Friday, October 31 is the final day to drop off submissions to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest. The contest is part of the inaugural Sarasota Bay Water Festival set for Saturday, November 17 at Ken Thompson Park. The winning submissions will be showcased at the free regional festival and photographers will be acknowledged with custom ribbons and gift certificates to Whole Foods Market.
The contest rules and guidelines are posted at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com. Visitors to the water festival will have an opportunity to vote on a special People’s Choice Award. Most of the photo submissions will be focused on coastal waters, recreation in and around the Bay, shorebirds, aquatic life, other wildlife, seascapes, and Bay commerce.
Photos must be mounted on a 16 X 20 foam core board. Participants can submit up to two images each and the contest is open to anyone regardless of skill level or experience. Submissions must be dropped off to Caldwell Trust Company located at 1561 Main Street in Sarasota. The three drop off days include anytime between 10am and 5pm on Friday, October 26, Monday, October 29, and Thursday, October 31.
Other festival highlights include a Creative Arts Tent sponsored by the Observer Media Group showcasing a dozen area wildlife photographers and artists selling art items, live music on the main stage featuring guitarist Ben Hammond and The Lauren Mitchell Band, local food trucks with Suncoast Food Trucks, and exhibits and activities promoting boating, fishing, paddle board sports, scuba diving, birding, wildlife protection, and more.
Florida’s first “iceberg” will be unveiled thanks to the creativity of Rick Herzog, a Sculpting Professor at New College of Florida. The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team will perform at 4pm. Event guests can also gain free admission to the popular Mote Aquarium which is open from 10am to 5pm. Admission requires obtaining a stamp at the festival so come early if you also plan to visit Mote Aquarium.
More than 45 organizations from the private and public sector are sponsors of the inaugural Sarasota Bay Water Festival. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the host sponsor and Triple 3 Marketing (T3M) is managing the festival. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. T3M is the same leadership team that produced the E-Fest Green Living Music & Arts Festival in 2007 and 2008.
Festival sponsors in random order include: Freedom Boat Club, Brita Hydration Station, Economy Tackle, Whole Foods Market, City of Sarasota, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Solar Direct, Manatee County, Observer Media Group, Sarasota Outboard Club, Sierra Club, Sarasota County, HDR Engineering, Inc., Town of Longboat Key, Sun King Disc Sports, City of Bradenton, Janicki Environmental, Inc., WSRQ Sarasota Talk Radio, Sarasota Wind & Water Adventures, Caldwell Trust Company, Visit Sarasota County, New College of Florida, Scheda Ecological Associates, Inc., I Kayak Sarasota, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Around the Bend Nature Tours, Save Our Seabirds, Reef Innovations, WSMR 89.1 with WUSF Public Media, Sarasota Audubon Society, Manatee Audubon Society, Nature’s Academy, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Stantec, Transformation Magazine, Sarasota Wildlife Art Festival, Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County, Bobcat Disposal, Longboat Key Resort & Club, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Suncoast Food Trucks, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Sight & Sound Audiovisual, UF/IFAS Extension, and Triple 3 Marketing.
Some of the other exhibitors include Virus Boat Company, Longboat Key Turtle Watch, Florida Underwater Sports, Florida Maritime Museum, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 82, Save the Manatee Club, Stow It Don’t Throw It, Sea to Shore Alliance, Oscar Scherer State Park, Canine Assistants, Myakka State Park, Florida Gulf Coast Traditional Small Craft Association, Artisan Flavors, Florida House, Green Business Partnership, and the Old Salty Dog.