It's always sunny in Philadelphia when Pope Francis is in town.
It's always sunny in Philadelphia when Pope Francis is in town. Sarasota resident Mary Ann O'Neil has never forgiven herself for missing out on a chance to see Pope John Paul II during one of his trips to the United States in the 1980s. He son Scott O'Neil, the CEO for the Philadelphia 76ers was aware of this and arranged for her to have tickets to see Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families during his trip through the city of brotherly love. Mary Ann opted to take two friends with her to enjoy the 10th row tickets to his outdoor mass.
"There was not one person who wasn’t smiling and glad to be there," Mary Ann O’Neil said. "Sometimes it took us two and half hours to get through a check point but we didn’t mind."
She also brought along the directory for her neighbors at Bay Plaza to receive his blessings as well as a copy of the Sarasota Observer. We feel blessed.
Best of the South
It's no surprise to Sarasotans to see the Downtown Farmers Market favored in the most recent issue of Southern Living magazine.
The September issue listed the market among the South's best farmers markets. The market has been a weekend staple for in the downtown scene since 1979 offering local merchants a platform to display and sell goods.
"It’s something that isn’t always recognized in the community but it’s something incredible we have," said Phil Pagano, manager for the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market. "I don’t think people are very surprised because the amount to people we’ve been taking in every year."
On average the market brings in half a million people per year with an estimated 12,000 people every Saturday. Offerings from 90 vendors include plants, baked goods, homemade soaps, housewares, fresh food and produce. Pagano is especially proud of the vendors unique to Sarasota who have cultivated a following of residents.