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SRQ DAILY Jul 20, 2023

Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

"For many years, the three cities on Anna Maria Island and the Bard of County Commissioners were looking at ways to enhance multi-modal transportation not only on the island itself but within the arteries going to and from the island."

- Elliot Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

[Transportation]  The Gulf Islands Ferry Service
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

Earlier this week, two 50-foot catamarans landed in nearby Cortez, Florida as a part of the Gulf Islands Ferry Service, a ferry service set to transport visitors and locals from downtown Bradenton to Anna Maria Island.

“I call this the initial framework for what I hope to be a larger network of multi-modal transportation in the region,” says Elliot Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We’ll start operating every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 9:30 pm. The ferries will run from downtown Bradenton just east of the Desoto Bridge out to Anna Maria Island, where it will make two to three stops before heading back to downtown Bradenton. The one-way fare for adults will be $8 with discounts for seniors and children as well.”

Although there isn’t a strict timeline set, the Gulf Islands Ferry Service is expected to open operations later this summer and is currently undergoing Coast Guard trials to determine final run times and ports. The catamarans, operated by Gulf Coast Water Taxi, can each hold up to 49 passengers and will offer amenities such as a restroom and free WiFi. “For many years, the three cities on Anna Maria Island and the Bard of County Commissioners were looking at ways to enhance multi-modal transportation not only on the island itself but within the arteries going to and from the island,” says Falcione. “We look at this water ferry operation as the natural place to start–we have such great water assets in the Manatee River and Sarasota Bay, so the Tourist Development Council and Board of County Commissioners really wanted to move this initiative forward. We expect this to grow into a regional program and are excited to get Sarasota county involved in this as well.” 

Photo courtesy of Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

To learn more, visit

[Championships]  USDBF to Host 2023 Club Crew National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park, July 21-23

The United States Dragon Boat Federation (USDBF), in partnership with Visit Sarasota County, is thrilled to announce the upcoming 2023 Club Crew National Championships, where all berths to the 2024 IDBF Club Crew World Championships will be awarded. This highly anticipated event will take place from July 21 to 23, at the prestigious Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) in Sarasota, Florida. The festivities will kick off on Thursday, July 20 at 6 PM with an opening celebration that is free and open to the public featuring an “awakening the dragon" ceremony, a parade of teams, food trucks, and entertainment, providing a vibrant showcase of dragon boat culture. This marks the second time that the USDBF has chosen NBP as the host venue for their national championships, with the last occurrence taking place in 2021. Building upon the success of the previous event, the USDBF has doubled the number of participating athletes from 750 in 2021 to an impressive 1500 athletes expected to compete this year. 

To learn more, visit

[Charity Event]  Toast Local Event

On Saturday, August 19th from 1-5pm, at Robarts Arena in Sarasota join us for Toast Local, and raise a glass to local charities. Benefiting The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, enjoy a craft cocktail and beer tasting with delicious bites, plus special musical guest Kettle of Fish! Information and tickets at rotaryclubofsarasota.com/toast-local, 21 & older. The fun begins with a free family-friendly car show from 9am to 1pm. The Rotary Club of Sarasota is a network of active and retired business, professional, and community leaders dedicated to helping make Sarasota and the World-a better place. Each year, the club receives requests from a number of local not-for-profit agencies seeking support. Toast Local will bring the local community together for an afternoon this summer to taste local beers, cocktails, and food. All proceeds will then be donated back to the local community.


[Arts & Entertainment]  Music Bingo at Hamlet's Eatery

Music Bingo is a fun and exciting take on classic bingo where anyone can play. Hostess Myra Mains will entertain you while you enjoy great food and drinks from Hamlet’s Eatery. Free to play and open to all ages and dog friendly. Hamlet’s Eatery will open at 5pm for food and the games will be begin at 5:30pm. Prizes include gift certificates from The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime, Hamlet’s and more! Hamlet’s Eatery has a great menu including vegan options. They also have craft beer, wine, and Prosecco on tap. Located outside with seating under a covered patio, 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. For more information visit www.hamletseatery.com or call 941-445-1938.  

[Family Programming]  Registration is now Open for Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties 2023-2024 School-Year Program

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties (BGCSDC) is now accepting applications for the 2023-2024 Great Futures Academy School-Year Program, which will launch on August 10, 2023, at Club locations, School Sites, and designated 21 st Century Community Learning Centers across Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. The 2023-2024 program session provides students, ages 6 to 12, from different school locations, with a safe place to access youth development activities after the school day. The Great Futures Academy program features educational, recreational, and developmental activities with youth development professionals that empower children to excel in school, become leaders, adopt healthy habits, and plan for success after high school graduation. Daily snacks are served to program participants at no additional cost. The online application is available at bgcsdc.org. BGCSDC is also offering a full slate of award-winning Teen Programs, for youth ages 13-18,
including entrepreneurial training, leadership development, financial literacy, civic engagement, planning for college, and workforce development. Middle and high school students are invited to apply here: theclubsdc.org. 

To learn more, visit

[Scholarships]  Chiles Hospitality Awards Employees with Scholarships

The Chiles Hospitality Scholarship Fund of Manatee Community Foundation (MCF) has awarded scholarships to nine employees from Chiles Hospitality’s three waterfront restaurants: Sandbar Seafood & Spirits, Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub and Beach House Waterfront Restaurant. Established by Ed Chiles in 2010, the fund provides scholarships for qualified individuals who are employees or children of employees of Chiles Hospitality in support of their pursuit of higher education at accredited institutions. The 2023 scholarship recipients are: Alanna Bjork – Manatee Technical College, Briana Cochran, State College of Florida, Korissa Erdman – University of South Florida, Ramon Guerrero - State College of Florida, Jamilynn Knowles - State College of Florida, Madison McCrae - State College of Florida, Shantel Seravalli – Hillsborough Community College, Carla Stewart – University of Florida, Jasper Turner - State College of Florida, The Chiles Hospitality Scholarship Fund has awarded 62 scholarships since its inception. Manatee Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee reviews the applications and selects the recipients based on their grades, volunteer service and leadership ability. 

To learn more, visit

[New School]  Prodigy Early Learning Brings Early Childhood Education to Wellen Park

Wellen Park continues to introduce more educational options for all ages with the announcement of Prodigy Early Learning, an innovative preschool for 200 children from infants to kindergarteners. The center will break ground in fall 2023 on two acres at 11511 Mezzo Dr., near the new College Preparatory Academy at Wellen Park, and is expected to open in fall 2024. Operated by Charter Schools USA, Prodigy Early Learning is designed to provide a nurturing educational environment encouraging children to investigate and create, explore their interests, collaborate with classroom friends openly, and learn from experiences inside and outside the classroom. Charter Schools USA, one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., is also managing the College Preparatory Academy at Wellen Park, a K-8 tuition-free charter school opening August 2023. The Wellen Park center will offer 12 classrooms and specialty learning spaces, including a STEM lab, arts atelier and outdoor garden. With an emphasis on exercise and well-being, it will also have a wellness studio for yoga and mindfulness, age-appropriate playgrounds and open spaces. Prodigy Early Learning joins three other neighborhood schools necessitated by Wellen Park’s rapidly growing student population. Sarasota County Schools is building a new high school for 2,100 students and a 1,500-student K-8 school off South River Road in Wellen Park. The three-story high school is expected to open in August 2025; the K-8 school for the 2026-27 school year. The College Preparatory Academy expects to welcome the inaugural class of kindergarten through sixth grade Aug. 10, 2023. It will phase in seventh and eighth grades in subsequent years for a total 800-student enrollment. Prodigy Early Learning will offer after-school programs for school-age children until 6 p.m. It will also incorporate Wellen Park’s natural setting into student learning to encourage investigation, discovery, social and emotional development. The learning center provides unique educational experiences and a learning environment tailored to each child backed by research indicating children develop their personality during the formative early years. To learn more about Prodigy Early Learning at Wellen Park, visit prodigywellenparkvenice.com or email WellenPark@ProdigyLearn.com. 

[Board of Trustees]  Community Day School Announces 2023-2024 Board of Trustees

Sarasota Jewish day school Hershorin Schiff Community Day School is thrilled to announce its 2023-2024 board of trustees. Rachel Saltzberg has (again) been named as president in the wake of the recent, untimely death of Mitch Blumenthal; new to the board are Colleen Blumenthal, Benjamin Edelman, Nik Joshi and (returning trustee) Dr. Wendy Katz. 

Pictured: Community Day School’s 2023-2024 board president is Rachel Saltzberg (center); new trustees are (clockwise from upper left) Nikhil ‘Nik’ Joshi, Colleen Blumenthal, Benjamin Edelman and Dr. Wendy Katz Courtesy photo/CDS.

To learn more, visit

[SRQIST]  Deep Dive To Repair the Sea
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

DEEP DIVE TO REPAIR THE SEA | Repair the Sea is bringing compostable cutlery to faith-based organizations in Sarasota, July/August 2023. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  MUSIC: Wellen Park Summer Music Series , July 19 – September 30, Various times

Wellen Park invites the community to come out and enjoy music from local bands and artists during the Summer Music Series every Wednesday through Sunday in Downtown Wellen. Now through September, Wellen Park is hosting different musicians throughout the week. Every week, Wind Down Wednesdays, Thursday Tunes and Saturday Sounds will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Night Live, the first Friday of the month, will feature a band on the Solis Hall stage overlooking the Great Lawn from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Groove, the second, third and fourth Friday of the month, will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. On Unplugged Sunday, every Sunday, there will be music under the Heritage Tree from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The series is open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating on the Great Lawn and around the Heritage Tree. For more information, visit wellenpark.com/events/summer-music-series.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: The 13th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival , July 20 – July 22, Various times

The 13th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival will take place July 20, 21, and 22, featuring more than 29 performances, 80 artists, and 16 workshops. The premier Festival of its kind in the southeastern United States, the Sarasota Improv Festival will feature over 20 of the top improv troupes from across the country and as far as Canada and the United Kingdom. To purchase tickets, visit SarasotaImprovFestival.com or call 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Reassembling Spilt Light, An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga , July 21, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Join the most creative, social, and fabulous fans of art in Sarasota and enjoy early access to Reassembling Spilt Light, An Immersive Installation by Carlos Bunga before it opens to the general public. Enjoy access to all summer exhibitions from music by DJ KEZA, cocktails and lite bites for purchase. Grab your friends, grab your friend’s friends, and don’t miss this unforgettable evening. Purchase Tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.org. Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 South Tamiami Trail,

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Intro to Glassblowing and Flameworking , July 21 – July 22, Various times

Learn how to make glass art this summer! This workshop includes a hands-on tutorial with Little Wolf Glass and all the materials you’ll need to make your own glass masterpiece. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota Campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Fest at The Van Wezel , July 11 – September 22, 5-9pm

Friday Fest, the free, outdoor summertime concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall continues with TEN-76 on August 11. TEN-76 is a powerhouse high energy band that covers classic and modern rock. From the Lakewood Ranch homebase, TEN-76 regularly plays many of the local venues and are expanding in the Southeast Region. They have volunteered their time and entertainment for many charities to help raise funds and awareness.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: John Pirman, Diving Into Nature , July 22 – September 17, Garden Hours

Dive into nature this summer at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, where a retrospective-like show of the career of Sarasota artist John Pirman to date can be seen inside the Museum of Botany and the Arts and outside in the Gardens. The show features several of his signature views of Sarasota, including iconic scenes of Selby Gardens itself, along with diverse works from his 30-year career in New York City and even pieces from his childhood in Ohio. On view daily through September 17. Learn more at selby.org.

[SOON]  THEATER: Divas Three , July 11 – September 17, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre presents Divas Three, a dynamic music revue featuring four decades of hits by some of the most influential women of music. With songs made famous by Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Carole King, and more, this original revue pays tribute to the artists whose musical impact has earned them the coveted title of diva. Created by Nancy Allen Productions, Divas Three begins playing on July 11 in the FST Court Cabaret. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Creative Collaboration , July 1 – July 28, Various times

The newest artists at Art Uptown Gallery will be featured in the July exhibit, Creative Collaboration, showcasing their original paintings. Meet the artists, Donna Grossman, Christine Hales, Debbie Kadagian, Maureen Riesco and Kathryn Adele Schumacher at the First Friday public reception on July 7 from 6-9 p.m. All five award-winning artists are local, full-time residents of Sarasota. The exhibit opens on Saturday, July 1 and runs through Friday, July 28. Art Uptown Gallery welcomes patrons and friends at 1367 Main Street where the diverse work of regional award-winning artists is exhibited. Telephone 941-955-5409 or visit www.artuptown.com for hours and further information.

[SOON]  THEATER: Black Pearl Sings , June 28 – August 6, Various times

In 1935 Depression-era Texas, two women from very different backgrounds discover the other holds the key to everything they have each been searching for. Susannah is an ambitious Library of Congress musicologist, determined to record undocumented slave songs. Pearl is an African American woman with a soulful voice, a steely spirit, and a sentence in a high-security female prison. Pearls memory is a treasure-trove of unrecorded slave era music, but can she hand over her ancestors’ songs without giving up something of herself? Black Pearl Sings tells the evocative story of an unlikely bond, preservation of musical heritage, and the human need for hope and healing. Florida Studio Theatre, Keating Theatre, 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org.

[SOON]  GALLERY: 55 Frida Project , June 18 – August 18, Various times

Maverick, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo painted 55 self-portraits in her short and tragic life. View the commemorative exhibit by artist Beck Lane of her work at UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, her artwork merges extraordinary creative vision and innovative technique and has been collected and shown in pop-up galleries, solo shows, galleries, and private collections in Boston, California, New York City, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami, Brussels, Switzerland, South America, and Israel. On her YouTube Channel, Catalyst and Co., Beck records herself painting live, while offering encouragement to fellow artists, and sharing her experiences as an artist and her painting process and techniques. These mixed medium works pulsate with powerful, vibrant energy, fluid color and rare style. On Sunday, July 16, Lane will be painting live from 12-2 pm at the Lexow Gallery. UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, 3975 Fruitville Rd., www.uucsarasota.com, www.becklaneartist.com.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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