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I attended my 1st Sarasota Chalk Festival in November 2012 and it was a 10 day event featuring the art form known as street painting where pavement is the canvas and simple, colored chalk as the medium.
You might have seen some of the artistic pieces on TV or seen the photos in reading materials but you really don't and can't appreciate the beauty and amazing images until you see them in person.
It is like a outdoor museum where you can interact with the artists who create original works of art and 3-dimensional images, along with re-creating old master paintings....and all while on their hands and knees in the middle of the street.
The Festival theme in 2012 was "Circus City, USA" which relates to the city of Sarasota's being the winter homes of circuses for nearly 100 years.
In addition to the street art, the Festival features two music stages, a performance stage with drama, dance, acrobatic and aerial performances by the world famous Wallenda family.
The 2011 Chalk Festival drew 200,000 visitors and had over 500 International artists and became known as the premier and most important street painting venue in the world!
This year, the painting also went vertical onto some walls....so art was everywhere. And there were street areas blocked off for art students and children to draw to their hearts content.
Written Feb 28, 2013
Address: South Pineapple Avenue & Laurel Street, Sarasota
ChillLounge is a event held in Sarasota on a regular basis and usually at unique venues and only for adults 21 and over.
Some of the venues are indoors and some outdoors. If outdoors, blankets & chairs are permitted
but coolers & picnic baskets are not.
You can expect high quality food, beer, wine and liquor to be available for purchase and an ambiance that typifies a "Chill-axin" attitude with music, lounge chairs and couches, vendors and give-aways (freebies) and a more intimate and relaxing atmosphere.
I have been to several Chill Lounge events, both indoors and outdoors, and the most recent being the Valentines Day concert and 'Return to Romance" with Triple Grammy Winner Jon Secada.
Here is a short YouTube clip that is an overview of that event and is typical of most Chill Lounges.
Updated Feb 28, 2013
Address: Sarasota, Florida
Ed Smith Stadium, not far from downtown Sarasota, is a great place to see a ball game. The stadium was recently remodeled, and it has all the features of a small modern park.
Originally constructed in 1989, the stadium has been the Spring Training home of the White Sox (1989–1997), the Baltimore Orioles (1991), and the Cincinnati Reds (1998-2008). The stadium was vacant in 2009, but the city drew the Orioles when they agreed to a $31.2 million renovation of the stadium at the taxpayers' expense.
The seats in Ed Smith Stadium, are said to be seats that were removed from Camden Yards during its last major renovation. The stadium can seat 7,428 spectators, without room for about 1,000 standing room patrons.
We saw the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Orioles here during Spring Training 2012. Somehow we lucked into first row seats right next to the Pirates dugout, so we really enjoyed watching our Buccos beat up the Orioles. The final score on March 14, 2012 was 11-5 for the Bucs, with Alex Presley, Garrett Jones, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker each picking up two hits. The Pirates starter, James MacDonald struggled a bit, giving up 5 runs in 3 innings, the relievers were nearly flawless giving up only one hit over the remaining 6 innings. Besides MacDonald, we saw 2012 big leaguers Joel Hanranhan, Jason Grilli, and Evan Meek pitch.
We parked just a block from the stadium for about $10 a car.
Updated Apr 5, 2012
Address: 2700 12th Street Sarasota, FL 34237
Phone: (941) 954-4101
I found this place to be quite a little gem. Again, as anything sarasota-focused, it's accessible for all ages and abilities. This is not a hike nor a jungle adventure. It *is* however a really lovely stroll in beautiful gardens...past various structures, and with a genuine slice of history....
From people living there over 4000 years ago (and escavations done, finds also kept in the Smithsonian, burial grounds) to US settlers (The Webbs) at the turn of the century (building their home, boats, planting orchards, a long family history) to the home being purchased and developed as a winter home by the Palmer's with gorgeous gardens and an eye for conservation (at one point this family owned 1/4 of Sarasota) - this is a great side trip.
It's easy to find, about 15 minutes drive from Siesta Keys...and accessible for all. Call in advance if you want a tour with a volunteer - they give a few each day (my guide was over 70 years old and was a font of information of the history of this property and of Florida).
The whole area is about a mile walk....but it actually *can* take you around 1.5-2 hours...taking your time...listening to the history...seeing the different parts. The views are outstanding and I'm in love with Mangroves. My new passion!
There's no food on site, but you can get a water or soda in the main house - when you drive in. They have a nice map on their site.
From their site: "Historic Spanish Point encompasses 30-acres of shoreline on Little Sarasota Bay. The nature trails have benches and shade and are either paved or garden shell. Approximate total of all paths is 1.3 miles.
Written Feb 18, 2012
Address: 337 N Tamiami Trail Osprey, FL 34229
Sarasota County was established in 1921 when Manatee County was split. The courthouse was designed by architect Dwight James Baum in a style described as "a synthesis of Spanish Colonial Revival and Spanish Renaissance with Baroque and Rococo elements." The historic courthouse was built in 1926-1927 by Stevenson and Cameron, Inc. In1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
A plaque at the site reads:
SARASOTA COUNTY COURTHOUSE
After the formation of Sarasota County in 1921, a permanent seat of government was needed. This site, once an Indian village, was donated by Charles and Edith Ringling to be used for a courthouse "forever." A bond issue was authorized and Dwight James Baum was commissioned to design this Mediterranean style structure. To symbolize the balance of power there are two wings, one for administration, the other for judicial purposes. A tower and reflection pool connected them. Construction began in 1926 and was completed in 1927. Additions to the original building have kept that Mediterranean theme.
Sarasota County Historical Commission 1982.
Updated Jul 28, 2011
Address: 2000 Main Street, Sarasota, Florida 34237
The Central-Cocoanut Historic District was designated is a U.S. historic district on June 17, 2005. It is located in Sarasota, along Cocoanut Avenue, between 11th & 22nd Streets to the south and north, and Tamiami Trail & a set of railroad tracks to the west and east.
The architecture here Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
This is the largest historic district in Sarasota county.
Updated Jul 26, 2011
Lido Key is a barrier island just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Sarasota, Florida. Lido Key features sandy beaches, numerous resorts, and a nice area of restaurants and bars that is actually located on adjacent St. Armand's Key. South Lido Park is at the which has a beach and a woodland trail. Lido Key is connected to downtown Sarasota by the John Ringling Causeway.
Harding Circle is the commercial heart of St. Armand's Key, and really Sarasota as well. The small neighborhood features distinctive architecture, exclusive shops, galleries, exotic boutiques, and a variety of restaurants including a location of Tampa's famous Columbia restaurant. The circle was named after President Warren G. Harding who held office when the roads were laid out by John Ringling in the early 1920s.
Updated Jul 26, 2011
Island Park is actually a peninsula off downtown Sarasota that is very popular due to its location and activities available. Located right along the water, it has a children's playground, a lawn area for pets, well-maintained walking paths along the water, and even a few restaurants.
mature shady trees
Marina Jack's waterfront restaurant, arrive by car, foot, or boat.
Updated Jul 1, 2011
Address: Two Marina Plaza Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: Marina: (941) 955-9488
I live in Sarasota but until very recently had not spent much time wandering and discovering the downtown. It's very walkable, friendly and diverse. I've found a few wonderful historic neighborhoods right in the heart of Sarasota. Laurel Park is my favorite and one of the oldest and most interesting. It received designation as a National Register of Historic Places District recently.
There is a website for it - www.laurelparkhistoricdistrict.com and I was able to download a tour map from the site and also grab oodles of information about the district and learn about links to plenty of resources. The tour map was handy to have and worked well as a guide.
The district is full of cottages, bungalows, and a few stately Spanish / Med-Rev residences. I understand it is one of the most sought after neighborhoods to live in in the downtown core.
If you go tour the district it is next to Burns Court so there are restaurants, small boutiques and resale shops that are wonderful. Towles court, an artist colony is adjacent to it also . It's to the north of the district.
Written Jun 22, 2011
Address: Orange Ave and Oak Street
My favorite landmark in the city is the "Unconditional Surrender" Kiss Statue. This piece of public art is designed after a famous photograph of an anonymous sailor kissing a stranger in Times Square the day the Japanese surrendered to end WWII.
The actual kiss took place in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945, between an unknown sailor and a nurse named Edith Shain. The kiss was photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Time Magazine. The artist who created the 26-foot tall statue is J. Seward Johnson.
The city agreed to display the statue for at least a decade after a local military veteran donated $500,000 in 2010. This was not without controversy, as many local argued this is not art, but a tacky piece of
Updated May 30, 2011
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