Photo courtesy of the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival.
November is an incredible month to be in Sarasota. Although our leaves aren't changing like they do up north, we've still got a ton to celebrate this season.
To start off the month, on November 7-8 the 28th Annual Venice Art Fest offers free admission to this open-air festival, filling Historic Downtown Venice with the works of over 150 artists from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Venice takes it up another notch November 9-16 with the return of the Sarasota Chalk Festival. The theme of the 8th annual festival is “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” and will feature 500 national and international artists decorating the Venice Airport Festival Grounds and a number of streets in downtown Venice.
November is also the month for sand sculpting. Twenty master sculptors will compete on beautiful Siesta Beach in the Crystal Classic from November 13-17, creating a number of jaw-dropping masterpieces. And if you happen to be in Manatee County, Coquina Beach will also host a day-long sand sculpting competition on November 14 in support of the Keep Manatee Beautiful campaign. Both events will also feature lessons in sand sculpting, so if you want to learn how to do it, this is your chance.
On November 21-22, the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association bring the Sarasota Fall Fine Arts Festival to Gulfstream Avenue, where dozens of artisans of all stripes will showcase their craft, including paintings, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking and more. And if you're really looking for something different, the Sarasota Medieval Fair returns to the Sarasota Fairgrounds for three weekends -- November 7-8, 14-15, and 21-22 -- with jousting, human chess, gigantic turkey legs, and an artisan marketplace from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
In addition to the special concerts at the Sarasota Chalk Festival, there are plenty of other opportunities to hear some good music. "Live from Downtown Sarasota It's Friday Night!" will feature live street performances and entertainment from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. the first three Fridays of the month. Catch the action in Five Points Park the first weekend, Burns Square the second, and Towles Court the third. If you happen to be down in Venice, there's live music in the Centennial Park Gazebo on November 13 and 27, starting at 7 p.m. And of course, you won't want to miss the 3rd Annual Venice Blues Festival at Maxine Barritt Park on November 21 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
November is a good month for car fanatics! On November 7, St. Armands Circle hosts the 14th Annual Ferrari Showcase from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., where over 75 Ferrari owners will show off their rides. If that's not enough for you, on November 21, the 3rd Annual "Horsepower for Hope" Automotive Festival will feature over 150 cars ranging from Aston Martins and Bugattis to Lamborghinis and Porsches. Rev it up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. along Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
Veteran's Day is on November 11, and you'll find an abundance of ways to join local celebrations of honoring our vets. Both Sarasota and Manatee will host Veteran's Day parades, starting at 10 a.m. in Sarasota and 10:15 a.m. in Manatee, both with concluding ceremonies at 11 a.m. Down in Venice, Patriot's Park hosts its own ceremony at 10 a.m., and there will be a Veteran's Day Mass at the Sarasota National Cemetery at 3 p.m.
Let's be honest: For so many of us, November is really about food. Locals and visitors alike can warm up to the big Thanksgiving feast with an abundance of occasions to enjoy good food and share it with others. Starting off the month right on November 7-8, the 4th Annual Cortez Stone Crab Festival holds two days of food, drinks, live music, kids' activities, and (of course!) fresh stone crabs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. But you might want to get cracking on Saturday, because Sunday the 8th features two great events that go a long way towards helping others. Giving Hunger the Blues returns to Hillview Street with plenty of great bands and food vendors from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to raise money for the Mayor's Feed the Hungry Program and the Women's Resource Center of Sarasota. And in Phillippi Estate Park, Bowls of Hope supports the All Faiths Food Bank from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. by allowing attendees to enjoy soup, fresh bread, and dessert in beautiful, handcrafted bowls as a take-home reminder of the empty bowls you help fill.
Hopefully by November 14 you'll have room for the 14th Annual Suncoast Food & Wine Festival at the Sarasota Polo Grounds in Lakewood Ranch. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy unlimited samples from dozens of Suncoast restaurants paired with fine wines and craft beers to the sounds of live music. Pro tip: Dancing is great for burning off those delicious light bites! All proceeds will help the Rotary Club carry on their good work in the community.
November is shaping up to be a pretty busy month! Try not to get so caught up in the shopping days countdown that you forget to take a little time for good, old-fashioned fun. With a calendar like this, it's like every weekend is a holiday in Sarasota.
Julian is a happy Sarasota resident and your go-to guy for information about the perks of living in paradise. For more, get in touch with Julian directly via the Sarasota Property Finders Contact Page.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist