SARASOTA – A fast-moving late morning storm didn’t stop thousands of visitors from attending the 2013 Sarasota Bay Water Festival held Saturday at Ken Thompson Park. Organizers estimate more than 3,500 people attended the day long event celebrating the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy.
“The storm lasted 20 minutes and the weather was perfect all afternoon,” said Randy Moore with the Water Festival. “I think the early blast of rain and wind was a bonding experience for many of the exhibitors. Our biggest challenge was parking so many cars arriving early and mid afternoon.”
This year’s Water Festival featured live music, an Art Zone showcasing local artists and photographers selling gift items, food trucks, a beer and wine garden, vintage and new boats, an interactive Community Art Mural, raffle prizes donated by area businesses, and more than 80 exhibits promoting boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboard sports, scuba diving, eco-tourism, wildlife protection, and bay-friendly living. All of the proceeds on the sale of beer and wine were donated to Vintage Paws Sanctuary, a local nonprofit that cares for displaced senior dogs.
The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, this year’s Presenting Sponsor, organized four panel discussions beginning at noon focused on protecting bay wildlife, reducing stormwater pollution, environmental education, and the past, present and future of Sarasota Bay.
HDR, Inc. was this year’s Host Sponsor; the local HDR office is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Sarasota. Triple 3 Marketing, LLC managed the festival with volunteer support from residents of Sarasota and Manatee County.
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