2017 VACC Membership Directory

 

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2017 VACC Membership Directory

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REPORT CARDLUEANRNEAELWTOOROD, P.A. AAAAARKEDCnxEeuopdSsweitcrUloieaemdtLnigocTSeneeSrvice Coldwell Banker’s #1 Agent in Venice for 14 Years! List With Lueanne...consider it SOLD! #1 Agent Lueanne Wood, on the P.A. Island of Venice for REALTOR 15 Years! Call today (941) 483-1663 Downtown office Buying or selling, I’m the agent for you! 331 W. Venice Avenue Venice, Florida 34285 Phone: (941) 483-1663 Neither the Board nor its MLS Service guarantees or is in any way responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Board of its MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. *Based on information from the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. for the period 1/97 through 11/30/16. This information may or may not include all listed, expired, withdrawn, pending or sold properties of one or more members of the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service.” Owned and Operated by NRT LLC Fax: (941) 488-6345 Email: lueannewd@cs.com For Virtual Tours of ALL My Listings Go To: www.lueanne.com

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CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE Evan Duke Classic Creations in Diamonds and Gold 2016-2017 VACC Chairman of the Board of Directors Table of Contents Chairman’s Message....................................................................................1 Venice.............................................................................................................4 Parks ..............................................................................................................7 Beaches..........................................................................................................8 Paw Parks......................................................................................................9 Annual Festivals.........................................................................................10 Sharksteeth..................................................................................................11 BBQ Bash.....................................................................................................12 World Championship Rowing.................................................................13 Consumer EXPO.......................................................................................14 Tours & Attractions....................................................................................15 Boat Rentals................................................................................................15 Fishing.........................................................................................................16 Arts & Culture............................................................................................17 Shopping.....................................................................................................19 Farmers’ Market.........................................................................................20 Bicycling......................................................................................................21 As Chairman of the Board for the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our paradise on the Gulf. With miles of beautiful beaches, intracoastal waterways, bike trails, and breathtaking sunsets, it is no wonder Venice is constantly ranked as one of the nation’s top destinations to visit, vacation, and call home. While you are here be sure to take an evening stroll through our historic downtown area. In doing so, you will discover dining and shopping, with smiling faces and friendly folks, in a city that is rich with a unique history and a thriving cultural scene. For over 90 years, the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce has been promoting business growth and success, while cultivating a vibrant and engaged community. Through our Better Business Department we insure advocacy, giving you confidence in your choices. Our Chamber also serves as our area’s visitor center, complete with area maps and a knowledgeable staff; we aim to make your experience one that will fulfill all of your needs and expectations. Whether you are looking for a vacation destination, a place to relocate and raise a family, start a thriving business, or retire with your toes in the sand, you will like what Venice has to offer. I am excited that you are here, and welcome you to this amazing place that we call home. I hope you will let us know if there is any way we can make your stay more enjoyable. Accommodations.......................................................................................22 Getting Here................................................................................................25 Golfing.........................................................................................................26 Area Map.....................................................................................................27 Healthcare...................................................................................................29 Senior Care..................................................................................................31 Education....................................................................................................32 Religion........................................................................................................34 Business in Venice......................................................................................35 Area Information........................................................................................38 Chamber Information................................................................................40 Chamber Member Directory Alphabetical Directory..............................................................................47 Associate Members, Churches, Club & Organizations........................58 Categorical Directory.................................................................................59 Index of Advertisers..................................................................................96 The 2017 Community Guide & Membership Directory is designed and produced by the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. All information in this guide is believed to be correct at time of production. The publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. All unsolicited manuscripts become the property of the publisher and will not be returned. Parts of this publication contain reprinted information obtained with permission from the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. ©2016-17 Venice Area Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. Address all correspondence to:Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, 597 Tamiami Trail, S., Venice, FL 34285. (941) 488-2236 Contributing Writers: Capt. Chuck Williams, Coco Hibbitts, Visit Sarasota County, SBDC, World Rowing Championships 2017, Venice Area Chamber Venice Farmers’ Market, and Sarasota County EDC. of Commerce 597 Tamiami Trail S. Advertising Sales: Donna Pirozzi (941) 488-2236 Venice, FL 34285 (941) 488-2236 Fax (941) 484-5903 www.VeniceChamber.com 1

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EVERYTHING YOU EXPECT. And more! LIVE BRILLIANTLY WITH NEAL! CALL 941.254.3462 TODAY! 2 NCOM 22329 Venice Chamber Membership Directory 2017 Spread.indd 3 6/22/16 1:17 PM

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We invite you to visit us! Neal Communities creates homes and neighborhoods designed for the way you want to live. This year, the quality, innovation and value we deliver to homeowners earned us Professional Builder’s “Builder of the Year” award. We’re dedicated to creating the highest quality homes in the most desirable places to live. BOCA ROYALE Villas from the $200s & Single-Family Homes from the Low $300s (Maintenance Included) Estate Homes from $600-Over $1 Million | Englewood, Florida Pristine lakes and nature preserves • On-the-fairway-style living • Country club with a full range of social activities Five Home Styles from the High $100s | Venice, Florida Vacation resort amenities • Resort pool, water slide, splash park, sport courts and dog parks Over 300 acres of natural preserve • Nature trails Villas & Single-Family Homes from the Mid $200s | Venice, Florida Dynamic, Tuscan-inspired community • Wide selection of floor plans Clubhouse with pool, spa, bocce ball and pickleball • Dog park Single-Family Homes from the High $200s | Venice, Florida Gated with lake and preserve views • Six floor plans including one and two stories Near A-rated schools • Close to shopping and beaches .COM SOUTHWEST FLORIDA’S MOST EXPERIENCED HOME BUILDER FOR OVER 40 YEARS Prices and availability subject to change without notice. CBC1256375 NCOM 22329 Venice Chamber Membership Directory 2017 Spread.indd 4 3 6/22/16 1:17 PM

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Your family can search for more than just shark teeth in the Shark Tooth Capital of the World At first glance, Venice Beach may not seem distinctly different from many of the others in the nearby area. Like Lido Key and Turtle Beach, the area boasts stunning turquoise waters and views galore. The people visiting this area, however, seem to have something different about them. They walk with hunched backs and faces looking downward towards their feet rather than at the striking waters ahead. And while it may seem that they are missing looking at the best part of the beach, these beachgoers know what they’re doing – shark tooth hunting. Venice is the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” As a result of the tides and land formation, sharks teeth appear in this strip in abundance. As minimalist beach packers, my family tends to go the classic route, the “walk slowly and look down” technique. But for those hoping to find as many teeth as possible in a small window of time, there are shark teeth sifters sold nearby. These are wire mesh with handles allowing pursuers to maximize their chances of success. On our first trip to Venice Beach, we came home emptyhanded, but another trip to Caspersen Beach yielded dozens of the tiny black teeth in less than a half hour. To me, the search is the fun part, but my three- and six-year olds much prefer to bring them home, wash them up, and try to identify from which shark each originated. With enthusiasm, they hope each is a Megalodon. If you’re not familiar with this prehistoric shark, whose teeth have been found on Venice Beach, ask any Dinosaur Train-watching youngsters. They’ll know. If your tooth hunting proved less successful as desired, take a stroll along West Venice Avenue where sharks teeth and shells galore are available for purchase. Shells of all types and in all forms abound, from lamps to jewelry to candleholders and curtains. Here you can find snake bracelets, smoked alligator, and tchotchkes galore. An alligator hand back stretcher had me particular creeped out; my boy found it hysterical. My kids can spend hours at Sea Pleasures and Treasures debating which souvenir sea animal to bring home. Sea star or star aztec? It’s a tough decision. The same goes for food. While plenty of options for dining reside on Continued Pg 6 4

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Convenient Care Close to Home Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center at Venice Jacaranda Blvd. VeniceSB. Tyapmaisasmi Trail Sarasota Memorial Urgent Care Center Immediate treatment for non-emergency medical illness or injury. Staffed by our board-certified emergency & family medicine physicians. Open 8 am – 8 pm, 7 days a week (941) 952-4250 Comprehensive Outpatient Services  Radiology/Imaging Services: • X-Ray, CT Scan, Mammography & Bone Density  Anticoagulation Clinic  Laboratory Services Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center at Venice 997 N. U.S. 41 Bypass, Venice, FL 34285 (941) 952-4250 ı www.smh.com Venice Bypass Office E. Venice Avenue Center Road Family Practice Specialists (941) 952-4220 Mitchel Beasley, DO; Christopher Jefferson, MD & Veronica Nabizada, MD 5

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Continued From Pg 4 Venice Avenue, my kids favor The Soda Fountain, mainly for the decadent sundaes. And I can’t blame them - it’s the one time I don’t make them decide between ice cream with either whipped cream or marshmallow topping. “Both?!” they incredulously ask me, as though it’s a test. Here, they can have it all, with a cherry on top. statue. The pufferfish and clown triggerfish tank is definitely a crowd pleaser. Outside, with Jimmy Buffet playing in your ears, a locally-brewed JDubs beer in hand, and the breeze from the Gulf blowing through the air, it’s clear why Sharky’s is a multi-time winner for best Florida Beach Bar. Believe it or not, there are times when my little ones just don’t want to go to the beach. I can never quite comprehend such insanity, but kids can be kids. Which is the perfect time to visit the Venice Beach Pier. Located on the north end of Venice Beach, the Pier stretches out into the Gulf, providing panoramic views of the gorgeous beach. But instead of playing in the waves and building sandcastles, we are watching fishing ringside. Because of the varied depth of water as the pier progresses, a variety of fish can be caught, including mackerel, snook, ladyfish, and even sharks. At the end of the Pier is Sharky’s on the Pier, a Venice staple. Inside, where it’s gloriously air conditioned, its tropical- and shark-themed décor is the most perfect place for a game of I-Spy. You can’t look anywhere without spying something notable, be it a shark’s jaw or a giant tiki Northward from Sharky’s is the Venice Jetty. Large rocks extend out into the Gulf, creating a safe walkway out into the waters, perfect for surfing, fishing, or simply watching the waters break into the boulders. I don’t know about you, but I could watch people surf all day long. I think it’s a dual respect for the beauty and challenge of the sport. Regardless, the jetties are the place for surfing in Venice. And because of the formation of this area, fish are abundant, including grouper and snapper. My daughter was lucky enough to catch “a blueberry fish, bigger than a grouper or shark” Perhaps you will be as lucky. We were also fortunate enough to have a pod of dolphins frolicking between the two strips of rock. And after we were finished sitting on the massive boulders, our fish were caught, the bait was gone, and the sun had gone down, my son turned to me and said, “You know, Mom. Sarasota really isn’t the big deal. Venice is.” 6

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For young and old alike, Venice features numerous parks throughout the area. Natural, passive parks, sports parks, and walking/biking trails can be found all around our community. The City of Venice and Sarasota County Parks and Recreation offer a variety of well maintained parks for your enjoyment within the Venice Area. Disk Golf One of the newest courses in Venice is the Disk Golf Course at Wellfield Park! If you aren’t familiar with disk golf just yet, don’t be intimidated. This fun-filled sport is perfect for all ages and all ability levels. The equipment consists of disks! You can purchase a professional set at any local sporting goods store, or you can simply come out and play with your most basic disk! The course is absolutely FREE to play, and course layout is mapped out on signs throughout the park. Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity - It’s a fun way to spend the day with your active family! Croquet Join the Sarasota County Croquet Club on Tuesdays for a day of croquet at its courts in Wellfield Park at Pinebrook Road and Lucaya Road. Receive free croquet instruction from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. You are invited to lunch with us nearby. Then play “Golf Croquet,” ending the day with refreshments and new friends. You may attend two instructional clinics to learn about the 6-wicket croquet. Wear sneakers or flat-soled shoes to protect the greens. White clothing is not required at these sessions. The Sarasota County Croquet Club (SCCC) is the largest public croquet club in the United States. For more information, go to our website at www.sarasotacountycroquet.com or contact the club by email, Sarasota.Croquet.Club@gmail.com or phone 1-941-882-0840. Tennis, Pickleball, Shuffleboard, Basketball, and Racketball Bring your active family to Hecksher Park in the 400 block of W. Venice Avenue. The park features six tennis courts, two basketball courts with six nets, practice serving courts, 18 shuffle board courts, all with lighting for night play; also, picnic tables, shelter, two tot lots, and one child-scale playground, as well as restroom facilities. There are also two additional tennis courts at the Pinebrook Recreation Center and a lined court at the Foxworthy Campus/ ByPass Park. Availability is first-come-first-serve and courts are lit until 10pm. Pickleball courts can be found at Laurel Park, Woodmere, Pinebrook, Foxworth, and By-pass Parks. Please visit either of the following websites to learn more about the many parks available: Sarasota County Parks - www.parksonline.scgov.net City of Venice Parks - www.venicegov.com/parks.htm Arboretum West Blalock Park Art Exhibits Venice Art Center Basketball Hecksher Park, Pinebrook Park Bicycling Legacy Trail, Venetian Waterway Park Bird Watching Rookery Boating/Kayaking/Canoeing Gulf of Mexico, Myakka River, Dona Bay, Curry Creek, Red Lake Children’s Fountain Public Water Park in Centennial Park Drum Circle Nokomis Beach Venice Beach Fishing Gulf of Mexico, Venice Fishing Pier, Higel Marine Park, Intracoastal Waterway Historical Sites Triangle Inn, Venice Train Depot, Venezia Park Historic District Libraries Jacaranda Library, Venice Library Live Music Centennial Park, Venice Municipal Beach Pavillion Nature Trails Carlton Reserve, Jelks Preserve, Pinebrook Park, Heritage Trail Park, Oscar Scherer State Park, Myakka River State Park Pickleball Laurel Park, Woodmere Park, Pinebrook Park, Foxworthy Campus/ By-pass Park Free Family Fun Sand Volleyball Service Club Park, Venice Municipal Beach Scuba Diving Reef just off Venice Beach Sharktooth Hunting Casperson Beach & all area beaches Shuffleboard Hecksher Park Skeet & Trap Knights Trail Park Softball Foxworthy Park Snorkeling All area beaches Swimming All area beaches Tennis Hecksher Park, Wellfield Park, Foxworthy Park 7

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Venice Beach Reef divers love Venice Beach because of the reef lying only a quarter mile offshore. Venice Beach is another good place to find shark’s teeth, and it’s a pleasant walk from downtown, located at the west end of Venice Avenue. A concession stand is available and there are covered pavilions, and volleyball nets. A Family Favorite: Nokomis Beach Family-oriented and popular for fishing, Nokomis Beach is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach. Located at the western end of Albee Road, Nokomis Beach includes a boat ramp, kayak launch, and picnic areas. Have a Picnic, Let the Kids Play Service Club Park. Adjacent to Brohard Beach, Service Club Park offers playground equipment and boardwalks with covered picnic areas. With less traffic than Venice & Nokomis Beach, Brohard Beach allows for quiet family time in the surf. The Nature Lovers’ and Shark’s Tooth Hunters’ Favorite: Caspersen Beach Pristine and secluded, Caspersen Beach is the nature lovers’ paradise. The southern two-thirds of the beach has been left in its natural state, with freshwater and saltwater marshes, mangroves, and tidal flats. Located south of the Venice Airport on Harbor Drive, Caspersen Beach is one of the best places to find fossilized shark’s teeth. Caspersen’s also features a kayak launch into Red Lake, a large playground area, pavilions, and access to the Waterway Trail. Surfers, Families, and Fisherman Seek North Jetty Beach Located on the top of Casey Key, the jetties make North Jetty Beach one of the most exciting beaches on the west coast. It’s a popular picnicking spot for families and large groups with multiple pavilions and shaded picnic areas. The North Jetty is also an excellent spot to launch a kayak into the intra-coastal, and the fishing is reputed to be spectacular! 8

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We believe that the best vacations are the ones that you can take with your best friend—so pet lovers may be thrilled to learn that wet noses and sandy paws are always welcome in Sarasota County. From the beachside resorts to sidewalk cafes, dozens of hotels and restaurants in the Venice area offer a first-class experience to travelers and their four-legged friends. Whether you and your pup are the rugged outdoors adventure types, or pampered poodles that prefer the finer things in life, Venice has activities and accommodations to satisfy even the most finicky Fido. Leash-Free Paw Parks There’s nothing like a little fresh air and freedom—in a safe and supervised environment—to make any dog’s day. Venice is home to two off-leash dog parks that allow pups to exercise, explore and play in a fenced environment where owners can rest assured their four-legged friends can’t wander too far. For beach-loving pups, Brohard Beach and Paw Park is one of the most unique dog parks on Florida’s Gulf Coast. An enclosed paw park offers all the amenities of other dog parks in the area, but pups with a taste for sand ‘n’ surf will also love the opportunity to splash and romp on the pet-friendly section of the beach. Brohard Beach offers the only dog-friendly, off-leash beach area in Sarasota County. The beach also includes a 740-foot fishing pier for public use. The Great Dog-Friendly (On a Leash, Please!) Outdoors From salty beach and bayside havens to the untamed Florida wilderness, there’s a bounty of nature to explore in Sarasota County. Fortunately, adventurous pups have access to several of Sarasota County’s parks and hiking trails—as long as they are on a leash no longer than six feet, and accompanied by a responsible human pal. Like all state parks in Florida, Myakka and Oscar Scherer State Parks welcome pets that are leashed, supervised and well-behaved. Located in east Sarasota County and portions of Manatee County, Myakka State Park spans over 58 square miles of pine forest, scrub and prairies. Accessible hiking trails lead to true Florida adventure, where visitors have a chance to encounter native Florida wildlife, like the rare roseate spoonbill, bald eagles, and armadillos. Dogs are welcome, not only on day trips to the trails, but also on Myakka State Park’s overnight campgrounds. Also in Venice, the Venetian Waterway Park connects with the Legacy Trail and Caspersen Beach Park. Dogs on leashes are welcome on the scenic 10-mile, paved Venetian Waterway Park trail—but please keep in mind that the pavement can be hot on doggie paws on sunny days! Although some parts of the park are in an urban setting, most of the walking trails on either side of the Intracoastal Waterway offer quiet, peaceful paths where you may spot a native Florida scrub jay, gopher turtles, or even alligators. Pet-Friendly Accommodations Finding pet-friendly accommodations for your vacation doesn’t need to be a hassle. The Venice area features a variety of hotels, resorts and beach rentals where you and your pooch are welcome to catch some R&R, and we can help you find the right fit. Many accommodation providers offer a variety of comfortable, furnished accommodations for the whole family—including fur friends, with a nominal surcharge. (Please call ahead to verify rates and size of pet allowed.) Try Beachcomber Properties, Holiday Inn Express, Island Breeze Inn, Kon-Tiki Motel, Inc., Motel 6, or Hotel Venezia - A Ramada Hotel directly in Venice. Gulf Sands Beach Apartments/Motel is another option which is located on the Gulf of Mexico barrier island of Casey Key. Doggy Dining Many restaurants in Venice welcome dogs if their owners are dining al fresco—and on Florida’s sunny Gulf Coast, there’s plenty of patio space to go around. Here are some of our top Fido-approved picks. Based on its name alone, it should come as no surprise that The Old Salty Dog is one of the most popular spots to dine with a pup in the Venice area. Best known for its beer-battered hot dogs and bar eats, the restaurant is a new addition to the island of Venice. Also in Venice, Cedar Reef Fish Camp (south) is one of the most popular dog-friendly eateries in south Sarasota County. Enjoy umbrella-shaded al fresco dining with your dog at Cedar Reef, which specializes in fresh seafood, but also features ribs, burgers, and even alligator. Please keep in mind that Venice gets lots of sunshine, especially during the summertime. Keep your pet cool by carrying bottled H2O and a travel water dish for your pup at all times, and pay attention to the pavement heat—if it’s too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for Fido’s, too! 9

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Celebrate the Arts with Venice MainStreet Each year, Venice MainStreet hosts Arts on the Avenues in conjunction with Howard Alan Events, showcasing the work of hundreds of talented artists from around the nation during two incredible festivals. The 16th Annual Venice Art Classic will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 4th and 5th, 2017. Though quite a bit younger than its November counterpart (see details below), the March festival has grown to include 150 of the country’s most talented artists. Showcasing a broad spectrum of mediums, you will find everything from sculptures large enough for a grand estate to precious hand-made jewelry... not to mention photography, paintings, ceramics, and so much more. Celebrating its 30th year in 2017, the Downtown Venice ArtFest also brings over 100 of the most notable artists from around the nation to Venice Avenue. Venice MainStreet will debut its 30th Annual ArtFest poster and t-shirt at the festival on Nov. 4th and 5th as well. The posters and t-shirts are loved collectables for locals and visitors alike. Venice MainStreet also stages three craft festivals throughout the year. Typically held in January, June, and August, these festivals showcase fabric crafts, bead work, ceramics, handmade soaps and food items, and more. Find more information online at: www.visitvenicefl.org or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/venicemainstreet The Annual Sun Fiesta is a local favorite! Kicking off with the Miss Sun Fiesta Pageant, Downtown Bed Races, and a Parade, you can’t help but have a good time! Women’s Sertoma Sun Fiesta October 20-22, 2017 Sun Fiesta is the perfect event for visitors and residents to celebrate the fall season, in a Florida style. Sun Fiesta 2017 celebrates 45 years of Sun Fiesta, 105 years of Sertoma International, and 90 years for the City of Venice Florida. Held October 20th through October 22nd, at Centennial Park in downtown Venice, attendees will enjoy an annual parade, bed races, Miss Sun Fiesta pageant, Sun Fiesta Idol contest, live entertainment and music, a huge variety of foods and drinks to suit every taste, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, the Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast, a silent auction at the Gazebo, and so much more! There is truly something of interest for each member of the entire family. Best yet, there are no admission or parking fees! For more information please visit www.sunfiesta.net or womenssertoma.com 10

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What to Look For: Collecting Shark’s Teeth Collecting prehistoric shark’s teeth has been a favorite pastime of visitors and residents of the Venice area for years. The teeth may be black, brown, or gray, depending on the types of minerals, deposits, and vegetation in the soil in which they have been buried. They range in size from one-eighth of an inch to three inches, on rare occasions, even more! It is best to search the waterline of Caspersen Beach, but any of our area beaches will likely produce at least a few teeth for you. The teeth you’ll find are from sharks extinct for millions of years and who lived and died in the Gulf of Mexico. Sharks which have died, sink to the ocean floor where they are eventually covered by layers and layers of sand and silt. Over time, the cartilage of their bodies disintegrates. Water and storm action sweep the sand away exposing the teeth. Some are washed up on the shore with the changing tides and storms. MARK YOUR CALENDAR: APRIL 7-9, 2017 Everyone knows that Venice is the Sharks Tooth Capital of the World. The Sharks Tooth Festival takes place near one of Venice’s best sharks tooth hunting beaches. Collectors from all over the United States display and sell sharks teeth and other prehistoric fossils. The Sharks Tooth Festival is an annual community event. On April 7, 8, and 9, 2017, you can enter shark tooth hunter’s heaven—and you won’t even have to get into the water to find them: Visit the 25th Annual Sharks Tooth Festival at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds, just off the US 41 Business Loop at 610 East Airport Avenue. The Festival opens on Friday at 4pm. Admission is $4; children 12 and under are free. Parking is free. Sorry, no pets. All proceeds benefit Special Olympics Sarasota County. This festival is one of the most popular in Venice. There are over 100 arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment, three large tents of fossil vendors, a non-profit section including the Mote Marine mobile exhibit, marketing booths, plenty of good food, ice cold beer and an expanded children games section. If you’re a runner, there is also a 10K run on Saturday morning. This run has become very popular and attracts a large crowd. For more information on the Festival please call 941-412-0402. Please visit www.sharkstoothfest.com or visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Sharks-Tooth-Festival. For information on the 10K run please visit www.sharkstooth10k.com. 11

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The Venice Area hosts one of the state’s largest and best barbeque festivals. Make sure to mark your calendar for April 14th & 15th, 2017! Chock full of competition pit masters, mouth watering BBQ, and top-notch Bluegrass music, you won’t want to miss this signature event! Held at the Venice Municipal Airport Festival Grounds, the 8th Annual Suncoast BBQ & Blues Bash brings in competition BBQ teams from around the country, and a wave of visitors to our area totaling around 25,000! It’s an exciting time to be in Venice with lots to do and see and EAT! The Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash features award winning Bluegrass entertainment! Enjoy an afternoon of banjos, fiddles, mandolins and high, lonesome harmonies! Lonesome River Band will lead off at noon, followed by The Grascals at 1:30pm, and The Boxcars at 2:45pm. At 4pm, the groups will combine their talents for what promises to be the best Bluegrass performance in Florida! General seating is FREE! (Please bring a comfy chair with you.) Plan on spending the entire afternoon at this event! Bring the kids as well! The BBQ Bash will feature a FREE Kid’s Park with face painting, Shriner clowns, bounce house, games, and much more. Additionally, a wide variety of community booths featuring local non-profit organizations and area businesses showcasing their products and services will be on hand. And finally, the Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash will also host cornhole and sporting clays tournaments. You just can’t beat this kind of entertainment! And it’s all for FREE and all for a great cause! Proceeds from event sponsorships, vendor fees, donations, and the Chili for Charity contest contributed to over $85,000 which went to area charities including the Suncoast Foundation for Handicapped Children. Event organizers and staff are 100% volunteer driven. The Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash is not only a fun, family oriented event, but it also makes a huge impact to our local non-profit organizations assisting special needs children and infused over 3.8 million dollars into the local economy. 12

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As the upcoming host for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, Sarasota County is bracing itself for an inundation of scullers and sports-loving tourists next fall. From Sept. 23 to Oct. 1, Sarasota’s Nathan Benderson Park will be teeming with an anticipated 1,700 athletes and coaches, as well as 40,000 spectators, from more than 60 countries. The international regatta is expected to greatly increase the area’s visibility, revenue and appeal. “The event isn’t only important to Sarasota County but also to the entire region. The estimated economic impact for Sarasota and Manatee counties is expected to be around $25 million,” says Max Winitz, the event’s communications, media and public relations manager. “Those attending will dine in our restaurants, shop in our stores and sleep in our hotels. The hope is that, once they experience this beautiful area, they will want to come back in the not-so-distant future.” Future attendees are already buying tickets in such coveted spots as the Grandstands, which are located just feet from the finish line; the Beach Seats, along the sandy stretch that spans the final 500 meters of the 2,000-meter course; and the Championship Pavilion, the lounging area on the park’s west bank. The quality and ambiance of the venue are truly top-notch, according to Glenn Merry, the CEO of USRowing (the nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States). “The rowing venue at Nathan Benderson Park is unique in every way, having been designed and built expressly for the purpose of hosting rowing competitions. The water facilities feature a 12-hectare regatta island; beautiful, natural spectator areas; a 2,000-meter wave attenuation system and a television road,” Merry says. “The course is already in use year-round and has hosted more than 15,000 rowing competitors since the opening of the lake. There are also access points along the entire length of the course, walking trails and a natural setting, to enjoy camaraderie with rowing friends and family.” When visitors are not watching or performing in the competition, they are encouraged to head out to the award-winning beaches of Venice, Casperson’s, Casey and Manasota Keys. Cultural, outdoorsy out-of-towners can experience such destinations as The Ringling, South Florida Museum, Mote Marine Aquarium, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Historic Spanish Point, Myakka River and Oscar Scherer State Parks, the Powel Crosley Estate and the Riverwalk in Bradenton. And options for retail therapy abound in shopping hubs such as the Mall at University Town Center (UTC), Venice MainStreet, Dearborn St., CocoPlum plaza in North Port, and St. Armands Circle. “The 2017 World Rowing Championships will showcase Nathan Benderson Park to the world. There have been a number of fantastic regattas to take place at the park to date but nothing like this when it comes to an international presence,” Winitz says. “We feel that, with the worldwide publicity this event will get, it will bring more and more sporting events and regattas to Nathan Benderson Park.” For more information, visit wrch2017.com and nathanbendersonpark.org. 13

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