The festival kicked off with a party benefiting Suncoast Charities for Children July 3.
The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival celebrated the start of its patriotic festivities with a Kickoff Party July 3 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
The Kickoff Party — a Grand Prix Festival staple — had guests donning their most tropical and patriotic clothes for a Jimmy Buffet-themed night of drinks, dancing and food. The Caribbean Chillers, a Jimmy Buffet cover band, played classic tunes to match the occasion. Supporters bid on live auction prizes including VIP tickets to a Red Sox vs. Yankees game, a Caribbean getaway and tickets to see Jimmy Buffett play in Las Vegas.
The party benefited Suncoast Charities for Children, which provides grants for local nonprofits including The Haven, Special Olympics Florida, Children First, Loveland Center and The Florida Center For Early Childhood.
The 35th annual festival runs through July 7 and ends with powerboat races at Lido Beach.