Sarasota Winter Carnival and Bazaar

Like every other year, there’s a lot of talk of New Year’s resolutions as we move from 2018 to 2019, and whether you’re planning to get some more exercise in, or spend less time with technology, we want to make sure that some things don’t get lost in the fold. It’s easy to forget to take time for yourself and your family in the shuffle of January, with many people returning to work and kids heading back to school, so we wanted to highlight one event that’s going to have all the fun you’ll need this January, the Sarasota Winter Carnival and Bazaar!

Where and When

As the name of the carnival would imply, it takes place in Sarasota. Specifically, at the Mall at University Town Center (140 University Town Center Dr.) which is under an hour away from the wannaB. If you happen to be staying with us over the weekend of January 19th, you’re in luck. Not only will the carnival and bazaar be a great time, but the Mall at UTC is a world class shopping center with over 150 stores and restaurants. If you decide to take a break from the carnival, you and the family can grab a bite to eat, or maybe treat yourself with a little retail therapy, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. The carnival will be on from Friday, January 18th to the 21st at 9:00pm.

Event Details

The Sarasota Winter Carnival and Bazaar will be held in the spacious parking lot 3 at the Mall at UTC. Things kick off on the evening of January 18th at 6:00p.m. and will run until 10:00p.m. The fun lasts all day long on Saturday as the carnival runs from 11:00a.m. to 10:00p.m. and Sunday and Monday the carnival runs from 11:00a.m. to 9:00p.m. The carnival will run all weekend long with games and rides for the whole family to enjoy. The bazaar will be open on Saturday and Sunday and will feature over 50 local artisans and vendors, beer sampling and street food. There will also be a Little Miss and Mr. Winter Pageant, a chili cook-off, and a beard contest, so there’s truly something for everybody to enjoy.

The Sarasota Winter Carnival and Bazaar is going to be a great way to bring a little excitement into your January, so we recommend checking it out if you’re staying with us over the weekend of the 19th. Those interested in signing up to compete in the chili cookoff, beard contest or winter pageant can do so right HERE. For everything else related to events at or around the wannaB, stay tuned to, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates. 
Florida in the New Year

Christmas is a magical time at the wannaB, but one thing that follows closely behind is the start of a brand-new year! The New Year is often about resolutions, celebrations of your accomplishments and milestones throughout the previous year, and maybe most importantly, a look ahead to what you’re going to be doing after the clock counts down to midnight. We, for one, hope that we’ll get to enjoy your company in the new year, and with so many events and attractions winding back up in 2019, there’s no better place to plan a vacation than right here with us! After all, it wont start warming up for some months in other parts of the world, but it’s as sunny and beautiful as ever here in Florida, and we’ve got the pictures to prove it. Here are some of the events we’re most looking forward to in the new year.

Parks That Teach

What better way to ring in the new year than by celebrating the life that exists all around you! At Parks That Teach, guided tours will be led by the University of Florida’s Master Gardeners, individuals who have completed an extensive training course in gardening. You’ll learn about Florida’s unique ecosystems, identify different trees and plants, not to mention experience habitats that support many different Florida creatures. The first event is on January 5th at 1200 W. Retta Esplanade in Punta Gorda, but recurs the first Saturday of each month, so there’ll be plenty of time to get a little green on that thumb!

Open House & Demonstration at the Visual Arts Center

Fancy yourself a fan of the arts? Then you won’t want to miss the open house and demonstration at the Visual Arts Center (210 Maud St., Punta Gorda). Not only will the event be introducing upcoming classes and workshops of 2019, you’ll also be able to visit with over 15 fine art instructors and check out demonstrations of their art, from painting to pottery and more. The event runs from January 3rd to 5th, so there are a few opportunities to get your fill of art and culture early in 2019.

The Great Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Pecularium

How about a little show from the ‘world of weird’? As its name would imply, Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Pecularium bills itself as a ‘…maincaptivating 90-minute extravaganza under a hypnotical Big-Top…[featuring] live acrobats and comedy.’ Spectators of all ages are bound to have a sensationally strange time at this event, so it’s perfect for the whole family. Come an hour before showtime to enjoy dining and drink and make a whole evening of it! The event will be held on two occasions in January – from the 10th to the 13th, then again from the 16th to the 20th – on historic Dearborn St. in Englewood, so plan accordingly!

GO Cabaret at the Isles Yacht Club

This one’s for the music lovers out there. Head down to the Isles Yacht Club (1780 Marion Ave., Punta Gorda) on January 19th for some jazz hits from the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. The Gulfshore Opera’s (GO) Professional Artist in Residence and jazz trio accompaniment will be playing songs originally by artists like Cole Porter, and Andy Williams. A must-attend-event for any jazz fan staying with us during the month of January!

Of course, there are always cool and interesting events happening around the wannaB, and these are just a few that happened to catch our interest heading into the new year. For more on what’ll be going on around the area, make sure to stay tuned to, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss a thing. Happy Holidays to everyone out there! We hope to see you in the new year!

Thanksgiving at the wannaB

It’s almost time for one of the biggest celebrations of the year. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what does that mean? Cold? Snow? Icy roads? To us, Thanksgiving is all about togetherness, and we happen to think that you can celebrate togetherness just about anywhere…but it’s nicer to do it on a warm, sandy beach. Why not bring the whole family to the wannaB and celebrate with a feast together in comfortable paradise!

Turkey and stuffing can be made anywhere, as long as you have a kitchen. Luckily, every one of our rooms comes equipped with all the amenities you need to prepare a decadent holiday feast! The only difference between our kitchen and yours is the beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico right outside the window. It may not be home, but when paradise calls, why not answer and toast to family on a warm, beautiful beach?

If you’re looking for a change of pace this Thanksgiving, then bring the family to Weston’s wannaB inn. November temperatures are hovering around the high 70s, and the summertime crowds are just a memory. With weather this sunny and warm, you can still partake in a variety of activities that would be impossible in other parts of the world during the cold months! Not only will you get to enjoy your family’s feast in paradise, but you’ll also be able to spend quality time with them afterwards outdoors.

At the wannaB, we love thanksgiving, and have been hosting families for their gatherings and celebrations for over six decades. Here, Turkey Day means:

  • Tossing the pigskin around our 900’ of Gulf of Mexico facing beachfront.
  • Sun soaked dozing around our two heated pools.
  • Long, post-dessert strolls down the beach.
  • Enjoying beautiful Manasota Key sunsets.
  • Sharing moments with family and making memories to last a lifetime.

We’re confident that every member of your family will be comfortable at the wannaB inn. Our facility offers a wide variety of room types, each with the aforementioned full kitchens that are just begging to be cooked in! We’ve got the perfect accommodations for Grandma and Grandpa, right down to your active kids.

Besides all the activities, eating, football, and fun, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to relax and remember all the good things in life. Bring your family to the wannaB inn and discover what those good things truly are.

It’s just about that time of year again. Christmas is in the air at the wannaB, and we think you’ll agree that there’s nothing like celebrating with the family on our toasty-warm Gulf of Mexico facing beachfront! After all, Santa Claus travels all over the world on Christmas Eve, so there’s no need to stay in the cold parts of the world this December! Treat your family to the vacation they deserve and discover why Weston’s wannaB inn is the perfect place to spend Christmas.

It’s Warm!

First and foremost, let’s talk about temperature. If you’re from a northern state, Canada, or another part of the world that gets a littleSunset 11.15.17 frigid this time of year, then we know you’ve been there. Waking up in the morning, groaning as you have to leave your warm bed to let the dog out, cold air covering you when you open the door! Heaven forbid you need to leave the house, then it’s out the door twenty minutes early to scrape off your frozen car and start it up so it’s sitting at something resembling a reasonable temperature for you to drive in! At the wannaB, this is a non-issue. No need to fight to get out of bed…you’ll want to jump out and experience the beautiful warm days on our glorious 900’ of beach! Forget about scraping off the car, with so many things to do, see, and eat around us, you’ll hardly even need to drive! Take in the day by walking or riding a bike to your destination and really explore Florida. How’s that for December weather?

Consider Us a Home Away from Home

Christmas is a time of togetherness, and usually it’s spent with those closest to you at home, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery, or to start a new tradition, consider the wannaB your home away from home. The homecooked Christmas dinner? Each of our rooms are outfitted with a full kitchen to ensure that your family will be well fed this holiday season. Family togetherness? With the plethora of fun activities to do around the wannaB, you can spend time with the kids outdoors rather than cooped up in the house all day! Enjoy a swim in one of our two pools or rent a kayak and get in the water! As long as you’re doing it together, it doesn’t matter where you are for Christmas.

Large Gathering? There’s Plenty of Space!

And we’re not just talking about our rooms! If your family gets together for an annual holiday outing at a bar or restaurant, then you’ll be happy to hear that there are plenty of those around. Add a little tropical flavor to your tradition at the SandBar Tiki & Grille, or how about some wine and apps at one of our favorite spots, the Mango Bistro? Whatever your speed, there’s something for everybody around the wannaB. Then, when the evening out wraps up, the group can retire to one of your spacious rooms for a nightcap as you await a warm, sunny Christmas morning.

It’s a special time of year that’s full of traditions, but there’s nothing that says you can’t enjoy those traditions in paradise! Bring them with you to the wannaB inn! We’ve been hosting families for generations and would love to show you how Florida does Christmas. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


It’s almost time for Racefest, one of the most exciting events to come out of the annual Englewood Beach Waterfest! If you’ve got the need for speed and are staying at the wannaB over the November 17th weekend, then we can’t recommend enough that you head down to Englewood beach to get in on the fun! The weekend is sure to be filled with excitement, action, and a whole lot of fast and beautiful boats! What could be better? Need more convincing? Well you’re in luck, because we’ve got a full run-down of the festival right here.


Racefest Boat

The three-day festival kicks off on November 16th and runs through the 18th. On Friday, November 16th, be sure to stop by historic Dearborn Street for a chance to get an up-close-and-personal look at the boats and meet some of the teams at the Block Party. The party is going to be a free event to the public where you can get familiar with the over 40 boats that are entered in the races. The block party is going to run from 5:00pm to 9:00 pm which should provide ample time to check out each vessel (provided you don’t get held up salivating over a particularly shiny one). And what’s a party without food and drinks? Street vendors, food trucks, and beverage stations will all be setting up to make sure you’re well taken care of, so you can make a whole night of the party!

Saturday & Sunday

Saturday, November 17th is when the real fun begins. Races kick off at 11:00am, with the last race of the day being held at 3:00pm. Similarly, races run from 11:00am to 3:00pm on Sunday, with an awards ceremony being held at 7:00pm. Traditionally, these races are high-octane, so if you’re a fan of aquatic action, then you’ve got to head down to Waterfest Village on Englewood Beach during the event. If you want to make a whole day of it, make sure you stop by Waterfest Beach Oasis and Food Court too! Howard’s Restaurant will be offering seafood and American fare, and Paraiso will be grilling up some authentic Mexican favorites! Plus, there will be plenty of beverage stations serving: beer, wine, mixed drinks, margaritas and sangria, so you can really turn Racefest into a party!

There’s Something for Everyone!

Bringing the kids along to Racefest? Make sure to stop by the Family Conservation Center. Mote Marine Laboratory will have six exhibits set up during Racefest:

  • Fin-Tastic Friends – an exhibit devoted to truths about often misunderstood sharks and rays
  • Florida Watersheds – learn about what kind of creatures are native to Florida
  • Marine CSI – learn about Mote’s team of experts who investigate animal standings.
  • Spineless Sea – learn about the weird adaptations of the invertebrates.
  • Turtely Turtles – learn all about some of our favorite creatures: sea turtles
  • Radical Reefs – learn about the interesting world of the reef’s ecosystem.

In addition to Mote Marine Laboratory, the following exhibits are also scheduled to set up during Racefest:

  • Shark Brothers
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Peace River Wildlife Club with Luna the Owl
  • Lemon Bay High Marine Conservation Club
  • Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Conservation Bureau
  • Tropical Seas Reef Safe Sunscreen
  • Barrier Island State Park Society
  • Friends of Stump Pass
  • Wildlife Center of Venice

There are plenty of other fun activities for your kids to enjoy throughout the day as well, like: a bean bag toss, ring toss, face painting, a photo booth and much more.

The 2018 Englewood Beach Racefest is going to be a weekend of fun you won’t soon forget, and with so many food and drink options, and activities for the whole family, it should be a no-brainer when it comes to checking out the event. If you’re interested, you can find more info as well as tickets to the event on the Englewood Beach Waterfest website.

For more on the goings on around the wannaB, stay tuned to, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for ideas about things to do on your Florida getaway!