral
Raw Vinyl is a Bradenton band that brings dance rock and blues to the table.
Details: 7 p.m. Friday. Peggy’s Corral, 4511 U.S. 41, Palmetto. No cover.
Slam Allen at Blue Rooster: Slam Allen is an acclaimed blues musician who takes his soulful performances on the road.
Details: 8-11 p.m. Saturday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. $12-$15.