The Founders Club Blog

A Comprehensive Guide to Sarasota’s Annual Festivals

The Sarasota community comes together during numerous different celebrations held throughout the year. While many events emerged recently, some have existed for decades and have become yearly traditions for many southwest Florida residents. 

Below are four of the top festivals held in Sarasota every year.

1. Florida Winefest and Auction – April

Every April, the Florida Winefest and Auction attracts hundreds of food and wine aficionados from all over Florida. The four-day event raises tens of thousands of dollars that support local charities.

Participants enjoy a selection of food and wine tastings as well as special wine pairing dinners. The renowned Wine Dinner Dance offers the guests first-class entertainment. The climax is a charity wine auction held at Sarasota's Ritz Carlton, which also marks the end of the festival.

Organizers of the Florida Winefest & Auction are a group of volunteers committed to helping needy children. For about three decades, the event has supported at least 87 charitable organizations, offering them about $8.6 million in grants.

Every year, nonprofits submit grant applications to the Florida Winefest Grants for consideration. The committee makes awarding decisions for the proceeds of the following April two months before.


2. Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix – July

If you love water sports, Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix is an excellent event for you. The occasion often kicks off within the first week of July. Guests watch a thrilling series of boat races, fishing contests, parades, and golf tournaments.

The event, which runs for 12 days, has raised millions of dollars for the local Child Development Center. Beneficiaries of the Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix fund include a Special Olympics training facility in Venice, FL.


3. Annual Stone Crab Seafood and Wine Festival – October

Held at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, this 3-day festival is the grand opening of stone crab season. It invites prominent guest chefs who make fantastic recipes featuring local stone crabs. Visitors have the privilege of sampling exclusive wines from all over the world.

The Stone Crab Seafood and Wine Festival is a celebration of the South Florida Seafood Industry. Scores of seafood lovers from Sarasota and Florida at large flock the festival and enjoy great food, drinks, and music. And the event is not complete without the famous hermit crab races.


4. Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade – December

Thousands of guests line the shores of Sarasota Bay from Bayfront Park to Centennial Park every December to witness the Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade. The event, which began in 1986, includes a competition of colorful sailboats and powerboats, with winners in various categories getting amazing prizes.

The parade starts from City Island and cruises to Centennial Park via Sarasota Bay before heading south under the Ringling Bridge. Finally, the more than 20 flashy boats cruise across Bayfront Park. The vessels bring holiday cheer with festive music and even a few live performances onboard.

Sarasota is the perfect place to enjoy festivals for people of all ages and enjoy the weather, lifestyle, and culture of southwest Florida.

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