Year-end celebration and Christmas in Sarasota

November 29, 2023

In Sarasota, the month of December brings a festive enchantment. The streets light up, creating a magical atmosphere conducive to Christmas celebrations. From illuminations to parades, discover the events that make Sarasota the perfect place to savor the magic of the holiday season.

The famous Christmas tree lighting on December 1st in Sarasota

  • UTC Festival of Trees (December 1 – December 17, 2023): The fourth annual UTC Festival of Trees kicks off on December 1 at the Mall at UTC. Featuring 40 whimsically decorated trees by local charities, the showcase and silent auction offer a festive experience. Admission is free, and you can vote for your favorite trees. The online silent auction runs until December 17, with proceeds benefiting participating charities.
  • Holmes Beach Tree Lighting and Holiday Market (December 1, 2023): Head to the AMI Chamber of Commerce from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. for the Holmes Beach Tree Lighting and Holiday Market on December 1. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m., and businesses will stay open until 8 p.m. Enjoy the holiday spirit at 5313 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, FL.
  • Lakewood Ranch Holiday Tree Lighting and Music on Main (December 1, 2023): Lakewood Ranch presents The Holiday Tree Lighting and Music on Main from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 1. The event features a free concert, block party, and a holiday tree lighting on Main Street at 6 p.m. The evening benefits Children First, and Santa will be there for photos.
  • 45th Annual Holiday Night of Lights (December 1, 2023): Experience the magic of the 45th Annual Holiday Night of Lights on St. Armand’s Circle from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event includes a Christmas Carol Sing-a-long, Santa’s Arrival, and a tree lighting ceremony for a 60′ tall Christmas Tree.

Other Christmas-themed events in Sarasota for the month of December

  • Downtown Sarasota’s Fresh Fridays (December 1, 2023): Downtown Sarasota presents Fresh Fridays with a Frosty The Snowman theme on December 1. From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Selby Five Points Park, enjoy a holiday showcase with carolers, seasonal treats, a snow globe photo booth, and more.
  • Sarasota Christmas Festival (December 1 & 3, 2023): Sarasota Baptist Church hosts the Christmas Festival on December 1st and 3rd, featuring live music, a Christmas village, food, photo areas, petting zoo, and more. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m. at 7091 Proctor Rd, Sarasota, FL.
  • Girl Scouts Gingerbread Festival (December 1 – 10, 2023): Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida presents the 15th Annual Gingerbread Festival at University Town Center from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Free admission to see 100+ gingerbread houses crafted by local schools and organizations.
  • The Rink at UTC (December 1, 2023 – January 2, 2024): Lace up your skates for some wintertime fun at The Rink at UTC, open daily until January 2nd. Hours vary, and it’s located in the East District at UTC, 140 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota, FL.
  • Holiday Splendor at The Ringling (December 7, 2023): Join The Ringling for Holiday Splendor on December 7 with free admission to the museum and Ca’d’Zan mansion for those bringing a new, unwrapped toy. The event supports the Toys for Tots annual toy collection drive.
  • Lights in Bloom at Selby Gardens (December 8, 2023 – January 3, 2024): Selby Gardens presents the 20th annual Lights in Bloom, with over two million lights transforming the gardens into a tropical wonderland. The event runs from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. nightly.
  • Breakfast with Santa (December 16, 2023): Newtown Estates and Laurel Parks host Breakfast with Santa at Laurel Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event includes Christmas music, games, arts and crafts, and a free breakfast for children ages 12 and under.

Christmas parades throughout the month of December in Sarasota

  • Sarasota Holiday Parade (December 2, 2023): The 27th Annual Sarasota Holiday Parade takes place in downtown Sarasota at 7 p.m. Enjoy decorated floats, live marching bands, and the guest of honor, Santa Claus, along Main Street.
  • Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade (December 9, 2023): The Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade starts at 10 a.m., traveling through Holmes Beach and ending at City Pier Park in the City of Anna Maria. A Children’s After Party with Santa follows at City Pier Park until 1 p.m.
  • Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights (December 9, 2023): The Annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights takes place around 6 p.m., starting from City Island and creating a festive display on the water.
  • Pinecraft Christmas Parade (December 25, 2023): The annual Pinecraft Christmas Parade takes place in the Amish and Mennonite Community on Christmas afternoon, starting around 3 p.m. Assemble at Der Dutchman restaurant, 3713 Bahia Vista Street.

New Year’s Eve in Sarasota

  • Pineapple Drop in Downtown Sarasota: Celebrate New Year’s Eve in downtown Sarasota with the annual Pineapple Drop Block Party. The party kicks off at 1 p.m., with the big glowing pineapple dropping at midnight at the intersection of Lemon Avenue and Main Street.
  • New Year’s Eve at Selby Gardens: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Selby Gardens with a black-tie event featuring a private journey through tropical holiday light displays, a seated four-course dinner, a performance by The Sarasota Ballet, and a champagne toast at midnight.
  • New Year’s Rooftop Soiree: The Westin Sarasota presents the New Year’s Rooftop Soiree from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Celebrate with a live DJ, a champagne toast at midnight, and stunning rooftop views of downtown Sarasota.
  • Fireworks on the Bay: Welcome the New Year with the Fireworks on the Bay, a dramatic fireworks show at midnight. The viewing is free from anywhere downtown, including Bayfront Park and Island Park.

Thus concludes the year 2023 in Sarasota, adorned with sparkling lights and shared enjoyable moments. We wish you a holiday season filled with joy.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

The Orquera Florida Team