Even More Holiday Activities
The Bradenton/Sarasota area features so many seasonal holiday activities; we had to create another post! So many of these events are free and take place outside in the upcoming weeks. Take your pick from festivals, snowy events, parades, and boat parades! Here are some more highlights!
Ice Skate on REAL ICE at the University Town Center Mall! It’s under the big tent! The tent’s flaps will be open unless the temperature gets above 78 degrees, so you can actually skate outdoors.
Hours are 4-10 pm Monday-Friday; 10 am-10 pm Saturday and noon-8 pm 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 every Saturday at 7 pm. This event takes place now through Jan. 15.
This Friday December 1st, the 39th annual festival starts with a Christmas carol sing-along, followed by Santa’s arrival and a tree-lighting ceremony. Photos with Santa are available throughout the evening from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. A live nativity scene will be at St. Armands Key Lutheran Church.
This is the place to be if you’re looking to see some snow! Activities include sledding on a snow slide, kids’ crafts, reindeer games, face painting, and an animal petting corral. Enjoy creatively decorated buildings, an “Honor Tree” at the Military Museum, recipes to collect in each building, and contests for prizes. Santa Claus arrives in style at 4 pm! Bring your own camera for a photo with Santa. Children of all ages can also write a letter to Santa and if you mail it in our 1880 Heritage Station Post Office, Santa will write back!
Food will be sold by wide variety of local vendors. Delicious treats sold in the Sweet Shop support our park’s family programming! Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be raising funds for childhood cancer research. Saturday December 2, from 3-8 pm.
Join thousands of spectators along Main Street in downtown Sarasota. The parade route is from 301/Washington Blvd to Gulfstream Ave. The parade celebrates Sarasota’s Circus Heritage! High school marching bands, area churches and nonprofits, local businesses…and of course the big finale – the arrival of Santa Claus. Make this a beloved kick-off of the holiday season. Saturday 12/2 7-9 pm.
Hunsader Farms Country Christmas
This family friendly holiday event includes hayrides, kiddie train rides, more than 250,000 holiday lights, petting zoo, live music, Christmas movies on outdoor screen. There will be food vendors, pony rides, produce market, antique store and more. $10 admission, kids age 5 and younger free.
6-10 pm: 12/5-12/9, 12/15-12/16, and 12/20-12/23
Holidays around the Ranch
December 8th and 9th from 10 am-4 pm. Santa Claus makes a spectacular entrance on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch in a horse-drawn carriage. Local dance and music studios perform. For the kids, there’s outdoor “ice” skating, cookie decorating, ornament making, holiday street vendors and more.
Ellenton Ices Annual Holiday Show is on December 9th featuring Deanna Stellato & Nate Bartholomay (2014 Olympian), Team USA Members Jessica Pfund & Josh Santillian along with all our National Team Skaters and our stars of tomorrow. Tickets on sale now!!! Email Shannon Raley at Shannon@ellentonice.com or call the rink at 941-723-3663.
This event features many spectacularly decorated boats sailing by. For the landlubber, there’s great viewing from downtown Sarasota’s Bayfront Park, City Island or Centennial Park. Saturday 12/9 at 6 pm.