December events on Anna Maria Island and the Florida Gulf Coast

November 10, 2018 By Tammy DeLosh

By Tammy DeLosh Holiday Events No Comments

Christmas is right around the corner. Why suffer with cold winds and impassable roads. Make your way to the Florida Gulf Coast Islands and treat your family to the Holidays in Paradise. So many festive activities to keep your loved ones amazed. Relax on the beach, shop in the charm of old Florida, then head out to light ceremonies and celebrations  all month long.

Dec. 1, 2018

Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade~ 7 PM – 9 PM. High school marching bands, area churches and nonprofits, local businesses…and of course the big finale – the arrival of Santa Claus – make this a beloved kick-off of the holiday season. Join thousands of spectators along Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Bring your own chairs and sit anywhere along the parade route, which is from 301/Washington Blvd to Gulfstream Ave. Arrive early and bring the whole family to this treasured community tradition!

Dec. 7, 2018

Sledding with Santa~ 5:30 PM – 8 PM FREE COMMUNITY EVENT! Bring the whole family to the Y and enjoy treats, hot chocolate, arts and crafts, a Meet and Greet with Santa, and Sledding on REAL SNOW! Don’t forget your cameras at the Lakewood Ranch Branch YMCA – Manatee YMCA  5100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Bradenton, Florida 34211

St. Armands “Holiday Night of Lights”  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 starts with a performance at at 5:30, followed by Caroling at 6pm then “Santa’s Arrival” in his spectacular sleigh and our tree lighting ceremony. Photos with Santa are available throughout the evening from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.

Dec. 8, 2018

Anna Maria Island and the Privateer’s, Christmas parade begins at Bayfront Park in the City of Anna Maria then travels south along Gulf drive, through the three island cities.  The parade ends at Coquina Beach, where the man in red will be handing out gifts to the youngsters.
Free hot dogs and pizza for the kids. Come join us in the festive local occasion and be a great part of the community holiday spirit! from 10 am to Noon.


Lido Beach Holiday of the  Arts~Dec. 8 and 9.  The Free event is graciously hosted by the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association with the Humane Society of Sarasota County a special guest at the event. On both days, from 10 am to 5 pm, Lido Beach becomes an outdoor gallery of extraordinary original handmade fine art, created by the works of local, regional and national artisans. Explore a spectacular tapestry of art woven from creations in painting, sculpture, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, metalwork, woodworking and more. Discover something of yourself in the process. Whether for home, office or as gifts for family and friends, original handmade art will transform and enrich all aspects of your life. 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236


LUNCH WITH SANTA~ Santa with be having lunch at MacAllisters Grill & Tavern from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Come enjoy wonderful food and fun with Santa! 8110 Lakewood Main St, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202. Phone 941-359-2424, To reserve your spot




The 33rd Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will be  beginning at 6:00 p.m. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bay front Park, City Island and Centennial Park. The Bay front Park spectator viewing area has been expanded to include the entire Northern tip of island near the fountain. The VIP viewing area has been moved to the Marina Jack’s fuel dock to allow additional space for spectators. This will improve spectator viewing from Bay front Park considerably. Parade Map  . To enter your Boat, register free, by November 24 or pay $20 fee. Learn More about Entrance info here.

Dec.14~ Santa in the Park at Anna Maria City Park from 4pm to 6pm. followed by Holiday cheer open house along Pine Ave. until 8pm. Participating local merchants serving cheer and treats along with sales specials.

*The Island Center is also Celebrating on Holmes Beachfrom 5-7:30pm. Stop by the REMAX/BeachRentals office for wine, cookies and egg nog. Look below for other activities at the Plaza at  5414 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Entertainment, snow machine, Santa and the Privateers. Holiday cheer from the
Centre’s local shops and businesses.


Dec. 15, 2018

A Night Before Christmas. 10 AM – 2 PM. Get ready for family fun at the annual Night Before Christmas event at GT Bray! Santa will be visiting the park to meet with all the children. The event will include face painting, bounce house, snow, hayrides, and much more. This awesome event is great for kids of all ages. GT Bray Park 5502 33rd Avenue Drive West, Bradenton, Florida 34209

Dec 20, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens lights up the holiday season with Lights In Bloom. Over one million lights will illuminate the garden and walkways will
be transformed into sensory light tunnels. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through magical gardens filled with beautifully lit flowers, radiant rainforest butterflies, dragonflies and more. The tropical holiday paradise includes nightly visits from Santa and his elves (before Christmas Eve), children’s arts and crafts activities and games, plus live entertainment from SoulRCoaster and The Hydramatic. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill including a cash bar. The Selby House Cafe will also be open with its full menu. In its 15th year, Lights In
Bloom has become a tradition for residents and visitors to celebrate the holiday season in Sarasota.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center is hosting a variety of Christmas and Holiday favorites from Caroling to Ballet.

Dec 11~Brian Wilson Presents: The Christmas Album Live. Harmonies. That’s what Christmas songs are all about for music legend Brian Wilson. From the seminal 1964 classic The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album to his acclaimed 2005 solo effort What I Really Want for Christmas Wilson has been bringing holiday cheer to the world for more than five decades.

Dec 16~ A Christmas Carol, Featuring a cast of 23 performers, live musicians, and Broadway-style scenery and costumes, audiences cherish this sumptuous holiday classic.

Dec 21~Moscow Ballet: Great Russian Nutcracker. Presenting world class Russian artists, hand-painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens, and jubilant Nesting Dolls – Great Russian Nutcracker brings the Christmas spirit to life for all ages.

Dec 22~Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The Musical soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters as they come to life in an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.

777 N Tamiami Trail. Sarasota, FL 34236

Celebrate in style, or casually, The beaches are going to be there when you are done. If you need help finding a vacation rental property, feel free to surf our website for the Christmas vacation of your dreams. Have a Wonderful Holiday season on the Florida Gulf Coast. God Bless you.


Available vacation rental homes for Christmas Week. For more options call toll free at 844-206-MOBI


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