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Arts and Entertainment Weekend Adventures in Bradenton: Dec. 14-16, 2012

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BRADENTON -- Christmas is in the air this weekend! Take the kids to see Santa at the Red Barn, where you can also score some unique gift ideas. Jolly St. Nick will also be at the Historic Green Village on Anna Maria Island for the lighting of the giant solar Christmas tree. MCAT's annual Parade of Lights returns. Visit Southside Village's annual “Holiday Stroll” or check out a new gallery in the Village of the Arts. Grab your sleigh bells, it's time for a Christmas Weekend Adventure in Bradenton!

Santa is back at the Red Barn this weekend. On Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids can visit with Santa for free in the main food court. While you're there, you can find that special gift for that hard to shop for person on your list. With over 600 vendors, the Red Barn has everything! Weekend hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Red Barn Flea Market is located at 1707 1st Street, Bradenton.

Stop by the Village of the Arts to view the Barbaryan Gallery, which will show the fashion-illustration work of Susan Barbaryan. Barbaryan's work from the 1950s-1960s embodied the golden age of ad illustration. The artist illustrated for many of the top fashion designers including Anne Klein. Many of Barbaryan's original sketches and prints will be exhibited. Formerly of New York City, the artist and her family moved to Sarasota in 1976 and Barbaryan eventually resided in both the Riverfront and Langdon Hall retirement communities.

From the late 1940s through the early 1970s, Susan was one of the top fashion illustrators in the industry, a time that included the so-called Mad Men era, when advertising began to mesh with pop culture. In the beginning, she worked out of a studio in Hell’s Kitchen New York City (pictured in the gallery) and for most of her career used the easel, brushes and supplies displayed in the exhibit as well. The gallery, located at 1329 11th Street West in Bradenton's Village of the Arts, features many of her surviving fashion illustration originals and prints, as well as some of her nudes and children’s fashion illustration. Susan Barbaryan passed away in the Fall of 2012 in Bradenton, Florida. The gallery will be open through December 22; 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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Southside Village in Sarasota is once again hosting its Annual Holiday Stroll on Friday, December 14, 2012 from 5 to 9 p.m. Gather with friends, family, and loved ones while you ring in the Holiday Season enjoying live entertainment, superb dining opportunities, fabulous shopping, and highlighted by a special visit from Santa Claus.

In fact, bring your camera because Santa will be taking pictures with holiday strollers inside the Comerica Bank.  Come enjoy the festive atmosphere and Holiday cheer with merchants, restaurants, and businesses in Southside Village. Let kids experience the magic of the season with face painting and an encounter with a mountain of snow for sliding at the Gecko’s Grill & Pub parking lot.

There will be free parking at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Parking Garage. The special Holiday Stroll event is sponsored by the Southside Village Business Association and is free to everyone. There will be raffle prizes from many of the Southside Village businesses and merchants will have donation boxes for Toys for Tots.

Manatee County Area Transit’s popular Tour of Lights returns Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15. The 90-minute bus ride through local neighborhoods in west Bradenton is free and open to the public; riders need only bring a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toy for admission. The food will be donated to local social service networks and the toys will be given to the Toys for Tots program.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people take part in the tour each year. Seating is limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Passengers should arrive no later than 6:30 p.m. and should be ready for departure by 6:45 p.m. at Building 29 of State College of Florida, 5840 26th St. W.   Tours will not depart from the Bradenton Area Convention Center, as in years past. 

For more information on the 2012 Tour of Lights, call (941) 747-8621, ext. 8114. For more information on Manatee County Area Transit, visit www.mymanatee.org/mcat or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ridemcat

A 13-foot Christmas Tree, 1,200 LED’s, a whopping 6 Solar Panels, a battery storing 20 kWh, an inverter supplying 1 kW to the lights each night for 5 hours, replenished by the Sun each day all make the Historic Green Village, the Greenest place to be this Holiday season!

Last year, the Historic Green Village in Anna Maria presented the first solar-powered tree to the island. This year the tradition continues as the Village rings in the Holiday season in true ‘green’ style Friday night, when they will be hosting a ceremony, where special guest, the man himself...Santa Claus will officially turn on the lights at 6 p.m. for the island’s only solar-powered Christmas tree.

Solar expert Tom Stockebrand took 6 solar panels and hooked them into a battery, alongside an inverter, which converts the energy into an electrical current, which then turns the tree lights on! The energy the battery stores is 20 kilowatt-hours, which means if full, is enough for over 20 hours of power generated to keep the tree lit. However, the tree uses only about 4kWh and what’s not used is then returned to the battery each day from the panels.

Entertainment will be provided by the wonderful Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra who will be leading a selection of favorite Holiday carols and songs! The Anna Maria Island Community Orchestra and Chorus, founded in 1992, has grown to become a centerpiece of this community’s cultural life. Both orchestra and chorus are unique in the Manatee-Sarasota county area, in that they form a cohesive unit, rehearsing and performing together.


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