February in Sarasota brings a couple of time-honored experiences. First, amazing sunny yet cool and crisp days, each stretching out a tad longer so that those precious few moments of daylight before the sun disappears are like gifts. Then, just as we’re feeling like the luckiest people in the civilized world just by virtue of our zip codes, we are reminded that Sarasota also is a city of philanthropic, hard-rocking, motorcycle loving people. We love to support a great cause, make memories with friends, and enjoy a well-oiled event. Get ready Sarasota, because Thunder By The Bay is back.
If you’ve attended Thunder By The Bay before, you’re aware that even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast, the musical component always includes a stellar lineup of bands. And if you are there for the bikes you know that TBB consistently ranks as one of the top 50 Motorcycle festivals in the United States and was honored by Sarasota Magazine in 2018 as the Best Festival or Special Event in Sarasota. The combination of tunes and bikes makes for an exciting afternoon, evening, or both if you’re a hard-hitter. A clay tournament and kickoff party happened in advance of the main event which runs this weekend. This will be the second year that Thunder By the Bay will be held at Sarasota Fairgrounds, which proved to be a convenient location along the Fruitville corridor and highly successful for the events beneficiary and host, Suncoast Charities for Children.
Suncoast Charities for Children, a 501 (c)(3) organization that assists several agencies in the area on behalf of local special needs teens and adults, puts the festival on each year with the help of countless volunteers and sponsors. Suncoast Charities for Children hosts several large events throughout the year in addition to Thunder By The Bay including Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, the July 4th and New Year’s Eve Fireworks on Sarasota Bay, and the Holiday Boat Parade. The funds they raise assist agencies like The Haven, Loveland Center, Children First, The Florida Center for Early Childhood, and Sarasota County Special Olympics. These agencies, who provide crucial services to thousands of area residents, can enjoy an annual lease of just $1 for their offices and services which are housed in buildings constructed by the Suncoast Foundation, funded by Suncoast Charities for Children. Our support and attendance to events like Thunder By The Bay this weekend directly impacts our special needs friends and neighbors in the area, which sounds like a win for everyone. See below for a lineup of this weekend’s exciting Thunder By The Bay festivities.
Friday February 15: Sarasota Fairgrounds 3000 Ringling Boulevard, 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Gate Admission $5, 12 and under are free. Events include “Light up the Night,” people’s choice bike show, Ford truck display, over 100 vendors, and a Thunder Tap area which includes tented seating, corn hole, and Jenga. Live music will include the bands Cowboy and Maiden Cane.
Saturday February 16: Sarasota Fairgrounds 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Gate admission $5, 12 and under free. Saturday’s highlights will be FMX/BMX Freestyle shows, and a Burnout contest. You can expect great music all day with a bevy of rockers and tribute bands including Diary of an Ozzman, Steelheart, Nuthin’ Fancy-Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band, and the Ultimate Garth Brooks Tribute. Enjoy it all a little more with a tempting array of festival foods and beverages.
Sunday February 17: Sarasota Fairgrounds 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM Gate admission $5, 12 and under free. Sunday wraps up with musical acts including In the Light Led Zeppelin, Smokin’ Boston Tribute and Double Your Trouble Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute. More FMX/BMX Freestyle shows, Cycle Circus, and exciting Burnout contests along with a Charity Ride and Bike Show bring the festivities to a close.
For more information on Thunder By The Bay, including multi-day pass prices and VIP tickets, please visit their FB page here.
Photos courtesy of Thunder By The Bay Facebook page and The Sarasota Post.