Editor’s note: In-person events are subject to change. Please check before venturing out.
Lights in Bloom
Opening Dec. 11
Selby Gardens’ big, beautiful annual open-air holiday light show returns to the downtown campus, with more than 2 million of the sparklers in place for your delight. Plus, there’s face painting, balloon artistry and photo ops for the kids and you. Advance tickets recommended; food and beverages available for purchase. Open dates are Dec. 11-23, 26 to 30, and Jan. 1 and 2. Enjoy! selby.org
Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
More twinkling lights to enjoy courtesy this annual parade across Sarasota Bay, presented by Suncoast Charities for Children. Best spots for viewing the procession, which starts at 6 p.m., are around Marina Jack, Bayfront Park and Centennial Park. Visit suncoastcharitiesforchildren.org to learn more.
Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony
Keep the Christmas spirit flowing with this concert featuring top-selling soprano Brightman, accompanied by orchestra and choir on some holiday classics you’ll want to sing along with. A Sarasota premiere at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, at 8 p.m. Check it out at vanwezel.org or call (941) 263-6799.
Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks
Conductor Teddy Abrams makes his Sarasota debut (and leads his own composition, Overture in Sonata Form) at these concerts at the Van Wezel. He’s joined by pianist Conrad Tao, who’ll play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Also on the program: Ellen Reid’s Petrichior and Copland’s Appalachian Spring. For tickets, head to sarasotaorchestra.org or call (941) 953-3434.
A Christmas Carol
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a production of Dickens’ famous tale of transformation, and Venice Theatre obliges with the 20th year of its own original musical adaptation, filled with the characters you remember, and maybe a few more besides! Brad Wages plays the miserly Scrooge, about to get his comeuppance in memorable style. Call (941) 488-1115 or go to venicetheatre.org for more.
Southside Village Holiday Stroll
Get your picture taken with Santa, enjoy the Music Compound’s holiday concert, sip hot cocoa, and maybe even try a climbing wall at this fun get-together in Southside. From 5 to 9 p.m., and parking will be available in Sarasota Memorial’s South Parking Garage at U.S. 41 and Hillview. Find out more at southsidevillage.org.
The Showfolks of Sarasota Holiday Circus Festival
The Showfolks have been presenting circus entertainment here for decades, and this fest, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds, promises family-friendly fun with live performances, a kids’ fun zone, pictures with Santa, and even the Flying Wallendas! Did we mention the fireworks Saturday night? For info and tickets, call (941) 870-7444.
Art Center Sarasota
Dec. 9-Jan. 15
The community art center’s season continues with four new exhibitions: Bassmi Ibrahim: A Meditative Experience; Untitled Cup Shop; George Pappas: Selected Works; and Modes of Abstraction, a juried show of abstract works in all media. Opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday. Visit artsarasota.org for more details.
Hermitage at the Bay: Muse(ic) and Poetry
Spend your Sunday afternoon discovering the works of Francine J. Harris, sharing excerpts from Here Is the Sweet Hand, and poet Mae Yway (from Myanmar), who presents work both in her native tongue and in translation. A partnership between the Hermitage Artist Retreat and The Bay Park, at 2 p.m. at the Bay’s Civic Green, 801 N. Tamiami Trail. Free, but $5 per person registration required at hermitageartistretreat.org.
Ring in the Holidays
Dec. 12 and 13
The Pops Orchestra and the 17 musicians of handbell ensemble Ring Sarasota combine talents for a holiday concert, at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Riverview Performing Arts Center and 7:30 p.m. Monday at Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. Book your tickets at thepopsorchestra.org.