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Sarasota Spring festivals Series III

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota's popular festivals this week

A frenzy of wine auctions, chalk art, movies and chamber music

Our festival schedule has been heavy this year, nearly one good-sized festival each weekend. This week is different, a frenzy start to some of the most attended festivals to choose from in art, music, wine and film. While two of these festivals continue into next week, a fifth festival begins for whiskey aficionados.

Wine Auction to benefit children's programs in Sarasota

Florida Winefest Auction Sarasota
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall - Florida Winefest Auction kicks off the series of festivals

Four days of events for wine connoisseurs and philanthropists begins Thursday with proceeds to benefit 18 Sarasota children programs, the Florida Winefest Auction kicks off on the South lawn of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The Pique Nique Sur la Baie, Winefest Style “Where the Guests are the Show” is at 11 AM, followed by an opening reception at noon. The “Apre La Fete” luncheon starting at 1:30 PM with half of your reservation fee is tax deductible toward the charities.

Wine dinners follow at Mattison’s Forty One, Sage SRQ and San Remo private residence. On Friday a lunch tasting will be held at the bayfront of the Van Wezel with a grand banquet on the block of Lemon Avenue starting at 6:30 PM. Educational seminars and classes are Friday and Saturday with the Grand Tasting, Brunch and Charity Auction at 11 AM Saturday at the Van Wezel Bayfront. Enjoy Wine on the Water Sunday at 1 PM on the Bayfront. A complimentary Business Trade Tasting Friday open to licensed members is by invitation only.

Chalk Festival returns to downtown Sarasota for the first time since 2013

Sarasota Chalk Festival
The Sarasota Chalk Festival returns to downtown

One of the top festivals in Sarasota was moved to the Venice Airport grounds to attract 200,000 visitors from around the world. The Sarasota Chalk Festival last year in November was postponed and rescheduled to start April 5 at its original location in downtown Sarasota. The regular schedule will pick back up November 15 in Venice. The streets of Burns Square will come alive with street chalk artwork from the masters of their craft that travel here from around the globe.

Under the theme of “Museum in Motion” the streets of Burns Square will become the canvas for these artists to transform downtown into a festival of beauty for the first time in six years. A world debut of 3-dimensional illusion art by 3D pavement illusion designer Kurt Wenner will be on display. Stroll through the artwork at night on Saturday evening when the streets become illuminated with lanterns. Live music, late shopping and the artists will be discussing their artwork starting at 6 PM. Amateur adult artists and students over the age of 12 can also participate in the three-day festival for free by requesting a spot on the website.

Sarasota Film Festival for 2019 starts with a look at the career of Mike Wallace

Friday begins the Sarasota Film Festival with a look at the career of one of the most iconic broadcast journalists in “Mike Wallace is Here” by award winning director Avi Belkin. The movie at 6 PM in the Municipal Auditorium will be followed by a panel discussion led by Belkin on the legacy Wallace left behind. An opening night party follows at The Modern in downtown Sarasota. The Regal Hollywood Stadium 11 will host many of the 200 feature and short film screenings during the nine days of the festival.

The festival continues award ceremonies and parties at multiple locations in Sarasota. Have an upfront conversation with Greg Kinnear, Oscar nominee for “As Good as It Gets,” 1 PM at Sage SRQ on April 13, the last night of the festival when his directorial debut of “Phil” premieres. The closing night party at Sage SRQ is destined to be one of the most elegant and enthusiastic parties of the year. But save your energy for the last day on Sunday as multiple award winning actress Blythe Danner takes the Sage SRQ stage for a personal discussion of films and Broadway. Anne Heche, actress, director and screenwriter follows at 1 PM.

Chamber music is highlighted at the Opera House in the La Musica Festival

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
La Musica events will be hosted at the Opera House

Artistic director Bruno Giuranna has put together four concert performances in the Opera House downtown to begin next Monday and continue every three days during the 2019 La Musica International Chamber Music Festival. Giuranna is a world renown violinist and conductor, providing direction for the festival with associate artistic director, American born and famed pianist Derek Han.

On concert off days you may want to take in a rehearsal of the masters in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion at New College of Florida, the first of which is Saturday. A free panel discussion on the continuing legacy of chamber music, "Truthful and Timeless", will follow the rehearsal April 9 at New College. Bradenton resident Harold J. Bott Jr. will lead a discussion of panelists Giuranna, Han and others.

Meet the musicians and enjoy a mini concert, “An Irish Melody and Mozart’s Flute Quartet”, April 12 in the Dolphin Aviation Hangar at SRQ Airport starting at 5:30 PM. Although sold out, the Musical Chefs Interactive Dinner in Michael’s Wine Cellar is an annual treat. You can put this on your plans next year when La Musica returns for its 34th year.

“It Must be the Whiskey” and everything about it during its obsession 2019

Look out Sarasota, the seventh annual Whiskey Obsession, the largest whiskey festival in the United States hits Sarasota for four days starting April 10. An elegant four course kickoff dinner with executive chef Anthony Puccio at the Sarasota Yacht Club gets the festival rolling.

On Thursday, two intimate small group dinners at the Hyatt Regency are paired with panel discussions of relevant topics. Four award winning whiskies are celebrated at the World Whiskey Dinner, while four Scotch whiskies are paired with dinner during the Single Malt Scotch Dinner. A panel of unique distillers and Whiskey experts share brands at an interactive tasting after the dinners. Samples of Whistle Pig Rye conclude the evening on Thursday, a lively late night gathering with live music.

A master class of single malt scotch begins the activities on noon Friday at The Bijou restaurant. One of the highlights of the festival is the Grand tastings and Masterclasses Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency. There are three ticket levels for these events. Two events on Saturday conclude the festival, the Women of Whiskey brunch at the Sarasota Yacht Club and Beer, Bourbon and Cigars at Smokin’ Joes on Main Street.

You can find these festivals and hundreds of other events through May 3, 2020 on our Upcoming Events page. This page is updated every week on Thursday to help you plan for the weekend and beyond.

Last week I listed a sunny and open three-bedroom townhome at 1555 Napoli Drive West in Sarasota. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy. Enjoy the remainder of your April Fool’s Day, this list of events was no joke.

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1555 Napoli Drive West $249,000   Photo Slideshow


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


Sarasota Winter Festivals

by Roger Pettingell

Something for everyone in local festivals

Look for arts and music each weekend in Sarasota

Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio
Saturday Headliner - Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio performed to an enthusiastic crowd at the inaugural Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival Saturday night.

We love our winter festivals here in Sarasota. Generally, the weather is great and we have plenty of visitors at this time of year. We love our seafood too. So, what better way to kick off the season than with the inaugural Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival put on by the Downtown Merchant's Association. The music was a good blend of jazz to calypso music. Even the rock-n-rollers had fun with the headliner act on Saturday, Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio.

Now that it is over we continue next weekend with the St. Armands Winter Art Festival, Saturday and Sunday. The St. Armands Circle Association has invited over 175 artists and has grown to become one of the top 50 shows in the country with a wide variety of original art sales.

Art festivals are plentiful here and they are all well attended. There is a great stage for the festivals in downtown Sarasota on Gulfstream Boulevard where most of them are held. Now in its 28th year, the Sarasota Festival of the Arts will be the second weekend of February. You can celebrate the artists throughout the year with festivals downtown March 12-13, April 16-17, May 7-8 and October 22-23. You can find these art festivals on our upcoming events page.

If you are looking for a great place to watch the Super Bowl that Sunday, you might consider the Sarasota Mardi Gras Music and Food Festival at Payne Park. The festival starts Friday, February 5, and runs until 10 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the football fans with giant screens for the game in the VIP tent. This is an event to benefit the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary and has activities for the entire family. Parking and admission is free for the three days of music, arts and New Orleans style delicacies.

A great weekend of good food, wine tasting and entertainment is planned for the 26th Annual Florida Winefest & Auction. These four days from March 17-20 are filled with a variety of events at various locations around downtown Sarasota. While most of the events are held at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, one of the main events will be held in front of Mattison's City Grille. This is a Banquet on the Block party with grand dining tables set up in a row stretching down Lemon Avenue in the late afternoon of that Friday. Local artist Brendan Coudal will be featured and there will be an auction of his mermaids and pretty girl paintings. Along with donations, the festival will benefit disadvantaged children through the Caring for Children Charities. You will want to seek out tickets early for some of the events in this festival.

Also that weekend on Saturday only is the 8th Annual Toast To Venice at Maxine Barritt Park from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Expect live music, beer and wine tasting, some good savory food from local restaurants and a silent auction to benefit a number a number of local charities.

Sarasota Arts Festival
Check our upcoming events page for arts festivals in Sarasota, Venice and St. Armands Circle.

We have an affinity for festivals that some might consider a little odd. While Tampa has its annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival starting this weekend, with events spread out over a couple different weekends, we will be preparing for some of our own fun. Pencil in your calendar the Whiskey Obsession Festival, appropriately held on April 1 at Michael’s on East in Sarasota. You can occasionally find a Forks and Corks either at Michael’s on East or some other local venue. These are good networking events and typically benefit a local charity so they are worth the effort.

Some may even think that an event for fossils is a little odd but Venice is well known for its Megalodon fossilized shark's teeth. You can find them on the beach with a sand scoop or scuba dive for them in shallow water. They’ve been celebrating the Shark's Tooth Festival for 24 years now. This year’s event will be held at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds, April 9-10.

Our film festival over ten days starting April 1 has been an annual attraction drawing students and movie lovers from all over world. Look for more announcements of the films this year and the venues where they will be screened, or follow them on Facebook through the link here.

Coming up soon is the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in the Bradenton village near Anna Maria Island. As with other festivals expect good local seafood combined with live music. Starting April 1, the DeSoto Heritage Festival Seafood Festival will be held in Palmetto’s Sutton Park. The three-day festival includes live entertainment on two stages, food and artwork for sale by local artists. They ask that you leave coolers, pets and chairs at home but the event intended for the entire family is free.

We love our powerboat regattas too. In Bradenton they have combined their regatta on February 6 with fireworks, food, and the main entertainment for the evening, Beatlemania. They may be the ultimate tribute band to the Fab Four of the sixties at the Bradenton Powerboat Regatta.

Sarasota Seafood Festival
Seemingly everyone enjoyed the Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival despite the chilly weather Saturday.

More well known is the Powerboat Grand Prix Festival June 25 through July 4 in various locations around the city. Thousands of visitors are attracted to Sarasota, particularly on the race days, July 3 and 4 this year. Get there early those days to see these magnificent high-powered machines with prime viewing on the beaches of Lido and Siesta keys. Keep up with the latest news on this favorite summer event.

I leave you with one more festival, Siesta Fiesta, April 8-9, in the village of Siesta Key. The weather is usually great this time of year for this giant block party and open street fair. Now in its 38th year, hit this one last festival before heading north for the summer. Then return next fall for the Sarasota Chalk Festival and Sand Sculpture competitions in Siesta Key.

The final figures have been reported for sales in Manatee and Sarasota counties, setting an all-time record for home sales of 20,691. The previous mark was set in 2014 with 19,389. I sold 62 homes totaling over $74 million in sales volume. That was a personal best as well and a continued stretch as the Number one agent in Sarasota for five consecutive years. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1281 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #801 $2,999,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1281 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #PH1108 $2,795,000 Video Photo Slideshow
711 S. Palm Ave, #402 $1,529,900   Photo Slideshow
3522 Fair Oaks Lane $1,095,000 Video Photo Slideshow
3080 Grand Bay Blvd, #512 $649,000   Photo Slideshow


Winter Festivals are Upon Us

by Roger Pettingell

Winter Season Signals Many Events

Week Long Celebrations Start in October, Finish in May

Ringling Bridge Run
Ringling Bridge Run - Now in its 12th year, the 4-mile race had 2,600 participants this past weekend.

Starting in October every year Sarasota lights up with more festivals and cultural gatherings each week to entertain the returning guests who escape the cold of the north. The winter season starts then and runs through mid-April to signal the start of the summer season. Sand art festivals, opera, ballet, orchestra, holiday festivals, St. Armand's Circle events and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center ramp up their schedules during this period. There are a few celebrations that are longer annual events and attract their own set of followers who return each year.

The first is the Ringling International Arts Festival that begins in mid-October. The four-day event of live entertaining including dance, stage performances signals the start of the cultural season here in Sarasota. Four venues within walking distance of each other on the campus of the Ringling Museum of Art will feature artists and performers from around the globe. This is truly an international arts festival and well respected with high quality entertainment.

The Sarasota Chalk Festival in Burns Square completed its seventh year, typically held in late October. The 2014 festival was moved to Venice and completed the Largest Anamorphic Pavement Art in the World at the Venice Airport Festival Fairgrounds. It has grown from 22 local artists and 5,000 attendees in 2007 to internationally known artists and thousands of attendees. The successful theme for 2014 was ‘Extinct and Endangered Species.’ Expect the theme for 2015 to be announced in February.

Now in its 17th year, the Sarasota Film Festival is a 10 day event that runs the second week of April to highlight independent, new and veteran filmmakers to Sarasota. Over 180 films, documentaries and shorts are highlighted in Hollywood 20 cinema on Main Street.

When the snowbirds leave, students of the musical arts get involved in an intense three-week experience during the Sarasota Music Festival. The festival was started in 1965 and now focuses on the teaching of students who receive tuition for the performance of chamber music. Beginning May 31, this festival is sponsored by the Sarasota Orchestra. The Florida State Legislature designated the festival as the "Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida" in 1984. Hundreds of applications are received from around the country, and 40 are selected to participate in the training.

Other shorter festivals in Sarasota are growing in depth and participation. Weekend and day events are listed on our upcoming events calendar.

Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. We are building a good inventory of luxury waterfront homes and condominiums to choose, including these residences added last week.

3040 Grand Bay Blvd, PH2101 $2,995,000   Photo Slideshow
2550 Harbourside Dr, #321 $1,125,000 Video Photo Slideshow
3040 Grand Bay Blvd, #265 $949,000   Photo Slideshow


Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3




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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.