Local events for July 2018 in Sarasota and Manatee

Summer has officially arrived and July kicks off another month of local events! From 4th of July fireworks to festivals and fishing derbies, there’s certainly plenty to keep everyone entertained. Keep on reading for a highlight of some of this month’s best activities.

June 28 – July 1 – Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival This fun-fueled weekend kicks off Thursday with at the Van Wezel’s Grand Prix Fan Fest and the excitement doesn’t stop until the award presentations on Sunday evening. The Superstock, Production Class and Personal Water Craft Races begin on Saturday morning and continue into the highly anticipated Powerboat Races on Sunday. For a full list of events and the best viewing spots around town please visit http://sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org/schedule/

July 1 – 28The Ringling Museum Summer Circus Spectacular It’s presented in collaboration with The Circus Arts Conservatory of Sarasota. Various show days and times. Tickets are $16 Adults/ $12 Children 12 and under. The Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL. 941-358-3180.

July 1 – 1st Annual Mermaid Handcrafter’s & DIY Market: 10 am – 3 pm Join in on celebrating this inaugural mermaid themed event! You can paint your own mermaid bath bomb, make your very own crystal mermaid crown or even your own mermaid zen garden. The Surly Mermaid food truck will be on site along with plenty of local vendors and artisans. 5636 Swift Rd, Sarasota, FL.

July 3 – Fireworks at Nathan Benderson Park: 4 pm – 10 pm Enjoy music and fireworks spectacular with your family. Bring your picnic, blanket or folding chairs. Personal fireworks prohibited. You can bring your own food and drinks, however no glass containers are allowed. A variety of musical groups will perform. Please do not bring your dog to this event as they may be frightened by the fireworks display. Free admission. Fireworks to begin at 9 pm. 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota.

July 4 – 12th Annual Firecracker 5K Run: 7:30 am The race will take place at the Morgan Family Community Center, 6207 West Price Blvd, North Port. The course is flat, fast, and well-marked with a water station along the 3.1 mile stretch. Early bird pre-registration fee is $20 before 5/31 and $25 after 6/1. Race Day Registration is $30 and will take place at the Morgan Center from 6 am to 7 am. Packet Pickup is at the Morgan Center on 7/3 if pre-registered before 6/29 or on 7/4 if registered after 6/29.

July 43rd annual Myakka River Kayak Festival and 4th of July Jam Blast 8am – 4pm featuring live music and craft beers. Live musical entertainment will take place throughout the day with Steve Arvey from 11 am – noon and George Worthmore from 12:30 pm – 4 pm. Bring your canoe or kayak or rentals will be available starting at 8 am. No cover charge for entrance. Free admission. Snook Haven, 5000 E. Venice Ave, Venice.

July 5 – 5th Annual Liberty Litter Cleanup 7 am – 9 am Volunteers will help clean up 7 of the July 4th venues that are utilized the most during the festivities. Cleanup efforts will take place from 7 am – 9 am at Siesta Key, Lido Beach, South Lido Beach, Nokomis Beach, North Jetty Beach and Blind Pass Beach.  All volunteers should report to the Site Captain at their cleaning location. To volunteer call 941-861-5000. Registration will open in early-mid May 2018.

July 6 – 8 – 5th Annual Sarasota Lionfish Derby Sponsored by and based at Mote Marine Laboratory. Captain’s meeting is July 6, Lionfish hunting derby is July 7 offshore from Collier to Escambia Counties. Weigh-in is July 8 at Mote Marie Laboratory and the public is invited. Last year 429 Lionfish were caught and removed from the gulf. Derbies are a way to help divers harvest Lionfish, provide public education and opportunities to taste the delicious Lionfish for free. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota.

July 7The Italian American Club of Venice’s 8th Midsummer Festival; Maine Lobster Fest: Savor a classic menu that includes Shrimp Cocktail, Clam Chowder, Lobster and more! Cocktail hour with cash bar 3 pm – 4 pm. Dinner to follow. Top shelf liquor raffle. Limited seating. Members $34, Guests $39. The Italian American Club of Venice, 1375 Ringling Dr S, Venice. Tickets and more info: 941-468-5013.

July 15 – Pet Portrait and Paw Painting: 10 am – 3 pm Bring your leashed and well-behaved best friend for its portrait at the ArtCenter Manatee. There will also be art workshops for kids and Mote Marine Lab will be on hand as well as Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, The Florida Extension Office and more. Free admission. ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. More info at 941-746-2862

July 15 – 16 – Vintage and Collectibles Fair: Featuring antiques, books, collectibles, artwork, vintage clothing, glassware, jewelry and much more. Adults $3, good for entire weekend. 12 & under are free. Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm. Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 810 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

July 22 –  AMI Privateers’ Annual Christmas in July Fundraiser: 5 pm – 9 pm Happening on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. Santa and his sleigh arrive at 6 p.m., The Drift Inn on Bridge Street hosts a Pot Luck Christmas Dinner at 7 pm. Bring a dish to pass or donate $5 if you just want to eat. Also: Lotto Board Raffle and a Pirate Basket loaded with prizes. 50% of money raised will go towards the Privateers Christmas Family in December the other 50% will go toward the Engine/Drive Train Repair of the beloved 60ft Pirate Ship “Skullywag.” Free and open to the public. Drift Inn on Bridge Street Bradenton Beach FL. More info: (941) 900-4141.

July 25 – 28 4th annual Shark Days at Mote Aquarium Check out a full slate of education and entertainment along with real sharks and real science. Learn about the science behind these incredible animals and ask questions of Mote shark experts. The celebration will include jaw-some fun for the whole family. Mote Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota. (941) 388-4441.

July 2717th annual “Friday Fest”: 5 pm – 9 pm Enjoy an evening on the bay front and some free live music at the Van Wezel with Reverend Barry & the Funk featuring 3 Grammy®-nominated musicians, this 8-piece band plays a high-energy set of originals and covers of funk & soul music including Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, Kool & the Gang, and Prince. Bring your lawn chair or blanket, take in the music along with the beautiful Sarasota sunset and enjoy food and beverage from local vendors. Outside food and drink is prohibited. This free concert series takes place rain or shine, it moves indoors in case of inclement weather. The Bayfront Lawn, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

July 28 – 29 – 8th Annual Mystic Faire Don’t miss this unique experience featuring everything metaphysical. Billed as the largest psychic fair in southwest Florida it will feature over 75 exhibitors and more than 25 psychics. Hear free lecturers and see psychics, healers and vendors of many kinds. Admission: $7 for one day or $10 for both days. 12 & under are free. Saturday 10 am –  6 pm. Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm. Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

July 29 – Coquina Beach Market: 10am – 4pm Located on Anna Maria Island, find everything from local artists, arts & crafts and fresh produce to plants, clothes, collectibles and more. Final market of the year until its return in November. Free. Coquina Beach gulf-side, Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island.

July 31 – August 4 –  The Sarasota Slam Billfish, Wahoo, Tuna, Grouper, Snapper, Trout, Redfish, Offshore and Inshore Divisions. More info and sign up here. This year they’re bringing back some fan favorites – the billfish and fun fish divisions. Marina Jack at the Sarasota Bayfront is home base for the tournament. Visit www.sarasotaslam.com for more information and entry forms.