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11 Holiday Events You Can’t Miss in Sarasota This December

Christmas Decorations

The holiday season will be here before you know it, and there’s so much to do in Sarasota and the surrounding area that the team at MAXIM Hair Restoration wanted to give you a heads-up to help you shape your holiday plans. From parades to breakfast with Santa or a holiday glow run and everything in between, you’re sure to find something for everyone this holiday season. Here are the 11 holiday events you can’t miss in Sarasota this December that attracts people from Bradenton, Tampa, Lakewood Ranch, Fort Myers, Naples and even Orlando. 

Venice Christmas Boat Parade

Christmas Decorations
Image via Flickr by Rexness

On Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, you can watch the annual Venice Christmas Boat Parade at the Albee Road bridge. This event takes place each year on the first Saturday of December, with a Sunday rain date. You can bring the family to watch the lighted boats parade across the water for free, kicking off the holiday season in style. The parade begins at the Albee Farm Bridge and heads south with a turn around just before the Circus Bridge.

Sarasota Holiday Parade

Another event taking place on Saturday, Dec. 4, is the Sarasota Holiday Parade, celebrating its 25th anniversary. This parade takes place down Main Street in downtown Sarasota as a free, family fun holiday season event. Find a spot on Main Street to park your lawn chairs or blankets and sit back and enjoy the parade, starting at 7 p.m.

J3 Jolly Holiday Live Concert

On Dec. 5, 2021, you can catch the J3 Jolly Holiday Live Concert at the Venice Community Center. J3 fans will enjoy a J3VB performance of classic holiday favorites, including Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. J3 provides plenty of entertainment with costume changes, choreography, and comedy combined to let this seven-piece band take you on a trip down memory lane. Tickets are available online and do typically sell out quickly, so you’ll want to secure yours today. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the concert starting promptly at 7 p.m.

Dramatic Christmas Musical: How to Have the Best Christmas Ever!

Another free event that’s fun for the whole family is the Colonial Baptist Church production of a Dramatic Christmas Musical: How to Have the Best Christmas Ever! This dramatic musical shares the sounds of the season along with a heartwarming message on Friday, Dec. 10. The Colonial Baptist Choir will present this musical at 7 p.m. at 2400 Taylor Ranch Trail in Venice.

2021 Showfolks Holiday Circus Festival

From Friday, Dec. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 12, you can take the family to see the 2021 Showfolks Holiday Circus Festival at Robarts Arena. You’ll find animals, food, market booths, exhibits, and free shows at Sarasota’s longest-running circus event. On Saturday, Dec. 11, you can enjoy a fireworks display to round out the night. Tickets are available online for this family-friendly event that includes pictures with Santa. Enjoy everything from horses to elephants and a kids’ fun zone at the Showfolks Holiday Circus Festival.

2021 Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl: Sarasota

What’s the holiday season without an ugly sweater contest? 2021 marks the sixth annual Ugly Sweater Crawl for Sarasota. Grab your ugly sweater and join everyone at Raffurty’s at 1888 Main St. Sarasota at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11. Regular tickets can be purchased online that include a holiday shot, koozie, discounted drink specials, an Ugly Sweater Crawl digital map, and an after-party. VIP ticket holders add a t-shirt and an extra holiday shot.

Breakfast With Santa

The little ones will be able to enjoy breakfast with Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 11, beginning at 8 a.m. Tickets include pancakes, fruit, sausage, with coffee, water, or orange juice. You can also get your picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Vendors are available with amazing products along with children’s craft projects. The Major Productions Competition Team kids will also perform a special show. You’ll find Breakfast with Santa at 4730 Seventeenth St.

Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Whether you miss the Venice Christmas Boat Parade or love boat parades so much you want to experience more, there’s the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade. The parade for 2021 will take place on Saturday, Dec. 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Public viewing is available from the Green Bridge Pier, along the Brandenton Riverfront, Pier 22 Restaurant, and Riverhouse Reef and Grill Restaurant. Lighted boats will meet up at Snead Island and parade past the Bradenton Yacht Club, past Pier 22 and Twin Dolphine Marina, then onto the Riverhouse Reef and Grill.

Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony

Sarah Brightman along with her choir and orchestra will provide audiences with show-stopping holiday classics, holiday favorites, and her greatest hits. This one-of-a-kind concert event takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. This show was previously shared at HYMN in Concert, and all tickets are still valid for the Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony show. You can purchase tickets online or at the Van Wezel Box Office.

Sarasota Christmas Glow Run 5k

If running is your idea of holiday fun, then check out the Sarasota Christmas Glow Run 5k on Saturday, Dec. 18. Runners and walkers will begin the 5k course at Nathan Benderson Park, located at 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle. This year’s run will start at 6 p.m. and features lots of Christmas decorations at both the start and finish lines to kick off your holiday season. Tickets are available online and include a tank or tech t-shirt, finisher medal, snacks, free photos, a finish video, and live reports, as well as free glow products.

Christmas Play 2021 – Star Search

On Dec. 19 at 10:30 a.m., the Colonial Baptist Church will present another free, family-friendly holiday musical titled Star Search. The children’s choir will present songs of the holiday season for everyone to enjoy. This event takes place at 2400 Taylor Ranch Trail in Venice.There you have it. Dr. Hamwi and MAXIM Hair Restoration have provided Sarasota’s 11 top holiday events in the Sarasota area that you don’t want to miss this holiday season. If we missed your favorite holiday event, be sure to contact us so we can check it out. We look forward to hearing from you about any of the events you attend and enjoy this year in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Tampa, Fort Myers, Naples and Orlando. Happy holidays from everyone at MAXIM Hair Restoration in Sarasota.