An illuminating guide to the lights of the holiday season.
No holiday season would be complete without the magic of twinkling lights and the boisterous laughter of Santa on the scene. The Bradenton area boasts an impressive selection of activities to participate in. Below is our list of top picks to kick off the holiday season.
Main Street Live
November 23, 2022 – Pre-Thanksgiving
Though this event isn’t about the lighting, for a little pre-holiday cheer and holiday shopping, check out this event. There will be products from local artisans, crafts for the kiddos, and even Santa will be available for photos. The Main Street Live runs from 6-9 p.m.
Notable lighted holiday boat parades:
Jiggs Landing Outpost will host an “Old Florida” holiday boat parade on the Evers Reservoir and Braden River on December 10, 2022.
For those boaters who want to participate, you may arrive early to decorate your boat. Spectators can bring their own chairs and set them up by the waterside. The parade starts around 6 p.m. at Jiggs Landing Outpost, 6106 63rd St. E., Bradenton. This is a free event. Check out more info at jiggslanding.com.
Also, on December 10, 2022, the Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade, a local favorite, will feature decorated boats floating down the Manatee River, displaying nautical and holiday themes. The boat owners/captains will compete for cash prizes based on their creativity, use of lights, music, and crowd reaction. The parade viewing points will include Snead Island, the Green Bridge Fishing Pier, sidewalk areas, parts of Riverside Drive in Palmetto, and the Bradenton Riverwalk.
Estimated viewing timeline:
6:30-7:30 p.m. – Bradenton Yacht Club (Private Members Club)
7:15-8:15 p.m. – Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant
7:30-8:30 p.m. – Pier 22 Restaurant/Twin Dolphin Marina
Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade is on December 3, 2022. The parade will start near the Longboat Pass Bridge, and then the lighted boats will float north up the Intracoastal Waterway, ending at the Bradenton Beach Marina. Spots to view the parade are the Longboat Pass Bridge (6-6:30 p.m.) and Bradenton Beach City Pier (6:30-7 p.m.) Free event.
Bradenton Beach City Pier, 200 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach
Winter nights under the lights: Palma Sola Botanical Park will bring some holiday dazzle to Bradenton with its holiday light display. Stroll through the park and enjoy the illuminated Florida foliage 6-9 p.m. December 15-18, 2022.
Palma Sola Botanical Park, 9800 17th Ave. NW, Bradenton. Free event, but donations are accepted. For more information about the event, go to palmasolabp.org.