For our annual Fourth of July special section, A&E Editor Heidi Kurpiela and I turned our lenses on Sarasota and Manatee counties in a monthlong search for anyone and everything that depicted American life and lifestyle. In that time, we captured more than 30 images throughout the region. We were humbled by the extraordinary people we met along the way: a famous cowboy, a jazz legend, Olympic ice skaters, a charter boat captain and many more. New ideas seemed to pop up at every turn, giving us many more options for future editions.
We hope these photos enhance your holiday weekend and bolster your pride not only as an American but also as a resident of the Sarasota/Manatee region. From the pastures of the East County to the city life of Sarasota to the beaches of Longboat Key, the area contains both iconic scenes as well as images uniquely ours.
And as you plan your Fourth of July weekend, make sure you peruse our calendar on pages 14 and 15.
This comprehensive guide contains every patriotic party and fireworks display in the area and should provide you with plenty of options.
Also, be sure to check out this year’s “Slice of Americana” photo contest winners on pages 26 and 27. We asked readers to submit their own photos depicting our theme through our website, YourObserver.com.
More than 5,500 votes decided this year’s winner.
Finally, we hope you have a safe and wonderful time celebrating Independence Day with friends and family. Happy Fourth of July!
— Michael Eng
To view the entire "Spirit of America" special section, please click on the following link.
To view all the entries in the "Spirit of America" Photo Contest, click here.
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Sound of scholars
Local students Caleb Upton and Matthew Vaadi received some help for their upcoming studies to the tune of $1,000 each from the Sarasota Chorus of the Keys. The scholarships were made possible through the Sheridan E. Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund. Both students plan to use the funds toward a career in music.
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