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A week filled with local activities

by Roger Pettingell

Festivals, Powerboats and Fireworks

Enjoy your 4th of July holiday with plenty of events in the Sarasota area

Superboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
Powerboat Grand Prix - Reduced to one day of racing this year as powerboats motor past Lido Key on Sunday

Although the annual Powerboat Grand Prix hailed its two preliminary events the past few days, the kickoff party on Wednesday will start the trend of thousands to visit Sarasota for the full festival and the traditional fireworks in the area. The crowds will descend downtown and Lido Beach will come alive for the 35th annual festival. With the races reduced to just powerboats, there will only be one full day of racing off Lido Beach to be held on Sunday.

As part of the Powerboat festival, eight days of events were initiated with the 4th Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic on Saturday at The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota. Also completed was the Boat & Personal Watercraft fun run yesterday. It started at Marina Jack with a shotgun start and a variety of boats with travels to the Salty Dog, Bridge Tender and Tarpon Bay Grill. Proceeds benefited the Suncoast Charities for Children. A private event The Friendliest Catch fishing tournament is another Suncoast Charities for Children at the Sarasota Outboard Club on City Island Tuesday.

Many powerboat fans will be visiting the Grand Prix Kickoff Party in the grand foyer of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Wednesday starting at 6 PM. The Caribbean Chillers, an international travelling Jimmy Buffett tribute band is the live entertainment for the night. Wear your patriotic apparel for this evening of fun and island style food.

One of many firework displays this week, the Bayfront Spectacular is part of the Grand Prix Festival. Prime viewing is from Bayfront Park, but anywhere downtown will be good with an open view of the bay. Should be great if you can find a location on a rooftop. The fireworks start at 9 PM on Thursday.

Miss Geico
Miss Geico returns with a completely new look and mechanicals. The Miss Geico boat finished first in the Unlimited class in last year's festival. Meet driver James Sheppard and throttleman Steve Curtis at the Hyatt Regency for a Meet and Greet on Friday.

Meet and Greet Who’s in the Driver Seat is an autograph signing event by the race team pilots. Those 18 and under are free, a five-dollar donation will be accepted for all other guests. It starts at 1 PM on Friday in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom downtown. The Boats on the Block follows at 6 PM and will be held on Main Street from Orange Avenue to South Palm Avenue. The powerboats will be on display for pictures, live music and great food will keep you busy for hours.

Two events on day seven start at 9 AM, the Car & Motorcycle Show at Rossiter’s Harley-Davidson, four hours of some of the best-in-show four-wheel and two-wheel vehicles. Remote Control Race Boats is a charity event on Saturday where competitors of all ages pilot their own boat modeled after those in the big race festival. It takes place at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill on the Bayfront from 10 AM to noon on Saturday.

Miss Geico returns, a crowd favorite powerboat, kicking off a single-day of racing in the Class 1-7 course off Lido Beach at 10 AM on Sunday. Also entered in the Class One performance boats are Victory, 222 Racing, Lucas Oil and Scuderia Cazzani. Class One boats are the largest of the races and travel at speeds up to 160 MPH. Superstocks, Super Vee Extreme and Prostock Vee begin their races at 11:30 AM. The Supercat style boats race at 12:30 PM, while the Class One and Vee Extreme finish the day of racing at 2 PM followed by an awards ceremony at 6 PM in the Hyatt Regency ballroom. Viewing is free on the beach, a special VIP area at the Sandcastle Resort has been sold out.

In 2018 the impact of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival generated an estimated $20 million to the local economy with over $2.657 million in hotel spending. Of the $721,753 sales tax collected, $69, 670 was reimbursed to the county. Sarasota County collected its own sales tax of $120,292.

Other Area Fireworks and Festivals, Wednesday and Thursday schedule

Fireworks on Thursday
Fireworks off Bayfront Park in Sarasota, part of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix this year.

Get an early jump on fireworks Wednesday at dusk with two local displays in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The Bradenton Marauders take on the Jupiter Hammerheads on Wednesday at LECOM park in Bradenton, followed by an Independence Day fireworks celebration. Before dusk at 7 PM, the Fireworks 4 Miler is a prelude to the fireworks that follow at Nathan Benderson Park.

But a majority of the fireworks are scheduled for Thursday, following a day of celebrations at parks around the area. A party in Bicentennial Park starts the day on Longboat Key as the Freedom Fest and the half mile Hot Diggity Dog Parade begins at the Suntrust Bank building on Bay Isles Road. Dress your pup in the best red, white and blue for a chance to win prizes in this annual event.

While the Freedom Fest starts at 9 AM, so does the Myakka River Kayak Festival as the two early morning festivals. Rent a canoe or kayak, then eat plenty and sample some of 30 different craft beers while listening to live Folk Americana music at Snook Haven in Venice.

Palmetto will hold its 9th annual Fourth of July Festival in Sutton Park followed by fireworks in Sutton Park, a full day of entertainment, music, food and drink. Rare Earth and Mark Farner’s American Band, two oldies rock favorites precede the fireworks over the Manatee River at the Green Bridge with good viewing from both sides of the river.

Privateers on Anna Maria Island
Break out your swashbuckling attire for the annual Privateers Fourth of July Parade.

If you are on Anna Maria Island Thursday you will undoubtedly find the Privateers Fourth of July Parade. The parade is a lengthy one which starts at Coquina Beach, 10 AM, and finishes on the north end of the island at the city pier. Stick around for the fireworks at the Sandbar Restaurant. The All-American Cookout at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens features food preparations from Michael’s on East, a family dance party, games and other activities before the Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular.

There are fireworks in the area that are not centrally tied to a community festival. The viewing area for the Siesta Key Community Fireworks on the beach opens at 6 PM, and areas around the south jetty in Venice are prime locations for the fireworks there shortly after sunset. The weather forecasts are typical for this time of year as the normal summer pattern spreads across the area, with little rain chances except for an afternoon shower. It shouldn’t dampen any of your plans. But for more local events, check out our updated schedule of events.

Last week I listed a private waterfront residence that is tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac in the secluded Hideaway Bay community at 705 Hideaway Bay Lane. A tropical oasis, this 3BR home offers walls of lush foliage surrounding the property, complemented by pavered walkways, charming gardens, a hammock, plus newer dock and lift on sailboat-deep waters that enhance its seclusion. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy. Enjoy your Independence Day Holiday festivities.

 

Address List Price Media Slideshow
705 Hideaway Bay Lane $1,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

Bayfront Park has its official opening

by Roger Pettingell

Grand opening planned for this fall

Second Longboat Key project accomplished through cooperation

Bayfront Park pavilion
Bayfront Park - Panoramic views of Sarasota Bay from the picnic area and sidewalk.

There are two public projects on Longboat Key that are getting a lot of cooperation from private and government organizations. And while one hasn’t been started, the other is officially open to the public. In June I wrote about the cooperation that was needed to seed a new arts center and expand its mission and name to Longboat Key Center for Arts, Culture and Education. It was the kind of cooperation that was necessary for Bayfront Park, which officially opened this month.

Donations from the Rotary Club, Garden Club and Kiwanis Club provided funds for some specific projects in the park while the town of Longboat Key and Sarasota County funded construction and land acquisition costs. The result is a wonderful park that is nearly complete on 3.54 acres of Gulf to bay Land that was acquired in 2007.

Nearly complete: The bay side is open with plenty of activities that include basketball, tennis, pickleball and shuffleboard. Two dog parks are open with plenty of open space for pooches to jump and play. There are kayaks for rent through an on-site local company that was selected as the official park vendor, Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & EcoVentures.

Dog park
Two separate fenced dog walking areas are in Bayfront Park with plenty of shade and plenty of room.

A covered pavilion was constructed for family gatherings, accessible by a winding sidewalk that parallels the shoreline of the Bay. There is a playground for the little tykes and a fishing pier for the outdoorsman in everyone. Restrooms, a rain garden and storm-water treatment center were constructed.

What isn’t completed is the Gulf of Mexico side, and that requires a little more government cooperation. The town needs approval with a permit from the Florida Department of Transportation because there are plans for a construction vehicle ramp.

There will be public beach access to the white sands of the Gulf, something that is in high demand on Longboat Key. For those who savor a beautiful sunset there will be an observation deck, which will be handicap accessible. There will be a bridge that leads to the beach over the dunes, and a sidewalk that connects the bay side to the Gulf of Mexico.

Years of planning, funding and renovations

The entire project has been 14 years in the making, starting in 2003 when a citizen’s committee was formed to study the project. The next year their recommendation for a $6.4 million bond to fund a community center was rejected by island voters. In 2009 Sarasota County and Longboat Key agreed upon a plan for the park, but three years later put those plans on hold.

Bayfront Park is on the northern edge of Sarasota County at 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive. While town officials wanted a community and cultural center, an Urban Land Institute panel recommended that the center would be of more use more centrally located on the island, and suggested the Bay Isles area. That is the tie-in with the Longboat Key Center for Arts, Culture and Education. It is to be constructed in the area that was once the Amore Restaurant, behind Publix and centrally located on Longboat Key.

Tennis court
The park opened in phases with the tennis courts one of the first to be completed.

The project received a big boost in 2015 when the county gave approval for $2 million. Longboat Key contributed $1.02 million, while specific projects were funded by local organizations. Ground was broken in July of last year. Courts for tennis, pickleball and basketball were opened in phases this year. A grand opening celebration for the park is expected this fall.

Last week I listed two homes that are at opposite ends of the price market. The first at 1654 Landings Boulevard in the Landings is a Smart Home in a prime location of Sarasota. The property backs up to conservatory land and cannot be developed for residential or commercial use, so the tranquil setting will not be upset. The second on Longboat Key will make a wonderful retreat or a great rental property in the Cedars East community. It has two levels of living area and comes complete with a full garage. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1654 Landings Boulevard $2,195,000 Video 3D Floor plan
511 Forest Way, #511 $389,000   Photo Slideshow

 

Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing

 

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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.