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SRQ DAILY Sep 21, 2023

Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

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Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

"There is something about that salt. It is so clearing, grounding and it just feels really good."

- Jen Zak, Owner, Salt Your Soul Co.

[Visit Sarasota County]  Discover Natural Sarasota - Rothenbach Park

Rothenbach Park

The whole family will enjoy the playgrounds at Rothenbach Park, with one designated toddler area and another section for older kids. With a shaded picnic spot, a workout area and about five miles of paved recreational trails that are perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling, this is the ultimate place for a fun family outing. 


8650 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota.

Check out more on this feature!

[Unique gifts]  Finding Salt of The Earth at Salt Your Soul Co. in Sarasota
Emma Dannenfelser, emma@srqme.com

Salt Your Soul Co. is the go-to destination for lovers of all things plants, crystals and unique finds. First opened by Jen Zak last year as a passion project, Salt your Soul Co. now not only offers a massive array of quirky gifts, but also supports fellow small businesses by carrying their products.

From the very beginning, Zak dreamed of running her own business. Her first retail endeavor was selling handmade dog collars at craft fairs. However, after going to college at Penn State Zak entered the corporate world and moved to the Sarasota area, working a 9-5 job until the end of 2019 when she entered a deep depression. “I didn't know where I belonged or if I had a purpose and it was all post divorce. I had two small children, and someone said ‘Jen, you just have to get out of your environment, go somewhere else’,” Zak says.

This inspired Zak to travel to Santa Fe for a month, where she lived in a casita on a mountain and discovered the power of crystals, nature and the West. During the trip, Zak visited a salt cave, which is a room completely full of Himalayan salt. The salt is thought to create a high level of negative ions which can help with relaxation, lowering blood pressure and releasing muscle tension.

Zak set out on a mission to bring the Himalayan salt phenomenon to Sarasota. “There is something about that salt. It’s so clearing, grounding and it just feels really good. Since I couldn’t build a salt cave, because you need to have an enclosed area or the salt will destroy everything, I thought I'll just bring in salt lamps and salt, inhalers, and salt, pillows, and little salt stones.”

Zak returned to Sarasota and opened Salt Your Soul Co. in November 2022. The store now carries salt lamps in a variety of sizes and an unbelievable stock of plants, along with other gifts. Among Zak’s best-selling plants are Elephant ears, Monsteras and Hoyas, but she also carries an array of rare hanging Philodendrons. While plants can intimidate some guests who were not blessed with a green thumb, Zak assures her guests that Salt Your Soul Co.’s plants are foolproof. Along with the plants and salt products, the shop carries nearly 150 different types of crystals.

Zak has also created a community by hosting events like a monthly plant swap at the store, where anyone can come trade plant propagations and cuttings. She also organizes events at the store, such as macrame group lessons or a Groovy Kids Club, where children can come paint pots, all tied to other small businesses from the area,

Salt Your Soul Co. carries unique items made from high-quality small businesses, perfect for anyone who strives to build connections, whether that be through attending events and swaps or just by stopping by to learn about something you might have never heard of before.

7212 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941- 923-9951, Saltyoursoul.com 

Pictured: Salt Your Soul Co. offers a wide variety of plants for plant lovers and first-time plant owner alike. Photo courtesy of Jen Zak.

[Farmers Market]  Lakewood Ranch Farmers Market Named No. 1 in Florida

The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch was recently named No. 1 in Florida as part of the 15th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration (AFMC), sponsored by the American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition. The event ran from June 19 to Sept. 18, during which the public voted on their favorite markets. The Market was also ranked 22nd in the nation. The AFMC is the only annual ranking of the top farmers markets in the U.S. as voted on by the public. The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch, which is about to enter its sixth season, is home to more than 100 curated vendors of the region’s best food and flavors, and is located at Waterside Place – Lakewood Ranch’s newest town center. Open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. year-round, The Market has become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Other activities on Market Sundays include yoga at 9 a.m. at the adjacent Waterside Park, weekly live music, Kids’ Corner crafts, games, and storytelling; and a Community Supported Agriculture program each fall and winter in partnership with Honeyside Farms. The Market also works with Transition Sarasota as part of the Suncoast Gleaning Project. Among other efforts, volunteers pick up leftover vegetables from the farmers weekly and take them to food banks to make meals for those in need, thereby helping diminish food waste while providing nutritious produce to diverse populations. For more information about The Market, contact Nicole Hackel at 941-757-1520 or visit lakewoodranch.com/life-on-the-ranch/themarket/.  

[Fresh Fridays]  Paint the Town Fresh this October
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

With the start of season just around the corner, there’s no shortage of fun and exciting events for Sarasotans to enjoy. Among those is Fresh Fridays, a monthly event series in downtown Sarasota made possible by Next-Mark, LLC, the Downtown Improvement District and the City of Sarasota. This year marks the third season of Fresh Fridays, which creates a block-party atmosphere, complete with live music, tasty eats and more. “We started Fresh Fridays in November of 2021. At the time, the driver was Commissioner Hagen Brody. What he wanted to do was create events that really elevated the whole downtown experience where people could come, have super high-quality entertainment and be part of that rich downtown experience,” says Next-Mark President Joseph Grano, the event’s producer.

Each month has a different theme, and October’s is Paint the Town Fresh, a nod to the city’s arts community. “We’ve always gone out of our way to get super high-end live entertainment, not just from this area but from across the state,” he adds. “We’ve always kept it free, and we don’t have VIP areas. Everyone is on an equal playing field.” Attendees will enjoy affordable light bites and drinks from beloved Sarasota restaurants including Beso, Art Ovation Hotel and Azul Steak and Sushi Lounge. All food and drink purchases are required to be under $10. They will have the opportunity to partake in classic games like Jumbo Jenga and the ever-popular cornhole. Another highlight is the free signature giveaway, which people stand in line to receive. “In October, we’re launching a digital guestbook. People can sign in on their phones, drop a video and create a whole string of content with videos and photos that we’ll post on social,” Grano says. The Brett Foreman Band will perform, giving guests a wonderful dancing soundtrack. “It’s music you can dance to. That was one of the biggest discoveries for us,” he adds, “because I didn’t know how much Sarasota loves to dance.”

Grano hopes that the October kick-off will help Sarasotans get back into the swing of things following the slower summertime months, with more innovative themes to come such as Art and Jazz in November and Fresh and Frosty in December for the holidays. “Early interest in the October event is at an all-time high,” Grano says. “The real success of it is that you can have a downtown experience that’s safe, welcoming and free.”

Paint the Town Fresh runs from 7-10pm on Main Street in Downtown Sarasota. To learn more, visit downtownsarasotadid.com/fresh-fridays, Instagram at downtownsarasotadid or Facebook at Downtown Sarasota. 

Pictured: Fresh Fridays enhances the urban environment of Sarasota. Photo Courtesy of Next-Mark, LLC.

Fresh Fridays

[Construction]  Halfacre Construction Company Celebrates Groundbreaking for Carlos E. Haile Middle School

Halfacre Construction Company, a Lakewood Ranch-based commercial construction company, recently broke ground on a building addition and renovation work for Carlos E. Haile Middle School. Located at 9501 State Road 64 E in Bradenton, the $36 million project includes a 10-classroom building addition and modernization of the entire campus, including the replacement of roof systems, mechanical systems, plumbing systems, building systems, kitchen reconfiguration and partial equipment replacement. Site improvements will also be made to include canopies, concrete walks and associated drainage deep energy retrofit. Halfacre Construction Company is working with Long & Associates Architects and Engineers on the project. The team celebrated the launch of the project on Friday, Sept. 8 with a groundbreaking ceremony. During the event, attendees heard from Irene Nikitopoulos, principal of Haile Middle School; Dr. Jason Wysong, superintendent for the School District of Manatee County; Chad Choate lll, board chair for the School Board of Manatee County; Jeff Medwetz, construction services project director for the School District of Manatee County; Travis Steed, architect for Long & Associates Architects/Engineers; and Dean Crowley, construction manager for Halfacre Construction Company. The campus will remain active while construction is going on. Portables were added to the back of the campus to accommodate the students during construction. The project has an estimated completion of summer 2024. The Bradenton-based middle school is home to more than 800 students and has a mission of inspiring its students with a passion for learning and empowering them to pursue their dreams confidently and creatively while contributing to the community, nation and world.  

[Ribbon Cutting]  Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties to Host Dedication Reception, Ribbon Cutting and Board Installation at the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys and Girls Club on September 28

Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties invites local media affiliates to join us for a Dedication Reception and Ribbon Cutting at the new Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club. The Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys and Girls Club is the organization’s sixth Club location and first site situated in DeSoto County. The agency began operating this facility in July 2018 providing youth, ages 6 to 18, with year-round programs that help them excel in school, become leaders, and adopt healthy habits. Youth also receive healthy meals and snacks and foster meaningful relationships with peers and trusted mentors. In 2019, the City of Arcadia transferred the lease of the Smith-Brown Recreation Center that sits adjacent to the current Club building to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. In 2021 the agency transformed the structure into a multi-purpose gymnasium for youth with designated space for physical activities, project-based learning, and enrichment programs that further foster personal development. The Dedication Reception will celebrate the completion of the permanent Clubhouse; an addition of another 7,000 square feet to the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club for additional youth development programs. The facility will also be available for local use outside of the Club’s operating hours and will become a valuable community asset. As part of the ceremony, the incoming slate of 2023-24 Board Officers will be installed. The Dedication Reception and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will feature executives from Boys & Girls Clubs, the President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Jim Clark, the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust, the Club Director, Club members, key construction partners, and local community leaders including Coach Richard Bowers.

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 5:30 – 7:00 pm., Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club, 18 School Ave., Arcadia, FL 34266. 

[SRQIST]  Magic Moments
Laura Paquette, laura.paquette@srqme.com

MAGIC MOMENTS | For Reni Papalexiou, there's no time like the present to plan a unique event or curate a one of a kind gift, September 2023. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Lorna Bieber, Natural World at The Ringling , May 20 – October 15, Museum hours

The Ringling presents a solo exhibition of works by Lorna Bieber in May that includes two new pieces making their debut in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art. Her artwork first and foremost encourages us to indulge in the pleasures of looking and discovering anew the details of the visual world. Her artistic practice is grounded in appropriating, recycling, and manipulating imagery. The work reminds us of the image world that inundates our daily existence. Our experience of reality is mediated through a barrage of photographic digital images that supplants our connection to the natural world. Yet, Bieber is less interested in a critique of this condition than she is in offering her work as an antidote, a way to inspire viewers and reconnect with our shared sense of wonder. Included with museum admission. The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[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]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , July 13 – December 14, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Join Sarasota Art Museum for Jazz Thursdays featuring live jazz music, contemporary art, and sips and bites from Bistro. Hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota. Jazz Thursday happens on the second Thursday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m. Galleries, Bistro, and SHOP open. FREE for Members, $20 for Not-Yet Members.

[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]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Business Networking and Cowork Session , August 22 – June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attention all business professionals. Join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event every Tuesday at Out and About Coffee in downtown Sarasota. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. O and A Coffee Supply, 1316 Main St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Center Sarasota New Exhibitions , August 24 – September 30, Gallery Hours

The 2022 through 2023 exhibition season of Art Center Sarasota concludes with four exhibits, August 24 through September 30. In The Ephemerality of Being, Lauren Mann reflects on the beauty and magic of everyday life in colored pencil drawings that are full of patterns and idiosyncrasies. Artist Iren Tete presents Systems of Entanglement is an installation of ceramic sculptures inspired by forms, materials, and thoughts that exist somewhere between reality, dream, and possibility. In SUPERPOSITIONS, Ry McCullough creates colorful works of collage, sculpture, and wall bound hybrids inspired by the traditions of still life and modernist abstraction. An Abstract View re-examines abstraction and its relevance in contemporary art and is juried by Tre Michel, co-owner of State of the Arts Gallery. The opening reception for all four exhibits is Thursday, August 24, 6 to 8 p.m. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032.

[SOON]  FOOD: Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch , September 3 – September 30, 10am-2pm

Experience some of the best food and flavors of the region with more than 100, and still growing, curated vendors. The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch has fast become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, delicious prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Aside from all the goodies you can shop at the Farmers Market, find your flow in a free yoga class or have the kiddos get creative during weekly-hosted workshops. 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch.

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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