Things to Do

What to Do in Sarasota: Dec. 10-16

Selby Gardens lights up for the holidays, a Beethoven concert, Cabaret by the Bay and more.

By Kay Kipling December 10, 2020


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

Lights in Bloom

Beginning Dec. 12

The annual open-air holiday light show returns to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens downtown, with more than 2 million lights on display in a socially distanced setting. Activities include spray-on face painting, balloon artistry and photo ops, but Santa will not be visiting this year, and there will not be interactive games. Food and beverage available for purchase. Dates are Dec. 12-23, Dec. 26-30, and Jan. 1 and 2, from 6 to 9 p.m. each night. Tickets at

A Christmas Carol

Beginning Dec. 10

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a live stage version of the Dickens classic, and The Players Centre for Performing Arts obliges with this one-man play featuring Jim Floyd as Charles Dickens himself, forced to present his own tale from memory after his luggage is lost on an 1867 American reading tour. The show takes place at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime Dec. 10-12, 16-17 and 19 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets here.

Sarasota Art Museum: Janaina Tschäpe: Between the Sky and the Water

Dec. 14-May 2

German-born, New York-based artist Tschäpe gets a mid-career retrospective at the contemporary art museum, which will exhibit more than 80 of her works in a wide range of media. SAM executive director Anne-Marie Russell says Tschäpe’s work presents “re-imaginings of evolutionary vision and memory.” There will be other events open to the public associated with the show; for full details go to

Lanterns on the Lake

Dec. 12

Nathan Benderson Park’s lake is the setting for this holiday-ish event, which allows you to launch a lantern on the water (or have it launched for you, if you prefer), from 4 to 7:30 p.m. It’s a way to set your hopes, feelings and memories alight as you wish for a better 2021. Limited to 1,500 participants; each gets a lantern, battery-powered tealight and markers in a reusable bag. For details, visit

Sarasota Orchestra: Beethoven @250

Dec. 10-13

Can you believe the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven would have turned 250 this year? He’s looking good, with many concerts in his honor around the world, including right here in Holley Hall, where the Sarasota String Quartet pays tribute with his String Quartet No. 4 and String Quartet No. 10, nicknamed the “Harp.” Tickets at

Cabaret by the Bay

Dec. 11 and 12

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall offers another live concert in its Grand Foyer, this one featuring jazz vocalist Whitney James performing classic holiday tunes. At 7:30 p.m. each night; the table seating is limited. Go to for tickets.

Dave Koz & Friends; Jagged Live in NYC

Dec. 12; Dec. 13

The Van Wezel is also presenting two virtual concerts this weekend, one the annual Dave Koz & Friends holiday show, featuring “The Greatest Hits of Christmas 2020,” at 8 p.m.; the other a reunion of the Broadway cast of Tony-nominated musical Jagged Little Pill, at 8 p.m. the following evening. For tickets to stream the events, go to

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