7 Must-Do Holiday Attractions Around Bradenton, Florida

Posted on: December 10, 2015

Whether you call Florida’s Suncoast home, or you’re simply passing through, these lighthearted festivities will make your Bradenton visit sparkle with holiday warmth and whimsy!

“Dickens at the Crosley” Theatrical Event

From December 18–20, the Powel Crosley Estate in Sarasota will present an evening of immersive singing, storytelling and playacting. Visitors will embark on a historic adventure against the backdrop of traditional holiday narratives — A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Gentle Giant by Oscar Wilde and The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. These timeless tales are performed in various locations around the estate for a memorable and interactive theatre experience, which the whole family will enjoy.

2015 Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade
On December 12, from 6:30–9:30 p.m., a festive fleet of yachts will set sail down the Manatee River for a floating light spectacle, sponsored by Pier 22 Restaurant and the Twin Dolphin Marina. In order to secure a prime vantage point, attendees should plan on heading to the Green Bridge Pier, Riverhouse Reef & Grill Restaurant in Palmetto, or any spot along the downtown Bradenton Riverwalk. Then, following this parade, an awards ceremony to recognize the most “merrily” decorated vessels will take place at Pier 22.

My Favorite Things: Holiday Skating Spectacle
On December 12, at 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and December 13, at 1:30 p.m., Olympic figure skaters and world-class professionals will transform the Ellenton Ice Rink into a winter wonderland extravaganza. This dazzling showcase is among the Bradenton area’s most unique and unforgettable holiday attractions, and tickets are now on-sale. General admission costs $20 per person, with $15 children and senior citizen rates. In addition, this local rink is also open to the public for ice skating throughout the season.

28th Annual Fine Arts & Crafts Winterfest
From December 12–13, talented homegrown artisans will converge on City Hall Field at Holmes Beach to display their paintings, sculptures and jewelry creations. While browsing these hand-crafted pieces available for sale, visitors can also listen to live music, sample street food, learn about beach preservation and participate in various kid-approved activities. This family friendly afternoon is an ideal opportunity to enjoy the outdoors on picturesque Anna Maria Island and support local artists or small business efforts.

“Sounds of the Season” Outdoor Festival
On December 12, from 5–10 p.m., embrace the Christmas spirit with friends and neighbors alike, as Bradenton residents gather to celebrate with melodies, movies and other seasonal entertainment. This event is presented by the Del Couch Music Foundation and will permeate Old Main Street with that unmistakably joyful cadence of the holidays. So, join in the revelry as downtown Bradenton comes alive with twinkling lights, snow machine flurries, multiple vendors, childlike laughter and community togetherness.

1915 Florida Cracker Christmas Celebration
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On December 13, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., the Manatee Village Historical Park will transport visitors back in time to experience Christmas in the Sunshine State during 1915. This entire greenspace will be decked with Victorian-style adornments to offer a glimpse into the world of yesteryear. Seasonal exhibits, unique arts and crafts, authentic silent films, festive treats and an appearance from Father Christmas will make this attraction particularly memorable. Tickets cost $5 dollars per person for adults, with free admission for kids.

Downtown Christmas In the Park Concert
On December 18, from 4–7:30 p.m., the Manatee Community Concert Band will serenade listeners with their favorite holiday tunes. This open-air concert is will be held at the centrally located Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion, and the public is welcome to attend. Bring chairs or blankets — and maybe even a picnic — then hum along to a selection of time-honored Christmas carols, while relaxing under the stars. Entertaining for all ages, this event promises to make this season “merry and bright” for the whole family.

Do you plan to visit these attractions during the holidays? Do you know any other festivities taking place around Bradenton this time of year? Share your thoughts in the comment section!