Sarasota Area - "Notable Annual Events"

Things to Do

Notable Annual Events

Sarasota, Florida is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, which is highlighted by a number of prestigious annual events.

These events showcase the best of Sarasota's music, dance, film, and visual arts communities, attracting visitors from around the world. Each year, these events provide an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to experience the diverse and dynamic culture of Sarasota, while also celebrating the creative spirit of the city. From the Sarasota Opera and Ballet to the Sarasota Film Festival and Art Center Sarasota, these annual events have become an integral part of Sarasota's cultural landscape and a testament to the city's rich artistic heritage.

Whether you're a fan of the performing arts, visual arts, or film, there is something for everyone at these highly anticipated events.

The Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival is an annual event held in Sarasota, Florida that showcases independent films from around the world. The festival is a popular event that attracts thousands of visitors each year and is known for its diverse selection of films, ranging from narrative features to documentaries, shorts, and animated films.

The festival was founded in 1998 and has since become one of the most prestigious film festivals in the United States. It is typically held in April each year and lasts for 10 days, featuring over 200 films from more than 30 countries.

In addition to film screenings, the festival also features a variety of events and activities, including panel discussions, workshops, and filmmaker Q&A sessions. The festival also presents awards in several categories, including Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Short Film.

One of the unique aspects of the Sarasota Film Festival is its emphasis on community engagement and education. The festival partners with local schools and community organizations to provide educational programs and workshops for students and aspiring filmmakers.

The festival has attracted many high-profile filmmakers and actors over the years, including Oliver Stone, Jane Lynch, and Larry David. It has also helped launch the careers of many up-and-coming filmmakers, with several films screened at the festival going on to receive critical acclaim and commercial success.

The Sarasota Film Festival is a must-see event for film lovers and a great way to experience independent cinema from around the world.

The Sarasota Grand Prix

The Sarasota Grand Prix is an annual powerboat racing event held in Sarasota, Florida. It is one of the premier powerboat racing competitions in the United States and attracts both national and international participants and spectators.

The Sarasota Grand Prix typically takes place over the Fourth of July weekend, featuring high-speed powerboat races in various classes. These races are held on the waters of Sarasota Bay, providing a thrilling and scenic backdrop for the event. The event attracts a wide range of powerboat enthusiasts, racing teams, and fans who come to witness the adrenaline-pumping races.

The racecourse is typically a closed-course circuit marked by buoys, allowing spectators to view the action from designated areas along the shoreline or from spectator boats on the water. The races feature various classes of powerboats, including offshore powerboats, catamarans, and more, each with its own speed and design characteristics.

In addition to the on-water races, the Sarasota Grand Prix often includes other festivities and activities for visitors to enjoy. These may include live entertainment, vendor booths, food and beverage options, and family-friendly attractions. The event is an exciting experience for both racing enthusiasts and those looking for a fun weekend activity in Sarasota.

It's important to note that specific details, schedules, and participants may vary from year to year. For the most up-to-date information about the Sarasota Grand Prix, including dates, race classes, and any associated events, it is recommended to visit the official website or check with local Sarasota event listings closer to the time of the event.

The Sarasota County Fair

The Sarasota County Fair celebrates the agricultural heritage and community spirit of Sarasota County, Florida. The fair typically takes place over several days and offers a wide range of activities and attractions for people of all ages.

The fair showcases various aspects of agriculture, including livestock exhibits, farm animal shows, and competitions. Visitors can see a variety of animals such as cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, and poultry, and learn about their care and breeding. Additionally, there are often educational exhibits that provide insights into sustainable farming practices and the importance of agriculture in the local community.

In addition to the agricultural focus, the Sarasota County Fair offers a variety of entertainment options. There are typically thrilling rides and games on the midway, providing fun for attendees of all ages. Live entertainment such as concerts, magic shows, and circus acts are also common features. Local performers, musicians, and community groups often showcase their talents on various stages throughout the fairgrounds.

Food is an integral part of the fair experience, with a wide array of culinary delights available. Fairgoers can indulge in classic fair foods like cotton candy, funnel cakes, corn dogs, and deep-fried treats, as well as enjoy a variety of other food options ranging from BBQ to ethnic cuisine.

The Sarasota County Fair also hosts a variety of competitions and exhibitions, including arts and crafts, photography, baking, horticulture, and more. These competitions allow participants to showcase their skills and creativity, and attendees have the opportunity to appreciate the talent and dedication of local artists and artisans.

Here are some of Sarasota’s Annual Events that showcase the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene:

Sarasota Opera Festival

This annual festival, held from February to March, features a variety of operas, concerts, and special events at the Sarasota Opera House.


Sarasota Music Festival

This festival, held annually in June, features chamber music concerts and educational programs for aspiring musicians at the Sarasota Opera House.

Sarasota Dance Festival

This festival, held annually in July, features performances by nationally and internationally recognized dance companies at the Sarasota Opera House.

Ringling International Arts Festival

This festival, held annually in October, features a variety of international and local performances, including theater, music, dance, and visual arts, at The Ringling Museum of Art.

Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival

This festival, held annually in November, features world-renowned sand sculptors creating stunning works of art on Siesta Key Beach.

Sarasota Medieval Fair

This annual fair, held in November, takes visitors back in time to the Middle Ages with jousting tournaments, live entertainment, and a marketplace of artisans and craftsmen.

These are just a few of the annual events that showcase the best of Sarasota's arts and culture scene.

Bradenton, Florida is home to a variety of notable annual events that showcase the city's vibrant culture and community spirit; here are a few examples:

Bradenton Blues Festival

Held annually in December, this festival celebrates the rich history and culture of blues music. The festival features performances by national and local blues artists, as well as local food and craft vendors.

DeSoto Seafood Festival

This festival, held annually in April, celebrates the seafood industry and features a variety of seafood dishes, live music, and family-friendly activities.

Bradenton Area River Regatta

Held annually in February, this event celebrates the Manatee River with powerboat races, live entertainment, and food vendors.


This annual event, held in November, showcases the work of local artists and encourages community participation in the arts with live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and interactive art installations.

Pirate Fest

Held annually in January, this event celebrates Bradenton's pirate history with a parade, live entertainment, and activities for all ages.

These are just a few of the annual events that make Bradenton a vibrant and exciting community to visit or call home.


Sarasota Area - "Notable Annual Events"

Things to Do

Sarasota Area - "Notable Annual Events"

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