Last November my family and I had just moved to Sarasota, and when we saw the extensive list of events going on here that month we were excited and overwhelmed. So many things to see and do! We went to as many as possible, or what we could handle with a 1-year-old, or when grandparents were around to babysit. I’ve compiled a list of festivals and big events that I consider the highlights of the month, but there are so many more. My list includes events focusing on culture, rowing, unusual art forms (sand and chalk art!), Veterans Day, and even a Christmas festival, since the holiday season kicks off at the end of November.
If I see others that catch my attention, I may still add them here, so check back later too!
November Festivals and Big Events
Hispanic Fall Festival
10am-6pm, Saturday, Nov. 5
Free admission; Food, drinks and crafts for sale.
Celebrate Hispanic culture and all it has to offer, including food, music, traditional dances, crafts and more. Last year, my husband and I shared lots of dishes in order to try the typical foods of several countries: Peruvian papa a la Huancaina (potatoes in spicy cream sauce), Cuban pan con lechon (pork sandwich), Puerto Rican empanadas, Brazilian flan and much more. This is the 14th year for this event, which is hosted by Saint Jude Catholic Church.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/StJudeSarasota
Nathan Benderson Park Rowing Festival
Nov. 5, 9am-5pm, Nov. 6, 10am-2pm. Nathan Benderson Park.
This event will feature the Sarasota-Bradenton Chase Race, plus live music, food, community displays, kids games and activities, vendor market, beer garden and more.
More info: http://www.nbprowingfestival.org/
Sarasota Medieval Fair
10am-5:30pm, Nov.5-6, 12-13 and 19-20. Sarasota County Fairgrounds 3000 Ringling Blvd. Sarasota, FL
Cost: Adults/$16.95; Student, Senior/$14.95; Children ages 5-12/$8.95; ages 4 and under free.
Huzzah! Travel several centuries back and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the medieval times. Watch full contact jousting with the Knights of Valour. Laugh at slapstick performers Puke & Snot. Come in period clothing and immerse yourself in the culture, play along with historical characters and enter the costume contests. Sing along to pipe and drum music as you engage in the new Pub Crawl (ages 21+). Take your kids to the Children’s Realm Stage to enjoy the performances, activities, games, stories, lessons in medieval manners and more. Explore 100+ artisans and craft demonstrations. Those are just some of the activities; There are plenty more to choose from.
More info: http://www.sarasotamedievalfair.com/
Veterans Day Events
There are many events celebrating Veterans Day and honoring our veterans throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties. Here are a few.
Begins at 10am at Main Street and Osprey Avenue, and concludes at Selby Five Points Park where a ceremony will begin at approximately 11 a.m.
7-9am at Robarts Arena. A breakfast benefitting the Sarasota Kiwanis Foundation and Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services. With keynote speaker Rear Admiral Thomas Logan Malone. Tickets starting at $25.
2pm on Bay Isles Road. Parade route begin at the Bank of America and ends about ¼ mile away at the Temple Beth Israel entrance. A Veterans Honor Program, refreshments, and socializing will immediately follow the parade again this year.
Begins at 2:45pm on State Road 72 (exit 205 at Clark Road), approximately four miles east of Interstate 75. Opening ceremony, patriotic music, hymns, the placement of an oversized commemorative floral wreath, and the Presenting and Posting of the Colors, followed by the mass.
The parade starts at 10am the Manatee County Fairgrounds in Palmetto at 10am and ends at Sutton Park.
9th Annual Sarasota Chalk Festival
Nov. 11-14. Venice Airport Fairgrounds
Cost: Daily admission: Adults/$10, Students/$5/day and children 12 and under are free. Unlimited visit passes, $25. Free parking.
The main attraction of this four-day festival is, of course, the incredible pavement art created by artists from around the world. This festival showcases the largest number of 3D chalk illusions in one place in the world. The theme this year is “Love & Peace,” and will include the first “Love & Peace Museum in Motion” filled with 3D illusions. This international cultural gathering also includes a music festival, a 5K fun run and many other activities.
More info: https://chalkfestival.org/
The Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival
Nov. 11-14 at Siesta Key Beach
Cost: Adults/$10; Children 5-17/$5; Free under 5. Discounts available for advanced package tickets, and for seniors and militry personnel.
Master sculptors from around the country spend three days creating sand masterpieces — some more than 10 feet tall! — with beautiful Siesta Key Sand. You can watch them at work and see their delicate process, then stare in awe at their finished artworks. Other activities include the new Learning Curve, an educational experience in sand, live music, lessons and more.
More info: https://www.siestakeycrystalclassic.com/
Festa Italiana at Lakewood Ranch
Nov. 12, 11am-4pm, Greenbrook Adventure Park, 13400 Adventure Place, Lakewood Ranch
Admission is free; Food and drinks for sale.
Indulge in Italian food, wine and crafts, and enjoy a full day of performances and entertainment, including Jimmy Mazz and the Tarantella dancer. Families can experience old world Italian traditions, pony rides, Venetian mask-making, noodle necklaces, magic and face painting.
More info: http://www.lwrcac.com/festa-italiana/
Phillippi Estate Park 100th Anniversary Celebration
November 12, 10am-4pm, and November 13, 12pm to 4pm. 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
Free admission; food and other items for sale.
Celebrate this century-old park with a circus-themed birthday party. The event will include food trucks, performances, entertainment, jazz music, circus acts and historical photos based on the 1940s Ringling Circus era.
More info: SNN News story
Sahib Shriners FEZtival of Trees
Nov. 25 and 26, 10am-7pm; Nov. 27, 10am-3pm
Cost: $2/person; Ages 12 and under/Free.
Get in the holiday spirit by entering a wonderland of Christmas trees. Trees are donated and decorated by local organizations and businesses, then viewed by attendees and raffled off to winners who take them home. There will also be musical entertainment, visit and photo opportunities with Santa ($5), a fish pond, a kids workshop, food and a craft fair.
More info: http://www.feztivaloftreessahibshrine.com/