Weekend Planner

Your Top 7 Things to Do: Dec. 20-26

Lights in Bloom opens at Selby Gardens, last chance to see The Music Man at Asolo Rep and more.

By Ilene Denton December 20, 2018

Lights in Bloom

Selby Gardens’ Lights in Bloom

Dec. 20-23, 26-30 and Jan. 1-6

Two million lights in a rainbow of colors illuminate Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in this merry and bright annual holiday tradition. Live music, food vendors, children’s games and a whole lot more.

Itzhak Perlman

Perlman Music Program Sarasota 

Dec. 22-Jan. 5

Violin superstar Itzhak Perlman and his wife, Toby, once again have brought 31 of the world’s best young string students to Sarasota for the Perlman Music Program (PMP) Suncoast Winter Residency—and there will be nearly two dozen opportunities to hear them perform, most of them free. The fun starts Saturday and culminates Jan. 5 with a 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert at the Opera House. All the details here.

Sarasota Polo 

Dec. 23

The Sport of Kings is gearing up for a new season at the Sarasota Polo club in Lakewood Ranch. Sunday’s match starts at 1 p.m., but tailgating’s half the fun—gates open at 10. 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Dec. 22

The beloved 1964 stop-animation TV show comes to life as a theatrical event on the Van Wezel stage, with “the most famous reindeer of all” and his buddies Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster. Special 6:30 p.m. curtain time so even your youngest kids can attend.

The Music Man

Image: John Revisky

Last chance to see The Music Man

Closes Dec. 29

Calling all procrastinators: The Asolo Rep’s lively production of Meredith Willson’s The Music Man closes Dec. 29. Our own Kay Kipling says it “touches all the right notes.” Learn about leading man Noah Racey here and read her full review here.

Love Actually

Dec. 22

Sarasota Film Festival screens the modern holiday classic film as part of its new Cinematheque series at its new venue at 500 Tallevast Road, near the Sarasota Bradenton airport. Everybody now: All I want for Christmas is you….

Hidden Holiday Treasures

Dec. 22  

Three centuries of festive music are on the program—well, a sample from each of them—when the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Contemporary Dance join for this 75-minute Discoveries concert at the Opera House.

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Special Events

Selby Gardens Lights in Bloom

$20 Members; $25 Guests; Children ages 5 – 12 $7; Kids under 5 Free Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens lights up the holiday season with over one million lights illuminating the garden and walkways.

Classical Music

Perlman Program Suncoast 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert

$40, $60, $80 Sarasota Opera House

Toby and Itzhak Perlman's residency program for gifted string students culminates in this celebration concert.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

$32-$67 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The “most famous reindeer of all” from the longest-running holiday television special flies into the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in this live theatrical event.

Classical Music

Hidden Holiday Treasures

From $25 Sarasota Opera House

Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Contemporary Dance will come together in a concert that includes three centuries of festive music.