With the temperatures cooling and the holidays just around the corner, we are getting a tiny taste of what seasonal celebrating is like up north. Throw on a pair of jeans and a sweater, grab a hot mug of Joe and a-shopping we will go.
We may not have the crunch of that white stuff under our feet or icy roads to contend with and that is just fine! But one tradition we do not miss out on in sunny Florida is the holiday lights displays. As it turns out you do not need a blinding white background for your LED’s to twinkle upon; they look just fine blowing on the fronds of a beautiful palm tree. And who needs to dress up like the kid in Christmas Story just to put lights up? Here we can pair our t-shirts with some comfy shorts, add some sneakers for the safety aspect and we’re up on the ladder stringing the lights in no time.
Sarasota has some beautiful holiday lights. Driving around hunting for the very brightest and most exciting displays has become a tradition for many families. There is something special about spotting decorations and saying, “there!” and “look at that house!” It is like finding a diamond in a haystack as the holidays begin. If you’re looking for the best magical light displays in Sarasota, that can be quite subjective. Are you thinking of only lights, or are blow-ups allowed? Do we need mechanical snowmen in the mix, too? We have put together the top three “must-sees” before the plugs are pulled and everything is tucked back in the attic for another year. Though there are so many beautiful holiday lights displays throughout Sarasota, Bradenton and Siesta Key with trolley and bike tours as transportation options, we have factored time and money into our decision, two key components of the holiday season. Happy Viewing!
Cedar Hollow Neighborhood: (Bunyan St. Sarasota, FL 34232) What is there not to love about an entire neighborhood showcasing their holiday spirits with millions of twinkling lights? This popular drive-thru destination allows you to peruse a myriad of displays all from the A/C comfort of your vehicle. Or, if lucky, we may be enjoying the scenery with the windows down and a travel-mug of cocoa in our hands. Either way, Cedar Hollow, located off Honore Avenue, is exciting for all. Twinkling arches greet you as you make your way into what can only be described as the land of lights. With holiday music playing in the background and treats handed out to the kids just to make it extra fun, these neighbors really know how to show Sarasota lights and love. For more information, follow their Facebook page here
Hunsader Farms Country Christmas: (5500 CR 675 Bradenton, FL 34211) We may not get to head out into the country to find the perfect Christmas tree to chop down and strap to the vehicle for the long ride home, but we have Hunsader’s! Ever the perfect spot for wholesome family fun, Hunsader Farms Country Christmas provides that charm and quaintness factor for your holiday light-viewing. With over 300,000 lights setting the stage for hay rides, a Christmas Village, campfires, train rides and photos with Santa, your hearts and memories will be full. Admission is $10 a person, children under five are free and parking is also free. This cash-only event runs December 13, 14, 15 and 20, 21, 22 from 6PM to 10PM. For more information, check here.
UTC’s Holiday on the Green: (140 University Town Center Dr. Sarasota, FL 34243) This year’s Holiday on the Green is a spectacle of lights, activity and all-around family fun. The Sarasota Post has already covered the fun that UTC is offering for the holiday season, but the lights are worthy of a “best-of” nod on their own. With 100 miles of holiday lights strung along the University Town Center corridor, the aliens will be sure to find us this time. There is nothing better than seeing these extreme light displays than through the eyes of a child. And, you cannot stop yourself from grinning like a kid as Santa, reindeer, presents and nutcrackers all come alive through the twinkling amazement of holiday lights and our own imagination. Though there are plenty of activities to take up your time and money at Holiday on the Green, driving through with your family is free. Your kids will think it is “so lit!”
Photos courtesy of Cedar Hollow Neighborhood, Hunsader Farms Country Christmas and Holiday on the Green Facebook Pages.