Top 5 Weekend Picks

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  • Sarasota Holiday Parade

    Who's ready for a parade this weekend?

    Top 5 Weekend Picks

    Click through to see what made our list of Top 5 Weekend Picks. For all the action visit This Weekend.

  • Sarasota Holiday Parade family

    7 p.m. Saturday; Main Street, Sarasota; free; facebook.com/SarasotaHolidayParade

    Sarasota Holiday Parade

    Christmastime officially starts, at least for many of us, when Kris Kringle cruises down Main Street at the end of the Sarasota Holiday Parade. That's why thousands of attendees and nearly as many participants are expected, including lighted floats and high school marching bands when the annual Sarasota Holiday Parade returns Saturday to Main Street. It runs from U.S. 301 to Gulf Stream Avenue. With the parade date falling on Pearl Harbor Day the theme is a Holiday Salute to Veterans.

  • Venice Christmas Boat Parade

    6 p.m. Saturday; Intracoastal Waterway from just south of the Albee Road Bridge to the Circus Bridge; venicechristmasboatparade.com.

    Venice Christmas Boat Parade

    Overcoming earlier concerns about not enough participants, the Venice Christmas Boat Parade is back on for its 25th anniversary of elating attendees with fabulous displays of holiday lighting floating along the Intracoastal Waterway.Check out our photo gallery: Venice Christmas Boat Show Parade 2012.

  • Shemekia_CROP

    10 a.m. (gates), 6:20-7:35 p.m. (Shemekia Copeland performs), Saturday; Bradenton Riverwalk, 425 Third Ave. W., Bradenton; $30 in advance, $40 at the gate, $25 per person for groups of 10 or more, $20 for students, $10 for children ages 5-12, children age 4 and younger will be admitted free; 681-0708; bradentonbluesfestival.org.

    Bradenton Blues Festival

    Shemekia Copeland, headliner of Saturday’s second annual Bradenton Blues Festival along the Manatee River, has been crowned Queen of the Blues. Read my interview with her. Also, one day just isn’t enough for this blues bash. While the second annual Bradenton Blues Festival takes place Saturday, many related events (lots are free!) are happening during the appropriately dubbed "Bradenton Blues Weekend." Check out our guide with complete schedule and map.

  • Village Voices small

    6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday; Village of the Arts, 1113 12th St. W., Bradenton; 747-8056; villageofthearts.com‎.

    Olde Fashioned Village Christmas

    Just in case you needed another reason to visit Bradenton's booming creative community, The 13th annual Lighting of the Village of the Arts will be 6 p.m. Friday with Village artists displaying their latest creations for your holiday shopping pleasure through Saturday. The Olde Fashioned Village Christmas will also feature an appearance by Santa, carolers, a strolling barbershop quartet and more to get you in the yuletide mood. Before you go, be sure to check out our Village of the Arts Guide.

  • Florida Hot Rods & Hogs

    9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday; Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda; $15; free for children age 10 and younger; flhrh.com.

    Florida Hot Rods & Hogs

    Billed as the Sunshine State’s largest single day car and bike show, Florida Hot Rods & Hogs promises hundreds of show cars and bikes plus nationally known motor sports celebrities and bands.