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SRQ DAILY Jul 4, 2024

Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

Thursday Family and Recreation Edition

"At 9:15pm they are going to set off the fireworks to music right there on the Green Bridge."

- David Lay, Owner, Nightlife Productions.

[Holiday Event]  Independence Day on Florida's Gulf Coast
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

The patriotic spirit is alive and well on Florida’s Gulf Coast this Independence Day, with plenty of fireworks, festivities and live music for all to enjoy. The team at Nathan Benderson Park kicked things off on July 3 with their annual Fireworks On The Lake celebration. “This is a great event where the whole community comes together. We anticipate about 15 to 20,000 people based on previous years,” says Marnie Buchsbaum, the Marketing Director at Nathan Benderson Park. “There’s a Mote Marine kids zone, bouncy houses, food vendors, craft vendors, music from Twinkle & Rock Soul Radio and we’ll have IHeart radio here as well. It’s going to be a beautiful night, the fireworks reflected off the lake are always spectacular.”

Independence Day itself is filled with more fireworks displays than one can count, however, there are a couple in particular that pyrotechnic enthusiasts can look out for. In Bradenton, Bradenton Alive is hosting the official Manatee County Fourth of July Celebration from 3pm to approximately 9:30pm. The event, which is free of charge and takes place on Bradenton’s Riverwalk Pavilion, has a bevy of different activities from live music to food trucks and of course, a massive fireworks display. “We’re going to have two bands down there, Emmet Stevens Jr. who is a Nashville recording artist and 22N, a very popular local band down here. We’ll have food trucks, merchandise vendors, a Jeep meet—we’ll have about 25 high-end Jeeps from the Bradenton Jeep Club showing off their vehicles,” says David Lay, the owner of Nightlife Productions, the company behind Bradenton Alive. “Finally, at 9:15pm they’re going to set off the fireworks to music right there on the Green Bridge.”

Over on Siesta Key, the country’s top-ranked beach is hosting their annual fireworks show, free of charge to all attending. The show, which begins at dusk and runs for approximately 25 minutes, is visible all along Siesta Beach and is one of the most iconic Fourth of July celebrations on the Gulf Coast. 

Pictured: Annual fireworks celebration on Siesta Beach. Photo courtesy of Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce.

[Arts & Entertainment]  FST Extends Rhinestone Cowgirls

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the extension of Rhinestone Cowgirls, a journey through all things country music, celebrating its evolution from humble beginnings to the giants of the music industry today. Rhinestone Cowgirls features songs like Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” and Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” as well as more recent favorites like Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like a Woman.” The revue has been called “A jewel” by Total Theater and “Electrifying” by Our Town. Created by Nancy Allen Productions, Rhinestone Cowgirls will now run in FST’s Goldstein Cabaret through August 4. Tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or 941.366.9000. 

[Scholarship]  Three Graduating High School Students and Nine College Students Are Awarded College Scholarships from Embracing Our Differences

Jaylen Benony (Booker High School), Kennedy Flatch (Riverview High School), and Melissa Graham (Riverview High School)—recently graduated high school seniors who served as members of their school’s Coexistence Club—were awarded $1,000 four-year renewable scholarships by Embracing Our Differences. Flatch and Graham will be entering the University of Florida, while Benony will be entering the University of North Florida in the fall. They join rising sophomores Kasey-Huong Nguyen (UF), Mateo Rizzo (UF), and Lucia Warren (USF), who received their first scholarships in 2023; rising juniors Anela Ajkic (UF), Mya Fraser (FAMU), and Megan Meese (UF), who received their first scholarships in 2022; and rising seniors Kennedy Hart (Rice University) and Emilia Przepiora (UF), who received their first scholarships in 2021. In addition, Jay Murphy, who served in an internship position for EOD in 2023, received a second $1,000 scholarship to attend Ringling College of Art and Design. 

[Education]  Sarasota County Schools Excel in Preliminary 2024 State Assessment Results

Sarasota County Schools is pleased to announce that the latest Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) results, released on July 1, 2024, by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), show that our district has improved across the board and outperformed the state averages. These assessments were conducted for the second year using the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) standards. Additionally, the results are based on new rigorous cut scores – which determine proficiency levels – approved this year by Florida’s State Board of Education. We anticipate the FLDOE will release school grades in late July 2024. This achievement reflects Sarasota County Schools’ commitment to academic excellence and the hard work of our students, teachers, and staff.

A Statement from Superintendent Terry Connor: "I am incredibly proud of the dedication and hard work demonstrated by our students, teachers, staff, administrators, and families throughout this school year. Their tenacity and collaborative efforts have significantly improved our state assessment results in every area. This achievement is a testament to our community's investment in public education and the collective dedication to our shared vision for academic excellence in Sarasota County. Together, we have set a new standard for success, and I look forward to building on this momentum in the future. We are eagerly anticipating the final release of data in late July that will be used to determine the district and school grades. Not only then will our schools be able to celebrate their success, but this crucial information will also help determine their next steps for their continuous advancement." 

To learn more, visit.

[Sarasota Cuban Ballet School]  DANCE: On Stage 2024 featuring Don Quixote

Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sarasota Cuban Ballet School’s Summer Intensive program with On Stage 2024 on July 27 at 6:00 pm at the Sarasota Opera House. This gala performance features highlights from Don Quixote, plus classical and contemporary works performed by Summer Intensive dancers from around the world. Sarasota Cuban Ballet School alum who are now with professional companies will join the celebration. Don’t miss this special event! 

Click here to purchase tickets.

[Education]  New College Foundation Adds Two New Board Members

New College Foundation Inc. has added two new members to its Board of Directors for 2024-2025. The Foundation raises money to support student scholarships, academic programs, faculty hiring, capital improvements to the New College campus, and other key initiatives. The appointments of A.J. Janson and Mike Rahn, were made by New College Board of Trustees chair and 1980 New College alumna Debra Jenks. “The new members joining the Foundation Board share the vision of New College regaining national renown, thus enhancing Sarasota’s reputation as a destination for students, professors, and visiting scholars who wish to learn, teach, and conduct research in an environment where free speech and civil discourse are not restricted by ideologies or outside agendas,” said Jenks.

“A.J. Janson and Mike Rahn are deeply rooted in our local community and understand the role having a renowned small liberal arts college serves in elevating the region,” said New College President Richard Corcoran. “As we work together toward establishing New College’s place among the nation’s preeminent liberal arts colleges, we will also be strengthening its connection culturally and economically within Sarasota and Manatee counties.”

“The knowledge, enthusiasm, and diverse expertise brought by A.J. and Mike will merge with our existing members to form an impactful group as we continue to foster New College’s growth,” said New College Foundation Executive Director Sydney Gruters. New College welcomed a record incoming class in the fall of 2023 and plans to exceed that enrollment this fall. The College is meeting this growth head-on, hiring more than 40 new full-time faculty members, adding additional academic programs, including a Master’s in Marine Mammal Science, and doubling the number of intercollegiate athletics teams year-over-year. Learn more about the New College Foundation at ncf.edu/alumni/foundation.


[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Ooey, Gooey Science , July 15 – July 19, 8:30

There are many things to explore and discover at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Summer Camp. Learn, explore, craft, play, snack, and have fun every day! Camp Times are 9am-3:30pm Monday through Friday with 8:30-9am Drop off & Pick up 3:30-4pm. $250 members/$300 non-members per week. Summer Science Camp is for campers in Grades 2-5, Ages 7-11 (starting second grade/Leaving fifth grade). We love things that go fizz, bubble, or pop! Join us for some fun, messy, and sensory-driven science experiments.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. West Bradenton

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Red White and BOOM at The Bishop , July 4, 7pm

Join us for Red, White, & BOOM! at The Bishop and celebrate Independence Day in style! Looking for a safe and spectacular way to celebrate the Fourth of July? Look no further than The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature! Whether you’re a VIP or joining the general festivities, The Bishop offers the perfect environment to create lasting memories with your loved ones this Independence Day!

The Bishop, 201 10th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Celebrate Fourth of July at Selby Gardens , July 4, 5:30pm

Don’t miss one of Selby Gardens’ most beloved summer traditions! Celebrate Independence Day at our annual Fourth of July All-American Cookout. Enjoy family-friendly activities and games on the Great Lawn, and then take in the spectacular fireworks display over Sarasota Bay! This is a rain or shine event. Tickets available on our website.

Selby Gardens, 1534 Mound St, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FILM: On the Waterfront at Sarasota Opera , July 5, 7:30pm

From May 10th- October 18th, Sarasota Opera House will be showing classic movies as timeless as the theater itself. Our Classic Movies at the Opera House series begins on Friday, May 10. HD at the Opera House series begins on June 9. Tickets on sale now! One of the greatest films ever made, receiving twelve Academy Award nominations and winning eight. The film focuses on union violence and corruption among longshoremen on the waterfront of New Jersey. The musical score was composed by Leonard Bernstein. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, and Eva Marie Saint. Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Sarasota Opera, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Summer Circus Spectacular , June 14 – August 17

The Ringling, in collaboration with The Circus Art Conservatory of Sarasota, presents a fantastic, jaw-dropping, fun-filled show for the entire family. The Summer Circus Spectacular showcases some of the most thrilling circus artists from around the world in performances that will entertain and delight audiences of all ages.

The Ringling , 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  FOOD: Geckos Grill and Pubs New Summer Menu , May 13 – July 31, 11am

NEW!! Gecko’s Grill & Pub’s have launched a special Summer Lunch Menu at all of our six locations.  With specials from our menu sure to delight you, including our award-winning ½ lb. USDA Choice Angus Gecko’s Burger, Sandwiches, our Signature 1992 Salad and more…for $8 you can enjoy our favorite time of the year with some of your fav Gecko’s dishes when you dine in with us for Lunch.  Always fresh, always made-to-order, join us to kickstart your Summer with our Summer Lunch specials from 11-3 Monday-Friday.  Dine In only. 

Gecko's, 1900 Hillview St, Sarasota, F

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Nutcracker, Magical Christmas Ballet , December 27, Various times
NUTCRACKER Magical Christmas Ballet returns to captivate audiences this holiday season at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on December 27, 2024 at 3pm and 7pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nutcracker.com or www.VanWezel.org.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Jewish Theatre Announces Newish Jewish Play Reading Series , July 15 – July 19, 7:00

 Sarasota Jewish Theatre (SJT) is pleased to announce a summer play reading series, Newish Jewish Plays, which takes place on Mondays, July 15-29, at 7:00 p.m. The series includes “Dancing on Glass” by Gary Morgenstein, “Original Tenants” by Carole Braverman, and “We Are the Levinsons” by Wendy Kout. The play readings are presented at The Players Centre Studio 1130 at the Crossings at Siesta Key mall, 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets are $12 per reading or $30 for the three-play series. To purchase single tickets, visit ThePlayers.org or call 941-365-2494; the three-play series can only be purchased by calling 941-365-2494. For information, visit SarasotaJewishTheatre.org.

Sarasota Jewish Theatre , The Crossings at Siesta Key, 3501 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Improv Festival , July 12 – July 13

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce the return of the annual Sarasota Improv Festival. The 14th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival will be held on FST's downtown Sarasota campus Friday, July 12th and Saturday, July 13, 2024. Past festivals have drawn international talent from Mexico, Frace, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Makinf their festival debut this year is Lospleimovil, an improv group from Chile. Returning fro the Festival are several fan favorite troups, including Available Cupholders, Big Bang Improv, Parallelogramophonograph, North Coast, and of course, FST improv.

Florida Studio Theater, 1241 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Innovation Station , July 8 – July 12, 8:30

There are many things to explore and discover at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature Summer Camp. Learn, explore, craft, play, snack, and have fun every day! Camp Times are 9am-3:30pm Monday through Friday with 8:30-9am Drop off & Pick up 3:30-4pm. $250 members/$300 non-members per week. Summer Science Camp is for campers in Grades 2-5, Ages 7-11 (starting second grade/Leaving fifth grade). This week, we will tinker, design, create, build, test, and tweak to solve some real-world problems. Hands down, amazing hands-on fun.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. West Bradenton

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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