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What's Happening in Sarasota for this Season

Posted by Sara Leicht - on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at 4:32pm.

What’s Happening in and around Sarasota for this season.

Sarasota is known for its active arts and entertainment culture.  Visitors come from all over the globe to experience what Sarasota has to offer and many of my clients have asked me for a schedule of the events for the season. 

So with that in mind,  please find below a list of the most popular events, shows, and entertainment that is happening in Sarasota starting today through April. From the new Penguin Exhibt at Mote Marine to the Film Festival to the Holiday Boat Parades to the Opera House and Van Weezel schedules to events around St. Armand's Circle you will be able to find and link to all the information for a busy season in Sarasota.  Listed below you will find valuable links to the event details and other great calendars from area businesses of Sarasota.


Penguin Island Exhibit at Mote Aquarium   mote_marine
November 1, 2011 at  10:00am
Repeats daily until Wed Feb 29, 2012.

Mote Aquarium is excited to announce that we will be welcoming some truly cool guests this year: A group of black-footed penguins will call City Island home during a special new exhibit called Penguin Island!

During this limited-time exhibit, visitors will have the chance to meet and learn more about these “black-tie” guests through daily visits and special meet-and-greet opportunities.

Penguins might seem like exotic tourists for sunny Florida, but not all penguins live in chilly climates. The black-footed penguins coming to Mote Aquarium are native to South Africa, where the ocean currents are cold and the climate is moderate.

Read More at:  Mote Marine Penguin Exhibit


The Siesta Key Crystal Classic – Master Sand Sculpting Contest
November 10-14th     

sand_sculptures_on_siesta_keySiesta Beach, on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida, has been proven to have the "World's Finest, Whitest Sand™" It recently was named the #1 Beach in America by Dr. Beach in the 21st annual Top 10 Beach List. The list is produced by Dr. Beach, aka Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University's Laboratory for Coastal Research. Because of its 99% quartz crystal sand, it is considered the best natural beach sand for sculpting.

Master Sand Sculpting competition - 24 of the "TOP" master sculptors from around the world will compete for over $18,000 in prize money and the "WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OF SAND SCULPTING DOUBLES TITLE".

Read More at:    Crystal Sands Siesta Key Sandscultping Contest

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning Main Street and Lemon Ave.
7 am – 1 pm (rain or shine)


We currently have a full market that includes 70+ vendors and 5,000 square feet of produce and plants.The Sarasota Farmers Market was established in 1979 in downtown Sarasota and continues its tradition of serving the local community with local produce, plants, prepared foods, and artisans.

For More information please visit:    Sarasota Farmers Market

Sarasota Christmas Parade - Downtown Sarasota
Saturday December 3rd  at 7pm

This is an all time favorite among the residents and visitors or Sarasota.  This year’s events theme is “Tropical Holiday”.  Come out to Main Street in Sarasota and enjoy the spirit of Christmas with a Tropical flair!

For more information and pictures of last year’s visit:        Sarasota Holiday Parade

boat_parade_400Venice Christmas Boat Parade 
Saturday December 3rd at 7pm

Come out and see the Venice Boat parade of lights. Starts the Holiday Season with decorated boats on the water.  They can't do this back in Michigan this time of Year!

Read More at:  
Venice Christmas Boat Parade   

Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on Sarasota Bay 

December 10th at 6pm


Come out and enjoy the boats along the Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay.  The best areas to view all of the boats as they come by decorated in full holiday fashion is at Marina Jack’s, Bayfront Park, City Island, and Centennial Park. SNN channel 6 will be covering this festive and popular occasion from several locations throughout Marina Jacks.

To find out all of the details and see pictures from past parades please visit:

Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights on Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Christmas presents:   “The Wonder of Christmas”

Friday December 2nd – Wednesday December 7th

sarasota_christmasThere is nothing like the sparkle in a child’s eyes when they look under a Christmas tree and find a gift especially for them. Each year during this season we all need to celebrate and remember that the most incredible gift ever given was the birth of God’s Son on the very first Christmas.

This year, that simple story, combined with incredible musical arrangements, media and lights will help each of us rediscover
“The Wonder of Christmas” 
A Christmas Production featuring Live orchestra, band, choir and soloists along with multimedia, lights, and sound. 

Sarasota Baptist Church 7091 Proctor Rd Sarasota, Florida 34241

Friday                 December 2      7:00pm
Saturday            December 3      3:00pm & 7:00pm
Sunday               December 4      3:00pm & 7:00pm
Monday              December 5     7:00pm
Tuesday             December 6     7:00pm
Wednesday      December 7      7:00pm

Join us for Dinner before the show! Chef Ric has created a special menu that you and your friends will enjoy. Dinner service is between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. and is by reservation only. Dinner tickets may be purchased when you select your seating for the performance. Dinner seating is very limited so don’t delay!

Read More at:  Sarasota


Singing Christmas Tree

singing_christmas_treeThe Singing Christmas Tree is an annual music and drama production written & directed by church members, and accompanied by an orchestra. The performance features a multi-story tree, adorned with our talented choir members. With the various musical pieces, the tree comes to life in an awe-inspiring light show. In addition, each year's drama performance is new and spectacular, but with a special message.

The Singing Christmas Tree is a tradition known all over Sarasota, and has even been transported for special performances in England. Make sure that you and your family experience this unique and powerful tradition; reserve your tickets early!

Presentation Dates and Times:

Friday               December 2         7:00pm
Saturday           December 3         3:00 pm
Sunday             December 4          6:00 pm
Wednesday      December 7         7:00 pm
Friday               December 9         7:00 pm
Saturday           December 10       3:00 pm & 6:00 pm
Sunday             December 11       3:00 pm & 6:00 pm                                        

Read More at:  Singing Christmas Tree in Sarasota

Thunder by the Bay - Sarasota Motorcycle Festival
January 6 - 8, 2012:    thunder-by-the-bay-2012_white350

Friday– January 6, 2012
“Born To Be Wild” Kickoff Party
Featuring The Billy Rice Band
Casino Style Gaming

Hyatt Regency Sarasota
7:00 pm until Midnight
Tickets $15 pp at the door
Cash Food Stations & Bar – Silent Auction – Dress is Biker Casual
Secured motorcycle parking – Vehicle valet parking available

Saturday - January 7, 2012
“Dealer Day” from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm
Stop by Rossiter’s HD, Manatee River HD, Hap’s Cycle Sales, and Sarasota Ford

"Downtown Festival"
Noon until 11:00 pm – Free Admission
Lots of Vendors on Display, Demos, Great Food!
Bike Parking - Main Street (Between Pineapple Ave. & Gulf Stream Ave.)
and on South Palm Ave.

To view all the scheduled events, times, and details please visit:     Thunder by the Bay

St. Armands Circle Park Events
The St. Armands Association always has events planned into the future.  The following is a short list of some of their events.  To see the complete list click onto their link and then scroll thru the calendar of events. 

St. Armands Circle Events

St. Armands Art Festival & Fall Sidewalk Sale

Sat, November 12, 2011 - Sun, November 13, 2011
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Over 175 artists and craftsman display their original artwork. Pottery, Oils, watercolors, ceramics, jewelry, and sculpture. Out of 10,000 Art Festivals held each year, in the country, this show has ranks in the top 100 and has been chosen as "one of the best in the country.

“Ponies Under the Palms"

Sunday November 20th  
Time: 10:00am
Take a stroll back in time, or enjoy the present, viewing some of the most pristine Mustangs and Ford's to found in the state of Florida! Formerly known as the "Super Sunday Ford Mustang & Shelby Show", this event is earned the distinction as one of the best of its kind in the state of Florida!!!

Holiday Night of Lights

Fri, December 02
Time: 6:00pm

Crab & Fin Restaurant and Chase Bank proudly present "Holiday Night of Lights". St. Armands is THE holiday destination, on the Gulf Coast of Florida, as the Circle magically comes to light and life with grace and elegance. "Holiday Night of Lights" is St. Armands official "kick off" to the holiday season. The event begins at 6:00pm with our annual Christmas Carol Sing-a-long, followed by the arrival of Santa in his spectacular sleigh, and our tree lighting ceremony. Photos with Santa are available throughout the evening. Enjoy holiday entertainment, special store promotions and gracious hospitality provided by our many shops and restaurants. We do recommend making your dinner Reservations, in advance, at our many fine Circle restaurants. 

St. Armands Winter Art Festival

Sat, January 28, 2012 - Sun, January 29, 2012
Time: 10:00am - 5:30pm

Over 175 artists and craftsman display their original artwork. Pottery, Oils, watercolors, ceramics, jewelry, and sculpture. In its first year this show was ranked in the top 50, out of 10,000 shows held each year in this country! This is one Art Festival you won't want to miss!

"Masquerade" - Mardi Gras St. Armands Style  masquerade

Tue, February 21, 2012 
Time: 6:00pm

A Festive and Exciting Night on the Circle! Event Highlights: Mardi Gras Parade led by St. Armands Celebrities and our "Mardi Gras King". People dressed in Mardi Gras costume/ attire ARE welcome, to join in on the parade! "Dog Costume Contest & Parade", will join in with the main parade, and awards will be given for the best pet costume! Street entertainers, Dixieland Music. "Hurricane & Drink Specials". There is no fee to enter. Mardi Gras Parade begins at 6:30pm, around the Circle, lead by the Mardi Gras King & his Dixieland Band!  EVERYONE is encouraged to join in on the parade and the fun!

To see the complete list of schedule events please visit: St. Armands Circle Events

Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts
  Sarasota Arts Festival
February 18th & 19th, 2012
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Free Admission
Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, FL

Consistently ranked one of the top 100 Fine Art Shows by Sunshine Artist Magazine, The Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts is one of the area’s biggest and best art events. The festival is held along Main Street in downtown Sarasota, spanning from 5 Points-Selby Park to Orange Avenue. Meet some of the best artists in the nation, displaying life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewels, photography and more.

Read More at:        Sarasota Arts Festival

Sarasota Circus        circus_sarasota_400
February 10 - 26, 2012 

The annual Circus Sarasota takes place under the Big Top at Tuttle Ave & 12th Street.


Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs have combined their expertise and passion for the circus by creating Circus Sarasota. Their mission is to provide a circus that represents the circus arts at the highest level and that is linked to the community through performance, education and integrated arts programming. They have helped bring the magic of circus to more than 200,000 people.

Click here for information:  


Sarasota Exotic Car Fest Weekend on St. Armand's Circle and Sarasota
February 17-19 2012

Sarasota Exotic Car Fest

Friday, February 17, 2012

Luxury Lifestyle Jet Port Reception
6:30 pm
Rectrix Aerodrome Center at SRQ Airport
The evening is filled with classic imported and exotic cars, new luxury cars, sophisticated jets, custom built motorcycles, fashion shows by Saks Fifth Avenue, silent auction, great food, wine, cocktails and lots of good will for a great cause. Complimentary valet available. After five attire.
Saturday, February 18th
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Exotics On St. Armands Circle
Exotic cars on display, open to the public.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dinner at The Oaks Club
6:00 pm Sunset Cocktails
7:00 pm Dinner
The festivities begin with elegant cocktails followed by dinner at The Oaks Club, live entertainment, and dancing. Resort attire.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Road Rally & Closing Brunch
9:30 am – Sarasota Road Rally (registration required)
11:30 am - 1:00 pm – Elegant Sunday brunch at The Founders Golf Club
Rally participation is not required to attend brunch.

Read More about the Weekend Events at:  Sarasota Exotic Car 

Jazz Club of Sarasota    jazz_club

The Jazz Club of Sarasota is the most active jazz club in the United Sates, with over 80 concerts and lectures each year. Founded in 1980 by the late Hal Davis, the former publicist for Benny Goodman, the club has approximately 650 members and is growing in membership. The club presents the Sarasota Jazz Festival, one of the major US jazz festivals. The club also sponsors the Venice Jazz Festival in Venice Florida.Free "Joy of Jazz" Concerts in the Park

Sunday concerts will take place from 2-4 p.m. at Centennial Park, Downtown Venice. 

To view the events calendar please visit:  Joy of Jazz Concerts in the Park

sarasota_jazz_festival_400Sarasota Jazz Festival March 4-10 2012

Concerts will be held at The Players Theatre, 838 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota. 

To view all of the event details please visit:  Sarasota Jazz Festival Events

United Cerebral Palsy         ucp_chocolate_sunday_400
10th Annual UCP Chocolate Sundae
March 6, 2011 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

It's the 10th Annual UCP Chocolate Sundae at Michael's on East from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. to benefit the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation of Sarasota-Manatee. There will be chocolate delights from over 40 restaurants and vendors plus an appearance by the Easter Bunny. 1212 East Avenue, Sarasota. Adults $20/advance-$25/door, Children 10 and under $10

To learn more please visit:  UPC

Sarasota Film Festival        sarasota_film_festival

April 13-22, 2012

ABOUT Sarasota Film Festival
OUR MISSION is to celebrate the art of filmmaking and the contribution of filmmakers by hosting an international film festival and developing year-long programs for the economic, educational and cultural benefit of our community.

To learn more please visit: Sarasota Film

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall   vanweezel_in_sarasota

Set along Sarasota's beautiful bayfront, the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been entertaining audiences with a variety of music, dance, theater and comedy for more than 35 years.

Built in 1968 with funds from a city bond referendum and a bequest from philanthropists Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the Van Wezel opened its doors in 1970 with a production of Fiddler on the Roof. Since then, the Hall has welcomed a broad range of performers and shows, including world-class symphonies, both classical and modern dance companies, jazz artists, pop legends, Comedy and Broadway.

With its renovation in 2000, the Hall contains 25,000 more square feet than before, meaning larger lobbies and Grand Foyer, more restrooms, a new stagehouse, the latest in sound and lighting systems, and an Education Center. The 1,736-seat Hall is completely compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and is owned and operated by the City of Sarasota.

To visit the schedule at the Van Wezel please visit:  Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Schedule

Sarasota Orchestra     Sarasota Orchestra

For over 60 years, the Sarasota Orchestra has been entertaining music lovers from around the region, and visitors from around the world.  With Artistic Director Leif Bjaland and President and CEO Joseph McKenna at the helm, the 80 member Orchestra performs more than 100 classic, pops, and family concerts each year.

To view this year’s schedule please visit:    Sarasota Orchestra

Sarasota Opera House   

sarasota_opera_houseSarasota Opera owns and performs in the Sarasota Opera House. Originally opened as a mixed-use venue in 1926 featuring vaudeville and movies, the theater is on the National Register of Historic Place.  A $20-million renovation was completed in 2008.

With just over 1,100 seats and exceptional acoustics, Musical America recently called it "one of the finest venues for opera in America."

To view this year’s schedule please visit:    Sarasota Opera House

The Ringling Museum of Art

ringling_museum_01In 1911, John Ringling and his wife, Mable purchased 20 acres of waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida.  Today, that investment welcomes visitors from around the globe with fine art, historic mansion, two circus museums and a jewel-box of a theater. 

The Museum of Art, built by John Ringling to house his personal collection of masterpieces, today features paintings and sculptures by the great Old Masters including Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough and more. The European, American and Asian masterworks available here make the Museum of Art an awe-inspiring retreat. It is a palace for treasures emulating the footprint of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, echoing its grace and grandeur.

To learn more please visit:



                                      Sarasota Things to Do an Event Calendar for Sarasota
                 Stay up to date through-out the year with the #1 source for Sarasota Events please visit: 

                                  Sarasota Things to Do - Sarasota Florida’s Gulf Coast


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