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Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival

June 23 – July 4, 2018 — Sarasota, Florida
The Sarasota Boat Races called the Suncoast Offshore Racing Grand Prix first took place in 1984 and has since become an annual event. It is the longest continually run boat race in the United States. Not just a boat race, but a festival with lots of activities. There will be dozens of high performance boats participating in a downtown parade and exhibition and race in the Gulf of Mexico. Another real plus of this festival is proceeds from the events surrounding the race benefit Suncoast Charities for Children.

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Admission: Free and event is open to the public.

There are VIP tickets available for purchase to watch the race from the Sandcastle Resort. Visit — sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org

Location: The event takes place in the waters off Sarasota and various resort locations.
The best place to view the Sarasota Boat Races/The Suncoast Offshore Racing Grand Prix, is from Lido Key Beach. The race course runs from New Pass (north of Lido Key/south of Longboat Key) to Big Pass (south of Lido Key/north of Siesta Key). Anywhere along Lido Public Beach, you will have a great view of the offshore power boat racing. The crowds will be large, but it is spread out and with the water right in front of you bring your swimsuit and stay cool by watching the race from in the water.
Be prepared to come early, as some die-hard fans will arrive between 5 and 6 am looking for good parking spots and to stake out their spot on the beach. Everyone will be looking for the best angle to see the offshore racing boats. Expect to see brightly colored umbrellas and picnic shades, along with racing fans that bring grills filling the beach side with the wonderful aroma of hamburgers, hot dogs and other barbecued treats.
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Here are a few of the more popular events during the festival:
• June 24, 2018: Suncoast Grand Prix Car Show: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Additional details pending.
• June 28, 2018:  The offshore Grand Prix Festival Kickoff Party Fundraiser Doors open at 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. More info pending.
• June 29, 2018: “Meet & Greet Who’s In The Driver’s Seat & Autograph session,” Hyatt Regency Ballroom, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, $5.00 Adults/Kids 18 & Under Free. 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
• June 29, 2018: “Boats by the Bay” Party in the Pits: Powerboats on display plus meet the race teams along with food, drinks and live music. 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Van Wezel Parking lot ,777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL.
• June 29, 2018: “Boats by the Bay” Party in the Pits: Miss Powerboat P1 Swimwear Contest. Top prizes: $500, $750, $1,000! 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Van Wezel Parking lot ,777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL.
June 30 – July 1, 2018: Grand Prix Fan Fest. See teams up close prepping for the race, watch the races LIVE under a tent plus music, food, full bar, vendors. Free admission. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Van Wezel Parking Lot, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL.
• July 1, 2018: Race Team Award Presentations: Free admission and open to the public, 5:30 p.m. Centennial Park, 1105 10th St., Sarasota, FL
July 4, 2018: Fireworks over Sarasota Bay, Island Park, Free. 9 p.m.
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The Sarasota Boat Races are awesome to witness as some of the offshore racing boats reach speeds of over 100 mph on the straight-aways of the six and a half mile long race course off Lido Key Beach. While the racing is happening you will also see
numerous helicopters overhead with medical staff and emergency divers aboard prepared to provide medical response should a mishap occur on the water. They will be keeping their eyes on the boats, drivers as well as marine animals.
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To get to Lido Key Beach from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217: take Gulf Drive South to St. Armand’s Circle and bear to the left around the Circle (west) toward Lido Key Beach. Turn left (south) on to Ben Franklin Drive and look for parking spots on the street or at the Lido Key Beach public parking lot, south on Ben Franklin Drive. If no parking is available, double back to St. Armand’s Key and look for free parking lots around the rear of the shops on St Armand’s Circle (look for the free parking signs around the Circle).
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