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Longboat Key Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 6 months ago

Get those calendars ready

Longboaters won't want to miss these 2020 events.
by: Nat Kaemmerer Staff Writer

We’ve entered a new decade. “2020” still sounds weird to say. But we’ve got just the thing to take your mind off all the predictions for the new decade, Roaring '20s comparisons and daunting new decade resolutions. 

Start marking your calendars for the best social and festive events to come on Longboat and St. Armands keys. The communities really know how to throw a party, and what we’ve gathered is a fraction of the social events going on all year long. However, these are the ones you won’t want to miss. We’ll see you there. 

Here for the Holidays

If you’re here year-round or seasonally, there are festive events in every season of the year. Longboat Key knows how to celebrate big. We’ve rounded up a couple can’t-miss classics and perhaps some future traditions. 

Freedom Fest

Start staking out your spot on Bay Isles Road for one of the most iconic and patriotic events on Longboat Key. The town’s “Shortest Parade Ever” kicks off the fest with the Hot Diggity Dog costume contest for the canine crew before heading to Bicentennial Park for food, games and a butterfly release. 

Irina LaRose and Steve Howard at the 2019 Freedom Fest.

When: July 4

Where: Bicentennial Park

Fright Night on St. Armands

Don a costume or reserve an outdoor table at one of St. Armands’ many restaurants and watch the hundreds of spooks and haunts take over the Circle. Shuffle along like a zombie in the packed crowd and gather as much candy as possible, or sit back and enjoy the costumed creatures creeping about. 

When: 6 p.m. on Oct. 31

Where: St. Armands Circle

Interfaith Thanksgiving service

The religious organizations of Longboat Key have been gathering for this service for years, congregating their congregations at one of the island’s churches. It’s a peaceful time for reflection and unity in the community. 

When: The week of Thanksgiving, often Tuesday

Where: TBA 

Second annual Light Up Longboat

There’s not yet a guarantee that this is happening, but the reminders for the first event all said “First annual,” and it seemed to go pretty well at its recent inaugural occurrence. Local organizations, including the event’s sponsor, the Chamber of Commerce, came together to celebrate the holiday season with live music, lights and general festivities. Look for this de-light-ful event again in 2020. 

When: TBA, but the 2019 version was on Nov. 30. 

Where: Town Center Green, 555 Bay Isles Parkway

Kids take in the tree at the first Light Up Longboat event in 2019.

Classics of the Key

Outside of the big holidays, there’s plenty to pack your calendar. We’ve got several iconic Longboat Key events to put on your fresh, new 2020 calendar.

Circus Ring of Fame

And for their next feat, they’ll be inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle. Circus greats are annually immortalized on St. Armands. This year’s inductees include Guy Laliberté, The King Charles Troupe, Los Quiros High Wire Artistry and The Carillo Brothers High Wire Duo.

When: 1-3:30 p.m., Jan. 13

Where: St. Armands Circle

Savannah Schield walks the runway at the 2019 Taste of the Keys and Fashion Show.

Taste of the Keys and Fashion Show

Fashion and food. What could be better? This iconic annual event hosted by the Key’s Garden Club always thrills guests with local dishes and stunning fashion. Restaurants from around town dish up delights and drinks are plentiful. Proceeds from the event go to the club's charitable efforts, including their scholarship fund. 

When: 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 

Where: Longboat Key Club Harbourside Dining Room, 3000 Harbourside Drive. 

Temple Beth Israel Gala

The Temple on Longboat Key celebrates 41 years in 2020 and wants to celebrate with you, too. This gala serves as a look back at what the Temple and its members have accomplished, as well as some big-picture dreaming for what’s ahead for the community. Expect a delicious dinner, cocktail hour and entertainment. 

When: Start time TBA on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020


Cost: $175 per person

Royal Rummage Sale

Members of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church start work on this event in July to get ready for the big weekend in March. Expect handmade items like jewelry or artwork along with donated, “rummaged” items like furniture and clothing. Proceeds go to local charities. 

When: Noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, March 6 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 7

Where: St. Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church (4280 GMD)

Cost: $5 for the March 6 early bird sale

Garden Club Home Tour

Sneak a peek inside the glamorous homes of Longboat Key at this classic event, where houses around the Key are decorated in a certain style and painstakingly detailed. 

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 7

Where: Various Longboat Key houses

Cost: $30

Rotary Club Veterans Day

This event has had multiple iterations, including a luncheon and parade, in the past, but we think it really found its stride in 2019 with multiple speakers and a moving celebration of the veterans of Longboat Key at Christ Church. 

When: Veterans Day, Nov. 11

Where: TBA

A mountain of seafood takes center stage at the 2019 Bacchus on the Beach.

Bacchus on the Beach

If you’re wearing shoes at this event, you’re doing it wrong. This food and wine festival takes place on the beach of the Longboat Key Club under a twinkling tent. Prepare for the wine tastings from various wineries, the delicacies prepared by local restaurants and of course, the centerpiece: An enormous pile of fresh stone crab resting on ice and waiting to be devoured. 

Time, date, place and cost to be announced. 

Phyllis Black sells raffle tickets at the 2019 Lawn Party.

Kiwanis Lawn Party

We’re still reeling from the most recent Lawn Party, which was just on Dec. 7, but we’re also waiting with bated breath to learn the next date for the islandwide bash. Hundreds turn out to eat and drink delicious local goodies for a good cause, which was All-Star Children Foundation this year. 

Time, date, place and cost TBA. 

Something New

Savor the Sounds Concert Series

OK, so this isn’t totally new. It’s a revamp of the old event of the same name that was hosted by the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce. This rendition is also hosted by the Chamber, but whereas the past events were held at Bayfront Park, Savor the Sounds will take advantage of the newly minted Town Center Green. Four concerts are planned in 2020 and the Chamber hopes to make it an annual series. 

When: The last Saturday night in January, February, March and April

Where: 555 Bay Isles Parkway


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