SARASOTA -- The inaugural Sarasota Bay Water Festival is set for this Saturday, November 17 at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota. More than 70 organizations from the public and private sector are involved as sponsors and exhibitors. The free festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Founders say the festival was organized to celebrate the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy.
The event, hosted by The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, will include live music on the main stage featuring five local bands; a Creative Arts Tent presenting a dozen local wildlife photographers and artists selling art items; the winning submissions to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest with three age divisions; vintage boat displays; local food trucks; a beer and wine garden; and exhibits promoting boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle board sports, scuba, birding, and more.
The first “iceberg” ever seen in Sarasota Bay will be unveiled thanks to the creativity of New College Sculpting Professor Richard Herzog. The award-winning Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team performs at 4 p.m. Event guests can also gain free admission to the popular Mote Aquarium which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission requires getting a stamp at the festival.
Festival organizers encourage visitors to carpool and use alternative transportation. A free water taxi between Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron has been set up with sponsorship by Freedom Boat Club. The water taxi departs every 30-40 minutes starting at 9 a m. Other transportation options include hourly stops by SCAT and the Longboat Key Trolley, a free bike valet, and a free kayak valet.
Festival organizers will also unveil the Brita Hydration Station, a touch-free, sensor-operated water dispenser that provides filtered municipal water without the waste or cost of single-use bottled water. Visitors are encouraged to bring their reusable water container for free water. Reusable containers will also be for sale along with other items. Other components of the sustainability plan include composting and trash recycling with support from Waste Management, Sarasota County and Manatee County.
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