Weekend Planner

Your Top 7 Things to Do: Dec. 7-13

The Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, 98˚ at Christmas, Too Hot to Handel and more.

By Ilene Denton December 7, 2017

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98 Degrees

98˚ At Christmas

Dec. 11

‘90s teen heartthrobs Nick Lachy, Drew Lachy, Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre, better known as 98˚, visit the Van Wezel for a night of holiday music to celebrate the release of their new album, Let It Snow. There will be squealing from the audience!


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Greta the Great White from Mote's "Sea Debris" exhibit

Mote’s Sea Debris Sculptures

Opening Dec. 9

Here’s an artful lesson in upping our stewardship of the earth’s oceans: Mote Aquarium will display eight larger-than-life sculptures made entirely of debris washed ashore along Oregon’s coastline starting Dec. 9. “Sea Debris: Awareness Through Art” is a powerful way “to start the conversation regarding an issue that is affecting all of the world’s oceans on a macro- and microscopic scale,” says Evan Barniskis of Mote. Several events are planned until the exhibit closes June 15, including a teen clean-up of City Island Feb. 10; visit mote.org/seadebris for details.

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Dec. 9

Join the throngs heading to Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park Saturday evening for the Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. A flotilla of boats all decked out for the holidays will cross Sarasota Bay starting at 6 p.m. It’s been a Sarasota tradition for 32 years. 

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Sarasota Cuban Ballet School

Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Presents The Nutcracker

Dec. 9

The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School has garnered quite a reputation for excellence; find out for yourself when it presents a classical version of The Nutcracker Saturday evening at the Venice Performing Arts Center. 

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Benjamin Beilman

The Sarasota Orchestra Symphonic Carnival

Dec. 8-10

It’s Leonard Bernstein’s 100th birthday, and the Sarasota Orchestra is commemorating it with a performance of Symphonic Dances from his beloved West Side Story. Also on the program are Berlioz’s Roman Carnival Overture, Suite from The Firebird by Stravinsky and Barber’s Violin Concerto performed by guest soloist Benjamin Beilman. Three performances at the Van Wezel.

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Too Hot to Handel

Image: Barbara Banks

Too Hot to Handel

Dec. 10

Everybody’s favorite Christmas oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, takes on a lively gospel twist thanks to the Choral Artists of Sarasota and soloists from Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, State College of Florida Concert Choir, Festival Singers of Florida and the Manatee Performing Arts High School. Last year’s inaugural concert was so popular they’re moving it to the 1,700-plus-seat Van Wezel.

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Bello Nock

Showfolks 50th Anniversary Circus

Dec. 8-9

This just in: famed daredevil clown Bello Nock will headline the Showfolks of Sarasota circus performances at Robarts Arena this weekend. Showfolks, the alliance of circus artists and executives who’ve lived in and around Sarasota, is marking its 50th anniversary with these performances .  

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98 Degrees Christmas

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Presented by the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall


Sarasota Cuban Ballet School presents "The Nutcracker"

Venice Performing Arts Center

At the Venice Performing Arts Center.

Classical Music

Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks: Symphonic Carnival

Editor’s Pick Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The Masterworks concert series continues with works by Berlioz, Barber, Bernstein and Stravinsky.


Choral Artists of Sarasota Presents “Too Hot to Handel”

Tickets are $25-$75. Student tickets are $15. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The return of "Too Hot to Handel" to take place at the Van Wezel.


Showfolks 50th Anniversary Circus

Editor’s Pick Robarts Arena

Circus performances at Robarts Arena.