Our beaches, sunbathing and more

Events such as the Powerboat Grand Prix attract thousands to the area

Lido Beach fans
Powerboat Grand Prix - Thousands lined the beach of Lido Key with canopies to watch the races Sunday

There are many reasons why tourists visit Sarasota and it is rated as one of the best places in the country to retire. It is simple to argue that our beaches is the biggest draw. Just sticking your toes in the quartz-rich sand that reflects 99 percent of the sun is a delight in itself. But our beaches also attract thousands for some of the best events in the world.

Case in point is the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix this past weekend where eight days of land activities culminated in the races on the final day off Lido Beach. There thousands lined the sands off Lido Key for nearly a half mile of canopy tent next to canopy tent and nesting black skimmers to watch the spectacle over the water where powerboats screamed their engines traveling at speeds up to 160 mph. The spectators seemed unaware of the rain drops and cloudy skies to catch a full day of racing.

The events of the 35th annual Grand Prix attracted visitors to the hotels, restaurants and bars, last year bringing in $20 million to the area and tax benefits to local governments. This year crowd favorite Miss GEICO and the boat Victory flipped during the Class One last race on Sunday. The races will air on CBS Sports at 3 PM on August 4 and on Fox Sports at a later date to be announced. The races were sanctioned by the Offshore Powerboat Association and P1 Offshore.

The Tachi Palace World’s Strongest Man in Bradenton, Florida
The world took notice of Bradenton Beach during the Strongman competition on the beaches June 14-16.

The Grand Prix followed another world class event just weeks before on the beaches of Anna Maria Island. On the public Bradenton Beach, USA contender Martins Licis defeated Mateusz Kieliszkowski of Poland, reigning champ and Game of Thrones star Hafthor Julius Bjornsson representing Iceland, and Tom Stoltman of the United Kingdom in the World’s Strongest Man competition.

This multi-day competition enticed fans to downtown Bradenton, Coquina Beach and the finals on Bradenton Beach. For four days they threw kegs over banners, lifted immense weights and pulled vehicles downtown to a great demonstration of strength and endurance. A series of the competition will begin to air on the CBS Sports Network starting July 11 with the finals encore presentation on CBS, September 1.

Back to Coquina Beach on the south end of Anna Maria Island (AMI) where each Sunday there is a seasonal gathering of farm-grown produce and craft sales. The beach market is open 10 AM to 4 PM each Sunday November through July, excluding some holidays, and every Wednesday, December 18 through May 21. Pick up some good artwork by local artists and catch the AMI String Band performing in the market area. There is plenty of free parking and a free shuttle that connects all areas of AMI. The Coquina Café on the beach serves short-order food, soft drinks and beer.

But everyone knows the Number One rated beach in the world on Siesta Key and the annual Crystal Classic is circled on many calendars in the month of November. This year’s International Sand Sculpting Festival runs November 15-18. Not only do you see some of the world’s greatest sand sculptors, you can dance to local band favorites.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic master sand sculpting competition
The Siesta Key Crystal Classic master sand sculpting competition is held in November each year.

Master sand sculptors, led by local resident Brian Wigelsworth along with local Siesta Key organizations, founded the first Crystal Classic in November of 2010. It has grown to attract 35,000 attendees, half of which are from outside the area. In order to be considered for the master sculpting contest each artist must win a sanctioned amateur competition such as the 47th Annual Amateur Sand Sculpture Contest held on Siesta Beach. There are four categories of competition in this annual competition and one prize for an overall people’s choice award. The Castle Vader took first place in the individual award this year. Finding Nemo / Squirt took the award for the adult team competition and was the people’s choice overall winner in this year’s contest on May 4.

Siesta Key is also known for its drum circles each Sunday, beginning with the call of a siren approximately one hour before sunset. The crowd gathers in a circle to the sound of the drum beats and dancers quickly emerge in unison. Drum circles also form on Englewood and Nokomis. A couple groups have tried to form on Bradenton Beach each Friday so you may catch them gathering if you are visiting.

Another way to love the beach is to become a beachfront owner. Last week I listed a two bedroom, two bath sixth-floor residence at 1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #608 in the updated Promenade community on Longboat Key. 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
1211 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #608 $759,000 Video Photo Slideshow

 

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