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Special Events & Programs

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Public Programs

Manatee Village presents several public programs throughout the year, including lectures, craft workshops, and interactive family-friendly activities. 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 Program Offerings


Scarecrow Workshop

Start Date:9/22/2018 10:00 AM
End Date:9/22/2018 1:30 PM

Register here:

Manatee Village Historical Park will host Scarecrow Workshops on Saturday, September 22 from 10-11:30am or 12-1:30pm (both sessions are identical).

Ideal for families and small groups of friends: create a life-sized scarecrow. Each group will be provided with the armature (frame), stuffing, material for a head covering, and an instruction packet. Participants are asked to bring the clothing, shoes, and decorations/accessories for their scarecrow—traditional or creative encouraged. 

This family-friendly event will also feature simple crafts for children. 

Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy our courtyard after you are finished. 

The cost of the workshop is $20 per scarecrow. For example, if a group of five people wanted to make one scarecrow together, they should register for one slot on the Sign-up Genius and the cost would be $20. Or if the group wanted to make two scarecrows, they should register for two slots on the sign-up, and the cost would be $40.  

The children’s crafts will be available and free to workshop participants. 

Tickets for the Scarecrow Workshop are on sale starting now (and will require an online service fee). They may be purchased using the Sign-up Genius link provided here:

If you need to purchase your tickets in person, Manatee Village will hold your over-the-phone reservation for two business days. These reservations may be made by calling (941) 749-7165. 

All ticket sales are first come, first served. 

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


Book Talk: Sarah Younger

Start Date:10/11/2018 2:00 PM
End Date:10/11/2018 3:00 PM

Florida author Sarah Younger will speak about her historical fiction novels at Manatee Village Historical Park on Thursday, October 11 at 2pm. 

A Bend in the Straight and Narrow: A Woman’s Journey into the Heart of the Florida Frontier tells the fictionalized story of Sally Ann Marsh, a real life ancestor of Younger. Sally is living in Georgia at the start of the Civil War, when General William T. Sherman marches through the state. Sally is forced to evacuate, leading a group of women and children into Florida. With their husbands away at war, the small band fights to rebuild their lives and establish a community in the heart of the Florida wild. 

The sequel, Ye Who Are Weary, Come Home, will be coming out this fall.

Younger is a native Floridian whose ancestors settled Florida in the post-Civil War period. In researching family history, a discovery led to the fact that she is seventh generation Floridian on her grandfather’s side of the family.  

The stories Younger passes on in her novels were told to her by her grandmother, Granny O’Steen. Since the stories were a mere skeleton, Younger filled in the gaps with historical fiction. Much of the research done for this project was accomplished by visiting graveyards in the Bradford and Alachua County areas. The search for Jacob Henry’s and Sally’s graves is ongoing. Many of the markers revealed things not known previously in family history, such as an epidemic that killed three people in the family, including her grandfather’s mother, one week after he was born. Last names in the books have been changed, but many of the given names remain the same. 

Sarah has a BA degree from Baylor University and an Education degree from the University of Southern Colorado. She has an avid interest in history and quilting. 

She lives in Merritt Island, Florida with her husband and Charlie, the beagle dog. 

This talk will take place on Thursday, October 11, 2018 starting at 2:00pm at Manatee Village Historical Park in our 1887 Old Meeting House Church. It will run approximately 45 minutes. A reception with light refreshments will follow. Manatee Village is open to the public that day and so the historical buildings will be open for (free) self-guided tours until 4:00pm. 

The talk is free and open to the public. No RSVP needed. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. We will have 12 sets of assisted listening devices that we can provide, also on a first come, first served basis. 

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


Edwin Culver presents a World War I Centennial Concert

Start Date:11/29/2018 5:30 PM
End Date:11/29/2018 7:00 PM

Edwin Jordan Culver, a classical guitarist, will perform a concert of World War I era music at Manatee Village Historical Park on Thursday, November 29.

This concert commemorates the 100-year anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of World War I. The Allies and Germany signed the armistice to cease hostilities on November 11, 1918, ending four years of one of the deadliest conflicts in history. 

Culver is a classical guitarist, composer, and music teacher based in Sarasota. Originally from Flushing, Michigan, he earned a B.A. in Music Performance from Hillsdale College.  

As a composer, Edwin says that he is “passionate about designing music with supreme intensity and emotion.” Stylistically, he also aims to retain refined and elevated elements of his art. His goals as a composer are to apply both classical and modern techniques and styles to create something new and deeply captivating. 

Culver’s concert will feature World War I era music, immersing listeners in history. They will hear songs inspired by those to which soldiers might have listened, sang, and danced. In between the songs, Culver will present brief facts about the war, the stories behind songs, and highlights on Manatee County’s role in the war. 

Additionally, Manatee Village Historical Park will present a small exhibit in the artifact display case on the second floor of the Wiggins Store. This exhibit will give a brief overview of the war, as well as describing Manatee County’s role—both abroad and on the home front. 

The concert will begin at 5:30pm in the 1887 Church.  

The second floor of the Wiggins Store will be open until 5:15pm for exhibit viewing (please note that this exhibit is very small). Visitors are welcome to view Manatee Village’s other exhibits and tour the buildings on a self-guided walking tour until 5:15, as well. 

The concert will last approximately one hour, with a reception and light refreshments to follow. The Manatee Village campus will close at 7:00pm.

Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets will be on sale here in this event posting starting October 4. 

Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Manatee Village provides 12 sets of assisted listening devices, also on a first come, first served basis.


An Old Florida Christmas

Start Date:12/15/2018 11:00 AM
End Date:12/15/2018 4:00 PM

Experience an old-fashioned Florida holiday celebration with family-friendly entertainment including musical performances, make-and-take seasonal crafts, heritage artisans, food vendors, and vintage silent holiday films - something to delight every age!

In the past, beautiful holiday-themed musical performances have been given by barbershop quartets, the Gulf Coast Flute Choir, and local elementary, middle, and high schools.   

Scattered throughout Manatee Village will be (free!) craft stations where you can make old-fashioned seasonal decorations, like orange pomanders, paper chains, and Popsicle stick reindeer.  

Every year, Manatee Village seeks out local artists, authors, craft vendors, and non-profits. In past years, vendors have offered face-painting and sold handmade wreaths, soaps, bonnets, aprons, jewelry, quilts, clothing and more. An Old Florida Christmas is the perfect opportunity to shop local and support the community’s artists.   

Take a lunch break in the courtyard, shaded by old oak trees. In the past, food vendors have included North River Manatee Kiwanis selling hamburgers and hotdogs and Kona Ice selling snow cones.   

Enjoy vintage silent films in the 1860 Courthouse like the 1905 version of “The Night Before Christmas” and a 1910 version of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, both produced at Thomas Edison’s film manufacturing studios.    

Every corner of Manatee Village will be decorated in splendid Victorian and Florida pioneer-inspired Christmas décor. Explore the museum’s landmarks like the Old Cabbage Head train and the Junior Junction playground. Learn something new about holiday traditions in the Christmas exhibit displayed in the Stephens Family Home. Unique gifts will be for sale in the museum’s Whistle Stop Gift Shop, like Christmas Preservation Angels, the proceeds from which are used to restore Manatee Village’s historical buildings.

Special Event admission: Adults $5; Youth 12 years and under FREE. No reservations necessary—tickets are for sale at the event.

Parking is free and is available at Manatee Village Historical Park, the East Manatee Health and Wellness Center (1312 Manatee Ave E), Manatee Baptist Church (1501 7th Ave E), or Manatee Elementary (1609 6th Ave E).

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

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 is closed Wednesday, September 19 for an in-service work day.

Saturday openings this month are: September 8 and September 22.

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

Closed Labor Day, Monday, September 3rd