Venice is the sweet spot in Sarasota County, just about halfway between Tampa and Fort Myers, with great beaches bearing sought-out shark’s teeth, and history and art pouring out of its quaint downtown area. It’s one of those places that feels like “vacation,” even if you live there. Without the traffic and congestion of nearby Sarasota, Venice still delivers on desirable beaches, a great downtown scene and a happening events calendar. And besides, who doesn’t love taking their shark’s teeth sifters, some homemade and consisting of kitchen utensils and strainers, and others of a more mass-produced nature, down to one of Venice’s beautiful and lively beaches and delighting in every single shark’s teeth that you find. And with its significant historical roots with the Ringling Barnum & Bailey Circus and a palm tree lined downtown full of cafes and small specialty stores, leading to one of the prettiest beaches around, what is not to love. Here you can feel the thrill of flying through the air on a trapeze, like circus performers have long done in this area, at the famed Tito Gaona’s Flying Trapeze installation. And if that isn’t enough, you can splash in the warm gulf waters off Venice’s beaches with your dogs at Brohard Dog Park. So let’s see…great history, beaches, restaurants and a lively cultural calendar, plus they like dogs. Venice, you rock!
And it doesn’t stop there. Venice is the hub of several not only popular, but also international festivals. Recently the annual hometown Sun Fiesta was held in downtown Venice and included street vendors, arts and crafts and musical acts. A beautiful day set the backdrop for the event, which is often the case in Venice, and local businesses enjoyed the additional traffic they received. The 3rd annual Venice Blues Fest is fast drawing acclaim for featured acts like Chicago Bluesman, The Kinsey Report and the unique Larry McCray. And if that wasn’t enough, in November, the internationally-acclaimed Chalk Festival makes its return to Venice adding yet another world record notch to Venice’s belt. 3d chalk art and a gathering of international artists and novice art enthusiasts will be producing eye-catching and mind boggling art amidst a setting of live musical acts on outdoor stages. The 28th Annual Downtown Venice Art Festival is happening Nov 7th and 8th, bringing back innovative works of art covering several mediums from local and national artists.
The arts and cultural scene around Venice is multifaceted with everything from great theater to community-involved art centers. Venice Theater is one of the largest community theaters in the country. Actively entertaining the community since 1950, it has long been a staple of the vibrant theater scene in Sarasota County. Musicals, dramas, comedies and cabriolet are on the schedule of the well-attended theater that also involves the community through youth programs, classes and volunteer opportunities, in addition to amazing performances. The Venice Art Center has been servicing residents for years with classes, art programs and displays meant to engage the community. Other favorite happenings include the annual Shark’s Tooth Festival which draws attendees from all over the state while showcasing Venice’s rich heritage as “The Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World.” The downtown Trick-or-Treat event where young ghosts and goblins parade up and down the historic promenade gathering treats from participating business operators is held each year to the delight of families all over the county.
Private airports, lower cost-of-living, safe and affordable neighborhoods and a nice mix of franchise and locally-owned restaurants add to the list of positives for Venice. It’s not really necessary to mention Venice’s proximity to Sarasota, for that surely offers a multitude of benefits too. But, really, Venice’s offerings are pretty impressive on their own merits. Spend a day window-shopping and browsing Venice’s quaint shops and cafés and bring your dog if you want. It’s nice to visit “Small Town U.S.A.” right in our backyards with friendly, beach-town Venice beckoning us to visit. Thank you Venice for being a great representation of all the splendor that Sarasota County offers.
Venice Pier photo courtesy of Psyberartist on Flickr, commercial use allowed
Venice Beach photo courtesy of Matthew Ingram on Flickr, commercial use allowed