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The best things to do in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat for Dec. 7-13

  • By
  • | 11:00 a.m. December 5, 2023
Kayla Bieliaev slides down the ice slide at A Taste of Chanukah on Nov. 28, 2021.
Kayla Bieliaev slides down the ice slide at A Taste of Chanukah on Nov. 28, 2021.
Photo by Harry Sayer
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Thursday, Dec. 7

World Champions Cup
9:35 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. at The Concession Golf Club, 7700 Lindrick Lane, Bradenton
From $46

Team International, Team Europe and Team USA will battle over three days and 24 matches to determine a winner in the inaugural World Champions Cup that features many of the game's greatest players. Runs through Sunday.

Christmas in the Garden: 'A Celebration of Lights and Music'
5-9 p.m. at the Longboat Island Chapel, 6200 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key

The gardens at the Longboat Island Chapel will be enhanced with holiday music and lighting and decorated Christmas trees donated by community organizations, businesses and friends. Runs through Dec. 31. On Dec. 7, 11, 13, 19 and 21, there will be special musical presentations, refreshments and treats for the children with performances beginning at 6 p.m.

Chanukah on Main Street
6-8 p.m. at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch, 8100 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch

Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch will celebrate Chanukah.The celebration features Reggae Rabbi Dr. Laz in Concert, a Gelt Drop, a color and light bubble show, a dreidel moon bounce house, kosher barbecue, falafel and more.

Friday, Dec. 8

Holiday Art Festival
Noon to 5 p.m. at Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail

Neither gallery nor museum, Art Center Sarasota is Sarasota’s oldest institution devoted to visual arts. It’s gotten a breath of fresh air under Executive Director Kinsey Robb. If you’ve never been inside, use a holiday shopping trip to the art festival as an excuse to view the center’s current exhibitions, which run through Jan. 13. They include the works of Aimee Jones, Ethan Fielder and Tom Casmer as well as a juried show of still life art. Continues Saturday.

World Champions Cup Block Party
6-9 p.m. at Waterside Place, 1580 Lakefront Drive, Lakewood Ranch

The World Champions Cup golf tournament is hosting a Community Block Party that will include legends of the game celebrating the inaugural competition. The event feature food, drinks, live music from the Bay Kings Band, ticket giveaways, T-shirt giveaways and photo opportunities with players posing with the World Champions Cup trophy.

Big Cat Bash
6-10 p.m. at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, 7101 Palmer Blvd.
$30; $20 for children 5-12; free for children 4 and under

Join Big Cat Habitat for live music, prizes, an animal show, a food drive, pony rides for kids, food trucks and more.

‘The Nutcracker’
7 p.m. at Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave., Venice

The Sarasota Ballet travels 18 miles south to present the timeless story of Clara’s adventures with an animated nutcracker, who battles the Mouse King on Christmas Eve as the tree grows bigger and bigger. A second performance will be 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Lubben Brothers bring their musical wizardry to Sarasota Dec. 8.
Courtesy image

Musica Sacra's 'A Celtic Christmas'
7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak St.
$20 recommended donation

Musica Sacra presents its seventh annual Celtic Christmas. This year’s event features South Florida folk stars The Lubben Brothers, who play fiddle, cello, bass, harmonica, accordion, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer and piano. They sing too. Also appearing are the First Presbyterian Choir and acclaimed local bagpiper Kevin Weigand.

‘Shakespeare’s Lovers’
7:30 p.m. Tree Fort Productions, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail

Directed by Blake Walton, “Shakespeare’s Lovers” combines the words and visions of the Bard and Katherine Michelle Tanner. It stars Tanner and Derek Brookens and features a mysterious pool of water. Runs weekends through Dec. 17.

Venice Theatre Solofest
7:30 p.m. Venice Theatre’s Pinkerton Theatre, 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice

Venice Theatre’s Solofest consists of three plays: “Shirley Valentine,” “Give ‘Em Hell, Harry!” and “Mark Twain: They Told Me to Be Brief.” Seating is general admission. Runs through Dec. 17. 

Saturday, Dec. 9

Sandy Claws Beach Run
8 Siesta Beach Park, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key

The 47th annual Sandy Claws Beach Run run returns to Siesta Beach. The 1-mile fun run begins at 8 a.m., and the 5K begins at 8:20 a.m. Pre-registered participants will receive an event T-shirt. The 5K run is sanctioned by the Manasota Track Club, and proceeds from the event benefit the “Summer in the Parks” Adopt-A-Camper scholarship fund. 

Porsches in the Park
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Armands Circle Park, 1 St. Armands Circle

Some of the most spectacular Porsches from all over Florida will be on display for the Annual Porsches in the Park car show at St. Armands Circle Park. 

Ugly Sweater Crawl 
3-10 p.m. at Raffurty's, 1888 Main St.

Come in your ugly sweater, and enjoy a crawl through over five participating bars. Tickets also include additional offerings such as a holiday welcome shot, swag, and a photographer to capture fun moments.

A brightly decorated boat drove through the Marina Jack Yacht Basin area during the 2022 Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.
Photo by Dariela Delgado

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
6 p.m. on Sarasota Bay

Watch as boats decorated for the holidays make their way through the harbor in the 37th annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on Sarasota Bay, presented by Suncoast Charities for Children and Marina Jack. Viewing is recommended from Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Drive, and Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza. The parade begins at 6 p.m., and the awards presentation will be at 8 p.m. at Marina Jack. Boat registration is available online. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new and unwrapped toy or book for donation to Suncoast Charities for Children.

Poets Unplugged with Myles Optimystic
8 p.m. at Fogartyville, 525 Kumquat Court

Hip hop and indie pop performance artist Myles Optimystic explores themes of mindfulness and meditation followed by a poets’ open mic. The evening’s emcee will be spoken word artist Onyx.

Sunday, Dec. 10

'A Little Holiday Cheer'
3 p.m. at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3131 61st St.

Swing into Sunday with the Suncoast Jazz Ambassadors. The 16-piece band opens the 2023-24 season with "Doin' the Bathtub Boogie," "Tickletoe," "I've Got the World on a String" and more.

Allie Fraidowitz serves up latkes at A Taste of Chanukah on Nov. 28, 2021.
Photo by Harry Sayer

A Taste of Chanukah 
4-6 p.m. at Philippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail

Chabad of Sarasota's annual festival features a 3-ton snow slide, a helicopter raining down Hanukkah gelt, limited catered kosher food, live music and entertainment by DJ CJ Koenig, a selection of menorahs including balloon and lego menorahs.

Monday, Dec. 11

The Siesta Pops truck blew bubbles and blasted tunes at The Market on Longboat Key on March 11, 2022.
Photo by Nat Kaemmerer

Market on Longboat Key
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Town Center Green, 600 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key

Enjoy holiday shopping and a variety of food trucks at The Market on Longboat Key, which will feature artists, apparel, sandals, fresh plants and more. The Market String Band will be strolling the market, and The Manatee School for the Arts Jazz Choir will perform in the amphitheater until noon. Some food vendors let you preorder order pies, cakes and breads to be ready upon your arrival.

Ben Lougheed, Classical Guitarist
7:30 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2256 Bahia Vista St.

This concert is part of a Guitar Sarasota series that showcases local musicians. Ben Lougheed will perform for 45 minutes and then participate in a Q&A with the audience. Sponsored by the Vera and Imre Hecht Foundation, the concerts are designed to raise awareness of classical guitar.

Tuesday, Dec. 12

The Los Angeles-based Latin world music group La Santa Cecilia comes to Sarasota for Our Lady of Guadalupe's Feast Day, Dec. 12.
Courtesy image

La Santa Cecilia in Concert
6 p.m. at Ca' d'Zan, The John &Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road

La Santa Cecilia travels from Los Angeles to help Sarasota celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Feast Day with a sunset concert at the Ca' d'Zan, John and Mable Ringling’s mansion. La Santa Cecilia merges Latin culture with rock and world music thanks to the efforts of accordionist and requinto player Jose “Pepe” Carlos, bassist Alex Bendaña, percussionist Miguel “Oso” Ramirez and vocalist “La Marisoul.” 

Wednesday, Dec. 13

Devin Siebold
7 p.m. at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd.

Who is Devin Siebold? A teacher, a comedian or a motivational speaker? All of the above. The Boston native has adroitly harnessed his classroom experience to become a TikTok star, gaining a national following in the process. Runs through Dec. 16.

Marie Osmond: An Orchestral Christmas
7:30 p.m. at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Back in the 1970s, Donny and Marie Osmond were a “little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.” This century, the enduring brother-and-sister duo did an 11-year residency in Las Vegas. Now Marie is doing solo tours like this holiday production she’s bringing to the Van Wezel. Some things never go out of style.


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