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Festival season: Something for everyone

by Roger Pettingell

October heats up the weekend schedules

Film, music, oddity and seafood festivals progress throughout the year

Upcoming events in Sarasota
Sarasota Oktoberfest - You may have missed the Oktoberfest in J.D.Hamel Park this weekend but there are plenty of festivals for your fall and winter plans

You may have missed some of the Oktoberfests the past few weeks, but not to worry as more are on the schedule in Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton this weekend. The local versions of the traditional German festivals set in motion a series of festivals in the upcoming months that are all well attended. These annual festivals include art, music and film celebrations with some created for seafood lovers. This is part two of the four-part series on local peak season events.

There are a couple Oktoberfests remaining, sponsored at local breweries. The Lucky Frog Restaurant on Cortez Road in Bradenton will present Bavarian music and feature a beer stein contest from 11 AM to 9 PM on Saturday. Music, beer and schnitzel will be served at the Naughty Monk Restaurant in Lakewood Ranch from 2 to 7 PM on Sunday.

With Halloween rapidly approaching the pumpkins are on the minds of those celebrating this holiday. So it follow that festivals cater to those setting up for Halloween and Thanksgiving. The 31st annual Pumpkin Festival at Fruitville Grove continues with the Pumpkin Fest Rally the next two Saturdays and the Around the World Festival the next two Sundays. Top-quality bands, along with magic shows, monster truck show, circus performances, motorcycle daredevils, jugglers, dog tricks and bicycle stunts are on the schedule for the final weekend of the 2019 Pumpkin Festival at Hunsader Farms in Bradenton.

The annual One-Act Play Festival runs five consecutive days at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton, October 31 through November 3. Four plays were selected for this event that is a series of events, the Ten-minute Play Festival in May and the Student Ten-minute Play Festival, January 25 and 26, both in the Cook Theatre at FSU/Asolo Center for the Performing Arts on the Ringling grounds in Sarasota.

The Chalk Festival has a long history in Sarasota, with the past few years at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds. This year’s theme, Garden of Wonders, runs November 15-18. These amazing pavement artists gather in Sarasota from around the globe each year to participate in this juried competition. Spectacular 3D images on the their medium is incredible to watch and return for the final presentation. Local popular bands also perform in concert.

Upcoming events in Sarasota
St. Armands Art Festivals - Artists display their works for sale at multiple times throughout the year

Art festivals are plentiful in the fall and winter months. On the St. Armands Circle November 9 and 10, over 175 artists will display their wares on the circle. It coincides with the fall sidewalk sale, merchants selling their inventory with deep discounts in time for holiday gift shopping. The 17th Annual St. Armands Circle Art Festival returns January 25. The Sarasota Fall Art Festival, November 16 and 17, Winter Art Festival, January 11 and 12, and Spring Fine Art Festival, May 7 and 8, attract artists and shoppers to J.D. Hamel Park on the Bayfront Street. The Fine Art Fair with Craft Marketplace is in the parking lot for one day this Saturday at the University Town Center Mall. Lido Beach has local and North American artists displaying their works February 8 and 9 at the Lido Beach Fine Art Festival.

For the seafood lover in you, the fishing village of Cortez opens up the series with its Neptune’s Seaside Bash this Saturday at the Seafood Shack Marina and the 8th Annual Cortez Stone Crab and Music Festival at the Swordfish Grill, November 9. The history of Cortez as a fishing and seafood village continues its heritage with one of the most celebrated seafood festivals locally. February 15 and 16 is the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival which celebrates the heritage of Cortez, visited by thousands.

Away from Cortez, Lakewood Ranch continues the series with their Seafood Festival November 22 on Main Street. In December, the Siesta Beach Seafood and Music Festival is December 6 through 8, while the Coquina Beach Seafood and Music Festival stretches for three days the following weekend, December 13 to 15. Next year the St. Armands Seafood and Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend, May 22 to 24, features top local bands on the circle and food entrees created by local restaurants.

This area has one of the most unusual festivals, the Shark’s Tooth Festival is a three-day celebration in Venice, a main location in the country for finding shark teeth on the beaches or in the depths off shore. This annual event will be held April 3 through 5 next year on the airport festival grounds in the proclaimed shark’s tooth capital of the world. As with other festivals expect plenty of good entertainment and your opportunity to see some massive historic megalodon teeth collected off the shores of Venice. There is a Shark’s Tooth 10K run on Saturday and a 5K Shark Fin run on Sunday.

The smooth sound of jazz returns and celebrates 40 years as a festival, March 8 through 14, with The Manhattan Transfer featured, a group that began in the 70s with multiple hits and had its own CBS variety show that premiered in 1975. The multiple Grammy Award winning group will be in town for the Sarasota Jazz Festival, featuring Ken Peplowski as music director. There will be four themed afternoon jazz stages, trolley pub crawl, Jazz in the Park and main stage concerts at the Municipal Auditorium.

Sarasota Oktoberfest
The Verge - Attendees danced to 70s tunes this past weekend at the Sarasota Oktoberfest

For two weeks at the end of March, Sarasota is transformed into a motion picture mecca highlighting some of the most celebrated international films. Compared with Cannes and Sundance, the Sarasota Film Festival opens with a red-carpet event at the Opera House, has a schedule of films highlighted at local downtown theaters, well-planned theme parties and closing night awards ceremony. Expect to see some celebrity actors and directors in some of the finest restaurants of Sarasota. The 22nd annual film festival begins March 27 and runs through April 5 of 2020.

Each May the Harvey Milk Festival honors the legacy of the gay rights activist with a series of parties and concerts around J.D. Hamel Park in downtown Sarasota. Its events are also coordinated with the Fabulous Independent Film Festival, five days of films in the Burns Court Cinema with a special movie screening the Beatrice Friedman Theater on the first night of the festival. The festival recently concluded the last week in September.

Sarasota swells with visitors each June for the Sarasota Music Festival. Hundreds of classic music students from around the globe audition the 62 slots, a continuation of training with some of the masters of classical music. During the weeks of the music festival visitors are invited to catch faculty performances with various themes Thursday through Saturday, with the fellowship participants performing on Sundays or invited to perform as guest musicians throughout the week. These events and many others are on my upcoming schedule page with a schedule that continues through June 27, 2020.

We continue to build our inventory of homes for sale during peak season. Last week I listed a stunning penthouse at L’Ambiance with sunrise-to-sunset panoramic views at this 4,900+ square-foot beach home. At 4325 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #604 is our Tiffany Plaza four-bedroom penthouse with more than 2,900 square feet of interior space. Grand Bay is one of my favorite communities on the bay and the new listing at residence 262 has panoramic sixth-floor direct bay views, something you will want to see for yourself. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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The classic and historic Sarasota Opera House

by Roger Pettingell

Opera House: More than just live opera

Film festivals, classic movies, concerts and more in downtown Sarasota

Opera and more in downtown Sarasota
Opera House - A venue for a variety of performances located at 61 N. Pineapple Ave., downtown Sarasota

The live opera season begins November 1 with six performances of Rigoletto and continues through March 22 with 41 days of opera, a five-opera season for the organization. This downtown venue is home to the Sarasota Opera, now in its 59th season. Opera was first performed in the Historic Asolo Theater on the Ringling grounds, but it wasn’t until 1982 that a permanent home was established when the former A.B. Edwards Theater was purchased and opened as the Sarasota Opera House.

The Opera House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, continues as host to a variety of events and live performances. In 2008 the Opera House underwent a $20 million restoration project to bring it up to its original glory of ornate fixtures, luxury carpeting and interior that brings out the classic opera look but presents itself as a 21st century structure. Under the artistic direction of Victor DeRenzi and Executive Director, Richard Russell, the cultural arts of Sarasota will be preserved for many years.

It has been the home of many different performances and movies, each year with a schedule of classic movies, concerts and lectures. Upcoming events this month include the 1948 classic movie, Key Largo, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, on August 23. On August 25 at 1:30 PM, the opera film Die Walkure is on the big screen.

Throughout the year there are more shows including the last classic movie of the summer season, Young Frankenstein, September 6 followed by the Nutcracker ballet on film that Sunday. Two weeks later, La Traviata, an opera film will be shown. There are other events too, the sixth annual Taste of Downtown is becoming a tradition in Sarasota. The September 21 event ends the summer in Sarasota with entrees prepared by downtown restaurants and craft beers from local breweries.

The concert East Marries West on October 4 brings together Pandit Shubhendra Rao on sitar, Vidushi Saskia Rao-de Haas on the Indian cello, and accompaniment of Aditya Kalyanpur on the tabla, an Indian percussion instrument with a set of drums played like bongos. This world-class performance at 7 PM has tickets available now through their box office.

In October there is a series of discussions with opera themes to help understand opera at the Kamlet Library, including a discussion on how things change have changed, ensembles in opera and Walt Whitman with his passion for the opera. The series of four sessions concludes with a discussion long-time opera fans Richard and Greg.

Opera and more in downtown Sarasota
2008 restoration - A return to the classic opera house

The Jonas Kamlet Library is one of six event spaces that includes the main William E. Schmidt Opera Theatre with its capacity of 1,174. The Kamlet Library is popular for business meetings with seats for 150 guests and a large-screen TV for presentations. The library and Felding Hall & Donna Wolf Steigerwaldt Courtyard with a 125-person capacity are both available rental venues in a stunning setting.

Three other rooms in the Opera House are lesser known. The Worthington Board Room has 24 seats for a reception or 40 seats set up in banquet style. The Joy Culverhouse Room has a capacity of 95 set up as a theater of 50 when arranged as a classroom. It makes a classic board meeting or retreat room. The large 339-seat Lee and Bob Peterson Great Room has a wide variety of uses for business or personal use such as wedding receptions.

Tours of the Opera House are scheduled on select days in November, February and March. Concerts at noon by apprentice and studio artists are scheduled in the Peterson Great Room, November and March. Visit the Sarasota Opera House website or call (941) 328-1300 for dates and times and to reserve a rental of these facilities, the theater or to rent a set and costumes.

The Sarasota Opera House has played a pivotal role in the annual Sarasota Film Festival, which will be in its 22nd year when it opens March 27, 2020. In past years, the Opera House has been the venue for the opening night film when the red carpet is rolled out for actors, directors and other dignitaries. The Opera House is host to other events during the 10-day festival. This year the Sarasota Film Festival starts out with three screenings this month at SFF Cinematheque, 500 Tallevast Rd, #105. Two classics, The Godfather movie appears August 24 and 2001: A space odyssey will be shown August 31. A special screening of Surviving Lunch is the fictional story of a girl who is moved to Florida by her mother following the death of her father in a mass school shooting. She takes on school bullies in this movie showing on August 24. Each of these SFF screenings is preceded by a film historian discussion and followed with a Q&A session.

Mezzanine level
Mezzanine level view - Total theater seating is 1,174

The Opera House is the place where The Greatest Show on Earth, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Charlton Heston made its Florida premiere when the movie house was named the Florida Theatre. It was mostly filmed in Sarasota during six months of local production in 1950 and made its award winning debut in 1952. The premiere was reenacted in 2017 to kick off its classic movie series. Members of the Circus Arts Conservatory were on hand to perform before the movie. You could feel the excitement from the local audience guests, particularly when the circus made its way through Sarasota and evoked memories from some of the classic businesses shown in the scene.

As for live opera, there is no disappointment there. The Opera House has become world renown for its rejuvenation of classic opera and the Verdi Cycle, his complete works performed. It begins this year with Rigoletto, one of the greatest musical works by Giuseppe Verdi. Love is Dangerous starts a run of Love operas, the second La boheme with Love is Fragile, 13 shows February 8 through March 21. Romeo and Juliet, Love is Forever, February 15 with nine performances ending March 20. The Elixir of Love, Love is Intoxicating, runs February 22 through March 21, with the finale Love Hurts a new production that begins February 7 and ends March 22. Each opera is sung in Italian or French with subtitles flashed along the top of the stage. The complete set of performance dates are on our upcoming schedule of events.

If your passion is the love of the arts, Sarasota is at the center. Named by American Style Magazine as the top arts destination in the country for populations under 100,000, Sarasota produces theatrical arts in opera, orchestra, ballet, concerts and top-quality plays. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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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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Upcoming winter and spring festivals

by Roger Pettingell

March multi-day festivals are highlighted

This weekend, jazz and Jewish film festivals updated in Part I of series

F.I.S.H. Festival 2019
Thousands attended the Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival under sunny skies February 16, 2019

At this time of year you should be able to find a festival for all occasions on any given weekend. There are two and three-day seafood festivals, fine art and craft festivals are commonplace with different themes to keep them relevant. Different themes also keep them fresh and are introduced in different locations. This is one of the advantages of living in an area with sunny skies daily.

This weekend two of the most highly attended festivals of the year will attract thousands to Sarasota and Cortez. The Thunder by the Bay Festival, now in its 21st year, celebrates with three days of motorcycle revelry and concerts at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds starting on Friday. This festival benefits the Suncoast Charities for Children, an organization that supports special needs children and adults through construction projects.

Saturday and Sunday thousands will visit the tiny fishing village of Cortez for the annual Commercial Fishing Festival. You won’t miss the festivities if you travel on Cortez Road toward Bradenton Beach. In most recent years of this festival that is celebrating 37 years, there has been an average attendance of over 20,000 visitors. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage. The non-profit F.I.S.H. organization supports the culture and environment of Florida’s fishing communities. The public is encouraged to visit for free, its education programs at the Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez, Tuesday through Saturday.

Mark March 3 for the start of the Sarasota Jazz Festival week

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe building
The Jazz Festival gets rolling in the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe theatrical production of Lil & Louis the first Monday and Tuesday of the Festival.

Springtime is a time when this area really shines with multi-week festivals that have become renown worldwide. The 39th Annual Sarasota Jazz Festival kicks off March 3, noon, with a free concert of three bands at Phillippi Estate Park. There the festival moves to multiple downtown Sarasota venues for six days of theatrical productions, morning films and concerts.

The Lil & Louis theatrical production hits the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe stage in the newly remodeled Education & Outreach Building, March 4 and 5, at 7:30 PM. This is the story of Lil and Louis Armstrong, the First Couple of Jazz, developed and directed by Chuck Smith.

A live musical introduction by Jeremy Carter and John O’Leary will precede a presentation of the movie Round Midnight on Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 9:30 AM each day in the Burns Court Theatre. The 1986 acclaimed movie received several awards and nominations including an 1987 Oscar for Herbie Hancock who won in the Best Music, Original Score category. The tenor saxophone musician Dexter Gordon was nominated that year for an Oscar in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category. His role in the movie as sax player Dale Turner received multiple domestic and international film best actor awards.

Wednesday is also the day for a VIP reception in the Hyatt Regency Hotel marina boathouse at 5 PM and a meet-and-greet of the musicians backstage following a concert on the main stage of the hotel. Ken Peplowski presents the concert starting at 7:30 PM where sponsor Arbors Records introduces its newest recording artist James Suggs, on trumpet, with other professional jazz musicians. Peplowski returns Friday night for another main stage concert at 7:30. On Saturday he will present two concerts, the first will be a concert by the University of Miami Big Band in the hotel grand ballroom at 3 PM, another concert at 7:30 PM, followed by the presentation of the Satchmo award.

On Friday and Saturday, starting at noon each day, there will be four different themed jazz concerts performed concurrently on different stages. Blues, classic, contemporary and Latin performances will appear. As an added bonus during the festival, there will be five trolleys visiting 12 bands at different venues in the trolley and pub crawl on Thursday starting at 5:30 PM.

18 different movies in 11 days of the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Film Festival

Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel
Heading Home - The film festival opens March 6 in the Municipal Auditorium with special guests.

Before the Sarasota Jazz Festival concludes on March 9, The 2019 Jewish Film Festival begins its 11-day run with an opening night screening on March 6 with the film, Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel. It is the true story of Team Israel in its first season quest to become eligible for the World Baseball Classic. The film will screen in the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium at 7 PM, and roll again in the Hollywood 11 complex on March 12 where most of the films will be screened in theaters 5, 6 and 7. Opening night special guests include filmmaker Jeremy Newberger and baseball players Ryan Lavarnway, Dean Kremer and Jeremy Bleich.

The Optimists will be shown March 7, 11 and 14, the story of Palestinian Chemist Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed. The movie 93Queen is the 2018 film about Hasidic women living in a Brooklyn borough, on March 7, 11 and 15. Six other movies start on March 7, including Shelter, a Mossad agent called back for a new assignment under a different identity. The film returns for March 12 and 15 showings. Another award winning film beginning that day is the Light of Hope, which returns March 13 and 15. It is the true story of a woman who saved many lives during WWII. Keep the Change, appearing March 7, 11 and 12, is a story of coming to terms with autism. Past Life follows the story of two daughters of Holocaust survivors to be shown March 7, 12 and 13. A comedic drama featuring a teenage and his grandfather, The Samuel Project, appears March 7, 8 and 13. The Last Suit portrays the story of an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor, March 7 and 14 with a special screening on Longboat Key in the Temple Beth Israel on March 13.

Five films have their first runs on March 8, the first is a story of a German baker having an affair with a married Israeli man and the lies that continue after the death of the husband, in The Cakemaker, March 8, 12 and 13. The Fortunate Man on March 8, 13 and 15 tells the story of a man who escapes a deeply religious family only to be drawn back in when he becomes a prominent engineer. Three Israeli soldiers fight for the strength to live in the true story, When the Smoke Clears, March 8, 12 and 14. Who will Write Our Story tells the story of those who fought back against the Nazis in a 1940 Warsaw ghetto. It appears five times, once on March 8 and twice on March 11 and 14. Fanny’s Journey follows the story of a young woman who precipitates a trek of children to the Switzerland border. It returns to the screen on March 15.

My Dear Children opens March 11 for five showings in three consecutive days. It depicts the horror that a family ensues following the Russian Revolution of 1917. Life is Rich, a true comedic story of filmmaker Bonnie Rich will be shown March 11 and 12. She will host a Q&A after each screening. Back to Berlin, three consecutive days starting March 12, follows eleven motorcyclists who carry the Maccabiah torch from Israel to Berlin in the summer of 2015. The closing event in the Beatrice Friedman Theater is the southwest Florida premiere of the movie The Mamboniks follows the performances of Latin music and dance combining two cultures directly after WWII.

8380 Catamaran Circle
New listing at 8380 Catamaran Circle

In part II of this series on February 25 we pick up with The Sarasota Film Festival April 5 through 14 and three weeks of the Sarasota Music Festival, June 2 through 23. Manatee Heritage Festival Days is a month-long series of free and paid daily events in March that highlights the history of Manatee County, once 5,000 square miles that included Sarasota, Hardee, Desoto, Highlands, Charlotte and Glades counties until they were split off in 1887 and 1921.

Life at The Lake Club in Lakewood Ranch is an exceptional experience, and this gorgeous lakefront home that I listed last week at 8380 Catamaran Circle on more than a half-acre of lush property is the perfect complement. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Arts and Quirky Annual Festival Schedule

by Roger Pettingell

Annual festivals for many occasions

Sarasota events that feature the arts and sports culture of the city

Sarasota Opera House
Many of the activities of the Sarasota Film Festival and other events will be held at the Sarasota Opera House.

Now that we are approaching peak tourism season and the snowbirds are planning their return, we can look at the upcoming festivals that will attract millions to the area. From the now defunct Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) in October to the Englewood Pioneer Days that recently concluded, the area has something for everyone as one festival ends and another begins. Many of these festivals center on the arts. In November last year the Ringling Museum startled the city by announcing plans to halt the RIAF after nine seasons.

Area venues will pick up the slack with a variety of Oktoberfest celebrations hosted locally by breweries that have sprung up in recent years. Mandeville Beer Garden pre-empts the slate with the first on September 29. Select from 11 German beers on tap from 11 AM to midnight. At 2 PM on that Saturday Calusa Brewing in Sarasota offers authentic Bavarian beers and cuisine. Monday, October 1, the Suncoast Oktoberfest has it all for German heritage complete with three German bands, chicken dance, stein hoisting and costume competitions, along with a good variety of beer and food. The fun starts at 11 AM in the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall. Get a true feeling of the Munich atmosphere October 6 at Mr. Beery’s in Sarasota. Save your costume and stein hoisting techniques for more prizes at this festival that starts at 3 PM and extends to midnight. October 27 the fun continues with the Oktoberfest at the British Open Pub in Venice, from 4 to 10 PM and at the two-day downtown Sarasota Oktoberfest starting at 10 AM each day.

The attention then shifts to pumpkin festivals, multi-day events to prepare us for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Many of these festivals have stood the test of time. The 30th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest is held over four consecutive weekends in October, beginning with the first on October 6 and 7. This family-friendly event has many activities for children and a live band starting at 4 PM each day. Extending over three weekends, the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival offers similar activities for children and adults beginning at 10 AM each date. The festival is in its 27th year at the farm off County Road 675 in Sarasota, ten miles east of Interstate 75.

Lido Shores Umbrella House
Rudolph's Umbrella House in this 2015 renovation

We celebrate some of the best architects in the area in a series of fall keynote speeches, panel discussions and architectural tours. I do sell real estate, after all and the architecture in Sarasota is widely known. SarasotaMOD is a weekend tribute to great local architects such as Paul Rudolph and Tim Seibert. Held each fall, the sixth annual schedule has not been announced by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. The prestigious Sarasota School of Architecture is attributed with many of the honorees and its mid-century modern architectural designs.

Over the next couple of months one- and multiple-day festivals fill the weekend schedules to celebrate religious themes and holidays. One of the biggest one-day festivals is Fright Night on St. Armands Circle, held every year on the night of Halloween. The highlight of this special evening has been the traditional dance to the song Thriller in the center circle, performed by Sarasota High School drama and theater students. We have been told this is to be their last year so make sure to catch it. It is a Thriller.

One of the biggest festival draws is the Sarasota Chalk Festival, moved five years ago from downtown Sarasota to the Airport Festival Grounds in Venice. Each year professional and amateur artists visit from around the world in competition to create masterpieces using chalk on pavement. The theme this year is Garden of Wonder, four days from November 9-12. Another big draw on those same days using a different medium is the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition. Sand sculptors from around the nation assemble on the beach to create artwork, visible to the viewing public starting at 10 AM each day. The first Saturday each May, amateurs display their sand sculpting talents in competitions of several categories on the fine sands of Siesta Key beach. The 2019 festival will represent the 47th year of this event.

Marie Selby Lights in Bloom celebration
Lights in Bloom - A month-long annual event to ring in the new year at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

The Lights in Bloom celebration at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a collection of over one million holiday lights to transition us to the new year. This year from December 20 to January 6 special events will be held to enjoy the spirit of the season, and each night the local popular band SoulRCoaster will perform for its guests. There are plenty of holiday festivals and performances that brings us into the new year, catch our upcoming events schedule which lists over 600 events through June 23, 2019.

Advertised as Florida’s finest, the Wine and Food Festival January 24-28, 2019 features a series of classes, winemaking events, food demonstrations and wine tastings. The Forks and Corks Grand Tasting will be held January 27, 2019 in the main courtyard of the Ringling Museum. This popular event can be sold out so set your calendar for November 5 when tickets go on sale. We do love our wine festivals so set the dates of April 4-7, 2019 for the Florida Winefest & Auction. Over the years this benefit auction has funded 85 local children's charities with over $8.5 million.

The Sarasota Film Festival is the Sundance Film Festival of Florida. For a week and a half, April 5-14, 2019 films and special events attract film fans to see selected movies by local and international filmmakers. A huge kickoff film party begins all the activities, typically in the Sarasota Opera House setting. The red carpet parade can have stars made famous by their films portrayed during the festival. Over 200 films are selected with a morning through evening schedule at the Regal Hollywood 20 Theater in downtown Sarasota. In the past other events have been set on Lido Beach or the Ringling Museum.

The largest world whiskey festival in the United States, with over 250 whiskies from around the world, will take place April 10-13, 2019. Whiskey Obsession is a series of panel discussions, master classes, VIP tours, bartender academy on-site sales, cigar pairing and more in downtown Sarasota. A free Whiskey Rocks street party will take place on Main and Lemon the last night of the festival. A portion of the proceeds, in its seventh year, benefit the Child Protection Center of Sarasota.

The very serious, well almost serious, Shark Tooth Festival at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds, April 12-14, 2019 is a collection of vendors and entertainment to accentuate the popular shark teeth hunting activity in Venice. The Gator Creek Band is scheduled to play on Friday night. Venice Beach and the waters offshore contain a vast amount of small to large megalodon size teeth. A walk with a Florida snow shovel along the beach will generally reveal one or two shark teeth, but a conscious effort may uncover many more. A Florida snow shovel has a waist-high handle attached to a metal strainer, a popular item sold in local beach stores.

Classical concert students from around the world audition for a unique opportunity to learn from the elite masters in the annual Sarasota Music Festival, to be held June 3-22, 2019. While students match up with masters each day of the three-week period the public, the masters perform each Thursday in an Artist Showcase concert. Friday nights are highlighted with its Festival Concert series, typically classical masterworks compositions. Saturdays are devoted to full orchestration in the Saturday Symphony series, and may feature a visiting artist. The Rising Star students display their talents in Sunday matinee performances. Jeffrey Kahane is the festival music director. These concerts and lectures are held in the Sarasota Opera House and Holley Hall of the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center.

Powerboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
The Grand Prix Festival is a popular July attraction.

While the classic musical students and visiting artists are packing to return to their homes, the Sarasota PowerBoat Grand Prix Festival boats and fans are pulling into Sarasota. This nationally televised race event on July 7, 2019 will be broadcast on CBS, with a rebroadcast on July 22. The AquaX and Powerboat qualifying races on Saturday with finals on Sunday are best seen off the Lido Beach shores in the Gulf of Mexico. Now in its 35th year, the festival features the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Tournament, car show, boat and PWC fun run, comedy night at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, swimsuit contest, motorcycle charity ride and plenty of parties in downtown Sarasota and Centennial Park where the boats will be on display. The fireworks show on July 4 is one of the festival highlights.

For two weeks in August, Venice is alive with the Venice Cabaret Festival, short-run live performances in a black box theater. Local performers are on display with a series of plays and tributes to such notables as Frank Sinatra, sold-out performances in consecutive years by John Lariviere recreation of works from the Sinatra Songbook. The 2019 festival will be the seventh year of this series.

9-11 Flag Memorial
9-11 Memorial - Longboat Key remembers 9-11 with 2,977 flags lined the entire 11-mile length along Gulf of Mexico Drive, one flag for each victim. President George W. Bush stayed at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort, Longboat Key, on September 10, 2001 and attended an event at Booker Elementary School in Sarasota when he was informed of the attack.

There are many arts, seafood and music weekend festivals in Sarasota throughout the year. Check our list of upcoming events to note which you might like to attend. There are also more somber events, including those tomorrow as a memorial to those who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The Victims and Fallen Heroes Memorial Ceremony in Patriots Park, Venice, and the Tribute to Heroes Memorial Service on the Riverwalk Great Lawn, Bradenton, are two of them. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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It's Festival Time in Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Upcoming events in the next two weeks

Featuring Film, Whiskey, Chamber Music and Shark’s teeth festivals

Sarasota Opera House
The four concert programs of the 2018 La Musica International Chamber Music Festival, now in its 32nd season, will be held at the Sarasota Opera House.

Sunday closed on a very successful Sarasota Wine Festival Auction to benefit organizations that support children. By the end of this week four more festivals will be in full swing featuring film, whiskey obsession, music and even a celebration of shark’s teeth. There should be something for everyone. There are many single-day celebrations so you can stay busy for the next few weeks. Below is information on the four festivals in the order of their start date, with links and times for the major events of each festival.

La Musica International Chamber Music Festival begins tonight with Program I

There are four full symphony concerts during the days of the La Musica International Chamber Music Festival beginning tonight at 8 PM with Program I, a concert of two string quintets and a piano trio conclusion composed by Schubert in E flat major. In Program II on Thursday a Mendelssohn string quartet is featured, with a Popper composition, Requiem in F# minor concluded with a dramatic piece from Rachmaninoff. Composers Paganini, Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Shostakovich will be featured in a Sunday matinee at 3 PM. The concluding program on April 18 begins with a Bernstein piano trio concerto, a Brahms viola version followed by a Schubert composition string quintet in C major for the conclusion of this year’s festival.

Two rehearsal dates have already been completed for the 32nd season of the festival, this year under the direction of Bruno Giuranna, a Milan Italy born accomplished musician and artistic director. Rehearsals are open to the public, see the schedule below. Also open to the public is a free panel discussion with three musicians and composer Jerry Bilik, tomorrow at 4:35 in the Mildred Sainer Pavilion on the New College of Florida campus. The associate director Derek Han, who has performed piano concerts in prestigious halls of five continents, will be among those attending a musician greeting in the Dolphin Aviation Hanger at the SRQ airport on Wednesday. Go to La Musica Festival for more information and ticket purchases.

Monday, April 9

Start time Event Location
8:00 PM Program I Opera House, Sarasota

Tuesday, April 10

Start time Event Location
9:30 AM Musician rehearsals Mildred Sainer Pavilion, Sarasota
4:35 PM Musician panel discussion Mildred Sainer Pavilion, Sarasota

Wednesday, April 11

Start time Event Location
9:30 AM Musician rehearsals Mildred Sainer Pavilion, Sarasota
5:30 PM Meet the musicians Dolphin Aviation Hanger, Sarasota

Thursday, April 12

Start time Event Location
8:00 PM Program II Opera House, Sarasota

Friday, April 13

9:30 AM Musician rehearsals Mildred Sainer Pavilion, Sarasota

Saturday, April 14

Start time Event Location
10:00 AM Musician rehearsals Mildred Sainer Pavilion, Sarasota
6:00 PM Musical Chefs (sold out) Michael's Wine Cellar, Sarasota

Sunday, April 15

Start time Event Location
3:00 PM Program III Opera House, Sarasota

Monday, April 16

Start time Event Location
9:00 AM Musician rehearsals Felding Hall, Opera House

Tuesday, April 17

Start time Event Location
9:30 AM Musician rehearsals Felding Hall, Opera House

Wednesday, April 18

Start time Event Location
8:00 PM Ballet Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Michael's on East, Sarasota
8:00 PM Program IIII Opera House, Sarasota

Whiskey Obsession Festival, four days of tastings and classes for a local charity

Whiskey Obsession Festival
The kickoff dinner for the Whiskey Obsession Festival will begin the tastings and classes at the Sarasota Yacht Club and ends here with one of the final events on Saturday, the Women of Whiskey Brunch.

Starting Wednesday with a Bartender Academy at the Aloft Hotel, the Whiskey Obsession Festival kicks off four days of social events, classes, whiskey tastings and parties. The timing is perfect for child abuse prevention month, as the proceeds benefit the Child Protection Center. But this is not a festival to chug down glasses of whiskey in a style typically associated to a frat party, this is serious business with 18 events devoted to connoisseurs of fine whiskeys and scotch liquors.

The Master Classes are presented as a means to learn about different blends, the first is a focus lunch of fine dining and class at The Francis in downtown Sarasota on Thursday. An intimate dinner discussion with Raj Sabharwal of 16 guests follows at 5 PM. The discussions continue at The Francis with a distinguished panel of international whiskey experts including distillers, academics and distributors. On Friday the classes change venues for the Pre-Show Premium Master Class at Michael’s Wine Cellar, featuring tastings of single malt scotch. The Master Classes continue at Michael’s on East at 8 PM, for those with a more professional approach, divided into four sessions of seasoned professionals.

There is time to let loose a little and enjoy some social interaction. The first best time for that is the after party at MADE Restaurant in downtown Sarasota that starts at 10:45 PM on Friday. Saturday is a day devoted to the Women of Whiskey Brunch, beer, bourbon and cigars at the Gator Club at 4 PM and concludes with a free block party at Lemon and Main in downtown Sarasota, starting at 6:30 PM. For more information on the festival go to the Whiskey Obsession Festival website.

Wednesday, April 11

Start time Event Location
1:00 PM Bartender Academy Aloft Hotel, Sarasota
6:30 PM Kickoff dinner Sarasota Yacht Club

Thursday, April 12

Start time Event Location
12:00 PM Master Class - Breckenridge Bourbon The Francis, Sarasota
5:00 PM Panelist Dinner with Raj Sabharwal The Francis, Sarasota
7:00 PM The Panel of Whiskey Experts The Francis, Sarasota
10:00 PM Brand Showcase The Gator Club, Sarasota

Friday, April 13

Start time Event Location
5:00 PM Pre-show Premium Master Class Michael's Wine Cellar, Sarasota
7:30 PM Grand Tasting and Master Class Michael's On East, Sarasota
10:30 PM After Party MADE Restaurant, Sarasota

Friday, April 13

Start time Event Location
5:00 PM Pre-show Premium Master Class Michael's Wine Cellar, Sarasota
6:30 PM Grand Tasting and Master Class Michael's On East, Sarasota
8:00 PM Master Classes Michael's On East, Sarasota
10:30 PM After Party MADE Restaurant, Sarasota

Saturday, April 14

Start time Event Location
11:30 AM Women of Whiskey Brunch Sarasota Yacht Club
4:00 PM Beer, Bourbon & Cigars The Gator Club, Sarasota
6:30 PM Street Party Lemon Avenue and Main Street, Sarasota

Sarasota Film Festival celebrates 20 years

50 Words film
Look for films with a Sarasota theme including 50 Words created and starred in by local actress Kathryn Parks.

Don’t let Friday the 13th scare you for the start of the Sarasota Film Festival. This is ten days for devoted fans of the art and this year celebrates the 20th year of the festival. The opening night film of Class Rank sets the tone for this year, a film by director Eric Stoltz. You can catch a glimpse of the director on the red carpet of the Sarasota Opera House starting at 6:30 PM. There are two parties opening night, a kickoff party at Motorworks Brewing in Bradenton and the block party at Selby Five Points Park in Sarasota starting at 9 PM. Stoltz will be available on Saturday for a noon discussion at the Florida Studio Theatre. There are more discussions at the Florida Studio Theatre on Saturday with film stars beginning with Steve Guttenberg at 11 AM, Virginia Madsen at 1 PM and Rory Kennedy at 3 PM.

This year we celebrate locals who have created films or there are films about Sarasota. Sarasota resident, Kathryn Parks, created, wrote and stars in the film, 50 Words, as Lilly Green, who is presented with many admirers after writing a personal ad and finds the one she has been pining for. It is one of eight films in the Shorts II: Florida Showcase. A short film of 12 minutes follows the professional orchestra in preparation of out-of-town concerts in Sarasota Orchestra: A Week in the Life. There are two showings of both films, 3 PM on Sunday and 11 AM on April 21 in the Art Ovation Hotel. A Frenchman in Florida on April 19 at 8:45 PM in the Art Ovation Hotel is a mystery film about a suspicious man in a Sarasota hotel that may be linked to the disappearance of two young girls.

Be prepared to sit for long periods of time to enjoy all the films and screenings, mostly at the Regal Hollywood II Cinemas. The red carpet rolls out the final day for coach Nick Bollettieri and director Jason Kohn at 1:30 PM for the movie, Love Means Zero, a documentary about local famed tennis coach, Bollettieri, a founder of IMG Academy in Bradenton. The main feature on closing night is the movie, Above and Beyond, NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow. Director Rory Kennedy and Producer Mark Bailey will be on the red carpet starting at 5 PM for the 6 PM showing.

Party Out of This World from 8 PM to midnight in the ballroom of the Art Ovation Hotel on April 20, it is the anniversary party for the film festival. Chill Under the Stars on Saturday night at Selby Five Points Park starting at 6 PM. Planned is a Brazilian Samba Parade, fashion show and live bands. For ticket information and movie schedules go to the Sarasota Film Festival website.

Friday, April 13

Start time Event Location
6:00 PM Bradenton Kickoff Party Motorworks Brewing, Bradenton
6:30 PM Opening Night Film, Class Rank Opera House, Sarasota
9:00 PM Opening Night Block Party Selby Five Points Park, Sarasota

Saturday, April 14

Start time Event Location
12:00 PM Media Brunch Panel Fogartyville Community Center, Sarasota
12:00 PM In Conversation With, Eric Stoltz Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
6:00 PM Through the Tunnel, screening Art Ovation Hotel Ballroom, Sarasota
10:00 AM Through Womens Eyes Regal Hollywood II Cinema, Sarasota

Sunday, April 15

Start time Event Location
5:45 PM Hollywood Nights Regal Hollywood II Cinemas, Sarasota
6:00 PM FACEing Mental Illness premiere Art Ovation Hotel Ballroom, Sarasota
7:00 PM Hollywood Nights Regal Hollywood II Cinemas, Sarasota
Films Through Womens Eyes Regal Hollywood II Cinema, Sarasota

Wednesday, April 18

Start time Event Location
7:00 PM Riverview Awards Show Art Ovation Hotel Ballroom, Sarasota

Friday, April 20

Start time Event Location
8:00 PM Out of This World, party Art Ovation Hotel Ballroom, Sarasota

Saturday, April 21

Start time Event Location
11:00 AM In Conversation With, Steve Guttenberg Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
1:00 PM In Conversation With, Virginia Madsen Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
3:00 PM In Conversation With, Rory Kennedy Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota
5:00 PM Closing Films, Red Carpet Opera House, Sarasota
6:00 PM Closing Films, Above and Beyond Opera House, Sarasota
6:00 PM Chill Under the Stars, closing party Selby Five Points Park, Sarasota

Sunday, April 22

Start time Event Location
11:00 AM Sensory-Friendly, LU Over the Wall Regal Hollywood II Cinema, Sarasota

A celebration festival of shark's teeth on the airport fairgrounds in Venice

Shark teeth
With a Florida Snow Shovel (straining basket on the end of a pole) and a keen eye you can pull small fossilized shark teeth out of the sand at the Venice shoreline. Keep a watchful eye out for a megalodon tooth. Divers like the depths between 18 and 35 feet for their search.

Maybe this festival starting on Friday the 13th may frighten you. Venice has been known by locals, travelers and scuba divers as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World. There are several theories as to why you can gather many teeth on the shoreline or in the depths off the coast of Venice. Some predict there were ocean waters that converted to land masses, then flooded in a process of the ice age over millions of years. Estimates are that sharks lose and replace nearly 10,000 teeth in a lifetime, adding to vast numbers of this deposit. The sharks died in the shallow waters, their teeth preserved and fossilized by the land that filled in the seas. As the seas once again encroached what is now Florida, a gradual slope to deep waters around Venice held these fossils in place.

Most teeth you find will be dark colored, the fossilization process converts white teeth to black. The early earth masses that extended out to the Gulf may explain why you can find an occasional fossilized bone of some land animal. Don't dismiss any dark object that resembles a bone, it could be that of a fossilized ground sloth or whale. There are other theories too, depending on which local you speak with. Now, find a megalodon tooth and you have a true treasure.

In order to celebrate its namesake, for the past 25 years Venice has thrown a festival in honor of the teeth that lie in the Gulf of Mexico surf. The Shark's Tooth Festival starts Friday at 4 PM on the airport festival grounds in Venice. The Gator Creek Band performs at 6 PM on the main stage Friday night. Look for booths that display their shark teeth for sale. A large 6-inch megalodon tooth might be on sale for hundreds of dollars. Among the food vendors and activities, there are also a Special Olympics Fishing Presentation at 2 PM and Special Olympics Weight Lifting Demonstration on Saturday. The Curry Creek Cloggers perform from 10 to 10:45 AM on Saturday. Also on Saturday The Rockin Rogues start at 11 AM, the Beatles tribute band the Glass Onion takes the stage at 12:45 PM, followed by Maiden Cane from 6:30 to 8:45 PM. Paisley Craze starts the festivities on Sunday morning at 11:15 AM. The Boogiemen are set to perform for three hours starting at 2 PM to close the show. Go to the Shark's Tooth Festival website for more information.

More upcoming events and three new listings last week

FSU Center for the Performing Arts
FSU Center for the Performing Arts - The final Inside the Studio series of the Sarasota Ballet this year will be here April 18, Bugaku, Blending Subtlety and Strength.

The Sarasota Ballet Principal Film Series and Inside the Studio series started late last year concludes with its final presentation April 18, Bugaku, Blending Subtlety and Strength. Inside the Studio at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts gives patrons a look at the rehearsal and interpretation process of upcoming performances. The final Program 7 of the 2017-2018 ballet season is set for April 27-28 at the Opera House, Great Masters of Dance: Tudor, Balanchine & Ashton.

Updated on most Thursdays in time for the weekend, our upcoming events page features over 400 festivals, expos, plays, concerts, cultural arts and musicals from the Manatee Performing Arts Center in the north, Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch venues, and the Venice Performing Arts Center in the south. Nearly every show at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is on the schedule with tickets available through their online box office. The highly acclaimed musical, Jersey Boys, is currently running there through Thursday. Plan your days with this upcoming events schedule, now with listings through April 10, 2019.

Check out my three new listings last week at Beachplace, a buildable lot near Mar Vista Restaurant on Longboat Key and a townhome on Evergreen Way 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
1055 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #106 $1,599,000   Photo Slideshow
6941 Bayside Drive $995,000   Photo Slideshow
810 Evergreen Way $379,000   Photo Slideshow


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Classic winter and spring events

by Roger Pettingell

Upcoming events for an active lifestyle

Ballet, orchestra, opera, plays, black-tie benefits and sports are highlighted

Upcoming events Sarasota
Art Festivals - There are many shows featuring artists from around the nation with their works in Sarasota, Lido Key, Venice, Bradenton and St. Armands Circle

The 36th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival and the annual Thunder by the Bay ended this weekend, but this is peak season and there are many more to fill its place. There are mini-festivals such as the two events this past weekend. There are operas, ballet, orchestra Masterworks series, plays, musicals and sports that create a national buzz, if not international attraction to Sarasota and Manatee counties. And most are within the next couple of months while the weather is attractive for those who have the ability to spend a few months enjoying the sunshine.

Currently running is OVATION, a celebration of the modern circus. Now in its second week, world class performers from around the globe have traveled to Sarasota to display their acrobatic artistry. Put on by our own Circus Sarasota, Ringmaster Joseph Bauer, Jr. will guide you through the acrobatics, juggling, high wire acts and of course a little clowning around performances. There are animal acts too. The Anastasini Soccer Dogs flip, jump and roll and the Liberty Horses combine form with the grace of their trainer Sylvia Zerbini. You have until Sunday to catch these performances under the Ulla Searing Big Top in Nathan Benderson Park.

The Sarasota Film Festival has been acclaimed as one of the top film festivals in the world. This year the SFF will celebrate its 20th year for attracting celebrities and high quality films. Although the films will be announced in the next few weeks, you can set your dates of April 13 through 22 for parties and film premieres. Last year the festival kicked off with a luncheon with film star Rory Kennedy, a block party around the Opera House, and an Opening Night Film with a film by Rory. There were film screenings with premieres and a closing night block party, film and awards.

Black-tie events
Charities - Many black-tie charity events such as the Blue Ties and Butterflies benefit co-chaired by my wife Alisa are listed on the upcoming schedule.

Likewise, the Sarasota Music Festival is three weeks of professional guest artists in concert and student showcases in June for those who enjoy classical music at its finest. Just 60 students are accepted from applications sent in worldwide to join the masters as students and performers. Guest lectures by renown artists and local chamber music celebrities together form a festival of education and listening delight. The concerts are highlighted with theme-driven concerts on Thursdays with Artist Showcases, Friday Festivals and Saturday Symphonies. The students generally perform on Sundays are asked to perform alongside the accomplished artists. Most of the events take place in our Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center and the Sarasota Opera House. Although the exact dates have not been set, I expect the festival to run from June 3 through June 24.

Andy Warhol is celebrated in exhibits and workshops through June 30 dedicated to the pop culture icon at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens near the southern edge of downtown Sarasota. The gardens have six of Warhol’s original 10,000 images of flowers on display. The Sarasota Opera last Wednesday kicked off its monthly series of Warhol Nights. Guest performances by some of Sarasota’s classics are lined up on Wednesdays. The famed Perlman Music Program on the Suncoast alumni, with its stringed foursome artists of violins, viola and cello will continue its Around Series at the gardens under the stars on March 14. An exciting evening of dance is set for April 11 with the Sarasota Ballet and compositions by the Valet Underground, songs that were written for Warhol. Life’s a Beach is a theme for the May 16 Florida Studio Theatre improvisational comedy performance. The Sarasota Music Festival takes a break with a special one-night concert at the gardens on June 13.

The Sarasota Orchestra and its Masterworks Series runs through May 12 with three performances in one week at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the outdoor Pops Field of Dreams concerts. Violinist Midori Honors Bernstein is featured with conductor Michael Balke Thursday at the Neel Performing Arts Center in Bradenton and Friday through Sunday at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota. Sarasota Orchestra Music Director Anu Tali will conduct the next of two Masterworks series. Lift-Off, with soprano Pureum Jo follows a similar four-day schedule as above starting March 15 at Neel. Anu will conduct the three-day series starting April 6 featuring violinist Elina Vӓhӓlӓ in The Red Violin.

Asolo Repertory Theatre
Asolo Repertory Theatre - Considered for its beauty, the threatre on the Ringling grounds hosts many performances throughout the year.

Catch some long runs of plays and musicals at many of the fine theatres in Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton. Four local productions run through March 4. The drama Heisenberg is at the Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a play based on the Disney production of the same name and is currently running at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. The Morning After Grace at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota and the Toxic Avenger at the Venice Theatre are two plays also running through Sunday.

Northside Hollow, the dark humorous play at the Urbanite Theatre in Sarasota, is currently running through March 11. Native Gardens, the drama with a comedic twist is running through March 25 in the Gompertz Theatre of the Florida Studio Theatre. The play, Shakespeare in Love, based on the 1998 Oscar-winning film, completes its run on March 28 at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Travel to the famous fictional land of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a play every Saturday through March 31 at the Florida Studio Theatre. You might be able to guess whose music is featured in the musical Blue Suede Shoes, now through April 1 at the Florida Studio Theatre. The well-received political farce, Rhinoceros, completes its run at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts in Sarasota on April 14.

Four long running performances open this week. The Rehearsal, a period piece based on French relationships is a play written in 1950 with tones that fit today’s schemes for desperate couples. It runs through March 11 in the Asolo Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Also running through March 11 is the play Bullets Over Broadway at The Players Centre for the Performing Arts in Sarasota. The play, Constellations, is a story about the collision of romance and science that runs through March 16 at the Florida Studio Theatre in downtown Sarasota. Now through March 18 catch Dream Girls at the Venice Theatre. It is a Tony Award winning musical that features Motown and Broadway hits with a story line that portrays a part of the music industry.

LECOM Park in Bradenton is home for the Pirates in spring training and its farm club in the summer.

Professional major league baseball players are in town for spring training with 16 Baltimore Orioles home games starting Friday at Ed Smith Stadium in downtown Sarasota. Catch your favorite players in the Grapefruit League from Tampa Bay, Minnesota, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Boston, Toronto, Philadelphia, New York Yankees and Mets. The Tampa Bay Rays actually have their spring training in Port Charlotte and the Atlanta Braves are moving their spring complex in 2019 from Kissimmee to North Port. To the north in Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates have 16 home games starting Saturday with the same Grapefruit League teams in their newly named LECOM Park, formerly McKechnie Field. The Marauders, a farm club of the Pirates, plays in the summer at LECOM Park

There are over 500 events in the upcoming schedule on our website. Concerts, upcoming long running plays and Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall shows are listed there. The complete list of events for the annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix from June 23 to July 4 will be listed there. Watch for news of the Ringling International Arts Festival in October and the Sarasota Chalk Festival and Sarasota MOD in November.

Check out the three new listings last week at the Beach Residences on Lido Key, Country Club Shores and Bay Harbour 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
1300 Benjamin Franklin Dr, #1201 $5,495,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1055 Bogey Lane $939,000 Video Photo Slideshow
448 Gulf of Mexico Dr, #A306 $549,000   Photo Slideshow


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Sarasota Film Festival

by Roger Pettingell

19th annual event kicks off Friday

Filmmakers and cinema stars in town for 10 days

Sarasota Opera House
Many of the events for the 2017 Sarasota Film Festival will be held at the Sarasota Opera House.

An annual event in Sarasota that attracts film stars and helps reflect the cultural arts spirit is the Sarasota Film Festival, which starts this Friday with an opening celebration. Each year they feature stars that are invited to the festival so fans can get up close and personal. There is so much going on that it will be hard not to see the gatherings at events, especially if you are in the areas around the Sarasota Opera House or the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20. It will have the appearance of Cannes or Sundance, but you don’t have to leave Florida to enjoy.

A tribute luncheon at the Sarasota Yacht Club on opening day will feature film icon Rory Kennedy. The youngest child to Senator Bobby Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy, one of her documentary productions, Last Days in Vietnam, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Academy Awards.

The red carpet rolls out on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the opera house before the opening night film, Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton. This is a 2017 documentary of his charismatic life during the winter surf season on Kauai Island of Hawaii. Rory Kennedy is the film director and is expected to be in attendance for the film showing. If you don't see her at the luncheon you may likely catch up with her at the opening night party following the film. Cocktail attire is the dress of choice for both. Grab a SFF signature cocktail as North Pineapple Avenue turns into a block party with the music of Jah Movement, one of Florida’s best reggae bands.

One of the film stars in SFF attendance will be actress Diane Lane, who had her screen debut in 1979. She will be attending the closing night film, Paris Can Wait, a 2016 comedy romance film with actors Alec Baldwin and Arnaud Viard. On April 8 she will have a 90-minute conversation with the audience at 2:30 p.m. in the Keating Theatre of the Florida Studio Theatre on Palm Avenue.

Aisha Tylor, possibly best known for her show, The Talk, will also be in conversation with the audience at Florida Studio Theatre, noon on April 8. The Talk has been Nominated for five Emmy Awards. She made her directorial debut with the film Axis, which will be shown during the film festival, April 7 and 8.

Another Oscar nominee, Stanley Tucci, will be in attendance and is on the advisory board of directors for the film festival. The film festival movie Paint it Black was produced by his production company, but you may remember him most for his role as Caesar Flickerman, the outrageous show host in the Hunger Games. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Lovely Bones.

Rosanna Arquette has also announced she will be attending the film festival. She is an actress, film director and producer, nominated for an Emmy Award in 1982 for her role in The Executioner's Song. She has appeared in several movies starting with her debut in 1978 alongside Bette Davis in The Dark Secret of Harvest Home.

Kenny Anderson, a point guard from Georgia Tech who played for several NBA teams from 1991 to 2006, will be on a panel discussion on the topic, athletics and youth empowerment in the Florida Studio Theater on April 8. His movie Mr. Chibbs is part of the Sports in Cinema Features of full-length films and shorts that will be shown during the festival.

Look for signs downtown advertising the SFF with the theme this year, See and be Seen. The series of posters were created by local artist Ringling College of Art student Tyler Mathis, whose artwork was selected from nearly 20 other submissions. He used homophone words of the theme for his posters, interchanging appropriately Sea for See and Scene for Seen. So you should dress to be seen at the Sea and Scene Block party in J.D. Hamel Park, the night of April 7.

There is plenty to do during the week. Hollywood Nights with a red carpet for student film creators kicks off Sunday, April 2, with screenings in the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 theater. Veterans are featured Tuesday night at the Sarasota Opera House with the world premiere showing of Returning, which shows returning veterans of war and their reintegration into society. The Booker Film Academy shows off their student achievement, Redirection on Thursday at the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 theater. Into the Who Knows! is a sensory-friendly screening in Theatre 9 of the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20 on Sunday, April 9.

There are also panel discussions, topical films, short films. The theme, Through Women’s Eyes, will feature 15 shorts and six full-length movies written, directed and produced by women on April 1 and 2. It kicks off with a reception at Sarasota City Center on Saturday at 5 p.m. The theme, Florida on Film, features 21 short films and four full-length films created by Florida filmmakers. Each day there are centerpiece and spotlight films in the theaters of the Regal Cinemas Hollywood 20.

Then it’s time to wrap up the 19th Annual Sarasota Film Festival with a…Wrap Party, Saturday at the Sarasota Sky Bar & Club. Hank & Cupcakes from Atlanta will be spinning pop songs that evening for your friends, filmmakers and industry guests. Enjoy the films.

Sarasota Film Festival

by Roger Pettingell

17th Festival Continues Through Sunday

Nearly 300 films, Discussions, and Parties with the Stars

Sarasota Yacht Club
Tribute Luncheon - A good opportunity to meet with the stars on Friday at the Sarasota Yacht Club.

With 278 films over multiple venues, the Sarasota Film Festival kicked off Friday with fanfare, glitz and red carpet. Celebrating 17 years the festival runs through Sunday, you may even see a star or two on the sidewalks. And although most of the events are at the Regal Hollywood 20 Theater in downtown Sarasota, some events such as the opening ceremony was held at the Sarasota Opera House or the moonlight movie on Lido Beach that was postponed to April 25 due to weather concerns. The moonlight movie feature is the Dolphin Tale, the celebrated story of Winter at the Clearwater Aquarium.

Independent film makers submit their films with entries through the first week of January. Movies are then selected for their social value and run from 10 a.m. to midnight each day. The opening night movie at the opera house was Time Out Of Mind, a story of homelessness starring Richard Gere. Queen Mimi also features homelessness, a story of a woman whose residence is a Santa Monica laundromat.

The buzz around town is a documentary on a Chicago school system directed and produced by Kayla McCormick that will screen on Friday and Saturday. Select(ED) puts on display one of the most culturally diverse school systems in the nation. SFF has partnered with the Through Women's Eyes (TWE) International Film Festival to help spotlight women directors.

Local filmmaker, Tony Stopperan, is also premiering his film at the opera house Paradise, FL. Filmed in Sarasota, this story is about a local oyster fisherman that cares for a young family of two. It premiered on Saturday but shows again tonight in Theatre 10.

The festival goes beyond film screening. There are other opportunities for discussion and yes, party with stars such as the British actress Jane Seymour and Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman at the Sarasota Yacht Club tribute luncheon on Friday. The Cinema Tropicale Celebration on Friday at Michael’s On East celebrates fashion on a runway, accompanied with music and fine cuisine. There is a hint of a surprise performance at this celebration.

Time Out Of Mind creator Oren Moverman and David Gordon Green of the movie Manglehorn discussed their career and movie insights in the SFF Conversation Series on Saturday. This series is your opportunity to get involved in an intimate discussion with the stars. The next opportunity is Friday with Cloris Leachman, star of the festival screening of This is Happening. Also on Friday at 7 p.m. is Jane Seymour with a discussion of her career and the festival movie Bereave. Saturday Tom Browne will discuss his narrative feature movie Radiator. He will be joined by the executive producer Rachel Weisz. Later on Saturday film producer Lynda Obst will discuss her career and movies from Flashdance to Interstellar. She is the 2015 winner of the inaugural Polly Platt Award for Producing. All the conversation series are held at the Florida Studio Theater on North Palm Avenue.

The 1137 Unwrap Party will be one of the last opportunies of the festival to meet with the stars in an informal setting. And yes, it begins at 11:37 p.m. in the Starlite Room on Cocoanut Avenue.

The festival concludes on Sunday with the movie Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead at McCurdy’s Comedy Club, and the Filmmaker Tribute Awards ceremony at the opera house. Tickets are available at the Regal Hollywood 20 Theater or online.

Sarasota has been a supporter of the arts since John Ringling promoted cultural performances starting in the 1930s. We just learned that the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan area is distinguished ranked number one as the city with the highest well-being in the United States by Gallup’s annual Well-Being Index. The index ranks cities for financial, social and physical well-being.

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


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