Bradenton weekend guide for Dec. 24-26: Holiday fun, music and shows

The last weekend of December 2021 is almost here. If you need help finding something to do, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton and Sarasota this weekend, Dec. 24-26, 2021.

Holiday circus show

Sailor Circus Academy’s annual youth circus showcase is back to provide some family-friendly holiday cheer between Christmas and New Year’s. “Let it Snow” features acrobatics, aerial arts, juggling, roller skating and more.

A negative COVID-19 test or record of full vaccination is required to attend.

  • Details: 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday. Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota. $20-$35.
  • Info:

Enchant Christmas brings a winter wonderland to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The experience is open on select nights through Jan. 2, 2022. Provided Image Enchant Christmas

Enchant Christmas

Step into a scene from a winter snow globe at Enchant Christmas, a holiday wonderland inside Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The fun-for-all-ages event includes a walkable light maze, a kids’ zone, ice skating, food and drink and a Nordic-inspired shopping market.

St. Petersburg is one of four cities nationwide to host the event this year.

  • Details: Event days and hours vary. Open through Jan. 2. Tropicana Field, 1 Tropicana Dr., St. Petersburg. $25-$35.
  • Info:

“Lights in Bloom” at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens turns the Sarasota attraction’s grounds into a vivid holiday display by night. Cliff Roles Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Lights in Bloom

“Lights in Bloom” transforms Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota into an illuminated winter wonderland.

More than two million lights are in place to illuminate Selby’s gardens and walkways.

The event also includes arts and crafts, activities, entertainment and holiday photo ops. Food and drink will be available for purchase in the gardens.

The event is sold out for this year, but the gardens remain open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily for regular visiting hours. Sights include a bromeliad and orchid conservatory, bamboo, banyan and fern displays and a koi pond. Closed Christmas Day.

Details: Lights in Bloom held 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11-23, 26-30 and Jan. 1-2. Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Adults: $25. Ages 5-17: $7. Children under 5: Free. SOLD OUT.

WBTT_Joyful 1.jpg
Artists featured in “Joyful! Joyful!” include (from left to right): Michael Mendez, Canela Vasquez, Katherine Taylor, Marta McKinnon and Raleigh Mosely II. Sorcha Augustine Provided Image

‘Joyful! Joyful!’

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is showing an original holiday music revue created by theater founder and director Nate Jacobs.

Titled “Joyful! Joyful!,” the musical production includes “a blend of new takes on traditional holiday tunes, gospel-infused classics and pop songs,” a show preview says.

Numbers include: “’Joy to the World,’ an O’Jays-inspired take on ‘Carol of the Bells,’ a gospel-infused rendition of Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ ‘African Drummer Boy’ and many more,” the preview says.

  • Details: 2 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Campus 1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota. Adults: $50. Students and active military: $20.
  • Info:

Farmers’ markets

The Beach Market at Coquina Beach offers fresh produce, arts and crafts, jewelry and apparel, health and beauty items, music and more on Anna Maria Island. The market will be held on Wednesdays and Sundays in December through March.

The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch boasts more than 50 local vendors. Offerings include produce, prepared foods and breads, crafts, plants and pet treats. Local musicians are another regular feature at the market.

Oneco Farmers Market is open seven days a week. The permanent market boasts more than 100 vendors in one location, including meats and seafood, fresh produce, sweets and treats. There are also restaurants and arts and crafts vendors to check out, and the market frequently hosts free community events.

  • Details: Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Oneco Farmers Market, 5108 15th St. E., Bradenton.
  • Info:

Sarasota Farmers Market brings vendors selling arts and crafts, goods and services, produce, food, plants and more to downtown Sarasota. There’s also live music to enjoy.

See a movie

Ruskin Family Drive-In: In operation since 1952, this drive-in plays classic flicks, family favorites and new movies.

There are two options for audio: bring a portable radio or leave your car radio turned on during the film. You can also bring folding chairs to set up outside of the vehicle (bug repellent is recommended if you go this route). Admission is good for both movies.

Sing 2 (PG): 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

The Grinch (PG): 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

Details: 5011 U.S. 41 N., Ruskin. Ages 9 and up: $6. Ages 5-8: $1. Cash only. $5 fee for bringing your own food. Alcohol not permitted.


Sarasota Film Society: Sarasota Film Society’s Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota theaters are a great place to catch a weekend flick. Screenings include independent and art films as well as blockbusters. Check the society’s website for the current lineup of movies. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated guests.

Cinema fans can also continue to stream SFM’s latest offerings in the world of independent and thought-provoking film from home with the purchase of a virtual movie experience.

  • Details: Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive 8, Sarasota and Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota. Online streaming available any time.
  • Info: 941-955-3456.

Other Bradenton area movie theaters:

  • AMC Bradenton 20, 2507 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton. 941-752-3796.

  • AMC Sarasota 12, 8201 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 941-922-4900.

  • CMX CinéBistro Siesta Key, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail #1100, Sarasota. 941-361-2456.

  • Regal Oakmont, 4801 Cortez Rd. W., Bradenton. 844-462-7342.

  • Regal Hollywood, 1993 Main St., Sarasota. 844-462-7342.

robinson preserve
5/30/21–Things to do at Robinson Preserve include hiking, bicycling, rollerblading, paddling, fishing, bird watching and more. Ryan Ballogg [email protected]

Get outdoors

With pleasant weather forecast for Bradenton this weekend, it’s a a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air.

Kayaking, fishing, hiking and bicycling are all on the table.

Still need some ideas? We recommend Robinson Preserve, Palma Sola Botanical Gardens, De Soto National Memorial or Myakka River State Park.

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Ryan Ballogg is a news reporter and features writer at the Bradenton Herald. Since joining the paper in 2018, he has received awards for features, art and environmental writing in the Florida Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Competition. Ryan is a Florida native and graduated from University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
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