Halloween, pumpkins, hayrides, fall festivals and more — yes, it’s autumn! It may not feel like fall in Florida, but our community still knows how to play along with lots of fun fall-themed events. And not only that, but October seems to kick off festival season in Sarasota, with a variety of other festivals and events taking place in the area. Plus, weekly activities for kids and families don’t slow down either.
Here is a list of some of the many Sarasota events going on. This is just a sample of some of the most interesting, including weekly activities that help your kids exercise their minds and bodies, as well as special events that range from outdoor movies, live music, reptile exhibits and celebrations of barbecue, the Hungarian culture and the PRE-snowbird season. And keep scrolling down, as you will find a list of cool Halloween and fall celebrations. Please let us know if you have suggestions for other Sarasota events to add to the list now or in the future.
Admission to the art museum is free every Monday. The outdoor grounds, though, are free every day from 10am-5pm. There you can have fun in the playground, which has a water/sand area; search for hidden outdoor sculptures; explore the many scenic nooks and gardens; have a picnic along the bayfront; and take photos of your children in the beautiful grounds.
Tuesdays: Woodland Community Church Playgroup
Visit the church’s kid space for a free weekly playgroup from 9am to noon. A large gymnasium is filled with toys and activities, a separate room has a new treehouse-style play area, and there is story time as well. The playgroup follows the Manatee County Schools calendar, and is closed when school is not in session.
Each week, kids (ages 5 and under) will create a pottery piece (to be picked up later) or canvas project as well as a pre-k appropriate craft that they may take home the same day. After the arts and crafts are complete, a story will be read. Cost is $12 unless otherwise stated. Space is limited and reservations receive priority. Begins at 10am at Arts A Blaze Studio in Lakewood Ranch.
Saturdays and Wednesdays: Children’s Yoga at Pineapple Yoga Studio.
Every Saturday at 1:45-2:30 and every Wednesday at 4-4:45, $10 per child. Also, each month, on the first Sunday of the month there will be a 2-hour workshop at Pineapple Yoga Studio for $30 per child or $50 for 2. This is based on Chakras, crystals and yoga. Additionally, a monthly yoga and essential oils workshop will take place at Colonial Oaks Park, with this month’s being Sept. 10, from 4-5pm. And beginning Sept. 11, kids yoga will be held at Circusoul yoga studio from 1:30-2:30 every Monday.
Varies: Baby Boot Camp
Baby Boot Camp is a stroller fitness group where moms can bring their babies in jogging strollers and exercise in a group setting. After the workouts, children get to play at the park while the moms socialize. The aim is to provide a supportive environment for all mothers to get in shape while developing a sense of community. Classes start the end of October! Check out the Facebook page for schedule and details. https://www.facebook.com/babybootcampsarasota
A free family-friendly concert series and block party for the public hosted from 6-9pm on the first Friday of each month. The street is lined with food vendors, beer trucks, and sponsor booths, as well as rides and activities for the kids presented by Grace Community Church. Kim Betts & The Gamble Creek Band will fill the air with county and southern rock music and the deejay will keep you dancing with today’s Top 100 hits. Proceeds from the event will benefit a local non-profit organization each event; the recipient this month will be the Lakewood Ranch YMCA.
Oct. 7: Beer, Bands & BBQ
Several local bands will take the stage for 45 minute sets while visitors also enjoy BBQ inspired dishes prepared by local restaurants and local craft and domestic beers. Music Compound students will open the event. Dogs on leashes are welcome. Noon to 7pm at Sarasota Farm Bureau, 7289 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Cost: General admission, $15.
Oct. 7: ReptiDay 2017
Do you have a child who loves reptiles? The Repticon team will bring you ReptiDay, a one-day reptile show and sale. Brought to you by the same team that has produced Repticon reptile expos across the country for the past decade, ReptiDay will feature everything that you’ve come to love the most about Repticon all packed into a single day of fun and excitement. See live animals from around the world, purchase pets and pet products, and watch live seminars and demonstrations.
Oct. 7: Home Depot Kids Workshop
Every month, Home Depot offers a free hands-on workshop for kids and their parents. This month, kids will build a coin bank with a fire station design. Kids will build it and then decorate it with paint and stickers. Each child gets a project, plus a workshop apron and a certificate of achievement, while supplies last. Bradenton and Sarasota Home Depots participate (9am-noon), as well as others, so please check the website for your local store and to pre-register (not required).
Oct. 14: New Balance Sarasota Free 5K Fun Run
New Balance Sarasota hosts monthly 5K fun runs, with the upcoming ones being on Oct. 14 and Nov. 4, starting at 7am. this month’s being on Oct. 14 at 7am. The runs start off at the store at 1872 Stickney Point Road and go on to Siesta Key Beach. You can run or walk, plus you get to enjoy free samples and be eligible for prizes. Sign up early to be entered to win prizes and to participate in other offers. Runs/walks will be timed by a digital clock. Bathrooms, water and snacks available.
Oct. 14-15: 11th Annual Hungarian Festival
The Global Friendship Foundation is hosting a celebration of Hungarian culture and heritage with a family friendly festival. Entertainment includes live music by artists coming straight from Hungary, archery demonstrations, folk dance performances, a goulash cooking competition, traditional arts and crafts, authentic cuisine and more. The kids corner includes carnival games, crafts, pony rides, a theater performance and more. Oct. 14, 10am to 10pm; Oct. 15, noon to 8pm. Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Cost: adults, $15, ages 12-17, $5; children under 12, free. Free parking.
Oct. 14-16: Gulf Coast Rhythm and Ribs Music Fest
The live music and ribs are the main attraction at this event which will be taking place for the 10th year. But, there will be plenty of other food and drinks for sale, as well as arts and crafts, fireworks, and a kid zone that will feature video games, bounce houses, youth bands, hay rides and more. Gulf Coast Rhythm and Ribs Music Fest is a major annual fundraising event benefiting United Community Centers, Inc. Cost: Variety of tickets with wide range of prices, starting at $10. Children 10 and under are free with a ticket-holding adult. October 14, 5pm to 10pm; Oct. 15, 11am to 10pm; Oct. 16, noon to 8pm. Held at DeSoto Square Mall, 303 301 Blvd. W, Bradenton.
Oct. 20-22: Sun Fiesta
The first official Sun Fiesta was in October 1973 by the Womens Sertoma Club. It was started as a way to provide the community its last chance to get together before the ‘snow birds’ started migrating in November! It has remained one of the most beloved events of the year for the citizens of Venice. The celebration includes a parade, bed races, arts & crafts, food, Miss Sun Fiesta, kids activities, music and dancing. Friday 5pm-10pm, Saturday 9am-10pm, Sunday 9am-7pm.
Oct. 23: Baby Boot Camp Sarasota Grand Opening!
Trying to figure out how to get a workout in with the kids, well come try out Baby Boot Camp as it launches their first class!
Nathan Benderson Park and Sarasota Film Festival are hosting a free screening of “Beauty and the Beast” at NBP’s October Movie in the Park! The event will be held on Regatta Island; make sure to bring your lawn chairs and blankets! The movie will start at sunset, and drinks and snacks will be available for cash purchase. Gates will open at 5pm. Parking is free. *In case of rain or weather disturbances, the event will move to Sunday, Oct. 29, at the same time and location.*
Halloween Events and Fall Festivals
Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29: Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival
The 29th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival includes hayrides, a rock wall, activity booths, pony rides, playground, live music, decorated photo spots, bounce house, pumpkin painting, pumpkin sales, petting zoo, costume contests (Saturdays at 1pm) and more. Free admission and parking; fees for certain activities.
Children are encouraged to dress up in costume to enjoy games and activities in the Ed Smith Stadium concourse and outfield from 5-6:30pm. A costume parade around the bases begins at 6:40pm. The movie, “Monsters, Inc.,” begins at approximately 7pm. Bring a blanket to enjoy the movie on the outfield or watch from stadium seating. Concessions are available for purchase. No coolers or outside food allowed but you may bring sealed bottles of water. No strollers or high heels on the field. Admission is a non-perishable food item donation to All Faiths Food Pantry.
Oct. 14-15: Pumpkins for a Purpose
Get into the fall spirit at Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay with a charity event. Pick out and purchase your favorite pumpkin from our pumpkin patch and receive a complimentary hot apple cider and warm homemade donuts. All net proceeds from Pumpkins for a Purpose will go directly to help the nonprofit organization Disabled American Veterans. 10am-4pm.
Oct. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29: Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival
The 26th Annual Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival features, craft shows, live music, live shows, pumpkins, pony rides, corn maze, hayrides, petting zoo, barnyard playground, face painting, children’s train ride, juggler, frog jumping championship, zip line and more. Admission, $10; kids 12 and under are free. Parking, $5. Open 9am-5pm.
Buoys and ghouls of all ages are invited to dress up in costume for a Night of Fish, Fun and Fright! Unearth shark teeth in “Coffin Creek,” enjoy deep sea delights in the “Diner of the Dead” and take part in mad science experiments and activities. Don’t miss Mote’s signature underwater pumpkin carving in the spooktacular shark habitats. Cost: $10 online presale (Sept. 1 – Oct. 19), $12 members at door, $14 non-members at door.
Attention all ghosts and goblins! Visit La Dona Donuts for its Spook-tacular haunt where each dunker will get 3 mini cake donuts to decorate as they wish, with tons of toppings to choose from. $6 plus tax per dunker. Must register in advance. There will also be a Halloween costume with donut-related prizes. 5:30-7:30pm.
Bradenton’s street party season will kick off with its annual Halloween party. Wear your favorite costume and bring the kids early or stay late with friends who want to dance. Live music, plus food, drink and arts and craft vendors. Event starts at 5pm, with music until 10pm. The street will be closed to traffic for the party until midnight. Free admission; music and drinks for sale. Old Main Street (12th Street West), between Manatee and 3rd avenues, Bradenton.
Kids and adults are invited to dress up in their costumes and participate in a parade in downtown Venice, along with trick-or-treating at local businesses. 4:30-5:30pm.
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