In Sarasota and along the shores of Lido Key, Siesta Key and Venice, the month of July kicks off with a real “roar” each year as fireworks and powerboats take center stage! Click the links below for details about this year’s (2015) events and festivities:
We are also pleased to sure the official announcement from the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival:
This year’s 31st Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival is bringing with it many exciting changes as an International Invitational race site. This includes a one hour prime time special on CBS Sports Network July 15 (7 pm EST and 8 pm PST) featuring 7 powerboat classes expected to participate. In addition to CBS Sports Network the inclusion of P1 Aqua X USA (jet ski racers) and P1 Superstock USA (open canopy style race boats) brings with it coverage on Fox Sun Sports and MAV TV. Powerboat racers will vie to win part of a $70,000 prize purse to be paid out to all 1st thru 4th place winners on race day (and up to 6th place winners for the Pro AM Classes).
The infusion of television, a significant prize purse, two full days of continuous racing, and having the Awards Ceremony right on the beach behind the Sandcastle Resort is expected to attract a much broader demographic to the Sarasota area and increase participation from racers around the world. To date 30 powerboats and 60 Aqua X (jet ski racers) are already pre-registered to race in Sarasota with more expected. “After racing Aqua X for over 20 years all over the world, I am excited to finally be racing in my hometown of Sarasota,” said racer Eric Lagopoulos. Lee Baker from Lycamobile Offshore Race Team commented, “We won our first offshore boat race here in 2000. Sarasota is the place to be – it’s the Superbowl of powerboat racing.”
This year’s Festival continues to offer 9 days of fun and excitement with many event venues free to the public. Complimentary trolley service will run continuously from the Palm Avenue Parking Garage (1289 N. Palm Avenue) to Lido Beach on both July 4th & 5th from 9 am until 6 pm. This service is sponsored by the Sarasota Downtown Improvement District and A.D. Morgan. For a full event listing visit sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org and click on the event tab at the top of the page. Presenting sponsors for this year include Sarasota County, Sarasota Ford, Budweiser, Sarasota County Sports Commission and The Florida Sports Foundation. Sarasota Ford had donated a two year lease on a brand new 2015 Mustang . Enter to win online at sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org.
Sarasota is unique from other race sites in the country in that a charity (Suncoast Charities for Children) handles the production of the entire Festival. With most of the event venues free to the public the charity is responsible for raising $250,000 in sponsorship to cover expenses (this includes the production of the Bayfront Fireworks). This year’s races are being sanctioned by Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix and Powerboat P1 USA. This change was made since the charity could not commit to signing a five year long term contract requested by Super Boat International. “Like any special event, we have to take it one year at a time since this annual Festival and race are contingent upon financial sponsorship support. You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect to grow and secure key funding. This year’s sanction- ing gave us an opportunity to grow and expand” indicated Festival Director Lucy Nicandri.
As if you needed an excuse to visit Sarasota, we hope this unique powerboat festival and the corresponding events will entice you to play next year’s weekend getaway or extended vacation to Sarasota for the Independence Day weekend now!
Best wishes for a safe and happy 4th of July from the Comfort Suites Sarasota team!