Things to Do

What to Do in Sarasota Oct. 1-7

It's pumpkin festival time, plus a new Bistro at the Sarasota Art Museum opens, a contemporary dance season begins, and more.

By Kay Kipling October 1, 2020

Ready for a pumpkin festival?

Editor’s note: In-person events are subject to change. Please check before venturing out.

 Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival

Oct. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, and 31

Do you feel a fall crispness in the air? Well, maybe, but in any case, this annual fest should put you in the mood for autumn, with its plentiful pumpkins, live music, pony rides, petting zoo, children’s costume contests and more. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday of the month. Admission is free; some rides or activities do have a cost. For info, head to

Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Evolving/Revolving

Oct. 1-4

SCD commences its 15th season by celebrating its past, inviting back choreographers Erin Fletcher, Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo to revisit pieces created earlier but now expanded into evening-length works. Performances are at the Historic Asolo Theater and limited to 50 seats per show with socially distant seating; there’s also a live streaming option for viewers. Call (941) 260-8485 for tickets.

Sarasota Art Museum’s Bistro Opens

Oct. 1

The museum’s new restaurant, Bistro, starts serving its menu of seasonal Florida ingredients and traditional French preparations—think soups, tartines, salads, sandwiches, pastries and more—as SAM welcomes visitors back to its grounds and shop as well. (Exhibition galleries open for members only until Oct. 16, after which the public can return.) Check it out at

Ringling College of Art and Design: Nostalgicons

Ends Oct. 2

It's your last chance to view this exhibit of toys from decades ago, along with other items, photographed and assembled by Ringling alum Ian Dean, in the college's Patricia Thompson Gallery in the Keating building on the campus. You can read more about it here; make an appointment to stop in by emailing [email protected].

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota: Women of Note

Oct. 1-12

The Artist Series kicks off its season online at, with a celebration of female composers of the 19th and 20th centuries featuring soprano Jenny Kim-Godfrey, mezzo soprano Robyn Rocklein, and Gail Berenson and Lee Dougherty Ross at piano. Expect pieces by Fanny Mendelssohn, Clara Schumann, Amy Beach and Marion Bauer, along with cameo appearances by Florida Studio Theatre’s Suffragist Project participants Kate Alexander, Ariel Blue and Meg Gilbert.

HD at the Opera House

Oct. 4

This series of opera and ballet films returns to the Sarasota Opera House, with a screening of Bizet's Carmen at 1:30 p.m. in a production from the Zurich Opera House. Tickets $20; online at or by calling (941) 328-1300. All seats will be reserved and distanced, and face masks are required.

Follow Me: The Virtual Detective

Oct. 7

Looking for something a bit different to spice up your week? How about this interactive virtual adventure, described as “escape room meets true detective.” Over the course of an hour you’ll work with a team to find your missing partner and solve a mystery in a race against the clock. Tickets are $23; for details and participation requirements visit

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