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    Friday, 5 December 2014

    What’s on over the Holidays on Anna Maria Island

    There are always a wide variety of amazing events going on in Anna Maria and the surrounding Gulf Coast areas. This is never truer than it is around the holidays!

    We’ve got so many killer cool holiday activities for you that we’ve grouped them together by subject because honestly, there’s just too much great stuff to pick from!

    Christmas Light Shows

    Holiday Lights Spectacular at Sarasota Jungle Gardens (Select nights beginning December 5th, 6pm-9pm)
    Each year, thousands of twinkle lights decorate the pathways and foliage of the lush Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Meander down Candy Cane Lane, see live entertainment in the bird pavilion, visit Santa Claus, and roast marshmallows for s’mores while enjoying live music. It’s seasonal fun for the whole family!

    Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens (December 19th-23rd and 26th-29th, 6pm-9pm)

    Each year, Selby Botanical Gardens turns into a tropical holiday wonderland featuring botanical light displays that take their inspiration from nature. Each evening you can take in this truly stunning sight while listening to seasonal musical and enjoying the warm drinks and tasty treats for sale. If you come before Christmas, you can even catch a special appearance from Santa Claus himself. 

    Christmas Light Shows on Anna Maria Island

    Christmas Parades

    Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade (December 6th, 7pm)
    Over the past 20 years, the Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade has grown into one of the largest and best-known parades along the Sun Coast: last year over 4,000 people participated in the event. The parade’s theme changes each year. This year’s theme will be “A White Christmas”, and it promises to be one of the most dazzling events so far.

    AMI Privateers Parade from Bay Front Park to Coquina Beach (December 13th, 10am)
    For many years now, the Anna Maria Island Privateers have staged a truly epic Christmas Parade throughout the entirety of Anna Maria Island, ending with a Santa Open House at Coquina Beach where the man in red himself will be handing out gifts to kids. This parade is a longtime Island tradition that is beloved by locals and visitors alike.

    11th Annual Cortez Holiday Lighted Boat Parade (December 13th)
    If there’s anything more beautiful than watching festive boats festooned with lights and decorations, it is knowing that you can contribute to a great cause. The Cortez Boat Parade, organized by the Cortez Yacht Club is free for community enjoyment – however, they do accept donations of a new toy for the Manatee Toys for Tots.

    Christmas Events

    Atomic Holiday Bazaar at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium (December 6th-7th, 12pm-5pm)
    Obsessed with finding completely unique holiday gifts?

    The Atomic Holiday Bazaar in Sarasota is the place to go for the best indie crafts from Florida and beyond. Everything is handcrafted, whimsical, and totally one-of-a-kind. Whether you’re looking for vintage clothing, handmade jewelry, cool interior décor, or offbeat art, you’ll find it at this punk-rock, DIY craft show.

    Tightrope Walk by Nik Wallenda at Sarasota Ford (December 6th, 3pm-6:30pm)
    Internationally-renowned daredevil Nik Wallenda has performed daring feats all over the world including traversing the distance between two Chicago skyscrapers in November.

    This month, the Sarasota native will keep it local as he crosses a tightrope 100 feet above the ground for an audience in his hometown. It’s a dazzling performance, not to be missed!

    Snow Fest Sarasota at Payne Park (December 19th-21st, 12pm-10pm)
    Think it doesn't snow in Florida? Think again!

    The weekend before Christmas, Payne Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland featuring everything from reindeer rides to giant snow slides. Anna, Elsa, and Olaf from Frozen will also be making appearances and let’s be honest: it’s not just your kids who want to chill with Olaf.
    Think it doesn't snow on Anna Maria Island? Think again!

    5th Annual “A Taste Of Chanukah” Family Festival at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds (December 21st, 1pm to 5pm)
    The best holiday festival you attend this season probably won’t be a Christmas festival: in all likelihood it will be “A Taste Of Chanukah” at the Sarasota Fairgrounds.

    This festival has everything: a huge ice menorah, a menorah fire show, a three ton snow slide, a snake and bird show, something called the “Motorcycle Globe of Death” – plus much more!

    You’ll also get to enjoy delicious cuisine from Michael’s on East, Veg, and Fresh Star Café among others.

    Christmas Fundraisers

    5th Annual Wine, Dine & Pine at Marie Selby Botanical Garden (December 4th, 6pm-8:30pm)
    Enjoy wine, music, and delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts from some of Sarasota’s best local restaurants at this annual fundraiser which benefits Selby Gardens.

    Bid on unique items in a Luxury Silent Auction, enter a drawing to win more than a $1,000 in dining gift certificates from local eateries, as well as select a surprise gift from the Mystery Gift Box Tree. Visit the event page on the Selby website for more information.

    27thAnnual Winterfest at City Hall Field (December 13th-14th)
    Still looking for some great Christmas gifts? Support artisans from throughout North America at this juried art show in Holmes Beach that raises funds for youth and adult art scholarships.

    Not only can you buy amazing arts and crafts from a carefully-selected group of creative people, you can see some of the great upcoming local artists of the next generation as students from local schools display their work, too.   

    New Year’s Eve Celebrations

    Starlight and Fire Family Party at Historic Spanish Point (December 31st, 6pm-10pm)
    Looking for a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration? Bring the kids along to the White Cottage at the beautiful Historic Spanish Point in Osprey and enjoy bonfires and marshmallow roasting under the stars.

    Festivities end at 10pm, so you’ll have plenty of time to trundle your tired tots off to bed before you ring in the New Year from the comfort of your couch.

    NewYear’s Eve Silent Disco at Louie’s Modern (December 31st, 9pm-2am)
    The absolute coolest holiday event of the year will be virtually silent and will take place on the roof of a parking garage! It might sound a little weird, but it’s actually pretty amazing.

    The roof of the Palm Avenue parking garage offers a stunning view of the fireworks in Downtown Sarasota, and two-channel wireless headphones will allow you to hear music spun by two different DJs so you can literally dance to the beat of your own drummer.

    Need a dancing break? Take the headphones off and enjoy a cocktail and a snack and conversation with your friends without having to shout over music. You won’t experience anything like this anywhere else. 

    Celebrate New Year's Eve on Anna Maria Island

    Heard of or attending an event over the festive season that we haven’t featured then we would love to hear about it! Leave us a comment or share with us on our Facebook page:

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