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
South Gate Fest: A block party will bring food, live music, vendors and lots of family-friendly fun to Sarasota’s South Gate community on Saturday.
Live entertainment will be provided by BABYL, a local act led by singer-songwriter and pianist Benjamin Jacobs, followed by Shevonne & The Force, a Tampa Bay-area band playing pop, reggae, rock, R&B and funk and fronted by a former “American Idol” contestant.
Rescue animals, emergency vehicles and kids activities, including a bubble station, a chalk station and face painting, will be on site.
The event is free, but plan on bringing $5 for parking.
Details: 5-10 p.m. Saturday. South Gate Community Association, 3145 Southgate Circle, Sarasota. Free.
ArtCenter Manatee Chef’s Challenge: A night of culinary creation will benefit ArtCenter Manatee’s educational programs for children.
Local chefs will compete to prepare the best appetizers and desserts as judged by the dinner guests. Works of art will be created live and raffled off at the end of the night.
Details: 6-10 p.m. Saturday. ArtCenter Manatee, 209 9th St. W., Bradenton. $100 per guest.
Sarasota Orchestra season opener: The Sarasota Orchestra will open its 2019-2020 season with a throwback to Beethoven and Rossini.
Guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger, whose experience includes conducting the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will lead the night’s music. A performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 by renowned 25-year-old soloist Drew Petersen is also included in the program.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. $27 and up.
Good Liquid birthday bash: In honor of head brewer and owner Mike Krail’s birthday, Good Liquid Brewing Company is hosting a libation celebration on Saturday.
The event will feature rotating taps of more than 30 styles of sour ale as well as the brewery’s core lineup of beers.
Details: 1-10 p.m. Saturday. Good Liquid Brewing Company, 4824 14th St. W., Bradenton. Free.
At the theater
Letters from Anne and Martin: This one-night-only special performance will feature the inspirational words and thoughts of two of history’s great forces for peace and unity: Anne Frank and Martin Luther King Jr.
“To this day, Anne and Martin’s words still resonate as a testament to how one voice can carry on the voice of millions that have been silenced,” Manatee Performing Arts Center says.
Details: 7 p.m. Thursday. Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $20-$35.
Info: 941-748-5875. manateeperformingartscenter.com.
Steel Magnolias: The Island Players 2019-2020 season opens with a classic play full of comedy, drama and perseverance through tragedy.
“ ’Steel Magnolias’ is set entirely in a beauty salon in a small town in Louisiana where women gather to laugh, gossip, cry and offer friendship and understanding to each other,” the Island Players says. “The group’s strength and love is a tribute to friendship and the power of the human spirit as the women support each other through good times and bad.”
Details: Through Sunday. The Island Players Theater, 10009 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria. $23.
Info: 941-778-5755. theislandplayers.org.
NEST nature days: Every Saturday, The NEST (that’s Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology) center at Robinson Preserve is opened to visitors.
There, park staff invite you to “walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world, explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panorama views and make an exciting exit from the building via slide.”
And after you’re done at The NEST, there’s a lot more nature to explore within the preserve.
Details: 8-11 a.m. Saturday. Robinson Preserve, 10299 Ninth Ave. NW., Bradenton. Free.
Info: 941-742-5923 ext. 6039. mymanatee.org.
Mary Poppins on the big screen: Magical musical “Mary Poppins” will appear on the big screen for an afternoon of family-friendly, sing-along fun at the Tampa Theatre on Sunday.
Opened in 1926, the movie palace’s historic (and lavish) architecture and starry night sky ceiling make it a Florida landmark that’s worth a visit.
The enchanting backdrop is sure to make the experience unforgettable — or, as Mary would put it, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Details: 2 p.m. Sunday. Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St., Tampa. $13.
The biggest bounce house of all: Just a hop, skip and a bounce from Bradenton is the newly opened Jumpin Fun Inflata Park, which has laid claim to being the largest inflatable adventure park in the U.S.
Inside the 15,000 space, visitors will find a host of active attractions including bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, a Ninja course, a slide and a zip rail coaster.
Details: Open Tuesday-Sunday. Jumpin Fun Inflata Park, 7321 Trade Court, Sarasota. $18.95-$28.95 per session. Passes available.
NEW IN TOWN — Never too much barbecue: Several new barbecue joints have set up shop in the Bradenton area in the last few months, and we’re not complaining.
Among the newcomers: Nancy’s Bar-B-Q added a new, larger Lakewood Ranch restaurant at 14475 State Road 70 E. in addition to a grab-n-go on Lakewood Ranch Main Street and a Sarasota restaurant.
Nancy’s specializes in the North Carolina barbecue style that centers on vinegar-based sauce. Vittles include sandwiches, plates and salads.
Nancy’s Bar-B-Q is at 14475 State Road 70 E. in Lakewood Ranch.
DRINK THIS — Pumpkin brew at Big Top: Big Top Brewing Company in Sarasota gets theatrical with its beer origin stories.
Take for instance “Pumpkin Stiltskin,” the brewery’s yearly autumnal offering that’s now back on tap and available to-go in four-packs.
“Every year Pumpkin Stiltskin rises from the fields and sacrifices his kins to provide the flavors of baked pumpkin, cinnamon, and brown sugar to all those that are willing,” the brewery says. “Others may try, but non succeed better at capturing the flavor of fresh made pumpkin pie, just like grandma’s.”
We think you’ll say “good gourd” after a sip of this 8.9% ABV pumpkin ale.
Big Top Brewing is at 6111 Porter Way in Sarasota.
DON’T FORGET DESSERT — Seasonal sweets: Mini doughnut and home decor shop The Farm House offers a delicious lineup of doughnut varieties year round. Autumn gets special treatment, though.
A delicious parade of seasonal specialties like pumpkin pie, salted caramel and maple cinnamon sugar doughnuts make it taste like fall, even when it doesn’t feel like it outside.
The Farm House menu also offers doughnut ice cream sandwiches, and, on a more savory note, chicken wings and flavor-packed sauces.
The Farm House is at 902 Manatee Ave. E. in Bradenton. A second local store recently opened at 4001 Clark Road in Sarasota.
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Live music highlights
Stonegrey at Motorworks Brewing: Taking cues from Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more, Stonegrey emulates the best of rock and grunge for an unmistakable sound on covers and originals.
Details: 7-11 p.m. Friday. Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. No cover.
Justin Lee Partin at Joyland Country Music Night Club: Joyland is a great place to catch local and national country acts in Bradenton — and get in some line dancing.
This week, Gainesville-based country artist Justin Lee Partin will perform on Friday and Saturday night.
Details: 9:30 p.m. Friday-2 a.m. Saturday. Joyland Country Music Night Club, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton. $5-$7.
Smokey Daniels Band at Peggy’s Corral: The Smokey Daniels Band plays a high-energy blend of country, rock, blues, oldies and doo-wop.
Details: 8 p.m. Friday. Peggy’s Corral, 4511 U.S. 41, Palmetto. No cover.
Twinkle Yochim & Rock Soul Radio at Blue Rooster: Warner Bros. recording artist Twinkle Yochim and band play blues rock laden with soulful vocals.
Details: 8-11 p.m. Saturday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. $10.
Bedlam Band at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille:The Bedlam Band plays upbeat rock music that’s perfect for dancing.
Details: 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille, Downtown Bradenton, 101 Riverwalk Blvd., Bradenton. No cover.