The Sarasota Bay Water Festival will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, at Ken Thompson Park. The festival will celebrate the importance of Sarasota Bay to our environment, economy and quality of life.
“If our bay is healthy and vibrant and doing well, that’s not just good because it is beautiful for pure esthetics, but think of the connection it makes to our economy,” said Randy Moore, director of the Sarasota Bay Water Festival. “If we didn’t have this vibrant beautiful bay, a lot of tourists wouldn’t come here and that would have a direct impact on our economy.”
The festival will host a multitude of activities, such as a fishing clinic for kids, vintage boats, exhibits and demonstrations of boating, kayaking, fishing, paddleboard sports, scuba and birding. In addition, festival-goers can sample treats from food trucks and listen to live music at the main stage. Local photographers and artists will sell wildlife photographs and art items in the creative-arts tent, while Richard Herzog, a sculpting professor at New College of Florida, will present Sarasota’s first “iceberg.” There will be more than 60 public- and private-sector exhibitors providing information on how to protect and respect the bay.
“The idea is let’s not take (the bay) for granted,” Moore said. “Let’s have a day once a year where we give it singular attention.”
Festival-goers are encouraged to use alternate forms of transportation. Drivers with four people or more in their vehicle will receive a free raffle ticket. One of the prizes is a two-night stay at the Longboat Key Club and Resort, a $900 value. Freedom Boat Club will provide free taxi services from Marina Jack to Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Water taxis depart every 30 to 40 minutes, all day. Boaters can also drop their friends off at Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Route 18 SCAT and the Longboat Key trolley make frequent stops at Ken Thompson Park. In addition, there will be a free bike, kayak and canoe valet service.
“Literally, you can come in the morning and enjoy the whole day,” Moore said.
Interested festival-goers can also enter the “I Love Sarasota Bay” photo contest. Photographs may be submitted to Caldwell Trust Co., one of the sponsors, at 1561 Main St., in Sarasota. The last day to drop off submissions is Oct. 31. Photos must be in by 5 p.m. Visitors can vote on a People’s Choice Award photograph at the festival that did not receive a first-, second- or third-place prize during the contest. The photo contest form and rules may be found at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com.
“Our best teachers were the teachers that made learning fun,” Moore said. “There is a lot we can learn about protecting and restoring Sarasota Bay, but let’s have fun doing it.”
‘I Love Sarasota Bay’ Photo Contest
What: Submit photos with a connection to Sarasota Bay, spanning Sarasota and Manatee County. Examples include: water, habitat, seascapes, people enjoying any form of bay recreation activities such as boating and fishing, bay-related commerce or any form of wildlife common to the bay’s eco-system. The three categories include 12 years old and under, 13 to 18 years old and 19 years and older. Limit of two submissions per person.
When: Drop off your submissions from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26; Monday, Oct. 29; or Wednesday Oct. 31, at Caldwell Trust Co., 1561 Main St., Sarasota
More info: sarasotabaywaterfestival.com/photo-contest/
If You Go
Sarasota Bay Water Festival
Where: Ken Thompson Park
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17
More information: Sarasotabaywaterfestival.com