9 fun things to do in and around Bradenton and Sarasota this weekend

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Oct. 27—Another weekend is just around the corner. If you still need plans, we’ve got you covered.

This weekend, there’s a haunting handful of local Halloween events from which to pick, as well as plenty of fall family fun.

Here’s a guide to fun times around Bradenton and Sarasota this Halloween weekend, Oct. 29-31, 2021.

Halloween Safe Kids Night

This Sunday, families are invited to dress in their Halloween best and head to the Manatee County Fairgrounds for the 18th annual Halloween Safe Kids Night.

Community organizations will be set up at booths with individually wrapped and sealed candy to distribute under the cover of the Mosaic Arena. There will also be games to try, public safety equipment and vehicles to see and a children’s costume contest.

Guests can park along 17th Street West and enter at Gate One across from Palmetto High School or park at the south end of the fairgrounds and enter at Gate Nine, across from Church on the Rock.

The event is hosted by CrimeStoppers of Manatee County in partnership with the Manatee County Fair.

Details: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday. Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto. Free.

Info: facebook.com/ManateeCrimeStoppers.

Pumpkin festivals

The Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival: This 30th annual family-friendly event offers crafts, live music, hayrides, pumpkin games, a corn maze, scarecrow displays, a petting zoo, train rides and more.

There’s also a bounty of food and desserts to try, such as homemade ice cream and pumpkin pie.

Details: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hunsader Farms, 5500 County Road 675, Bradenton. Admission: $12. Children 10 and under: Free. Parking: $5.

Info: hunsaderfarms.com.

Fruitville Grove Farm Market’s 33rd annual Pumpkin Festival features a free petting zoo, playground, live music, circus performances, decorated photo spots and costume contests. Admission is also free.

Activities in the $1-$10 range include pony rides, carriage rides, a wildflower maze, a kids fun zone with a zip line, and pumpkin painting.

Food trucks and food vendors will be on site every day of the festival.

Masks will be required indoors, on hay rides and in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. Hand washing and sanitizing stations will be available.

Details: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October. Fruitville Grove, 7410 Fruitville Road, Sarasota. Free admission. $5 parking.

Info: fruitvillegrove.com.

‘Stranger Things’ laser light drive-in

Just in time for Halloween, entertainment company Lite Up America will bring a laser light show to the Sarasota Fairgrounds based on hit Netflix retro sci-fi series “Stranger Things.”

“Experience the ’80s tunes and soundscapes from the show reinterpreted in brilliant laser light and visual effects,” event organizers say.

Details: Show times at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. General admission: $29 per car. VIP upgrades available.

Info: sarasotafair.com.

Haunted walkabout

A Sarasota cul-de-sac will transform into a family-friendly, haunted walking experience over the Halloween weekend. Local art education company Enlightened Monkey Arts is sponsoring the production which will feature animatronics, projection mapping, spooky sounds and special effects.

The fantastical scenes include a graveyard, singing pumpkins, a ghoul’s garden, swamp monster and skeleton party, pumpkin man mischief, a look and find scavenger hunt, ring toss and a projection mapped experience.

Details: 7-10 p.m. Sunday. 133 S. Lime Ave., Sarasota. Free. Parking available on Ringling Boulevard and South Lime Avenue.

Info: enlightenedmonkeyarts.com.

Trick-or-Treat at the Bishop

Looking to have a dino-mite experience this Halloween? The family-friendly event at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature sees trick-or-treating through the new DinoVenture experience, which means navigating T. rex, tenontosaurus, triceratops and more coming to life by breathing, moving and roaring in the outdoor event!

Details: 4-8 p.m. Oct. 30. 201 10th St. W., Bradenton. Admission: $5 per person. Children 2-and-younger: Free.

Info: bishopscience.org/events/trick-or-treat-2021.

St Armand’s Fright Night

For the 12th year, St. Armand’s Circle showcases decorated storefronts and frightening characters at every corner among the statues dressed in Halloween garb. It’s a family-friendly event for children to trick-or-treat at, while retailers offer customized promotions.

Details: 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 31. St. Armand’s Circle shops and restaurants, Sarasota. Free.

Info: starmandscircleassoc.com/event/10th-anniversary-fright-night-st-armands.

“Murder, Mystery and Poe” at Manatee Performing Arts Center

Considered the master of the macabre, American poet Edgar Allan Poe’s works are taking place at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. The first half shares the story of revenge and murder in “The Cask of Amontillado,” while the second act gives an adaptation of “The Telltale Heart,” in “An Evening with Gwendolyn.” The plays began Oct. 21 and performances conclude this weekend.

Details: 8 p.m. Oct. 29-30, 2 p.m. Oct. 31. Bradenton Kiwanis Theater at Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. General admission tickets: $31.50 per person.

Info: manateeperformingartscenter.com.

Farmers’ markets

Downtown Bradenton Public Market: Formerly the Bradenton Farmers Market, this weekly community gathering is back on Saturdays with a fresh new name. But you’ll still find a bounty of produce, food, handcrafted goods, arts, music, cooking demonstrations and more along Old Main Street. The market offers more than 40 vendors.

Details: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, Oct.-May. Old Main Street, Bradenton. Free.

Info: realizebradenton.com/public-market.

Sarasota Farmers Market brings vendors selling arts and crafts, goods and services, produce, food, plants and more to downtown Sarasota. There’s also live music to enjoy.

Details: 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. Lemon Avenue and Main Street, downtown Sarasota.

Info: sarasotafarmersmarket.org.

The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch boasts more than 50 local vendors. Offerings include produce, prepared foods and breads, crafts, plants and pet treats. Local musicians are another regular feature at the market. This Sunday, the market will host Halloween fun with BooFest. The event within the market will include trick-or-treating, food and games.

Details: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, 8330 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch. Free.

Info: mylwr.com/185/Farmers-Market-at-LWR.

Oneco Farmers Market is open seven days a week. The permanent market boasts more than 100 vendors in one location, including meats and seafood, fresh produce, sweets and treats. There are also restaurants and arts and crafts vendors to check out, and the market frequently hosts free community events.

Details: Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. Oneco Farmers Market, 5108 15th St. E., Bradenton.

Info: onecofarmersmarket.com.

See a movie

Ruskin Family Drive-In: In operation since 1952, this drive-in plays classic flicks, family favorites and new movies with showings every day of the week.

There are two options for audio: bring a portable radio or leave your car radio turned on during the film. You can also bring folding chairs to set up outside of the vehicle (bug repellent is recommended if you go this route).

— Ron’s Gone Wrong (PG): 7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

— Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (PG-13): 9:15 p.m. Fri.-Sun.

Details: 5011 U.S. 41 N., Ruskin. Ages 9 and up: $6. Ages 5-8: $1. Cash only. $5 fee for bringing your own food. Alcohol not permitted.

Info: ruskinfamilydrivein.com.

Sarasota Film Society: Sarasota Film Society’s Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota theaters are a great place to catch a weekend flick. Screenings include independent and art films as well as blockbusters. Check the society’s website for the current lineup of movies. Masks are recommended for unvaccinated guests.

Cinema fans can also continue to stream SFM’s latest offerings in the world of independent and thought-provoking film from home with the purchase of a virtual movie experience.

Details: Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, 10715 Rodeo Drive 8, Sarasota and Burns Court Cinemas, 506 Burns Lane, Sarasota. Online streaming available any time.

Info: filmsociety.org. 941-955-3456.

Do you know of a local event that’s coming up, or have a suggestion for our things to do list? Send an email with details to rballogg@bradenton.com.

This story was originally published October 27, 2021 9:00 AM.

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