Events & Festivals - Sarasota County Blog

Celebrate the red, white and blue in the Florida Gulf Coast

Show your patriotic pride with these Independence Day events

Celebrate the Fourth of July on Florida's Gulf Coast. With fireworks, boat races and block parties all week long, you'll want to be sure to check out our guide to this Fourth of July and other surrounding events, such as the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix:

 

A WEEK LONG CELEBRATION
Celebrations kick off a week before the Fourth of July with the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, formerly known as the Suncoast Grand Prix. The week long festival revs up with the Aqua Plumbing and Air Grand Prix Golf Classic 8:30 a.m. Saturday, June 27, at The Meadows Country Club, 3101 Longmeadow. Tickets are $130 per person or $500 for a foursome. The following day, check out a car show 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lakewood Ranch Main Street for $15 in advance or $20 at the gate. Other events that day include the boat and personal watercraft “fun run” on Sarasota Bay and the “Finz Finds” Motorcycle Freedom ride. Check out details here.

The party really starts to grow with the Kickoff Party 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, at the Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd. $100. This kickoff party marks the official start of this annual charity event and serves as one of its biggest fundraising efforts. Dress code is cocktail casual and features food, an open bar, valet parking, auctions and live music by Kettle of Fish. You'll definitely want to also attend the Fleming's Fan Fest 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 2, at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 2001 Siesta Dr. Meet and greet with local race teams and enjoy happy hour prices and live music.

MAKE IT A PARTY
Don't miss the Downtown Block Party 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, July 3, downtown between Orange and Palm avenues on Lemon Avenue between 1st and State streets. This free event includes vendors, food, boats on display, live music and the Miss Hooters Swimsuit Pageant. At this time boats will line the streets with the Festival Parade of Boats on Main Street in downtown Sarasota. Join in as the parade of boats makes its way down Main Street from U.S. 301 to Gulfstream Avenue.

OFF TO THE RACES
See the Powerboats by the Bay noon to 5 p.m. Friday, July 3; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 4; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 5, at Centennial Park, 1565 1st St. See the participating powerboats up close and in person at this free event while enjoying food, music and vendors. No pets or coolers are allowed.

The Powerboat and Jet Ski Qualifying Races start 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at Lido Beach between New and Big passes, and Powerboat and Jet Ski Races are off to the races 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 5, at Lido Beach, between New and Big passes. Watch the main event everyone's been waiting for as powerboats and jet skis race to the finish in the scenic Gulf of Mexico. Awards ceremony will follow between 4 and 5 p.m. at the Sandcastle Resort on Lido Beach.

JULY FOURTH FESTIVITIES
There is plenty to see and do in the area on the Fourth of July:

START EARLY
The Firecracker 5k Run takes place at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 4, at the Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 W. Price Blvd. North Port, The race is $25 in advance or $30 at the gate. This ninth annual 5k, hosted by the City of North Port Parks and Recreation Division, has become a staple of North Port’s Fourth of July celebrations, attracting hundreds of runners each year.

The family friendly Longboat Key Freedom Fest Parade starts 8:30 a.m. at Longboat Key Town Hall, 501 Bay Isles Road. This annual parade features Longboat Key government officials as well as police and firefighters, who all join families in children in a patriotic salute. Children's activities follow the parade in Bicentennial Park.

FESTIVALS AND BBQ
What’s more American than a summer barbecue? Consider the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens All American Barbecue 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S. Palm Ave.. Relax in the gardens near the bayfront, listen to the Lauren Mitchell Band and savor food from Michael’s on East, Polo Grill, Fete Catering, Southern Smoke BBQ, Brick’s BBQ and La Dona Donuts. Stick around to watch the bayfront fireworks show. Tickets range $30 to $150.

The North Port Freedom Festival, 6 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at North Port High School, 6400 W. Price Blvd., is a family-friendly celebration includes plenty of activities for kids as well as vendors and food for purchase and, of course, fireworks to watch at sunset.

Head out to Snook Haven for the Myakka Kayaka Fourth of July Jam Blast 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at Snook Haven Restaurant. This event features live music by Treble Hook's Florida Folk & Medicine Show, Steve Arvey and more.

Finally, the Englewood Firecracker Festival starts 10 a.m. Saturday, July 4, at Pioneer Park, 300 W. Dearborn Street and lasts all day. Hosted by the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary club, this event includes all-American food, soft drinks, beer and frozen drinks, live music, a car show and kids area. Festival concludes with a fireworks display over Lemon Bay.

LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
The Siesta Key Fourth of July Fireworks takes place at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at the north end of Siesta Key Beach. The event is free, but there is also a VIP party at 5 p.m. and tickets available for $150, $15 for children ages 11 to 15 and free for children 10 and younger. This display put on by the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, is one of the largest in the state. Join thousands of other spectators for the free show, or spring for the VIP package, which includes on-site parking, catered dinner and beer, wine and soft drinks, live music and a preferred viewing area.

The Sarasota Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular is also part of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. Starting 9 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at the Sarasota Bayfront, this free annual fireworks display is visible from anywhere near the bayfront and benefits Suncoast Charities for Children. Watch from an anchored boat, set up a lawn chair or just stroll around Bayfront and Island Park for the best views.

The Venice Area Fireworks Display takes place around 9 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at Venice Beach. Watch by boat or on shore. The fireworks are launched from the south Venice Jetty.

Still Looking for events? Check out these unique celebrations:

1. Gloria Musicae: An American Tapestry
4:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at the First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave. $30. Gloria Musicae presents this performance of classic American music in a salute to our nation on Independence Day.

2. Gulf Coast League Orioles vs. Gulf Coast League Rays
10 a.m. Saturday, July 4, at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St. Free. Spend Independence Day enjoying America's favorite pastime with these two minor league teams at the Baltimore Orioles' spring training facility.

3. Sarasota Sailing Squadron Liberty Day Regatta
3 to 7 p.m. at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron, 1717 Ken Thompson Parkway. Free admission; $7 dinner for adults and $5 for children younger than 12. This annual regatta precedes a family style picnic, complete with a pig roast and live music.

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