February is a magical time in Florida! There’s something gratifying about going out shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops to do what we need to on the weekends, when our northern friends are having to don protective winter gear just to check the mail.
It’s quite liberating, isn’t it, to devise a plan and then go, without the need to warm up the car, and layer yourself up like the kid in Christmas Story? Call us sun snobs, we don’t care, we kind of like it the warm way. It’s February in Sarasota and we are celebrating with outdoor festivals, thrilling water-skiing feats and even a little something for your pets, and it’s all happening this weekend.
One of those “grab your sunglasses and go” events that has evolved into a steadfast local tradition is the return of the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team. Thrilling spectators since 1957 with amazing jumps and coordinated moves, the Ski-A-Rees are a must-see for your family and visiting guests. The group currently has members ranging from three years old to seventy years old, and welcomes water skiers of all levels to join the fun and receive instruction. The group participates in the Florida State Ski Show Championship, Southern Regional Show Ski Championship, and the National Ski Show Championship, and consistently wins awards and accolades. Additionally, The Ski-A-Rees can be booked for private events such as birthdays, graduations and weddings in Sarasota, Florida and internationally. The Ski-A-Rees begin their new season on February 7th and offer free shows every Sunday at 2:00 P.M. at Ken Thompson Park. Pleases visit their website for membership details and upcoming events, www.skiarees.com.
If you’d like your sun therapy accompanied by a fresh and flaky piece of baklava, you’re going to want to attend the 32nd Annual Greek Glendi Festival on the grounds of the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. This four-day event runs from Feb. 4-7 and features authentic, mouth-watering Greek cuisine and traditional music that will take you from the sidelines to the dance floor with a satisfied appetite and happy heart. The festival will also have a kid’s adventure zone, vendors and a popular raffle. The raffle this year features only 1500 total tickets being sold and the prizes include a 2016 Mercedes-Benz C300 or GLC350 and $12,500 in cash. This annual favorite festival has something for everyone, so don’t miss out! For more information, please visit www.stbarbarafestival.org.
On tap for Feb. 5-6 is the 4th Annual Shake, Rattle and Soul Fest at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. Come out and kick your heels up as you listen to the sounds of tribute performances for music legends including Buddy Holly, Rod Stewart, James Brown and Roy Orbison. World-champion Elvis impersonator Dwight Icenhower will also be there to shake things up. Shows will be running both Friday and Saturday from 3:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. For more information, please visit www.shakerattleandsoulfest.com.
Saturday, Feb. 6 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. is going to be the perfect day to grab your four-legged friends and head out to the 6th annual Celebration of Pets Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. Pet adoptions, agility and skills competitions, groomers and approximately 150 vendors will be on hand providing tips and providing the latest pet products that are available on the market. This is a family-friendly event so be sure to bring your two-legged friends also.
And to cap the weekend off with excellent music and exercise is The 2nd Annual Sarasota Music Half Marathon happening on Sunday, Feb. 7. With a 13.1 mile course, which begins and ends at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center, the run will take you past several of Sarasota’s most famous and beautiful landmarks including Selby Gardens, over the Ringling Bridge, past St. Armand’s Circle, Marina Jacks, and Bayfront Park. With over 20 bands, a “beer mile,” cheerleaders, and lawn parties strung throughout beautiful Sarasota neighborhoods, you cannot go wrong with this event. To register as a runner, or for spectator information, please visit www.sarasotahalf.com.
What a weekend we are in for! This just skims the top of the barrel when it comes to fun in the sun options this weekend. Get out and enjoy the fabulous music, food and festivities that makes Sarasota the best place to live on this planet. Isn’t life grand in Sarasota in the winter? Happy February everyone! Enjoy!
Photos: Florida Fish and Wildlife by Chef Demo courtesy of Flickr
Sarasota-Swedish Club at Heritage Festival by Roger W courtesy of Flickr
Ski Rees photo from Facebook