Here are some fun holiday events going on between now and the end of December.
Holiday Lights at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens – 6-9 p.m. every Fri.-Sat. in December and Dec. 23-24 and Dec. 26. More than 1 million lights on display. sarasotajunglegardens.com.
Lights in Bloom at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20-24, 26-30. With more than a half million lights, Selby Gardens after dark is transformed into a tropical wonderland with brilliant holiday-themed light displays and festive family-friendly activities. $17 for non-members, $14 for members. Children 11 and under are free.900 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. selby.org
Englewood United Methodist Church's 22nd annual Christmas Dinner – Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 25. 700 E. Dearborn St. Parking lot shuttle service available. For transportation to and from the church, or for homebound food delivery, call 587-1309 (no later than noon on Christmas Day). Last year, 1,800 dinners were served. Donations accepted but not required.
Wear your sexiest Santa costume during the Santa Stumble race through Siesta Village - winner gets $400 - while enjoying drink deals at Daiquiri Deck, Siesta Key Oyster Bar and Gilligan’s.
9:30 p.m. Thursday, December 26; Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar Siesta Key, 5250 Ocean Blvd, Sarasota; 349-8697; daiquiridecksiestakey.com
Sailor Circus Academy's 'Holiday Spectacular - It’s A Wonderful Life'
Here’s a fresh twist on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The Sailor Circus Academy kicks off its 65th season of “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth” with “Holiday Spectacular - It’s A Wonderful Life.” The program is based on a new, original story about three young seekers who find themselves lost and misguided in the mythical Snow-Fairy World. From hot chocolate, buttery popcorn and fresh-spun cotton candy to the dazzling circus arts of juggling, tightrope, the flying trapeze and more, this holiday performance promises to warm the heart of both young and old.
7 p.m. Friday, December 27; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 28-29, 7 p.m. Monday, December 30: Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota; $16 (adults), $12 (for children younger than 12).; 355-9805; CircusArts.org.
Jingle in the Jungle
Now, here’s a nativity scene that should really impress. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary’s “Jingle in the Jungle” will feature a full live nativity with help from its resident “hump day” camel, Nomad, along with donkeys, goats and other animals.
12:30-4:30 p.m. daily through Dec. 31, but will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day; Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota; $15 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under, two children get in for the price of one; 371-6377; BigCatHabitat.org.
The Ritz-Carlton’s New Year’s Eve Block Party Toast
This ritzy bash, The Ritz-Carlton’s “New Year’s Eve Block Party Toast,” is all about saying goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014 in style: on Sarasota Bay with guests enjoying live music and dancing (almost) all night long. Ticket price includes party favors and a glass of champagne.
8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday; The Ritz-Carlton, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive, Sarasota; $55; 309-2000; ritzcarlton.com