Here’s a roundup of some of the area’s best and most popular holiday events.
Holidays on the Green at University Town Center, through Jan. 15
The highlight of this new event is an outdoor skating rink. It’s under a tent at University Town Center, 192 N. Cattlemen Road, and unless the temperature gets above 78 degrees, the tent’s flaps will be open, so you can actually skate sort-of-outdoors. Hours are 4-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. $10 gets you skates and 90 minutes of ice time, but the festival itself is free and full of activities, including a holiday movie screening at 7 p.m. every Saturday. mallatutc.com/holidayvillage.
Hunsader Farms Country Christmas, 6-10 p.m. Dec. 21-23
The family-friendly holiday event includes hayrides, kiddie train rides, more than 250,000 holiday lights, petting zoo, live music and Christmas movies on an outdoor screen. There will be food vendors, pony rides, a produce market, antique store and more. $10 admission, kids age 5 and younger free. Free parking. 5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton. 941-322-2168, www.hunsaderfarms.com.
Christmas with Santa, 11 a.m. Dec. 21-23
Come join Santa and his Christmas Fairy at the Crosley Mansion in Sarasota. Start at the hot cocoa bar with all the Christmas trimmings while the children decorate Christmas cookies and play reindeer games with the elves. Santa makes a special visit to read Christmas fables to kids and adults alike. Then join the Christmas Fairy for a delicious holiday lunch set inside Santa’s palace. Each child will receive a special gift from the Fairies. Doors open at 11 a.m., lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. Santa arrives at 11:45 a.m. All-inclusive events and lunch included in ticket price. $32 adults, $17 for children ages 3-12. Pre-paid reservations required. Seating is limited. Tickets at www.crosleysupperclub.com; or call 941-312-0000.
Downtown Sarasota Pineapple Drop, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 31
Perhaps the longest event of the holiday season hereabouts gets going in the early afternoon, with a family-friendly festival of live music, vendors, rides and children’s entertainment, and keeps going until the pineapple drops at midnight to herald the beginning of 2018. Free. sarasotanewyearsparty.com.
Main Street Live, 5 p.m. Dec. 31
Have Gun, Will Travel is a Bradenton folk-rock band that has ardent followers around the country. They’ll entertain the hometown crowd at the New Year’s Eve street party along Old Main Street. They’ll play late in the evening, and a band called the Beat Down will start at 6 p.m., and the bars and restaurants along Old Main Street will be opens for business. Free. facebook.com/independentjones.
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