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The pristine sands of Siesta Key can make vacations to other waterfronts underwhelming.
Sarasota Friday, Sep. 20, 2013 4 years ago

FRIDAY FIVE: Quirks that make you a Sarasotan

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Sarasota is unique.

From the white sands of Siesta Key public beach to the canopied trails at Myakka River State Park, to the cultural hub that is downtown and north Sarasota, it's clear the region is one-of-a-kind.

Like all unique places, locals have their own quirks. Here are five things that make you a true Sarasotan.

+ You have an opinion on outdoor art

There's nothing quite like the uproar a new piece of art on the Sarasota Bayfront creates.

The brouhaha that ensued over "Unconditional Surrender," is just one instance of residents sparring over the placement of outdoor art. The Sarasota Chalk Festival draws contention from Burns Square Merchants, and political bloviating cost Sarasota the Iwo Jima statue. Such is the cost of being such a magnetic cultural hub.

+ A distate for inferior beach sand

Vacations just aren't the same for Sarasotans.

A beach getaway to most other parts of the country turns real Sarasotans into full-blown sand snobs — and can you blame them? Coming from the powdery white stuff they're used to on Siesta Key can be jarring. A weekend of lounging can turn into a weekend of critiquing the size of grains and color of inferior sand.

+ "Snowbird," and "season," are part of your everyday lingo

As residents of a bonafide tourism hub, Sarasotans have a love-hate relationship with tourists and seasonal visitors.

Sure, the tax dollars and international intrigue are wonderful, but 5 p.m. traffic at the height of season can be brutal.

+ Street smarts


One sure way to pick out someone who isn't from Sarasota is by their pronunciation of Bahia Vista Street. Tourists also tend to call U.S. 41 (just 41 for Sarasotans) Tamiami Trail and U.S. 301 (just 301 for Sarasotans) Washington Boulevard. And real Sarasotans know to avoid the 30-mile-per-hour section of Bahia Vista — unless they're really craving a Yoder's pie.

+ You downplay hurricane season

One of Sarasota County Emergency Operations Manager Ed McCrane's biggest challenges is getting the message to residents about taking hurricane season seriously.

But, as residents living in a city that hasn't been struck by a hurricane since 1944, it can seem like a waste to board up windows. There are loads of theories about why Sarasota is rarely hit by hurricanesd — American Indians settled here 


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