Local Events for December 2019 in Sarasota and Manatee

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, full of holiday cheer, happiness, and celebrations. Don’t miss any of the festive events in the area this month!

December 5, 2019: Holidays Around The Ranch on Main Street It’s time to Celebrate the Christmas season with the sights and sounds of the season including carriage rides, carolers, lighting displays and Santa himself strolling the streets of Lakewood Ranch. Admission is Free. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Main Street in Lakewood Ranch

December 5, 2019: Annual Downtown Sarasota Christmas Tree lighting Ceremony Come out and watch the 40-foot-tall tree light up! Event starts at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. Held at Five Points Park in Sarasota.

December 6, 2019: Sledding with Santa Bring the whole family to this free event at the Lakewood Ranch YMCA. Enjoy treats, hot chocolate, arts and crafts and sledding with Santa! 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. 5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Bradenton, FL

December 6 – 8, 2019: Bradenton Blues Festival Enjoy a night on Bradenton Riverwalk listening to blues musicians, southern-inspired eats, craft cocktails and art. Event goes through the weekend and will be starting on Friday at 6:00p.m. and ending on Sunday at 4:00p.m.

December 6 – 8, 2019: Siesta Key Seafood & Music Festival Enjoy a lot of fresh seafood and live music from 10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m. Including a raw oyster bar, shrimp, crab legs, and an open bar serving drinks. Pricing varies. Siesta Key Pavilion, Siesta Key, FL

December 7, 2019: Sarasota Christmas Glow 5K Start off the Christmas season right with a 5k run at Nathan Benderson Park. This family fun festive event features Christmas decorations and Christmas music as you run or walk around the lakeside course. Prices start at $39.00.

December 7, 2019: 24th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade Sarasota Mainstreet kicks off the holiday season with their 24th annual holiday parade! More than 4,000 participants in this year’s holiday parade starting at 7:00p.m. Bring the whole family and sit along the streets to enjoy some festive parade floats and entertainment.

December 7, 2019: Palmetto’s Christmas in the Park Get into the Christmas spirit as you play reindeer games, walk through the decorated buildings the arrival of Santa Claus! Food vendors and many activities will be on site. Free admission. 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. Santa arrives at 4 p.m. Historical Park and Manatee County Agriculture Museum, Palmetto, Fl.

December 11, 2019: 1916 Florida Cracker Christmas A festival celebrating the old-fashioned holiday traditions with family friendly entertainment, a Victorian era Santa, artisans, crafts, food vendors, and much more. Event will be held at the Manatee Village Historical Park from 11:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. Admissions is $5.00 per person or free for children 12 years old and under.

December 13, 2019: Holidays Around The Ranch on Main Street Santa Claus makes his grand entry in his horse drawn carriage, decorated in lights and garland. There will be plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained including carolers, tree lighting, and an outdoor snow slide! Free Admission. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Main Street, Lakewood Ranch, FL.

December 13 – 15, 2019: 11th Annual Gingerbread Festival Come marvel at this holiday wonderland featuring gingerbread houses at the UTC mall. Crafted by more than 150 local schools, youth groups, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The festival is open from 10a.m. – 8:00p.m. Friday-Saturday.

December 13 – 15, 2019: Country Christmas at Hunsader Farms Celebrate a country Christmas complete with hayrides, kiddie train rides, a petting zoo, Christmas village, pictures with Santa, outdoor Christmas movies on a big screen and more than 300,000 twinkling Christmas lights. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Additional dates on 12/20/19 – 12/22/19. Admission: $10, Kids 5 and under are free. Hunsader Farms, 5500 C.R. 675, Bradenton, FL.

December 14, 2019: A Night Before Christmas Come out to Bradenton’s GT Bray Park and meet Santa! Bring the whole family and enjoy face painting, bounce houses, snow, hayrides, and much more. 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

December 14, 2019: 34th Annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights Watch the decorated vessels line the water and feature a variety of different holiday decorations, music, and themes. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Marina Jacks in Sarasota.

December 14, 2019: Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade The parade starts at 10 a.m. and will go the entire length of the island, starting at the Bay Front Park and ending at Coquina Beach in Bradenton beach. Santa will be there seeing the children and giving out presents.

December 14, 2019: 22nd Annual Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade At dusk the lighted vessels will assemble near Snead Island and the parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. and proceed past the Bradenton Yacht Club to Riverhouse Reef and Grill / Regatta Pointe Marina and then turn south at the Green Bridge and proceed onward to Pier 22 / Twin Dolphin Marina. Public viewing sites are available from the Green Bridge Pier, Riverhouse Reef & Grill, along the Riverwalk in Bradenton and at Pier 22.

December 14, 2019 to January 4, 2020: Lights in Bloom Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will light up the holiday season with their lights in bloom. Two million lights will illuminate the gardens and walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets are $25.00 for adults and $7.00 for children ages 5-12. Kids under 5 years old get in for free.

December 20, 2019: Annual Lakewood Ranch Jingle 5k Participants are supplied with jingle bells for your shoelaces and lighted flashers for this festive 5K. There is holiday music along the course and live music at the post race party. Registration fees from $11 – $35. Day of registration commences at 4:00 p.m. Kids races begin at 6 p.m., 5K Run/Walk begins in waves at 7 p.m. Main Street, Lakewood Ranch, FL.

December 21 – 22, 2019: Holiday Market at University Town Center Finish up all your last-minute Christmas shopping at the UTC holiday market. The vendors will take over the parking lot with 50+ local makers from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Shop from handmade jewelry, body products, candles, holiday decor, and much more!

December 21 – 23, 2019: Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary Live Nativity Scene Come enjoy Sarasota’s live nativity scene, including live camels, donkeys, goats and more. 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Adults $18, 12 and under $8. Active Military and Veterans receive free admission. 7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL.

December 23, 2019: A Christmas Carol See this Christmas classic performed at the Van Wezel Performing Arts at 7:30p.m. Ticket prices range from $65.00-$141.00.

December 31, 2019: The Annual Pineapple Drop!  Celebrate New Year’s Eve in downtown Sarasota. The annual downtown celebration is estimated to attract more than 20,000 – 25,000. Party starts at 1 p.m. with the pineapple drop at midnight! There will be live musical performances and much more! 1 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. Free admission. Five Points Park, Main Street, Lemon Avenue. Downtown Sarasota, FL.

December 31, 2019: New Year’s Eve 2019 Celebration on Old Main Street Ring in the New Year at “Main Street Live” in downtown Bradenton. Live music along with food vendors, beverages and arts and crafts. Free admission. Starts at 6 p.m.- 12 a.m. Old Main Street between Manatee and 3rd avenue, downtown Bradenton, FL

December 31, 2019: It’s the 9th Annual Fireworks on the Bay  Marina Jack host a dramatic fireworks show at midnight with live music throughout the day and evening. Viewing is free from anywhere downtown including Bayfront Park and Island Park. Marina Jack, 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL