Our Fave Fall & Winter Festivals In Sarasota
If you’re here in Sarasota in the fall and winter, you’ll want to take advantage of all that’s on offer. The area comes alive with festivals and events that highlight everything we get to enjoy here year round: fresh-caught seafood, great local music and an enticing arts and culture scene. Bookmark this list now, thank us later.
This outdoor music festival is a lot of fun and for a good cause. For 22 years, national, regional and local musical acts join up with the best restaurants, vendors and organizations in town to raise money for the non-profit Mayor’s Feed The Hungry Program. Held on the beautiful grounds of the Van Wezel and overlooking the bay, the festival runs for two days and is one of October’s most anticipated events.
Chalk Festival, November
For four days, artists from around the world convene in Venice to make a masterpiece of the city’s sidewalks. Watch as the artists create 3D scenes, enjoying music, food trucks and more as you bask in the beautiful winter sunshine.
You’ve never seen sandcastles quite like these. Sand sculptors create magical, intricate works out of some of the country’s finest sand, which also happens to be perfect for sculpting. It’s an outdoor art gallery that comes together while you relax on the beach.
Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade, December
This long-standing event gets everyone in the holiday spirit. You can view the boat parade from multiple locations along the bayfront—it’s a festive scene wherever you set down your chair. Marvel at the lights decorating vessels big and small in a competition where everyone (especially the audience) wins. Check back with the site for 2018’s date.
Perlman Music Program’s Winter Residency Concerts, December-January
Talented string students from around the world descend on Sarasota during PMP’s winter residency. The program was founded by Toby Perlman, acclaimed violinist Itzhak Perlman’s wife, and includes dozens of free events for the public to attend. Sit in on a master class, rehearsal or recital and listen to what the next generation of musicians sounds like.
Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival, January
There’s a little bit of everything happening at this event, but if you want to sample the best of the area’s seafood, you’re definitely in luck. Downtown Sarasota is studded with stalls offering everything from shrimp to grouper to stone crabs to oysters. Carry your plate over to one of the live musical acts, or wander through the arts and crafts marketplace and pick up something unique.
Forks & Corks: The Grand Tasting, January
Tickets to the area’s premier food and wine festival, Forks & Corks, are coveted for a reason, and no more so than for its Grand Tasting. Dozens of both national and international winemakers uncork their best vintages for Sarasota to sample. As for food, 50 of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ restaurants showcase their fare, and it all happens in the regal courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art.