A look at our favorite events taking place this week.
Thursday, Dec. 21
Family Activities at Art After 5
5 p.m. at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road
Free with Museum or Art After 5 Admission: $25/$15
Get your creative juices flowing with art-making and other activities for kids and grown-ups alike. Drop in any time between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. for a plethora of free activities centered on the theme “Composite Characters.”
Hunsader Farms Country Christmas
6 p.m. at Hunsader Farms, 5500 County Road 675, Bradenton
Load up the family minivan and head to Hunsader Farms for this farmstead tradition. Enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, live music, snacks, pictures with Santa and 250,000 Christmas lights (to be exact).
Lights in Bloom
6 p.m. at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave.
$25; $20 for members; $7.50 for children; free for children under 5
Selby Gardens never disappoints with its annual Christmas display, which includes over 1 million lights illuminating the grounds. Bring the family and enjoy a visit from Santa and his elves, children’s arts and crafts activities, games and live entertainment provided by SoulRCoaster. Grilled food available for purchase. Runs through Dec. 30.
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.
$17 to $21
Need a break from all the Christmas hoopla? Laugh off the holiday stress with this evening of comedy with stand-up comedian Valarie Storm, most noted for her appearances at Boston Comedy Festival and on “The Bob & Tom Show.” Runs through Dec. 23.
Friday, Dec. 22
‘A Christmas Carol’
7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail
$16 to $46
Everyone’s favorite Christmas play is back and starring the Nebraska Theatre Caravan. This Broadway-style version of the Charles Dickens’ classic features classic carols such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Away in a Manger” interwoven with the timeless tale of the original Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge.
When X Meets Y: An Improvised Holiday Musical
7:30 Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.
$12 to $15
Given a location and three random notes on the keyboard, the cast of FST Improv’s When X Meets Y will improvise their way through a spontaneous story of love during the holidays. Watch the ups and downs as this fictional family reunites and discovers the tension (and humor) that comes with every family gathering.
‘The Sounds of Christmas’ Starring the Ditchfield Family Singers
8 p.m. at the Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice
The Ditchfield Family Singers, one of Sarasota County’s most beloved vocal groups, got its start singing Christmas carols. This extended family of talented performers will journey from the traditional carols of Victorian England through the Christmas classics made popular by the most popular music artists of today. Runs through Dec. 23.
Motown Get Down
9 p.m. at Growlers Pub, 2831 N. Tamiami Trail
Get your groove on during this evening of soulful fun. Tap your toes to music from The Pretty Dirties Band and DJ Karim spinning everyone’s favorite Motown tunes.
Saturday, Dec. 23
Christmas on Main
6 p.m. on Lakewood Main Street
Ring in the holiday with Grace Community Church and enjoy carnival rides including a Ferris wheel and bumper cars, photos with Santa, face painting, cookie decorating, and much more fun for the whole family. Candlelight service begins at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 24
Don't Miss: Sarasota Winter Residency Works-In-Progress Student Recital
Add some music to your Christmas Eve and hear individual Perlman Music Program Suncoast students perform selections from concertos, sonatas and more.
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail
Info: Call 955-4942.
Tuesday, Dec. 26
BCSK’s First Annual Ugly Sweater Party
9 p.m. at The Beach Club Siesta Key, 5151 Ocean Blvd.
$5 cover after 7 p.m.
You know it’s a party trend when Beach Club catches on. The iconic Siesta Key nightclub’s debut ugly Christmas sweater party will feature a free first drink to anyone wearing their tackiest holiday threads. DJ Xtreme will be spinning from 9 p.m. until close.
Wednesday, Dec. 27
SRQ PAP at the Sailing Squadron
9 a.m. at Sarasota Sailing Squadron, 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway
Come get creative with SRQ Plein Art Painters at this artistic meet-up. Take in excellent views of Sarasota Bay and paint what you see — or wherever your imagination takes you.
High Flying Holidays
2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St.
$20; children $15
The uniquely Sarasota tradition returns as Sailor Circus students ages 8-18 perform some of their best routines, all set around a wintry theme. The oldest youth circus in the world, Sailor Circus will entertain the whole family.
Sarasota Music Half Marathon Beer Run 5K
6 p.m. at Mr. Beery’s, 2645 Mall Drive
Call (201) 888-8916.
Sarasota Music Half Marathon hosts a series of 5K beer runs at local hotspots, and as per usual, this run will feature live music, free registration, raffles and more.