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The best view of the boat race will be from Lido Beach. (Courtesy photo)
Sarasota Friday, Jul. 5, 2013 4 years ago

WEEKEND BEST BET: Suncoast Grand Prix Festival


The Fourth of July weekend festivities continue with a jam-packed schedule of events for the 29th annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival. For a full schedule of events, visit

Here are some weekend highlights: 

It all starts tonight at 5 p.m. with the “Boats by the Bay” Downtown Block Party. The free event starts at 5 p.m. and goes to midnight between Orange and Pineapple avenues. Food and drink will be available for purchase, and Kettle of Fish will kick off the live music at 5 p.m.

The celebration continues as Sarasota welcomes home King of the High Wire Nik Wallenda as he kicks off the Offshore Super Boat Grand Prix’s Festival Parade of Boats down Main Street. The parade begins at Main Street and U.S. 301 and will continue to Gulfstream Avenue.

After the parade, head back to the block party to jam out to the live music of Soul Purpose from 7 to 9 p.m. Race boats will be on display at the block party location following the parade. The party continues until midnight.

Join participating race teams as they sign autographs and give away items from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Blvd. of the Arts. The event costs $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free.

Then, starting at 8 p.m. head to Centennial Park, 10th Street and U.S. 41,  for Powerboats by the Bay and another chance to see the boats upclose and personal and enjoy live music and entertainment. The event is free. No coolers or pets are permitted.

The action takes place Sunday, July 7, with the 29th annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Race. This action-packed race happens in two heats. One starts at 11 a.m., the other at 1 p.m. The race course is between New Pass and Big Pass. The best beach viewing will be from Lido Beach. (See map of race route below). Pets and glass containers are not permitted on Lido Beach.

For streaming coverage of the race, go to

Race organizers encourage spectators to carpool, because parking is limited. Viewers can also take the No. 18 SCAT bus from First Street and Lemon Avenue in downtown Sarasota to St. Armands. There is a short walk to the beach.

The Sarasota police department reminds beachgoers that Lido Beach is a nesting site for loggerhead turtles, and it is turtle nesting season. No tents, chairs or tarps are to be left on the beach during the night hours.

There are several loggerhead turtle nests already present and staked on the beach. Anyone caught disturbing, molesting or removing these stakes from the marked nests is subject to arrest.
Please report anyone observed disturbing these endangered species nests to 316-1199 during the race event day.

The Police Department also reminds the public that it will be enforcing all applicable codes and ordinances during the night hours of July 6 through sunrise July 7.

This include no overnight camping allowed in the Lido Beach Parking lot or on street parking space along Ben Franklin Drive.

Lido Public Beach and the adjoining parking lot closes every night at 11 p.m. No access to the beach will be allowed until sunrise July 7.

Officers and deputies on duty will be on high alert for intoxicated drivers and encourage spectators to designate a driver if they plan on drinking during the race event.

View Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix in a larger map

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