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Peak season also means top entertainment

by Roger Pettingell

Local theater and the Van Wezel shows

First in a four-part series of festivals, dance, plays and classical concerts

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Concerts, performances and shows nearly every night in season.

Last week I discussed the homes that were activated for peak season, which is rapidly approaching us. That is the real estate market. The next three weeks in a series I will be discussing the entertainment in this area, a series that begins today with the long running theater plays and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall performances scheduled. In following weeks the festivals, cultural and upcoming black tie events will each have their day in the sun spotlight.

Nearly every day, November through May, the Van Wezel has top quality entertainment. With the Quay project looming and this iconic structure mixed in with the discussion, there may only be a few years left for the Van Wezel as we know it. The city has long thought of the structure as a cultural and architectural landmark since it was opened on January 5, 1970. It sits on part of the 52-acre land destined to become a Bayfront park, entertainment, restaurant and housing venue.

Until then we can continue to enjoy performances from world renown comedians and concerts from some of the best touring bands. This year will mark the 50th season of classical orchestra performances and 50th season of Broadway shows, celebrated through subscriptions to each. Last year the Van Wezel experimented a little by bringing in a short run of the Lion King.

The annual events that are popular are returning once again this year, starting with Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock ‘N Roll. This full cast of rock musicians and singers bring back the golden age of Rock and Roll on November 1. Around the holidays the special shows abound each year. There are two shows on December 28 of Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. Each year the Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert is a tradition, this year on January 2.

Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Back for a mini-run from January 7-12, The Book of Mormon returns to the Van Wezel with its musical comedy, the story of missionaries sent half-way around the world to spread their opposing views of the Lord’s message. From the creators of the show South Park, this sensational hit has been sold out in other performances so you may want to find out what all the fuss is about and order tickets for The Book of Mormon early.

The remainder of the schedule is filled in with comedians such as Steve Martin & Martin Short on January 23, returning by popular demand. Touring bands and tribute concerts to the greats are also on the schedule. This year they have scheduled a three-night run of the Waitress from January 24-26. Classical music is on stage with the Sarasota Orchestra November 8, The Great Performer Series with six concerts January 15 through March 30 and an Itzhak Perlman recital March 21. All these shows have the chance of selling out, order tickets soon online.

Local theater is thriving too, a continuation from the summer months. The quality of acting in Sarasota and Bradenton rivals some of the bigger cities. These are some of the reasons Sarasota and Bradenton were voted 1-2 respectively in American Style Magazine’s top arts destinations in the nation for populations of 100,000 or less.

The Underpants, a play written by comedian Steve Martin is currently running through October 20 at the Players Centre for the Performing Arts in Sarasota. Martin adapted the script from a 1911 German play by Carl Sternheim. This comedy “covers” unmentionables that exist under trousers.

Next up at the Players Centre for the Performing Arts, The Fantasticks is a Broadway musical to hit our stage October 23 through November 10. It tells the story of Luisa and Matt who fall in love on the urging of their fathers.

Venice Theatre celebrates 70 years in the 2019-2020 season. Now running is The Bikinis, songs from the Jersey shore in 1964, ending October 20. We all know that ABBA sang Mamma Mia and the Venice Theatre is bringing the musical set on a Greek island to the stage which runs from October 25 through December 1. Assisted Living the Musical is a comedy of the Home, for the Holidays starting November 29 and ending December 22. A Christmas Carol has been performed on the Venice stage for 20 years, a classic December 13-21.

Thursdays through Sundays, but not on Tuesdays, is the autobiographical story of journalist Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie which runs until October 27 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. The story is actually about his former college professor Morrie Schwartz and his influence on the life of the journalist. The venue has two stages, Tuesdays with Morrie is on the smaller Kiwanis Theater with general admission festival seating.

On the larger Stone Hall stage beginning October 24 is Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story. In his short, three year span he helped shape the history of Rock N Roll before his tragic plane crash in 1959 that also killed Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and pilot Roger Peterson, The Day the Music Died. The music doesn’t die on stage until the last performance on November 10. Get your tickets for all the performances at the Manatee Performing Arts Center here.

Back in Sarasota Antigone is set at a time in ancient Thebes and the death of Antigone’s brother, condemned without a burial for his alleged treasonous actions as ordered by King Creon. Antigone faces the consequences and the moral dilemma for his defiance by performing the sacred burial ritual. It runs October 30 through November 17 at the Asolo Conservatory.

Florida Studio Theatre
Florida Studio Theatre - Bright Star has a long run

Another Steve Martin comedy Bright Star is brought to the Florida Studio Theatre stage for a long run, November 8 through January 3. This is banjo and bluegrass in the Blue Ridge Mountains, whose stories by Billie are rejected by the editor of the Asheville Southern Journal. It has a happy ending with published stories and along with it a love affair with Alice, the editor.

Holiday shows emphasize the spirit of the season

One of the first holiday shows is The Thanksgiving Play at the Urbanite Theatre, November 8 through December 15. It is a satire on the Native Americans, Pilgrims and the annual tradition we have celebrated for a few centuries. Political correctness is overcome by the awkward actions of the all-white Thanksgiving pageant organizers.

If you can’t get enough of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life, the Jimmy Stewart movie of George Bailey’s tragic life and its turnaround, follow this musical twist to the movie in Stone Hall of the Manatee Performing Arts Center. This is a “wonderful” adaptation for the entire family December 5-22.

Coinciding with It’s a Wonderful Life in Bradenton, Every Christmas Story Ever Told runs in the Kiwanis Theater. Three actors perform every play, song and tradition of Christmas. And they do it in one night with limited engagements December 5-22.

Another adaptation, Radio Show Christmas Carol, the original Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits who visit him to alter his perception of Christmas. This play is a narration by DraMature at the Carnegie Library in Palmetto, December 12-22. DraMature is the senior acting troupe of the Manatee Players and tickets can be purchased through the Manatee Performing Arts Center website.

Returning to the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe for six shows, but performed at the Sarasota Opera House, December 4-6 and December 18-20, is the popular A Motown Christmas. Created, adapted and directed by WBTT founder and artistic director Nate Jacobs, the revue blends traditional songs of Christmas with popular songs made famous by Motown greats.

There is plenty of holiday cheer at the Van Wezel starting with the Broadway musical Cirque Dreams Holidaze, two performances November 22-23. The popular and returning Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour features the Grammy nominated star and the musical talent that surrounds him for this one-night show November 29. The Celtic Angels Christmas on December 1 is Irish dancing, instrumentals and spectacular singing by five Celtic Angels. Dance to the Holidays is a first-time entry into the Christmas itinerary at the Van Wezel December 4. Under the Streetlamp: Hip to the Holidays is December 12 followed by The Ten Tenors – Home for the Holidays December 22. Ebenezer is back on stage for a Christmas Carol for one show the following night.

A new year and plenty to offer during the winter months

REALTALK interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in REALTALK™ #101.

The plays pick up after the holidays with Caroline, or Change at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, January 8 through February 16. American race culture is questioned through this musical that portrays life in the South and the dead-end laundry job of Caroline Thibodeaux. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is featured in this REALTALK™ #101 video.

In Gulf View Drive, relatives ascend on a couple’s Siesta Key dream home shortly after moving cross country. The play runs January 10-26 at the Venice Theatre. Menopause The Musical coincides with the running January 10 through February 2. They are followed up by Yard Sale, a musical about junk February 7 to March 8 and Guys and Dolls, February 21 to March 22.

We had Underpants with Steve Martin, Into the Breeches, women get to wear the pants to portray Shakespearean plays, normally performed by men. But this is 1942 in the fictional Oberan Play House while the men were fighting overseas in World War II. This play opens February 12 and runs through March 21 in the Asolo Repertory Theatre of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Also get tickets for upcoming Asolo productions of The Sound of Music, Murder on the Orient Express, The Lifespan of a Fact and The Great Leap. These shows and many more can be found on our Upcoming Events page.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of any of our new listings or reactivated listings, or if you have a property to sell or buy.

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Nate Jacobs promotes his dream at WBTT

by Roger Pettingell

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

A construction capital campaign close to its goal is 'Heartbeats Away'

REALTALK interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
A 2016 interview with Founder and Artistic Director Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in REALTALK™ #101 ends with a song and dance.

On the last day of 2018 I highlighted some of the new construction projects in Sarasota and the surrounding keys. In that REALTALKplus™ article the capital campaigns of several non-profits were included. The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is one of them. Their programs have expanded beyond the walls of its current building that has blossomed the careers of many actors.

The educational and theatrical programs provided by the WBTT have been ongoing for 19 years. During that time Artistic Director and Founder Nate Jacobs has provided quality performances, while drawing crowds from all nationalities and bridging any divide in the community. Our desire for the cultural arts make us all one in Sarasota.

The 2018-19 campaign is critical for the theatre to expand to the next level. To support the enthusiasm Nate Jacobs has brought back the most requested shows and put them together as their “Command Season”. Performances include tributes to the great artists such as the wonderfully talented Aretha Franklin. The Prince of Soul tribute to singer, song-writer and Motown producer Marvin Gaye that continues through Sunday was written and adapted for the stage by Nate Jacobs. A list of their musicals and plays this year reads like an anthology of great stage productions.

The “Heart & Soul Campaign” for a building makeover is climbing to its goal of $8 million, of which $6.5 million has been raised through charitable donations. Every gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to a maximum $200,000 so your donation doubles in size. Naming rights are still available to their newly renovated Education & Outreach Building.

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe building
The remodeling of the WBTT Education & Outreach building in Sarasota was completed in April. The MainStage theater and seating on the Orange Avenue complex is about to be remodeled, beginning in May.

The planned theater will transform the existing building into an entirely new exciting first-class venue. When you first walk in your new experience will begin with a larger remodeled lobby. Seats will be expanded to 200 and remodeled with comfortable theater-style furniture. Your new experience continues with a redesigned MainStage, new lighting and sound system. Larger restrooms are planned for your convenience. Behind the scenes there will be upgraded dressing rooms, with new costume and prop areas. A second stage will be used for rehearsals and for student learning.

Education and outreach has been one of the founding principles of WBTT. The Stage of Discovery is a summer intensive program offered free to students ages 13 to 18. Not only will students develop their artistic skills taught by experienced professionals, they are challenged to become a greater person in society. Funding for this worthwhile program continues through charitable donations. The community continues its social growth through these gifts.

Special productions celebrating legacies and showcasing upcoming artists often appear on the WBTT schedule. On January 21 the troupe will present, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Celebrating his Legacy in the Spoken Word and Song, at the VPA Theatre in Booker High School. The Kid is Alright, an evening with Maicy Powell will highlight this young artist’s career on February 4 in the theatre where she began her talented story.

Black Nativity performed by the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
An annual favorite request of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is the Black Nativity, two-act musical. The holiday show written by Langston Hughes was expanded to more days in December and moved to the Sarasota Opera House to accommodate more guests.

One of the more lasting impressions on the community is the Black Nativity, a Langston Hughes’ Broadway adaptation by Nate Jacobs. Community support for this holiday-time performance has escalated where this year extra shows were added. The current WBTT stage was undersized for demand that a move to the Sarasota Opera House was needed to include a larger stage and more seating capacity. Sold out shows continued through its five days in December.

Delight in upcoming shows, The Amen Corner by James Baldwin beginning January 23, Love Sung in the Key of Aretha, with its first date on March 13. When these two theatrical runs complete, the seats will be removed and the building will begin its transformation into a first-class theater. Construction is expected to begin in May of this year. The dream of Nate Jacobs will continue to thrive and the city will be better for it. Everything of good in life comes with a little patience.

The first listing of 2019 at $4,040,000 on Bird Key
First 2019 Listing - 212 Bird Key Drive, Sarasota

When the Pineapple dropped in downtown Sarasota at Midnight last Monday I completed another county record with $106,112,445 in volume sales. This is the ninth time in eleven years I was the top-producing single agent in Sarasota. The average sale price was $1,493,853 and last week I highlighted some of the most significant properties sold in 2018. I draw your attention to my first listing of 2019, a $4.04 million estate at 212 Bird Key Drive. This is a unique new waterfront home that boasts an incredible garage with space up to 11 cars. Even that can be expanded with space for a lift at its center and a sturdy second floor. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
212 Bird Key Drive $4,040,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Theaters in the arts cultural city, Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Variety in Sarasota's performing arts

Most venues within walking distance downtown

Entrance to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Top celebrities perform here in over 100 events each year.

The opportunities for attending a play, musical or concert downtown is pleasantly astonishing. That is one reason why voters of American Style Magazine ranked Sarasota as the top arts destinations in the nation for populations of 100,000 or less. The histories of the venues are as intriguing as the performances themselves, starting with one of the most notable in the area, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Performances at the Van Wezel are scheduled year round and are mostly one-day shows from well-known stars that are on a route that includes The Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. With over 100 performances scheduled this year, more than half are of cultural significance with ballet, Sarasota orchestra and town hall lectures. More than 25,000 students in the neighboring four counties are introduced to the arts each year here.

Attending a show at the Van Wezel is an experience in itself. Arrive early to stroll the banks of Sarasota Bay or socialize with others with fine dining at Mattison's Bayside. Even the color of hall is a sample of royalty, a purple and violet combination suggested by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, the widow of famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Although there are 1,736 seats in the hall, the more popular artists do sell out their shows. The future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is in question as community leaders discuss the acres of property on the bayfront, either to replace the building constructed in 1969 or to design a downtown community that includes this historic structure.

Long tradition of opera at the Sarasota Opera House

Sarasota Opera House
The Sarasota Opera House, open since 1926.

You can walk among the theaters in downtown Sarasota, some that are close to the Van Wezel. The Sarasota Opera House is host to operas, a venue for the annual Sarasota Film Venue each April or the upcoming Sarasota Music Festival, June 8-24. Opened originally in 1926, the building that seats 1,119 patrons was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Currently the opera house is owned by the Sarasota Opera Association, it was once used as a performance hall that included stars such as Will Rogers and Elvis Presley. The Greatest Show on Earth movie had its world premiere at the opera house in 1952 with its stars Charlton Heston and Dorothy Lamour in attendance. The summer HD at the Opera House series begins its run May 21 with high definition operas, ballets and plays including The Marriage of Figaro, Tristan and Isolde, Madama Butterfly, Faust, Swan Lake and Macbeth.

The Players Centre for the Performing Arts seeks a new beginning

Across Tamiami Trail near the Van Wezel is the Players Centre for the Performing Arts with more than 86 years of performances in downtown Sarasota. Actors bring some of the best Broadway plays of the day to the stage with daily performances. Their Summer Sizzler Series begins June 14 and includes such plays as Beau Jest, The Marvelous Wonderettes and Arsenic and Old Lace. The series concludes with the premiere of the New Play Festival winner, Mammoth Bones, August 22-27. The organization may lose its downtown location, having put the building up for sale this month. Its plans are for a three-theatre complex in Lakewood Ranch to be built within three years.

Social gatherings for the arts with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

REALTALK interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Interview with Nate Jacobs of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in REALTALK™ #101.

Nearby is the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe on 10th Way downtown, entertaining audiences with plays and musical performances by talented local actors. It was founded in 1999 by its current artistic director, Nate Jacobs. The WBTT is expanding also with its current Heart & Soul Campaign that is raising funds for a new performance hall that will accommodate more guests and continue to sell out their shows. A popular show each December is the Black Nativity which has become a tradition of the troupe. Nate Jacobs adapted this show from the poetry of Langston Hughes. Currently running is the play, Dearly Departed, a comedy about a funeral for the family’s departed father. I proudly sit on the board of directors for the WBTT.

A village of theaters within a city at Florida Studio Theatre

A number of theaters in one block comprise the Florida Studio Theatre complex of Keating, Gompertz, Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets, and Bowne's Lab Theatre. Since 1973 the theaters provide the heart for a series of mainstage productions, cabarets, education and new play development in contemporary settings. Every Saturday the FST Improv Troupe delight audiences with their improvisational comedy shows. Now in its ninth year, FST invites improv troupes from around the globe to the Sarasota Improv Festival for three days. This year, July 13-15, there are 22 troupes competing in the festival.

Historic Asolo, Cook and Mertz at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts

On the grounds of the Ringling Museum is the home of the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, a series of three theaters. Originally constructed in 1798 in the Italian town that bears its name, for 132 years the Historic Asolo Theater was the home of famed Italian actors and actresses when it was dismantled in 1930 and placed in storage. Following World War II the Ringling purchased the theater and its four tiers of seats to be placed on the grounds of the museum. There it remained in a gallery until the late 50s when it was reconstructed as a home for modern theatre. It was moved once again to its current location on Bay Shore Road on the museum grounds and renamed the Historic Asolo Theater. The building will be closed to tours and performances through June 1, as the new Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion is in construction next to it. The first performance is scheduled June 13 through July 29 with Bello Nock, a comedic acrobat in IncrediBello!

Asolo Repertory Theatre
The world premiere of Beatsville is the current repertory production in the Mertz Theatre.

Across the street are the Mertz and Cook theatres, home of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. The Mertz Theatre has a similar history as the Historic Asolo Theater, first constructed as an opera house in Dunfermline, Scotland where it stood for 86 years before it was purchased for the Ringling and moved here in 1903. The 500-seat theatre is in use primarily for plays by the Asolo Repertory company, a group of professional actors. The smaller 161-seat Cook Theatre in the same building is used as a theater for small-cast repertory shows and for the Florida State University MFA Acting program. No more than 12 students are admitted to this storied College of Fine Arts program that has been training actors for 40 years. The Theatre is named after Jane Bancroft Cook, a philanthropist and heir to the family owned Dow Jones & Company, where she served on its board for 36 years before her death in 2002.

There are other theaters and cinemas in the area and many more from Bradenton to Venice, the heritage this city has for arts and entertainment date back to John Ringling and his circus. It is one of the many reasons that many people take up residence here in this part of sunny Florida. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

References to other entertainment venues in Sarasota

Highlight of fall 2016 events

by Roger Pettingell

An increased activity of arts and festivals

Local venues ramp up as snowbirds are welcomed back

Aerial view of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
Aerial view of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center

This is the final week of summer, hope you had an enjoyable season. Now we head into fall and the festival and arts seasons are warming up. Soon the snowbirds will have returned and the schedule of events increase. Dormant venues come alive with a full slate of arts. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center has a new show practically every night with high quality performances from the touring stars. The local theatres have presented their line-up of plays and the annual festivals have announced their themes for the 2016-2017 season.

In just a few short weeks The Ringling International Arts Festival kicks off a four-day event schedule with its opening ceremony, a celebration of Brazilian culture in the museum courtyard. Performances also start on that opening day, October 13 with acts from around the world. Doug Elkins performs a choreographed show in the Asolo Repertory Theatre while the Eighth Blackbird can be seen in the Historic Asolo Theatre. These two shows start on opening day and continue for three days. Gravity & Other Myths will be performed all four days of the festival in its appropriate venue, the Ringling Circus Museum. In total there are 11 different performances of one-day, two-day and other three-day lectures, concerts and live shows to experience.

An annual celebration of Midcentury Modern Architecture, Sarasota MOD, attracts worldwide renown architects to the area in order to further their profession. The 2016 event presented by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation showcases one the leaders of the Sarasota School of Architecture, Victor Lundy. The three-day event begins Friday, November 11.

An opening reception for Old Florida, a 21st Century Interpretation will be held October 7 in the Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The art exhibition runs through November 11 with paintings by Joseph Arnegger, Tim Jaeger and Tom Stephens. As part of the Ringling College of Art and Design, the Center for the Arts presents a curriculum for artists that want to continue their education or for those adults who wish to learn a new hobby for their retirement years.

Fright Night international guests
These international guests get into the spirit for Fright Night on Halloween in St. Armands Circle.

In October St. Armands Circle starts its fall series of car, boat and art shows. The Wilde on the Water Jaguar Festival and Concours for one day is hosted by The Sun Coast Jaguar Club on October 1. The following Saturday is the seventh annual Taste of St. Armands with 19 restaurants around the circle competing for top recognition. The St. Armands Boat Show is a weekend show in the circle October 22-23. One of the most well-attended events on the circle is the annual Fright Night on St. Armands, a spectacular of sights and sounds in celebration of Halloween on October 31. Be certain to stick around for the local high school zombie dance performance to the song Thriller by Michael Jackson.

Cars return to the circle November 5. The Ferrari Owners Club of the Florida region will display 75 cars competing for Best in Show in Ferrari's on the Circle. The last car show of the 2016 fall season is the Porsches in the Park event on December 10, now in its 12th year. Veterans are honored Friday, November 11, with special discounts. For the next two days that weekend the circle will come alive with the combined St. Armands Circle Annual Fall Sidewalk Sale and the 28th Annual St. Armands Art Festival, just in time for holiday shopping. And if that doesn’t get you into the holiday spirit, the 38th Annual Holiday Night of Lights on St. Armands, December 2 is filled with events such as the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. Of course Santa will be there for the kids.

Theatre comes alive during this time too. The Wiz, a loose Wizard of Oz interpretation, will start October 12 at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and run for over a month through November 19. Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves has a long run at Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota from October 5 through January 29. The Players Centre for the Performing Arts will run the play Gypsy from September 28 through October 16. Young Frankenstein follows November 2-20. The Sunshine Boys will run at the Venice Theatre, September 27 through October 16. Venice Theatre will also be home to the play Toxic Avenger September 30 through October 23. Billy Elliot, a musical, will start November 8 at Venice Theatre and run through December 4. Get Out of Dodge runs at the Venice Theatre, November 3-20.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center has a variety of concerts, comedians and performances. Celtic Thunder, Doo Wop Spectacular, Mary Chapin Carpenter and ZZ Top are performances in October. Political satirists Capitol Steps, start a November series of acts. The holidays begin with themed concerts by Mannheim Steamroller, Decades Rewind, Dave Koz, Melissa Etheridge and Jim Brickman.

Ski-A-Rees water ski acrobats
Ski-A-Rees - Water ski acrobatics are performed every Sunday in their Ken Thompson Park stadium.

Since 1957 the Ski-A-Rees have thrilled crowds with their acrobatic water skiing. The first show of the season was earlier this month, held for free in Ski-A-Rees Stadium at their Ken Thompson Park location on City Island. The show starts at 2 p.m. each Sunday with this season running through November 13. You may never know what to expect from these acrobats, performers start at a very young age and continue well into their adulthood. You may even see a senior citizen or two, skiing next to a young adult. The Ski-A-Rees were honored this summer by hosting the Southern Regionals Tournament in June. This non-profit has performed all these years with generous donations at events and efforts such as the 24-hour online Giving Challenge that starts noon tomorrow, September 20.

Some of the non-profits in the area are supported through charity events such as the Giving Challenge tomorrow that I mentioned above. Last year $7 million was raised in one day to benefit 449 non-profits. This year over 550 organizations are represented in four surrounding counties. Coldwell Banker will host comedian John “Hippieman” Novosad, a CARES benefit at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre on Thursday. Last year the Coldwell Banker CARES program raised $65,000 for local non-profits. The Superheroes on Parade benefit for the Southeastern Guide Dogs organization is coming to a close. Over 50 larger-than-life dog sculptures were sponsored by local businesses. My sponsored dog, Buyer, will be part of a parade of these sculptures created by local artist Scott Joseph Moore, on Palm Avenue, October 8-9.

As the saying goes, “So much to do, and so little time to do it.” There are many events for all ages, check out our events page with 300 activities listed. And when you find the time, please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

Holiday lights, parades and shows

by Roger Pettingell

December festivities light up Sarasota

Best views of area parades, events and holiday lights

St. Armands Circle holiday lights
St. Armands Circle holiday lights - Dine or finish your holiday shopping on the circle this month.

If you missed the 37th Annual Holiday Night of Lights on St. Armands Circle Friday night there are still plenty of opportunities to catch great light displays in December. Most likely you won’t have to travel far to find something wonderful near your home in Sarasota. If you missed the official ceremony in the “Jewel of Sarasota”, you can see the lights lit up through the month on the circle. It’s also a good time to dine or shop the 138 merchants there.

Many of the popular tourist attractions will be decorated through the month and you can start with the current festive events that illuminate the area nightly.

Holly Days and Mangrove Lights appear nightly through December 31 at Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey. There will be special evening performances by guitarist Pete Simms this Thursday, Charlie and the Copper Coils December 17 and Kenny Moolinaar on Steel Drums, December 18. White lights in Mangrove trees highlight this holiday experience. Historic Spanish Point opened in 1982 with 30 acres of environmental preservation and museum.

The entire family will enjoy the Sarasota Jungle Gardens and their Holiday Lights Spectacular. The lights are displayed from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and again nightly from the 18th through the 27th but are closed on Christmas day.

Also displaying nightly starting December 18, the Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens continues through December 30. In its twelfth year and a half million lights, the botanical gardens premiers its Tunnel of Lights taking a visitor from rainforest foliage to the North Pole. You can park at the State Street parking garage where a shuttle takes you to the event.

As part of the Art After Five celebrations on December 10th and 17th at the Ringling Museum of Art this month, the famous house of John and Mable Ringling will be lit up for Holiday Nights at Ca' d'Zan, highlighting a 10-foot tree in the grand court of the home.

In Lakewood Ranch this Friday, the lighting of the tree over the fountain on Main Street will begin at 6 p.m. for their Holidays Around The Ranch festival. This is a good event for the family that includes an acrylic ice rink for skating.

Of course you can drive around Sarasota for good viewing of private home lights but a better way might be through the SRQ Trolley and their Holiday Tour of Lights tour. You can sit back and relax on the trolley featuring well-decorated Sarasota homes. Reservations are requested for this two-hour nightly tour that begins at 6:30 and 8:30 at the Regions Bank of the Burlington Coat Factory lot, 4041 Cattlemen Road. You can request a private group tour of 15 or more guests. Some nights are already sold out so reserving early is advised with the last day on December 27. There is one tour at 6:30 on Christmas night.

Anna Maria Island holds its Privateers Christmas Parade on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. on the north end of the island and finishes at Coquina Beach where gifts will be given to children. The parade coincides with the Holmes Beach Annual Winterfest Fine Arts and Fine Crafts Festival Saturday and Sunday until 4:30 p.m. each day at the City Hall Field.

There are two boat parades of note this Saturday. The 30th annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights in the bay has great viewing from Marina Jack Restaurant, City Island and Centennial Park. Judging will take place at Bayfront Park, so that may be the best location for viewing since the boats will be at their closest point to the shoreline there. The parade starts at 6:00 p.m.

The boat parade on the Manatee River Saturday begins at 6:30 p.m. with best viewing from the Green Bridge Pier. Local restaurants on both side of the river in Bradenton and Palmetto will be open for a good look at the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade.

There are many good performances around town that will heighten your spirit for the holidays. Student performers show their talents in the Sailor Circus Holiday Spectacular, December 26 through 29. The world premiere of A Motown Christmas runs through December 30 as a Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe presentation. There is a special event of this performance scheduled as the last show of 2015 on New Year’s Eve. This show highlights the songs of Motown by the Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye.

5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key, home for sale
This waterfront estate for sale at 5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key is one of my newest listings.

For three days Snow Fest Sarasota! starts December 18 for a weekend of entertainment, snow slides and your opportunity to see snow falling in Payne Park from noon until 10 p.m. each day. There will be snow sledding and a snow mountain to enjoy. The snow should be in the right consistency to make a perfect snowball. The special events require a $10 wristband. These are great events that residents of Sarasota have come to enjoy. I have five new listings that have something for everyone looking for luxury waterfront property. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

5080 Gulf of Mexico Drive $6,990,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1111 Ritz Carlton Drive # 1702 $3,295,000 Video Photo Slideshow
584 Hornblower Lane $3,100,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1281 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #104 $1,485,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1945 Gulf of Mexico Drive #M2-512 $1,195,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

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Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?

Experience

  • Over 33 years as a top producing REALTOR® on Longboat Key and in Sarasota.

Achievements

  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Number 1 Realtor on Longboat Key and Bird Key for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Number 1 Realtor for all Sarasota in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018
  • Coldwell Banker Society of Excellence award in 2013, 2014 and 2016
  • Ranked among the top 250 agents in the country for 2014, 2016 and 2017 by REAL Trends as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.