Things to Do

What to Do in Sarasota Oct. 8-14

Mars on the move, orchids galore, outdoor concerts and more.

By Kay Kipling October 8, 2020

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

The Bishop Planetarium: Mars Viewing Opportunity

Oct. 9

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about how close Mars is to earth this month, and now you have a chance to check it out via telescopes during this evening outdoor observing event. Jupiter and Saturn are along for the ride, too. At 8:45 p.m. on the museum’s North Plaza; $3 for Discovery Society members; $5 for all others. Register here.

Selby Gardens’ 45th Anniversary Orchid Show

Oct. 10-Nov. 29

This year’s orchid extravaganza celebrates the roles of women in Selby’s history with the title Women Breaking the Glasshouse Ceiling, and will showcase not only living flowers but rare books and prints featuring work by female botanical artists. Expect kinetic planters, architectural motifs from the 1920s (when women finally received the right to vote) and period music, too. For full details on programming, visit

The Hermitage Artist Retreat Outdoor Beach Programs

Oct. 9

The popular series returns (with social distancing) with “Genius Loci: A Sense of Place in Story, Music & Poetry,” at 6 p.m. at the Hermitage Beach on Manasota Key. Hermitage artists in residence—composer/bassist Michael Kurth, poet Lynnell Edwards and author Justin Torres—will present excerpts from their works. Admission is free, but you must register at, and masks are strongly encouraged.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Light Up the Night

Oct. 9-Nov. 22

WBTT tries something new with outdoor concerts, featuring soul hits of the 1970s. Performers will sing under the awning along the west side of the theater building, while patrons watch at tables from the closest areas of the parking lot, for social distancing. Tickets will be sold in two-week increments and must be purchased online by noon the day of the performance, which starts at 7:30 p.m. On the program: such hits as “Superstition,” “Let’s Get It On” and “Brick House.” Check it out at

Sarasota-Manatee Originals 'Set The Bar' Cocktail Week

Oct. 12-18

The annual showcase of local beverage talent is a bit different this year (like everything else). Instead of a big one-night cocktail competition and grazing event, there will be seven days and nights of curated, controlled experiences in restaurants around Sarasota and Manatee counties and online. Expect house specialties, discounted drink offers, virtual and in-person mixology classes, and more. Details at

Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival

Oct. 10-11, 17-18, 24-25

Can’t get enough of pumpkins, along with live music, hayrides, a corn maze, petting zoo, and plenty of food? Head to Bradenton’s Hunsader Farms, where all of these traditional fall/Halloween treats await. Admission is $10, parking is $5, and kids 10 and under are free. Masks encouraged for safety. Visit for complete info.

Artist Series: Hanzhi Wang

Oct. 13

Wang is the only accordionist in 59 years to win a place on the Young Concert Artists roster. Confined by travel restrictions to her adopted home of Copenhagen, her Artist Series performance at 11 .m. will be a screening of a pre-recorded solo program, followed by a livestream Q&A. Live at Michael’s On East, where luncheon is available, the concert will also be streamed for an online audience. More at

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