The Sarasota Bay Water Festival (SBWF) will focus on alternative transportation, recycling and composting, and reducing single-use bottled water as some of the key components of the festival sustainability plan. The free regional festival is set for 9am to 5pm on Saturday, November 17 at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy.
“Our vision is to minimize the overall carbon footprint of the festival while promoting alternative transportation and reducing waste,” said Sherri Swanson, the sustainability manager. Sherri is also one of the associate directors and she works for HDR Engineering, Inc.
Alternative transportation includes a water taxi service from Marina Jack to the dock area at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. The service is free thanks to Freedom Boat Club. Two boats will be departing every 30-40 minutes from Marina Jack as of 9am on November 17. Folks using the service can use the valet service at Marina Jack or public parking nearby. The boats are commanded by Coast Guard certified boat captains.
Other forms of alternative transportation include carpooling, hourly stops by both SCAT (Route 18) and the LBK Trolley, a free bike valet, and a free kayak and canoe valet. Use of the valet service requires that visitors receive a ticket from one of the festival volunteers. As an incentive for carpooling, festival volunteers will present a free raffle ticket to any motor vehicle driver arriving with at least four individuals in the vehicle. The grand prize drawing at 3pm on the live music stage is a two night stay at the Longboat Key Resort & Club. Another raffle item is a photograph by the noted nature photographer Clyde Butcher.
Waste Management, Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota are helping with trash removal and recycling. The Agriculture & Extension Service with Manatee County will provide six Earth Machines to capture organic waste. The Orange Blossom Community Garden will collect the bio-degradable, organic waste at the end of the festival.
SBWF has partnered with a local Brita distributor to present the Brita Hydration Station offering free water refills to visitors. The water station offers filtered and chilled water directly from the municipal supply. Visitors are encouraged to bring their reusable water bottles to the festival. Reusable bottles and bottled water will also be available and visitors can use these containers for unlimited free water refills.
Please visit sarasotabaywaterfestival.com to learn more about the regional event including the scheduled activities, live music lineup, and the participants in the Creative Arts Tent. Florida’s first “iceberg” will be unveiled thanks to the creativity of Richard Herzog, a Sculpting Professor at New College of Florida. The award-winning Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team will perform at 4pm. Guests can also visit the popular Mote Aquarium at no cost if they receive a special stamp at the festival.
Triple 3 Marketing (T3M) is managing the festival and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the host sponsor. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. T3M is the same team that produced the E-Fest Green Living Music & Arts Festival in 2007 and 2008. More than 65 organizations from the public and private sector are sponsors and exhibitors. Learn more at sarasotabaywaterfestival.com.