Weekend Planner

Your Top 8 Things to Do: Oct. 26-Nov. 1

Sarasota Ballet opens its season with The Secret Garden, Fright Night on St. Armands and more.

By Ilene Denton October 26, 2017

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The Sarasota Ballet production of Will Tuckett's The Secret Garden.

Sarasota Ballet presents Will Tuckett’s The Secret Garden

Oct. 27-29

Inventive puppetry enlivens this delightful, highly creative full-length ballet based on the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett book, which opens the Sarasota Ballet’s season with five performances at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. If you missed the world premiere in 2014, don’t make that same mistake! 

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John Nemeth headlines Giving Hunger the Blues.

Giving Hunger the Blues

Oct. 28  

The big outdoor music festival has moved to the bayfront lawn of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and it’s added a Jazz on the Bay stage with national headliner Marion Meadows and his band, plus seven more local and regional jazz artists. Headlining the R&B stage are nationally recognized blues artists John Nemeth and Albert Castiglia. The festival is part of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County’s InspireSarasota! festivities, and proceeds benefit the Mayors’ Feed the Hungry Program and the Generoso Foundation.

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Selby Spooktacular 2016

Selby Spooktacular

Oct. 29

Family fun at Selby Gardens, with trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, seed planting and, for older kids, a mad scientist experiment center. Michael’s On East is bringing out the grill for lunch fare, and an ice cream truck will be there, too. Details here.

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Image: Shutterstock

Fright Night on St. Armands

Oct. 31

As the witching hour approaches, one of the area’s biggest Halloween celebrations transforms St. Armands Circle with decorated storefronts, frightening creatures, trick or treating, a costume contest and, at 8 p.m., a performance of Thriller by the Sarasota High School drama department. Get the scoop on other area Halloween activities here.

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FST Improv

FST Improv presents We're Doomed

Oct. 27

In honor of Halloween, a one-night-only performance by the frightfully funny FST Improv of We’re Doomed, billed as “a fully improvised horror movie inspired by a title provided by the audience.” Fun. 

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Chicago (the band, not the Broadway show)

Oct. 30

The legendary rock ‘n’ roll band, Chicago, returns to the Van Wezel stage Monday night to ask the musical question, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is?” with more hits from its 25 platinum-selling albums. 

Urbanite Theatre presents White Rabbit Red Rabbit

Through Nov. 5

Fresh from an intriguing run at the Ringling International Arts Festival, this play by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour is never the same twice, since the actor who performs it receives instructions from the playwright only as he or she comes onstage. Learn more here.

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MOD Weekend Kickoff Party and the Eames chair auction.

MOD Kickoff Party at the BOTA Center

Oct. 27

Sarasota’s fourth annual MOD Weekend is Nov. 10-12, but festivities start early with a kickoff party Friday evening at the BOTA Center on Boulevard of the Arts in the Rosemary District. Ten Sarasota artists and architects, including Jean Blackburn, Jorge Blanco and Carl Abbott, will unveil 10 iconic Eames chairs that they have painted or somehow else made their own. The chairs then will be on display at Home Resource through MOD Weekend, when they will be auctioned off to benefit the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. Tickets to the kickoff party can be purchased here.  

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Giving Hunger the Blues 2017

Editor’s Pick $20 to $135 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Sarasota’s pre-eminent outdoor music festival is back for its 21st year, rain or shine, on the bayfront grounds of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.


Selby Spooktacular

Editor’s Pick Included with admission to Selby Gardens Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Selby Gardens' family-friendly Halloween party.

Special Events

Fright Night on St. Armands

Free St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle's annual Halloween party, with trick or treating and a performance of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."


FST Improv presents "We're Doomed"

Editor’s Pick Florida Studio Theatre

A special one-night-only Halloween improv show.


Van Wezel presents Chicago

$113.47 - $151.45 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The legendary rock 'n' roll band


White Rabbit Red Rabbit

Editor’s Pick Urbanite Theatre

The Urbanite Theatre presents a unique theater-entertainment-meets-social-experiment play.


MOD Weekend Kickoff Party

Editor’s Pick $20 BOTA Center

Join Sarasota Architectural Foundation and fellow architecture and design enthusiasts for a preview of the 2017 SarasotaMOD Midcentury Modern Architecture Festival.