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SARASOTA, Fla. (September 5, 2007) -- Just in time for the holiday season,
Sarasota & Her Islands, located on Florida's Gulf Coast and known for sugar-
white sand beaches and numerous cultural attractions, announces their
schedule of festive holiday events taking place from Thanksgiving through the
New Year.
Adding a cultural twist to the classic beach vacation, Sarasota offers its
visitors the opportunity to enjoy the Symphony Orchestra, numerous
museums, theaters and upscale restaurants throughout the year, and, in tune
with the holidays, Sarasota has added more fun family events for vacationers
to enjoy. Sarasota's traditional holiday celebrations range from dining with
ballerinas at a Nutcracker Tea Party to Heritage Holidays at Historic Spanish
Point, photos with Santa Jaws at Mote Aquarium and performances at The
Asolo Theater at the John and Mable Ringling Museum.
Following is a selection of Sarasota's special holiday events.

Thanksgiving Day Brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota - Thursday, Nov. 22,
The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom and Vernona restaurant provide rich backdrops to a
Thanksgiving Day Brunch and celebration of autumn's abundance with live
jazz entertainment and activity stations for kids. The Thanksgiving brunch
takes place in the ballroom from 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.; $95.00 for adults and
$29.00 for children ages 4 to 12 (3 and under are free).  For more information
and reservations, visitors can call
(941) 309-2008.

Nutcracker Tea Party at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota - Saturday, Dec. 8, 2007
Families are invited to enjoy a special holiday Nutcracker Tea Party,
sponsored by the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Activities include a reading from
the Nutcracker story, tea and snacks, and a visit from costumed characters
from the Nutcracker Ballet. The tea party is held in the Ritz-Carlton Lobby
Lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; $65.00 for adults and $42.00 for children 12
and under.  For more information visitors can call
(941) 309-2008.

Heritage Holidays at Historic Spanish Point - November 23, 2007 - December
31, 2007 
The annual Heritage Holidays celebration at Historic Spanish Point, located on
Little Sarasota Bay, begins the day after Thanksgiving on November 23,
2007.  With festive Victorian era decorations, special tours and the popular
Living History Drama Performances, this celebration is sure to provide
entertainment for the whole family, running through December 31, 2007. The
Historic Spanish Point Performers stage "living history" dramas throughout the
30-acre site on Saturdays and Sundays, November 24-25, December 1-2,
December 8-9, and December 15-16.  These weekend performances begin at
12:30pm and continue throughout the afternoon.  Guests are also invited to
visit on Fridays, November 23 &30 and December 7 &14, for twilight
performances which begin at 3pm and continue until 6pm. Please visit for more information.

The Sarasota Ballet presents The Nutcracker - December 21 and 22, 2007
The Nutcracker will be presented this year with live music by The Florida
West Coast Symphony in the festive production by former artistic director,
Robert de Warren.  The Nutcracker will run for three performances at the Van
Wezel Performing Arts Hall on December 21 and 22, 2007.  Travelers can visit for more information or reach the Box Office by
calling 941-351-8000 or 800-361-8388.

4th Annual Holiday Nights & Jungle Lights at Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Nov.
26 - Dec. 31, 2007
Beginning the week after Thanksgiving and running through December 31,
(closed Christmas Day) Sarasota Jungle Gardens, a fun family attraction
featuring free-roaming flamingos, invites guests to enjoy a walk-thru lighting
spectacular while they roast marshmallows over an open flame, enjoy live
entertainment and holiday music, food and cocktails, and a visit with Santa &
Mrs. Claus!  Holiday Nights & Jungle Lights takes place in the evenings
between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on selected dates.  For more information
please call (941) 355-1112 or visit .

Santa Jaws at Mote Marine Aquarium - November 24 - December 22, 2007
Visitors to Mote Marine Aquarium have the opportunity to meet a different
kind of Santa's helper from noon to 2 p.m. each Saturday, November 24 -
December 22, 2007.  Santa Jaws (typically known as Gilly the Shark, Mote
Aquarium's mascot) is all decked out for the holidays and visitors can have
their pictures taken with him for free along with admission to the aquarium. 
Mote Aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year - including
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Ticket prices are $15 for adults
and $10 for children ages 4-12. Admission for Mote Members and children age
3 and younger is free. Please call 941-388-4441 for more information and log
on to for special admission

Holidays at The John And Mable Ringling Museum
The Ringling Campus, home to The John & Mable Ringling Musuem of Art, Ca d'
Zan, The Asolo Theater and Tibbals Learning Center, hosts a variety of
events during this holiday season, including the following:

*Breakfast with Santa - Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007, 9 - 11 a.m.
Visitors to Sarasota are invited to start the holiday season with a hot
breakfast with Santa at the Ringling estate.  Guests can bring one gift per
child to the Visitors Pavilion, Dec. 10 - 14, 2007, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Santa
will distribute these gifts at the breakfast.  Gifts should be valued at no more
than $20 and should be clearly labeled with the child's name.  Ticket prices
are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3-10, and free for children 2 and
under.  Tickets go on sale Nov. 1, 2007 and can be purchased by calling
941.358.3180. For more information, guests can visit

*Holiday Performances at the Asolo Theater
Historic Asolo Theater Backstage Onstage series presents Ave Maria: The
Nativity in Music and Art on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007 11:00 a.m. Tickets are
$20 and $18 for Ringling Members. From Dec. 7 - 16, 2007, The Asolo Theater
presents Langston Hughes' Black Nativity. As one of the most important poets
of the 20th century, Langston Hughes created Black Nativity as a telling of
the Christmas story from a black point of view.  Evening performances begin
at 8 p.m., Dec. 7, 8, 13, 14 &15, Matinees 2 p.m., Dec. 8, 15 & 16. Tickets
are $24; all seats are reserved and can be purchased at the Historic Asolo
Theater Box Office:  941.360.7399, or on-line at

Sarasota and her string of eight islands are located along Southwest Florida's
Gulf Coast between Tampa and Ft. Myers.  Sarasota and Her Islands is
comprised of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Manasota
Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Englewood, Nokomis, North Port, Osprey and
Venice. In addition to sandy beaches, Sarasota and Her Islands also offer
numerous cultural and ecological attractions.  For more information on saving
and discovering in Sarasota, call the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau
at (800) 522-9799 or visit

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