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The best things to do around Sarasota for Dec. 22-28

The holiday season means that Sarasota will have more than its fair share of celebrations and cheerful performances including comedy, theater, dance and the circus.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 20, 2022
"Lights in Bloom" is a Sarasota institution down at Selby Gardens.
"Lights in Bloom" is a Sarasota institution down at Selby Gardens.
Photo courtesy of Dylan Cox
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Hands On Hanukkah
4-6 p.m. at Waterside Place, 1561 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch

Join Temple Sinai for Hands on Hanukkah. The family-friendly event features arts and crafts, raffles and giveaways, food, photos, live music and the lighting the menorah. The Booker High School Modern Band will perform at 5:30 p.m. 

St. Armands Winter Spectacular
4-9 p.m. in St. Armands Circle
$10 for attractions wristbands

See the Circle transformed into a winter wonderland until Jan. 3, 2023. Wristbands for attractions cost $10. The festival is open 4-9 p.m. on weekdays and from noon-9 p.m. on holiday weeks and weekends.

The cast of WBTT's production of 'Black Nativity.'
Photo courtesy of Sorcha Augustine

'Black Nativity'
7:30 p.m. at Donelly Theatre, 1012 N. Orange Ave.

Come down for one of the final performances of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe's semi-annual Christmas Card to the community, "Black Nativity," which is re-designed and refreshed by theater's artistic director Nate Jacobs each time it's presented. The show takes the timeless nativity story and pairs it with gospel, blues, Christmas music and the poetry of Langston Hughes. Continues Dec. 23.

Jim Brickman: A Very Merry Christmas
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Jim Brickman will pull out all the stops to wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday. The Grammy-nominated songwriter and pianist will play some traditional favorites as well as hit songs of his own making such as "The Gift," "Angel Eyes" and "Sending You a Little Christmas."


The International Ballet of Florida presents two performances of The Nutcracker at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Photo courtesy of International Ballet of Florida

'The Nutcracker'
2 and 6 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

The International Ballet of Florida welcomes the public to a pair of "The Nutcracker" performances that will blend both pre-professional and professional dancers in the classic Tchaikovsky ballet. The work is choreographed by Vadim Fedotov, and the local dancers will work with guests from American Ballet Theater, Orlando Ballet and Atlanta Ballet.

Christmas on Main
4-8 p.m. at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch, 8100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.

Celebrate the season with Santa himself. Lakewood Ranch will host free games, rides, photo booths and attractions for the whole family. That same evening, Waterside Place will host live music from 6-9 p.m.

Movies Under the Stars
7 p.m. at the Mall at UTC, in the west district (The Green) near Ford's Garage.

The Mall at UTC presents its annual Holiday Movies Under the Stars series with "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms." Bring lawn chairs and blankets. The event continues every Friday and Saturday through the end of December.


The cast of Asolo Rep's Cabaret.
Photo courtesy of Cliff Roles

1:30 p.m. at FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail

The spotlight is on and the dancers have hit their marks. The Asolo Repertory Theatre's production of "Cabaret" is entering its home stretch, giving you one final opportunity to see the reimagined classic before the New Year. The show's final performances will occur on New Year's Eve, and then the Asolo will make way for a whole new slate of productions in 2023.

'Something Rotten!'
3 p.m. at FST's Gompertz Theatre, 1265 First St.

Ring in Christmas Eve with a Shakespearean cast of musical oddballs. "Something Rotten!" will bring a humorous mashup of Elizabethan England and modern Broadway to life in an attempt to seize the stage from Shakespeare. The show will run until the second week of January.


Hannukah Concert
3 p.m. at Temple Beth Sholom, 1050 S. Tuttle Ave.

Christmas Day is a pretty quiet day of performances. But Temple Beth Sholom provides an exception. Cantor Matt Austerklein and special guest Cantor Alberto Mizrachi will bring you songs of the season from the Jewish faith; visitors are asked to consider making a donation to the Tikkun Olam fund.


Kolo Dance Show will bring the style of Ukraine to the stage of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Photo courtesy of Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

KOLO — Dance Show
3 and 7 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

American musicians and producers. Ukrainian visual artists. And a partnership designed to celebrate freedom and Ukraine's rich cultural heritage. Watch as these dancers cross international boundaries to bring an immersive visual experience that you won't forget anytime soon.


What the Constitution Means to Me
8 p.m. at FST's Keating Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave.

What's the Constitution mean to you? Every reader with an opportunity to digest this article may have their own opinion. But for playwright Heidi Schreck, it's an experience in time travel that has her peeking back in at her teenage self and evaluating how her perspective has changed over time.


The talented youths of the Sailor Circus Academy are ready to stage their annual holiday show.
Photo courtesy of Circus Arts Conservatory

Sailor Circus Holiday Special
2 and 7 p.m. at Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St.

Sure, you probably know a lot of talented teenagers. But do you know any that are at home on the trapeze or twisting themselves into contortions? The Sailor Circus Academy has been Sarasota's "Greatest 'Little' Show on Earth" for decades, and the group of precocious youngsters aged 8-to-18 has spent months preparing for this exhibition of strength, skill, agility and flexibility.

The Koi Pond at Selby Gardens is all lit up for the holiday season.
Photo courtesy of Cliff Roles

Lights in Bloom
6:30-9 p.m. at Selby Gardens, 1534 Mound St.

The grounds at Selby Gardens have been lit up for your holiday experience, and more than 2 million individual lights were used in crafting this winter wonderland. Early entry starts every evening at 5:30, but the standard ticket price will allow you in at 6:30 for more than two hours of enjoyment. The holiday display, lovingly set up each year by local wedding decorator Affairs in the Air, will stay in place through Jan 5.

Rahn Hortman
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.

Rahn Hortman's website has some simple advice for anyone who comes calling: "No Matter What, Keep Smiling." Hortman has performed in comedy festivals all across the country and he can regularly be heard on Sirius XM radio; his first special "Good Game" was released on DryBar Comedy.

A Place in the Sun
7:30 p.m. at FST's Goldstein Cabaret, 1239 N. Palm Ave.

The rich and distinctive canon of Stevie Wonder takes center stage in this musical revue, which will hit all the right notes on superhits as varied as "Superstition" and "Isn't She Lovely?" Joshua Pyram and Ben Senneff will bring the music to life, and they'll be backed by pianist Sean Holland II, drummer Marcus James and guitarist Hannah Taylor.


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