2019 will not disappoint with new and old events popping up over the coming months.
From shows and parades to food tastings, 2019 is full of exciting events, and your schedule can only hold so much. Here are 10 suggestions to begin with -- you're on your own for the rest.
Mark your calendar and see you there.
Sarasota Music Half Marathon and Rockin' 10K
This is the fifth edition of the race billed as Sarasota's most exciting. And if you're not quite up to a half-marathon on Feb. 3, a 10K is also planned.
The half-marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. and the 10K starts five minutes later, both from the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center. The courses cover a lot of the waterfront, the Ringling Bridge, St. Armands Key and some of the near-downdown neighborhoods. There will be a post-race brunch provided by Metro Diner, the race's sponsor, and a Girl Scout Cookie Aid Station along the route.
Oh, and about the name of the event. 20 live-music acts perform everything from classical to hard rock are posted along the route. Learn more at sarasotahalf.com
Thunder by the Bay
Thunder by the Bay brings motorcycles back to Sarasota Fairgrounds on Feb. 15-17. Admission is $5, but children 12 and under get in free. Tickets may be purchased online in advance at thunderbythebay.org. In addition to the main event, there is a kickoff party the week earlier at White Buffalo Saloon.
Ringling Town Hall Lectures
The Ringling College Library Association’s lecture series is one of the biggest fundraisers in the area. It brings top-notch speakers, leaders and thinkers from across the world to Sarasota to share their stories, and has raised more than $8 million since it started 30 years ago.
The first lecture of 2018 is by Shaquille O'Neal, one of the biggest names in basketball, on Jan. 21, followed by newsmaker James Comey, the former chief of the FBI on Feb. 4. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, will speak Feb. 18; Caroline Kennedy on March 4; and Ian Bremmer on April 11. Get tickets and more information on the speakers at rclassociation.org.
Say ‘I Do’ Again
Now in its 27th year, Say “I Do” Again is a vow renewal ceremony on Siesta Key that attracts big crowds each year.
If you are feeling especially in love on Feb. 14, you can grab your partner and renew your vows with hundreds of other couples at 6 p.m. No wedding gown or tuxedo required.
Siesta Key Easter Egg Hunt
One more Siesta Key event for the whole family to enjoy is April 15.
The event takes place on Turtle Beach, organized by Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. This family-friendly event is open to children up to 6-years-old. For information, call the chamber at 349-3800
Memorial Day Parade
Grab your flags, the parade this year is on May 27. The route starts at Osprey Avenue and extends down Main Street to Gulfstream Avenue; it’s followed by the Memorial Day Ceremony hosted by the Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee.
The parade was canceled in 2018 because of a tropical storm nearby.
Siesta Key Fireworks
If you really want to have a blast, consider another Siesta Key staple — the fireworks show on July 4 at Siesta Key Public Beach. The fun gets going at dusk. Arrive early to stake out your spot on the beach. It's the 29th running of the event, which goes off rain or shine.
Giving Hunger the Blues
This annual jazz festival helps the Mayor's Feed the Hungry program every year, combining fun and charity for a good cause.
Head to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall October to catch a wide variety of musicians, and help a local group fight hunger in the county. Firm dates have not been set, so visit www.givinghungertheblues.org for updates.
Siesta Key Crystal Classic
Don't be afraid to get your hands in the sand as you visit the Crystal Classic Nov. 15-Nov. 18.
2018 was the first year that the solo artist competition was introduced, and brought in many new talents to the sandy competition.
Downtown Holiday Parade
The holiday parade will surely be another smash success in 2019.
The parade in 2018 brought out more than 30,000 people to the Main Street route, beginning at U.S. 301. The parade next year is scheduled for Dec. 1. And though he's the star attraction, plan to stick around to see Santa Claus bringing up the rear of the parade.