Whether it’s a cultural celebration, costumed gala or outdoor rumpus, folks here know how to throw a party, as evidenced by the annual parade of festivals, black-tie affairs and jamborees. The food seemed to be the deciding factor this year, with the De Soto Food Festival winning big for its charming mix of local history and flavor. Thunder By The Bay roared into a runner-up finish with a high-energy fanbase, with second runner-up Forks and Corks from the Sarasota Manatee Originals tailing closely in the rearview, while SarasotaMOD Weekend rounds out the bunch as third runner-up.

David Clark (on De Soto Food Festival): Sutton Park is perfect for this festival because of its wide open layout and easy parking, plus the music like Colt Ford last year was awesome. Barbara Carey (on Thunder By The Bay): We were not looking forward to our first Thunder by the Bay. However, we really enjoyed looking at all the different bikes, listening to the bands, visiting the vendors and the general high energy level. As one of our friends noted, things shouldn’t all be plain vanilla. Mart Solu (on Forks and Corks): This is on our calendar every year much like Thanksgiving, Christmas or July 4th. It is a fantastic day spent with a group of friends, sampling the best food from Sarasota’s exciting culinary scene, top-flight wines, all in the one-of-a-kind setting in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art.