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Special Events & Programs

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Special Events & Programs

Manatee Village presents several popular festivals annually and throughout the year program events may also include lectures, craft workshops and interactive family-friendly activities at the Village. The best way to keep informed about what is happening is to visit our website or Facebook page frequently, or sign up for our Cabbage Head Gazette newsletter on our Home Page.

Current Events


Spirit Voices from Old Manatee, Season VII

Start Date:10/6/2017 7:00 PM
End Date:10/22/2017 8:30 PM

Thank you to everyone making our final season of Spirit Voices such a success! We are now SOLD OUT of every cemetery show. We do still have tickets available for the seated performance in our 1887 Church on Sunday, October 22. Call (941) 749-7165 to reserve tickets for Sunday night.

The Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. celebrates their 7th and final season as creator and producer of Spirit Voices from Old Manatee. This outdoor drama and cemetery tour premiered in 2011 as an original living history production. It features costumed actors who portray the early settlers interred in the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds with riveting graveside stories based on archives, descendants, diaries, military logs, books and legend. Viewers learn more about the development of the area from 1840 to the turn of the century. The program is an experience like no other, unfolding at the 1887 Meeting House Church at Manatee Village Historical Park with a Victorian wake and continuing by torch-light “on the other side,” at the 1850 Manatee Burying Grounds as the sun sets. The audience leaves with a new appreciation for the contributions made by pioneers to the Manatee lands through tales of their triumphs, tragedies and amusing escapades.  


Ten performances are offered the first three weekends of October, starting at 7:00pm.  Week IOctober 6 and 7; Week II: 12, 13, 14, and 15; and Week III: 19, 20, 21 and 22*.  (*The show on October 22nd will take place entirely in the 1887 Old Meeting House Church for those who have mobility difficulties, or prefer not to view the performance in the cemetery.) Gates open at 6:30 pm and Act I begins promptly at 7:00 pm. Due to the interactive nature of this event, all attendees will be required to sign a waiver at the gate, prior to admission. Please allow ample time for this process.

TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets on sale starting September 5. Advance ticket purchase is recommended; Audience space is limited. Tickets are $20 per person. Not recommended for viewers under 10 years old. Everyone is required to have a ticket, including children - regardless of age. Terms: cash, check, money order, ATM/Debit, and most major credit cards. You may call in your ticket order: (941) 749-7165 or visit Manatee Village Historical Park Monday through Friday and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 9 am – 4 pm.

WHO PRODUCES THE SHOW AND WHY: The show is produced by the Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. with assistance from the Historical Resources Division of the Manatee County Clerk of Court & Comptroller. This fundraising event enables Manatee County Historical Commission to broaden their mission “to preserve and share the heritage of Manatee County’s founding period (1840-1918)”. It has become a success for the Manatee County Historical Commission, Inc. due to: Committed volunteer actors, behind the scenes community volunteers, generous corporate sponsors, private donors and an avid audience (some who return to see the show yearly). The outcome of this joint community endeavor is that the proceeds derived each Season, make it possible to continue future community programming and sustain preservation activities at Manatee Village Historical Park.

Thank you to our generous donors and sponsors who have made this show possible: Manatee County Historical Society, Hickory Hollow, Republican Party of Manatee County, the Great Great Granddaughter of John Curry and Mary Ward Kemp, Shannon Funeral Homes, P.A., A.P. Bell Fish Co., Inc., and P.J's Sandwich Shop.


Author Talk & Book Signing by Cathy Slusser

Start Date:10/2/2017 5:00 PM
End Date:11/2/2017 7:00 PM

Manatee Village Historical Park will host a book talk by local author and professional historian Cathy Slusser on November 2, 2017. The talk, which will discuss Slusser’s latest novel, The Sea Beneath Us, will begin at 5:30pm, with a reception and book signing to follow. 

Copies of The Sea Beneath Us will be on sale, as will Slusser’s previous three novels in her From a Heavenly Land trilogy. Manatee Village Historical Park’s gift shop will open at 5:00pm to allow purchase of the books before the talk.

Slusser has served as the Director of the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court & Comptroller’s Historical Resources Department for the past 30 years. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Furman University and a Master’s Degree in History from the University of South Florida.

Her latest novel, The Sea Beneath Us, tells the story of a mother and daughter immigrating the United States in the early 20th Century. The characters, Etta and Florence, are based on Slusser’s great-grandmother and grandmother.

Slusser says of the process of writing this novel:

“Most of us have an ancestor or two that we admire, but we feel like there is something missing from the story handed down through time. The Sea Beneath Us is my attempt to fill in those gaps in the lives of my grandmother and great-grandmother as well as to demonstrate how women’s lives have changed over time.” 

This is Slusser’s fourth novel. Her three previous novels were a trilogy entitled From a Heavenly Land. This trilogy told the story of three generations of women who settled in Manatee County in the 1800s and 1900s.

This talk is FREE and open to the public. The Manatee Village parking lot and grounds will open at 5:00pm. The talk will begin in the 1887 Old Meeting House Church at 5:30pm and will run about one hour. A reception with light refreshments will follow. Manatee Village grounds will close at 7:00pm. 

No RSVP required, seating on a first-come, first-served basis.
Open to the public. Ages 13 & up recommended.

Manatee Village Historical Park is located at 1404 Manatee Avenue East (State Road 64) Bradenton, Florida. For more information call (941) 749-7165.

This public program is offered by producers: Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, Department of Historical Resources and the Manatee County Historical Commission.


Andrew Frank Presents "Making Chief Osceola"

Start Date:11/16/2017 5:30 PM
End Date:11/16/2017 7:00 PM

Dr. Andrew Frank is an ethnohistorian for Florida State University whose research focuses on the history of the Florida Seminoles and the Native South. Frank’s talk will explore the life and legacy of Chief Osceola, a leader of the Seminole resistance during the Seminole Wars. 

Reception with light refreshments to follow (Manatee Village will close at 7pm).
Free admission and parking. No RSVP required, seating on a first come, first served basis.
Open to the public. Ages 13 & up recommended.

Manatee Village Historical Park is proud to be a Florida Humanities Council (FHC) Speaker Series partner. Between now and March 2018, Manatee Village Historical Park will present five speakers from the Florida Humanities Council. These talks are made possible by funds from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. 

For more information on the Florida Humanities Council, please visit:

Group Tour Information

Group tours are provided for groups of 10 people or more.* The cost is $3.00 per person. Reservations must be made at least 14 days in advance by calling (941) 749-7165. 

*Group tours may be provided for groups of 10 or fewer people, but the minimum cost of $30.00 will still apply.

Download our group tour application here: MVHP Group Tour Reservation Request rev. 1-30-12.pdf

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Village Hours:

Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 4:00pm
2nd & 4th Saturdays each month, 9:00am – 4:00pm 

Manatee Village will be closed Friday, November 10 in honor of Veterans Day; and Thursday-Friday, November 23-24 for Thanksgiving. 

Saturday openings this fall are: September 9, September 23, October 14, and October 28. There will be no Saturday openings in November due to Veterans Day and Thanksgiving.

Phone: (941) 749-7165

E-mail addresses are public records under Florida law and are not exempt from public-records requirements. If you do not want your e-mail address to be subject to being released pursuant to a public-records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact by phone at the phone numbers above, or contact us in writing, via the United States Postal Service, at this address- Manatee County Historical Commission 1404 Manatee Ave. E, Bradenton, Fl 34208.

Location Map:



1404 Manatee Avenue East 
(SR 64)
Bradenton, FL. 34208



Village Hours

Monday – Friday and 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month 

9:00am – 4:00pm