photo from YouTube
With parades lined up all along Sarasota County this month, be prepared to be dazzled and delighted with floats, boats and Santa Clauses. It’s an amazing time to celebrate steadfast traditions and begin your own this beautiful holiday season. Who can pass up the nostalgia of a parade, where you claim a spot with a bird’s-eye view so you can be the first to glimpse the bright lights and experience the sensory explosion of bands, performers and holiday scenes? Of all the holiday pastimes, perhaps the parade is the one event where adults enjoy the wonder and splendor as much as a child. And seeing a parade for the first time through the eyes of a child is infectious and demands that you become a part of the innocence and joy of a parade. It’s fun to cheer for your neighbors and friends who are representing schools and civic groups and it’s always interesting to see which businesses are on hand, too, celebrating the seasons and vying for top billing on their elaborate floats. Everyone loves a parade and Sarasota County has you covered with several to choose from in the upcoming weeks.
Celebrating a 19-year tradition will be the Downtown Sarasota Holiday Parade, which kicks off Dec 5 at 7:00 P.M. The parade route for this regionally popular event starts at Hollywood 20 on Main Street and ends at McAnsh and Palm Avenue. Last year’s parade drew more than 25,000 attendees and this year’s celebration is promising to be better than ever. Santa and Mrs. Clause are the guests of honor and in good company of color guards, marching bands, drill teams, circus wagons and more. Enjoy the animation and lights on elaborately decorated floats and be sure to bring a chair and get there early. The weekend’s mild weather will make a nice accompaniment to an evening full of the sights and sounds of the holidays.
The Venice Christmas Boat Parade, always held on the first Saturday of December, lights up the waterways this year on Dec 5 at 6:00 P.M. Since 1989, local boaters have been delighting viewers of all ages with boats decorated in seasonal lights and splendor. Through the years the parade has gotten larger and more popular, but they still welcome boats of all sizes. The parade route starts just north of the Albee Road Bridge and continues down the Intracoastal Waterway and out the jetty. Anchor your boat or see the parade from land. Either way, it’s a genuine Florida experience to see the holidays come to life on the water.
North Port will hold its annual Poinsettia Parade on Dec 12 at 5:00 P.M. The parade, which attracts thousands of attendees, begins at the corner of Greenwood and North Port Boulevard and travels north to Appomattox Boulevard. Poinsettia-adorned floats, walking and marching groups, music, and Santa all usher in the holiday spirit in grand style to the city of North Port.
The 30th Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will be delighting the folks along Sarasota Bay on Dec 12 at 6:00 P.M. The best viewing areas will be Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park. Bring a blanket and watch the lights dance on the rippling waves of Sarasota Bay. Trophies and cash prizes are awarded for winning decorated boats based on several different categories. Boaters never disappoint with their complex and festive ways they decorate their vessels.
Come out and enjoy a hometown tradition and a time-honored favorite, the holiday parade. Let the festivities of Christmas and all of the holidays fill you with joy and gratitude as you enjoy the beautiful weather at a parade with your loved ones. By the time you see Santa coming around the corner at your local parade, you’ll be fully-immersed in the wonder and splendor of marching bands and twinkling lights and you’ll be glad you went.