Top 10 Things To Do This Weekend in Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Feb. 8-10 – News – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Fun events for Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties

1. Bradenton Area River Regatta

The fifth annual Bradenton Area River Regatta returns to the Manatee River and its shorelines Saturday with another slew of fun, free events centered around the powerboat races. There will also be free concerts held on Bradenton Riverwalk (headliner We the Kings perform at 5:15 p.m.) and Palmetto; plus various other family-friendly activities culminating in a fireworks show produced by Zambelli International. In addition, at 6 p.m. Friday, there’s the Meet the Drivers party at Mattison’s City Grille Bradenton Riverwalk. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; along the Manatee River in Bradenton and Palmetto; free;

2. St. Barbara Greek Festival

The St. Barbara Greek Festival (aka the “Greek Glendi”) is back for the 35th year with plenty of tasty, totally genuine Greek food plus live authentic Greek music and the church’s Hellenic dancers celebrating Greek heritage. There will also be an array of vendors and a kids’ adventure zone. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today through Saturday; 12-8 p.m. Sunday; St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, 7671 N. Lockwood Ridge Road; Sarasota; $4 for adults and free for children under 12; 941-355-2616;

3. Braves Block Party

Ahead of the team’s inaugural Braves Spring Training game at CoolToday Park in North Port on March 24, Braves alumni will be in attendance for a meet and greet at “Braves on Miami (Ave) Block Party” in downtown Venice. Bands will perform on a stage at the corner of West Miami and Nokomis avenues and there will be baseball-themed activities for the children as well as vendors and food trucks. 5-10 p.m. Saturday; 200 Miami Ave. W., Venice; free admission; 941-484-6722;

4. Thunder by the Bay Kickoff Party

Get your dancin’ boots on for the 21st annual Thunder by the Bay’s Kickoff Party, which will be held this year at White Buffalo Saloon. Tampa-based country group Soul Circus Cowboys will perform and there will be an open bar, as well as food stations plus silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Thunder By The Bay Festival will take place Feb. 15-17 at the Sarasota Fairgrounds.6-10 p.m. Friday; White Buffalo Saloon, 5377 McIntosh Road, Sarasota; $75; 941-487-7904;

5. Main Street Live

Following a fun-filled day at the Bradenton Area River Regatta, stroll over to nearby downtown and keep the party going on Old Main Street. The block party will include a performance by local country group One Night Rodeo and the street will be filled with food trucks and other vendors. 5-11:30 p.m. Saturday; Old Main Street, Bradenton; free admission;

6. Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium

It’s the final weekend for Mr. Swindle’s talented troupe of acrobats, comedians and aerialists performing under the boutique big top at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. Attendees can expect a unique, old-style entertainment show featuring lots of comedy peppered with audience participation. Also, don’t forget that Dr. Elixir’s Drink-Ory Garden opens one hour before showtime. 7 p.m. today; 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; Sarasota Fairgrounds; 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota; $25-$45; 941-445-7309;

7. Cirque Ma’Ceo at Big Cat Habitat

Recently extended through March 3 after opening the beginning of this month, the popular Cirque Ma’Ceo equestrian show that’s raising funds for the nonprofit Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary features the Zoppe family’s signature bareback riding, Cossack-style trick riding and dressage; with acrobats, aeralists and jugglers performing atop and alongside the moving horses. There’s also a a clown act for the youngsters. 6 p.m. Fridays; 3:30 and 6 p.m. Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. Sundays through March 3 in the big white tent in front of Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary, 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota; $10-$45; 561-758-7851 or

8. Lenny Clarke at MPAC

A product of the vibrant 1980s Boston standup comedy scene that also included Steven Wright and Denis Leary, Lenny Clarke is a top-shelf comedian who has also appeared in films like “There’s Something About Mary,” “Me, Myself & Irene and “Ted 2,” as well as playing Uncle Teddy on the pal Leary’s TV series “Rescue Me.” Plus, this sounds like a great place for drinks and laughs after the Bradenton Area River Regatta, while the traffic lets out following the fireworks. 8 p.m. Saturday; Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton; $21; 941-748-5875;

9. New Shanghai Circus

Founded in 1951, New Shanghai Circus has won numerous medals in domestic and international circus competitions, making the company one of the most lauded from China. While only a few descendants of the legendary acrobatic families remain today, they’ve organized into professional acrobatic troupes with academies for training young entertainers and internationally acclaimed companies. 3 p.m. Sunday, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; $22-$52; 941-953-3368;

10. Embracing Our Differences

The beautiful grounds of Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota are again the place to see the Embracing Our Differences outdoor art exhibit celebrating diversity. For the 16th annual event, students from 239 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit that includes 45 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quote. Today through March 15; 5 Bayfront Drive, Sarasota;

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