The Sarasota Bay Water 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, festival director. “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.
“Let’s have a day once a year where we give (Sarasota Bay) singular attention,” Moore said.
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. Freedom Boat Club will provide free taxi services from Marina Jack to the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. Water taxis depart every 30 to 40 minutes, all day. 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.
Interested festival-goers can also enter the “I Love Sarasota Bay” photo contest. Photographs may be submitted to event sponsorer Caldwell Trust Co., at 1561 Main St., Sarasota. The last day to drop off submissions is Oct. 31. Visitors can vote on a People’s Choice Award photograph 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.”
If You Go
Sarasota Bay Water Festival
Where: Ken Thompson Park
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17