What To Do in Sarasota This Weekend: 11/29/2012

Sarasota events: Sarasota Magazine's Weekend Insider helps you plan your weekend.

By Megan McDonald November 29, 2012

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Your Weekend Top 5

1. Kitty, the Patagonian sea lion,above, is all smiles because she and her BFFs, Rose and Stella, will be wintering at Mote Aquarium.  The special exhibit, “Sea Lions: On the Water’s Edge,” opens Saturday, after a rollicking Sea Lion Soiree Friday night in the Mote courtyard. (Get your tickets for the cocktail dance party, with the Lounge Cat Band, at Lots of events are planned around the exhibit, including daily narrated demonstrations and a sea lion sleepover. Details at

2. The new Bradenton Riverwalk has the blues Saturday, the inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival, that is. Top blues artists like Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster headline the daylong music fest along Bradenton’s newly redeveloped Riverwalk, which overlooks the Manatee River.

3. The big, big Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade is Saturday night on Main Street. More than 4,000 participants are promised, including a certain jolly old fat man in red flannel PJs. Festivities start at 7 p.m.

4. The Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks concerts this weekend are out of this world. Guest conductor Thomas Wilkins conducts the orchestra in Mozart’s soaring Jupiter Symphony and Gustav Holst’s The Planets, against a dramatic backdrop of recent NASA videos. Reach for the stars at And get a great glimpse of the video here.

5. Capture some winter magic Saturday and Sunday at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex when it co-hosts the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club’s annual Ice Show. Taking their spins on the ice will be skaters who run the gamut from beginner to Olympian. Tickets are on sale at Ellenton Ice or online at

Next Week

Nothing like music to bring out the holiday spirit. The Sarasota Orchestra Great Escape Series grants your wish next Wednesday through Sunday with its “Winter Wonderland” concerts at Holley Hall. On the program: a narrated, musical rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas. Tickets at

Performances by seven young scholarship winners from last summer’s Carreño Dance Festival, and an appearance by ballet superstars Jose Carreño and his former American Ballet Theatre partner Julie Kent are part of the festivities when the Sarasota International Dance Festival presents its “A Chance to Dance” gala Tuesday evening at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. For tickets, call (941) 923-6775.

Chef Jeremy Hammond-Chambers of Innovative Dining invites you to his next cooking class Wednesday evening. On his stove, and then happily on your plate: “Southeast Asia to Southern Europe,” featuring five of the world’s classic recipes. Seating is limited; purchase your ticket at

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Free and Freeish

The Hermitage Artist Retreat  hosts its first beach reading of the season Friday, featuring three authors currently in residence at the little piece of paradise on Manasota Key: novelist Jeff Parker and poets Tony Hoagland and Rodrigo Garcia Lopes. The campus opens for tours at 4 p.m.; readings start at 5 p.m. Don’t forget your lawn chair!

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