Some events come around and you think, “that sounds fun,” but you go about your every day business and fail to nail down tickets, or friends who also want to attend. Then there are those events that make you solidify your plans with one group text to friends who are always on board for this charity occasion, every year, like clockwork as it returns to Sarasota. It’s not a one-day affair, but a week’s worth of activities that has your excitement level at its maximum peak. A week’s worth of fun is just what you need to infuse your summer with an added blast of energy. The HotelPlanner Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival has returned and is marking the heart of Summer with a firm exclamation point.
With more pre-race activities for the fans, and racers ready to rocket across the waters of the Gulf of Mexico while attendees enjoy an ice-cold libation with toes firmly planted in the sand, this tradition is marking its 34th successful return to Sarasota.
When the financial beneficiary involves children & adults with special needs, it is easy to get behind a worthy cause or event. The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix has benefitted Suncoast Charities for Children in ways that cannot be adequately measured by words in an article. Many special needs clients and their families around the Suncoast face life-and-death decisions daily with regards to stable housing, adequate food supply, health considerations, and basic grooming supplies. Having the amenities that Suncoast Charities for Children has indirectly provided are literally priceless. Their funding supports the Suncoast Foundation which has constructed facilities in the area (valued at $20 Million) occupied by four area non-profit agencies for a lease payment of only $1.00 per year. Some of the agencies these facilities are home to include The Haven, The Florida Center for Early Childhood, Children First, and Sarasota County Special Olympics. Loveland Center also receives support. Money raised each year funds maintenance to these aging facilities, so that program and service funding is not impacted and can go directly to over 8,000 clients a year needing assistance.
This year’s Grand Prix Festival runs from June 23 through July 4, culminating with a Bayfront Spectacular 4th of July Fireworks display, which attracts thousands of spectators around the Suncoast. Several ancillary events will kick off the week of racing including the 3rd Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic on June 23 at the Meadows Country Club in Sarasota. A car & motorcycle show, fishing tournament, comedy night, fan festival, and a Miss Powerboat P1 swimsuit contest along with other fun activities will surround the main racing events which begin on Saturday (June 30) with the Superstock, Production Class, & Personal Watercraft Races off Lido Beach. The Powerboat Races take place on Sunday (July 1) beginning at 10:00 A.M. off Lido Beach. A VIP area will be located in front of Sandcastle Resort on Sunday only (July 1) offering complementary parking at the South Lido Beach parking lot, a trolley shuttle down to the Sandcastle Resort, food, welcome bag, and three complimentary beverages from a full bar. VIP tickets are limited at $100 per person. They can be purchased by visiting the Festival’s website, link provided below.
A couple of new and exciting features to this year’s festivities include the races reaching 65 Million households across the U.S. when CBS Sports will air a post-race broadcast on July 22 at 4 pm. Also new this year is the addition of the HotelPlanner brand to the event, now known as the HotelPlanner Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival. Over 8,000 of the Suncoast’s most vulnerable children and adults are relying on services that are directly affected by the week’s financial success. With the backdrop of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, sleek powerboats that create quite an awe-inspiring display perched on the water ready to dart forward quicker than the eye can catch, and weather predicted to be Chamber of Commerce perfect, the community has a perfect excuse to enjoy a day in paradise while supporting one of the area’s most beloved charities, Suncoast Charities for Children. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/SarasotaGrandPrix
Photos courtesy of Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Facebook page.