City of Bradenton Beach
Thousands look forward to the Annual Christmas Prelude, generally held in November. All who have attended over the years have spread the word of what an enjoyable night they experienced. Under the stars and moon Christmas music radiates from the Clock Tower on Historic Bridge Street, filling the night and heart of thousands who come bringing their lawn chairs to sit in the street.
Sarasota Bay is the back drop for choirs and soloists who share their evening and their voices to the celebration of the season.
The City closes the City Pier end of the street for pedestrians only and lifts parking restrictions on side streets to accommodate parking - please just don't block a driveway.
Santa always shows up for the kiddies. Gifts are given to the youngest present, the oldest present, the longest and shortest time married and the person furthest from their home.
The first year (1997) saw 1,500 in attendance. 1998-3,500 attendees. 1999 through 2001 attendance was 4000+. This year more than 5000 are expected.
This is an old fashioned, warm, wonderful, casual evening of music and song. There is no admittance charge, no vendors, no alcohol on the street, just Christmas music. During the program, prizes are given out for the Christmas Lighting Contest. This is a celebration of light for the whole month between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Originally organized in 1997 by three Bradenton Beach citizens: Emily Anne Smith, John Chappie, and Lea Ann Bessonette of Legacy III (a not for profit corporation) the Christmas Prelude is now managed by the City