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Venice Cabaret Festival in full swing

by Roger Pettingell

Festival continues through August 26

The history and theatre location changes date back to 1950 in Venice

Venice Little Theatre
Venice Theatre - The Venice Little Theatre shown here had a name change following renovations in 2008.

Although the Venice Cabaret Festival for 2018 has just started, there are 12 more different shows on 24 nights through August 26 at the Venice Theatre. A whole lot of entertainment is on its way from Sinatra, Rodgers & Hammerstein to burlesque and fairy tales in song. Now in its sixth year, the festival brings something for everyone, including some popular repeat performances from past years.

All the festival shows are at the Venice Theatre. The theatre has been in different locations over the years since its inception in November of 1950, the first of which was a WWII metal army barracks with chairs donated by a local funeral home. Other local organizations pitched in with labor and businesses donated construction material. And by Christmas of 1950 Venice Theatre opened its first performance, a successful production of The Torchbearers. Venice grew over the years through advanced interstate travel. In the 1970s the theatre moved to its current location on West Tampa Avenue through the acquisition of an abandoned military institute gymnasium.

Today the main stage has a capacity of 432 guests, while the cabaret Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre has seating for 90 guests. The theatre has grown in other ways over the years. An education and community outreach program was added in 1992. It has grown to be considered as the largest community theatre per capita in the United States and has won numerous awards by individuals for their dedicated contributions to the theatre, Yvonne Pinkerton and Geri Becker. Since its opening the theatre has received awards for best musical and best play while actors have received numerous awards from multiple organizations. See a list of their awards here.

Michelle Kasanofsky
Michelle Kasanofsky performs in three separate shows.

So the show must go on as it has over the last 68 years. Next up on the Cabaret Festival list is Better Late Than Never, this Thursday evening with a matinee Sunday. New York singer Carey Yaruss returns to the stage with a variety of song genres to explain her rise to becoming a mother in Florida. The theatre director, Michelle Kasanofsky accompanies Carey on piano.

But Michelle Kasanofsky does not take a break, she teams with her father George Mancini for a medley of movie tunes Friday and Saturday evenings in Cruising to the Movies. Veteran Venice Theatre drummer Joel Broome accompanies them but they have added a special segment with cruise ship music, an entertaining ensemble featuring Mikal Mancini and Khamor Lyons.

Joel Broome is highlighted in two shows, I Got Rhythm, Sunday evening with a repeat matinee performance on August 18. Joel is center stage with a supporting band to perform songs of his own composition along with familiar songs including recording great James Brown.

The matinee on Saturday features Francine Smetts as Franny Lonesome. This is a different kind of western love music with genres from jazz to western swing. A group of musicians perform with Francine, Dorian Boyd, Kim Kollar, Michelle Neal, Andrew Leach, Alana Opie and Rik Robertson. Another performance of Franny Lonesome is set for the evening of August 9.

The education program displays the talent of its young performers in two late night performances August 9 and 10. The SummerStock educational program is high-energy training for aspiring theatre performers. Director Brad Wages and musical director Peter Madpak are two professionals involved in the extensive training of these young actors. They have already one production in the festival, Into the Woods. Their upcoming performance of Fractured Fairy Tales split the young cast into two groups of performances each night. Storybook characters are portrayed through original songs recomposed from old-time favorites. Into the Woods moves to the main stage August 3 through 12.

John Lariviere Sinatra tribute
Sinatra Tribute - John Lariviere revives his songs.

Who doesn’t like the silver voice of Frank Sinatra. Venice audiences prove that they do, especially when John Lariviere pays tribute to the master in the Sinatra Songbook. This show was sold out two consecutive years. He also has credits in film, radio, TV and an Internet series. Tickets for his August 11 and 12 matinee performances are still available.

Interested in some history back to the 1800s? Want to revisit it as passionate revivals through song? Catch the protests of years past in Dorian and The Furniture presents “GO!” with one evening show on August 12. You can expect songs from contemporaries James Taylor and Indigo Girls. But back to history with a 19th century composition by Stephen Foster and others in between.

No two performances are the same in Not My Type, but they will have you laughing so you can enjoy both evening shows, August 16 and 19. The star of the show, Liz Pascone, is joined on stage by actors Jamie Lee Butrum, Alana Opie, David Walker, Dorian Boyd and anyone from the audience that is asked on-stage. The group of five will perform songs from familiar theatre characters singing other character’s songs. Should be fun, both nights.

And if those two shows didn’t fully satisfy your funny bone experience, catch the Summer Beach Party, presented by comedy and song group, Big Red Nose Burlesque. Comedy, burlesque, singing and dancing is combined for two nights of hilarious fun August 17 and 18. There are tributes to Donna Summer, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and songs from the musical Grease.

Stephen Ditchfield takes to the stage for matinee performances on August 19 and 26 with his solo performance of songs in As Time Goes By. Stephen has been performing for large and small audiences for 30 years. His repertoire includes Broadway hits, big band and patriotic classics. In As Time Goes By he performs the songs as you remember them.

Kim Kollar and Bobby Eschenbach are accompanied by Michelle Kasanofsky on piano and Joel Broome on drums in Tony’s Girls for three cabaret festival shows. They perform Tony Award winning musicals and top nominated Broadway musicals. There are two evening shows August 23 and 24 and one final opportunity to catch this act on August 25 at the 2PM matinee.

Rodgers & Hammerstein by Kristofer Geddie
The 2018 festival concludes with a tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein by Kristofer Geddie on August 26.

What better way to complete the festival than with award-winning songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein. The magical genius songbook of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II duo is presented on-stage by Kristofer Geddie in Something Good. Kristofer shows his own talent in performing some of their best known songs on August 25 and 26.

The general seating cabaret style in the smaller Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre is a fun way to watch a performance in a relaxed atmosphere. The $17 tickets are now available online. Special thanks to Laurie Colton of the Venice Theatre for photos used in this article. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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Shark Days at Mote Marine

by Roger Pettingell

Education on our existence with sharks

Coincides with 30th Anniversary of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week

Shark Days
Shark Days - Programs run four days this week.

While the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and professional fighter Ronda Rousey get wet with sharks on the Discovery Channel, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is having its own celebrations during the 30th anniversary of Shark Week. The Discovery Channel kicked off its eight days on Sunday, Mote Marine will begin their four days of Real Sharks, Real Science on Wednesday with some special events.

Attention to sharks this year started on television July 15 with National Geographic’s SharkFest, two weeks of movies and documentaries about these denizens of the oceans. Now in its sixth year, National Geographic aired three premieres on its first night about sharks in Cancun, Mexico, sharks versus tuna and a documentary about a 1977 incident when two killer whales killed a giant great white off the coast of San Francisco.

At Mote Marine it all begins at noon on Wednesday with Shark Days Livestream, a collaboration between Mote Marine and OCEARCH. Dr. Bob Heuter, Director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine and Chris Fischer, Founding Chairman of OCEARCH will lead an online discussion on the importance of studying these ocean predators. OCEARCH is a world leader in collecting data for the study of marine animals such as great white sharks and tiger sharks. They have tagged many sharks to track them in the oceans with transmitters on such sharks as Katharine, whose last ping was February 15.

Dr. Heuter, an expert on shark research, appeared with Mote scientist Jack Morris in a Discovery Channel 2015 Shark Week episode Tiburones: The Sharks of Cuba. The two researchers joined a team of Cuban scientists to study shark populations in the waters surrounding Cuba where large great whites have been spotted.

Also at noon on Wednesday you can get involved with your purchase at participating vineyard vines stores. Until 4 PM, 20 percent of all purchases at the vineyard vines stores will be donated to Mote Marine to continue this valuable research. There are more than 21 store locations across the Florida and South Atlantic region including The Mall at University Town Center store. Mention Mote Marine by calling the Sarasota store (941) 444-3805 with your order any time Wednesday for your donation to be counted. A special launch of their Shark Collection will begin that day.

On Thursday from 11 AM to 1 PM tables will be set up in the courtyard of Mote Marine for children to learn and create crafts that are in the theme of Sharks & Crafts. This is a free event with your regular admission on Thursday. Adults can join Dr. Heuter at Louies Modern for a casual conversation Science Café: Sharks, Tales & Ales. The content of this free discussion is set on the theme of your relationships with life in the sea. Doors will open at 5:30 PM for the program that begins at 6 PM on Thursday.

There will be half-hour live shark feeding presentation on Facebook Friday starting at 11 AM. Biologists at Mote will demonstrate shark training techniques using positive reinforcement.

The Fins and Fun Family Festival will conclude Shark Days at Mote on Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM. Greet Mote’s mascot Gilly the Shark and dance to music provided by the band EveryOneRocks. Children will also learn about the importance of sharks through discussions put on by the Mote Marine education department. There will be games, crafts and face painting at this free event with your paid admission.

Mote Marine recently received another boost of recognition within the shark research community. A new species of dogfish shark was discovered by using DNA. The shark found in the deep waters of the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico has officially been given the scientific name of Squalus Clarkae, common name of Genie’s Dogfish. It was named for the first woman scientist to study the habits of sharks, Dr. Eugenie Clark. She founded the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in 1955, renamed Mote Marine Laboratory in 1967 in honor of William R. Mote, a major benefactor.

New Mote Aquarium rendering
Rendering of the proposed Mote Marine Aquarium

The main campus of Mote Marine is now on City Island but it also has field stations throughout Florida. The Aquaculture Research Park has over 200 acres for a variety of marine studies. It has partnered with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to help restore populations of snook. In its Marine Aquaponics program, Mote Marine scientists study efficient means to farm marine plants and fishes. The Florida Pompano fish, marine fisheries and hatcheries for off-shore fish is another focus of this field station. Here they also study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Charlotte Harbor field station in Boca Grande is dedicated to the preservation of the wildlife in this deep-water inlet. It is also a way station for the tarpon fishery. The Mote Eco-Discovery Center in Key West has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to educate the public on the coral ecosystems. Coral reef research and restoration is also the focus of the Elizabeth Moore International Center in Summerland Key.

And now Mote Maine is looking to expand again, a $130 million aquarium off Interstate 75, just south of The Mall at University Town Center on county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park. The City Island station will continue its research with approximately 200 employees. County Commissioners approved the move last month and will conduct a feasibility study to fund a $20 million portion of the total cost using tourism tax money.


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St. Armands Circle Revisited

by Roger Pettingell

Spend a day or week shopping and dining

From award winning restaurants to fine boutique shopping, near Lido Beach

Columbia Restaurant in St. Armands Circle
Columbia Restaurant - A popular restaurant on St. Armands Circle and winner of multiple awards, the island's oldest restaurant opened in 1959.

A gem of the world in Sarasota is actually on a barrier island, St. Armands Circle. Known for its shopping and dining in a quaint area of St. Armands Key and Lido Key, its charm attracts visitors from around the world. And with 130 merchants within a short walk of each other, it is no wonder TripAdvisor awarded the shopping district with its 2018 Certificate of Excellence. The circle is rated high overall and generally receives high rankings for its merchants on

Plan at least a half day to enjoy the many diverse shops, have breakfast or lunch, relax or explore the history left by the visionary John Ringling who saw this location as a perfect vacation destiny. Do an Internet search on St. Armands Circle for things to do and each list will give you a different perspective of places to dine and places to shop. A few places make each list but the perspectives of each list has a ranking of personal choice, nearly all the restaurants are highly rated.

Take for instance, the Columbia Restaurant. This has been a landmark restaurant of Florida since 1905, the first in Tampa. Today it is the oldest restaurant on the key, having opened its doors in 1959. Among the many accolades of this restaurant is the 2018 recognition as one of the 100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants in America. The list was compiled from 12 million Open Table reviews of outdoor dining restaurants.

If your cuisine interest is something other than Cuban, try the Crab & Fin for its seafood delicacies. Serving fresh catch from the Gulf of grouper and snapper, the menu is also a haven for anything worldly seafood, from oysters to stone crab. Or order the succulent 16-ounce pork porterhouse. The Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is also a favorite of those who love seafood in a relaxed casual atmosphere. The Shore advertises a cool vibe and delicious eats for its seafood menu. The Surf Shack has an outdoor patio dining experience and an indoor restaurant next door, and shares its ownership with the Surf Shack in Tampa.

The Café L’Europe is a wonderful restaurant if you are looking for European cuisine. Opened in 1973, this established restaurant often holds special wine tasting events in the peak season starting in October. The Blu Kouzina serves Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in a quaint location just off the circle on North Boulevard of the Presidents, near the Madison Avenue Café and Deli, is a delightful café to grab a sandwich.

The Daiquiri Deck is a combination sports bar with an American food menu on two levels. Lynches Pub & Grub is a new pub located near the circle that also serves American style dishes. Italian and pizza dishes are served at Venezia on the circle. Relax in a comfy atmosphere to enjoy vegan or gluten-free food at the Green Zebra Café. The Blue Dolphin Café is a good breakfast and brunch café on John Ringling Boulevard as you enter the circle from the mainland.

Alvin's Island
Alvin's Island has a wide variety for the beach visitor.

In between the times of breakfast and lunch, and before you walk to the white sands of Lido Beach, there is shopping to explore. From novelty shops to the highest levels of fashion are presented on St. Armands. Shop a brand name like Chico’s or the local franchise Foxy Lady for the latest in women’s fashionable attire. And don’t forget, this Thursday is ladies night with shopping discounts in many stores. Ladies night is held the third Thursday of every month from 5 PM to 9 PM.

The Lilly Pulitzer shopping boutique is in the process of remodeling but has opened a temporary store across the street on John Ringling Boulevard. Apricot Lane Boutique has a good selection of fashions, jewelry and shoes. Casa Smeralda has a similar line, so what you don’t find in Apricot Lane may have your selection here.

You can find your choice of fine jewelry at Alicia’s Dream, where your choice is among Pandora, Alex & Ani, Nora Fleming, Ronaldo or Les Georgette brands. Exceptional fine service is available at Alexander Fine Jewelers directly on the circle. Select from classic or contemporary designs. Unique design jewelry by award-winning master goldsmith Stephen Cole Powell can be found at Jewelry by Cole. Art, glass, jewelry and jewelry repair is a good choice at Armel Jewelers. Otto’s Jewelry & Service and McCarver & Moser are also on the circle.

The Met on St. Armands Circle
The Met - An elegant day spa for fashionable people

The Met Fashion House on South Boulevard of the Presidents is in one of the most elegant buildings on St. Armands Circle. Climb the steps and step into a world of fashionable attire for both men and women. Find a selection of accessories, shoes and fragrances to be set for the opera or chamber music concert. On the second floor you can have yourself pampered in the day spa and salon, with full services for men and women. The treatments are from head to toe, hair styling to pedicures. Relax for the day and leave as a new person.

There are local specialty and gift shops. A good selection of cooking oils and spices are available at the Pepper Palace and Florida Olive Oil Company. From Tervis to sunglass specialty stores, you can also find stores that cater to beach wear. Alvin’s Island, a mega store by St. Armands standards, has a wide variety of beach wear and novelty items. You can find unique gifts at St. Armands Antiques and Gifts.

Wyland Gallery on St. Armands Circle
Wyland Gallery - A mix of Wyland originals and guest artist exhibits in his St. Armands gallery.

One of the world’s leading marine wildlife artists, Wyland, has a line of his original works with contemporary artists working in different media. The Rob Arra collection of panoramic college and professional sports stadiums at the Stadium Gallery is an amazing collection of photos in high resolution for the sports enthusiast. Nature photographer Clyde Butcher captures the spirit of Ansel Adams with his breathtaking collection of black and white landscape photography at the St. Armands Gallery. The exhibit runs through January 6, 2019.

Cars, and boats and zombies, Oh My! The events in the park on St. Armands Circle are well attended and held mainly in peak season. Jaguar car enthusiasts will appreciate the Sun Coast Jaguar Club Concours d’Elegance, October 13. Ferrari’s on the Circle is November 3 and Porches are in the park on November 15. Cannon’s Marina on Longboat Key will hold their Boat Show October 20-21.

The Stadium Gallery
Panoramic sports stadiums at the Stadium Gallery

Three of the most celebrated events of the year are held on St. Armands Circle. Zombies, ghouls and goblins invade the park October 31 for the annual Fright Night. Each year a special performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller is performed by the Sarasota High School Drama Department. Another of the year’s SRO events is the lighting of the Christmas Tree. This year the Holiday Night on St. Armands is scheduled for December 7. The heritage of St. Armands Circle and the John Ringling Circus are celebrated each year in January. The 32nd annual Circus Ring of Fame induction ceremony of circus performers and promoters will be held January 13. Even a horse that was a staple in the circus and led the parade in the movie Greatest Show on Earth, Starless Night, was inducted in 2017.

The big days for shopping are upcoming as well. On November 10 and 11, the 30th annual St. Armands Art Festival attracts some of the best artists from around the country. Those two days the Annual Fall Sidewalk Sale opens up the galleries and shops for deep discounts on holiday gifts. So there are tremendous gift opportunities inside and outside of the park circle. Veterans receive an additional discount that Sunday, November 11, at participating stores and restaurants.

St. Armands Gallery
The next Ansel Adams - Black and white landscape photography by Clyde Butcher will be available through January 6 at the St. Armands Gallery.

With the large popularity of St. Armands, organizations and governments are thinking of opportunities to enhance visitor experience. A four-story parking garage which will accommodate 503 automobiles is under construction to be completed in December. Temporary parking is available around the circle since the parking spaces on North Adams Drive were closed for construction. The proposed public restrooms won a merit award by the local American Institute of Architects. A completion date has not been announced.

Catch my interview with Diana M. Corrigan, Executive Director, St. Armands Circle Association in my REALTALK™ #58 video. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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


West of Trail has many offerings

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota area has many distinctions

Attractive for its proximity to downtown, Sarasota Bay and beaches

The Field Club
Field Club - Established with its purchase in 1957.

Bayfront homes in Sarasota have a charm that is representative of old Florida when the town was growing into a city. Travel north from downtown along US 41 and turn left on Indian Beach Road to find Bay Shore Drive where you will find beautiful older homes next to new or upgraded homes. You’ll see a similar setting of charm and new as you head south on US 41 and look to the bay side, commonly referred to as West of Trail.

The Tamiami Trail, or US 41, is so named for its Tampa to Miami passage. Homes west of the road, south from Mound Street and north of the Field Road area, are West of Trail. Their beauty in the communities of Harbor Acres, Southside Village, McClellan Park, Oyster Bay and Bungalow Hill reflect that charm while in close proximity, or right on, Sarasota Bay.

Homes on roads such as the north and south running Camino Real and South Osprey Avenue are preferred by professionals for their convenience in travel to downtown Sarasota. Bahia Vista Street, Hillview Street, Hyde Park Street and Siesta Drive are direct connections from the bay to the Trail. Once on the Trail, there are many fine restaurants and shops to explore.

Doctors prefer this area for its close proximity to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and medical corridor of urgent care facilities and specialty medical services that lines the Trail. Professionals are attracted here so they can conduct business through the banking and financial services on the Trail.

Bungalow Hill
Bungalow Hill community in REALTALK™ #172.

West of Trail is also home to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the only garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant but does not absorb nutrients from its host. The botanical gardens focuses on the study of two epiphytes, orchids and bromeliads, on its 15 acres of land on the West of Trail northern end. The property was once owned by William and Marie Selby of Texaco Oil fame and the mansion on the property was once the home of Christy Payne, a director and treasurer of Standard Oil. An extensive library and nine acres of gardens attract scientists from around the world to study these epiphytes.

Homes West of Trail are also south of the Burns Court District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owen Burns and circus magnate John Ringling were significant developers for much of Sarasota’s growth, including the district designed by Owen Burns in the 1920s. Also on the National Register of Historic Places, the Southside Elementary School, was built in 1926 from the same architectural plans as another local school, Bay Haven. The highly respected Southside Elementary School is West of Trail on Webber Street.

The prestigious Field Club is in the southern area West of Trail. With its six dining areas from casual to formal dress, this private club has a marina, large swimming pool, tennis courts and a wellness center. Stanley and Sara Field of the Marshall Field department stores, started construction of their summer home in 1926. Members of the Sarasota Yacht Club purchased the home in 1957 to be used as a private member club.

The homes I have listed West of Trail have a higher property value for the reasons listed above. Shopping, dining, swimming on the beach attract the affluent to the area West of Trail. Four recent listings are in Harbor Acres and Bungalow Hill, with two in Oyster Bay.

1449 Hillview Drive
1449 Hillview Drive - Harbor Acres home for sale

Most of Harbor Acres homes rest on two peninsulas that extend into Sarasota Bay, with a natural harbor created between the land masses. The first home I highlight today at 1449 Hillview Drive exhibits exclusive waterfront luxury living in a stunning coastal contemporary estate home. Completely updated inside and out in 2015, the sprawling interior is a flourish of clean lines, modern upgrades, with a beautiful new pool deck, deep-water dock and lifts. You can be on the water close to downtown Sarasota in this home recently listed at $2.995 million.

A recent listing at 1024 Citrus Avenue in the Bungalow Hill community is a four-bedroom home waiting for you to make it your own. Located just minutes from downtown Sarasota, this Spanish Mediterranean-inspired home offers 3,400 SF of beautiful interior space, including cathedral ceilings, cook’s kitchen and plenty of outdoor entertaining space, listed at $1.395 million. Bungalow Hill is a unique community annexed to the city of Sarasota in the 1920s. Watch the history of Bungalow Hill in my REALTALK™ #172 video last month.

We did a community spotlight video on Oyster Bay in REALTALK™ #150 and highlighted the Field Club mentioned in this article. Both homes I have listed in this community are under $1 million and have all the wonderful features of homes in this area.

1331 Quail Drive
1331 Quail Drive - Oyster Bay home for sale

The unique design and exclusive location of the first listing at 1331 Quail Drive is a Mediterranean-inspired home that is sure to impress. Built in 2006, you will love the lush, Florida-sourced landscape and an open layout adorned with glass walls of sliders and windows in most rooms, allowing for seamless indoor-to-outdoor entertaining. Art enthusiasts will fall in love with the custom interior, offering two-bedroom plus loft-style office, cook’s kitchen overlooking living and dining room, 11-foot ceilings, Lutron/LED lighting and stone flooring throughout.

This charming four-bedroom Oyster Bay home at 4557 Camino Real is a flourish of fabulous finishes and custom details. It is only minutes from downtown Sarasota’s city life and unforgettable Gulf beaches at Siesta and Lido Keys. This home is surrounded by manicured foliage with a lovely courtyard entry. The open layout of this home’s interior offers beautiful hardwood flooring throughout with French doors leading out to the pool deck that create an effortless flow from room to room for the entire family to appreciate.

We have many homes to offer West of Trail. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.


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


Independence Week Festivities in Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Fireworks before and on Fourth of July

Many events, something for everyone and all ages in Sarasota and beyond

AquaX racing on June 30, 2018
AquaX race of the Powerboat Grand Prix on Saturday.

What are you doing on this Independence Day? Are you cooking outside, going to the movies, making plans for fireworks? Even though The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year, there are still many events in the area that you can celebrate the patriotism of this great country with family and friends.

First with the fireworks, there is a lot of interest there. If you want to get a jump on viewing fireworks Tuesday night there are three good locations to choose from. Sarasota will treat visitors with pyrotechnics over the lake at Nathan Benderson Park in its Spectacular Fireworks display. The gates open at 4 PM for this free event that also features the blues ensemble, The Greg Billings Band and guitarist Albert Castiglia.

The Marauders play the visiting team from Palm Beach at LECOM Field in Bradenton, with the first pitch at 6:30 PM. There will be giveaways, an auction and fireworks after the game. The Stone Crabs baseball team take on Fort Myers at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte with fireworks after the 6:35 PM game on Tuesday.

You can position yourself just about anywhere in Sarasota and see 360 degrees of fireworks from a distance or up close on Wednesday. Although the Powerboat Grand Prix races are finished the festival doesn’t come to an end until the fireworks conclude on Wednesday with the Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular. There is good free viewing from Island Park and Bayfront Park or from the rooftops of Louis Modern restaurant, Office Bar SRQ and the Art Ovation Hotel. Check each as there is a fee for some of the best sites in Sarasota. Marie Selby Botanical Garden is hosting its All-American Cookout and conclude with a good view of the bay. Bring lawn chairs and arrive early for good spots. The fireworks are scheduled for 9 PM.

Grand Prix Fireworks on Wednesday
Fireworks Galore - Pyrotechnics to consider on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Fireworks are also scheduled Wednesday in Siesta Key on the beach, on the south jetty in Venice, the Freedom Festival at the North Port High School, the Sandbar Restaurant Fireworks Spectacular on Anna Maria Island and the Firecracker Festival on Dearborn Street in Englewood. The Fourth of July Festival in Palmetto‘s Sutton Park will feature 2016 country music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels before the fireworks over the Manatee River.

There are excellent events to capture the spirit of the holiday. Does your dog have a patriotic costume? Bring your pooch to the Fourth of July Hot Diggity Dog parade and contest on Wednesday for prizes during the Freedom Fest on Longboat Key. Awards will be given in three categories of most patriotic dog, most creative costume and best combination of owner and dog. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Longboat Key, donations will be used for dog park amenities at Bayfront Park. Advanced registration is recommended through an email to Carol Erker or through phone registration at (847) 274-8741. You can also register that day at the Rotary table, 8:30 AM by the Sun Trust Bank on Bay Isles Road.

Participate in the parade that starts at 9 AM and travels Bay Isles Road to Bicentennial Park where the Freedom Fest festivities begin. Greet Uncle Same there and get involved in the fun, with food and prizes. There will be games, face painting and sand art for kids along with a butterfly release.

Upcoming events - Privateers Fourth of July Parade
Pirates for Kids & Community - Privateers Parade

Pirates for Kids & Community is the theme this year for the Privateers 4th of July Parade that starts at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach and travels the length of Anna Maria Island to Pine Avenue in Holmes Beach. The parade starts at 10 AM.

The Choral Artists of Sarasota will celebrate the Fourth with A Patriotic Spectacular. Traditional patriotic favorites will include a tribute to Leonard Bernstein who would have been 100 years old. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute marking the 50th anniversary of his death will be narrated by Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota. The concert starts at 4:30 PM, First Church in Sarasota.

If you are in Venice and enjoy kayaking or just enjoy having a good time then the Myakka Kayak Festival and Jam Blast may be the event for you. Bring your own kayak or canoe for free entrance or rent your own at Snook Haven Restaurant starting at 9 AM to paddle the river. At 11 AM the Jam Blast begins with a backwoods barbecue and over 30 craft beers with sales to benefit the Friends of Sarasota County Parks. There will live bluegrass music with Treble Hook's Florida Folk and Medicine Show and the hard rockin’ blues and classic rock music of the Steve Arvey Band.

Other events on Wednesday include the Firecracker 400 Sailing Regatta starting at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron on City Island and the Firecracker 5K run at the Morgan Center in North Port. Or you can catch minor league baseball to watch potential major leaguers of the Gulf Coast Leagues as the Orioles take on the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium in downtown Sarasota, starting at noon. Enjoy your Fourth of July activities and have a blast at the fireworks. Explore all the events this week through our upcoming events page with over 700 programs listed through May 2019.

1449 Hillview Drive
1449 Hillview Drive - New listing in Harbor Acres

I listed three new luxury residences last week, two homes in Sarasota and a residence on Longboat Key at 100 Sands Point Rd, #115. In the prestigious community of Harbor Acres, the home at 1449 Hillview Drive is a stunning coastal contemporary updated estate. Near downtown is the Bungalow Hill home for sale at 1024 Citrus Avenue. I also received the report last week that REAL Trends magazine ranked me as Number 118 in the nation of individual agents for 2018 in their annual release of the top 1,000 agents. 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
1449 Hillview Drive $2,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
100 Sands Point Rd, #115 $1,395,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1024 Citrus Avenue $1,395,000   3d Virtual Tour


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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.