Beggar, the Bottlenosed Dolphin

Now that my tears are wiped away I can talk about the death of a beloved creature, Beggar, from Sarasota Bay. He was found dead a week ago. Apparently, what was found inside of him were such things as fishing hooks and other fishing implements plus sea life that a dolphin doesn’t normally eat.  There is no “definitive” cause of death at the time of this writing.

We used to live on Siesta Key. When we return to visit, former neighbors and best friends of ours usually take us out on their boat. We visit the Sarasota Bay area of Nokomis and spot Beggar following boats, begging for food. He was a beautiful dolphin.

This same friend sent me some articles about dolphins in Sarasota Bay. There’s a video blog and copy of an interview with a biologist associated with Mote Marine.  It’s about the history of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Project.  A great story; I hope you take the time to watch the video and or read the text.  http://sarasotadolphin.org/randy-wells-oral-history/

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February Events in and around Siesta Key 2009

Hopefully February won’t be as cold as January was this year, Brrrrrrrr. But our snowbirds (at least the ones I hang with) have loved the “cool” weather telling me about how it was 50 degrees below zero in IA before they left to come down here, or that the snow at their daughter’s house in RI was up to the top of the front door. Regardless, I shivered this January and look forward to a warmer February. Here are some of the many cool things you can do while you’re here:

On Siesta Key:

15th Annual Siesta Fiesta Craft Fair
Saturday, Feb. 7-Sunday, Feb. 8, 10am -5pm in the Siesta Key Village

Tai Chi on Siesta Beach every Monday, 15 minutes before sunset. Meets on the beach at the public beach access #5. Looks like fun and usually attracts a lot of people. Maybe I should join in instead of just sitting and watching the sunset. Hummmmm.

FREE YOGA on Siesta Beach: every Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11am to noon at the Siesta Key Public Beach. Call for info: 941-320-6693

Siesta Key Farmer’s Market, every Sunday 7am to noon at the Davidson parking lot in the Siesta Key Village.

“Everyone Gets a Kiss” Valentine Stroll in Siesta Key Village. Friday, Feb. 13.  6 pm – 9 pm. For info: 941-349-3800

Say I Do Again–Siesta Key Beach, Renew your marriage vows this Valentines Day. Saturday, Feb 14, 6-8 pm at Siesta Key Beach. Call for Info:  941-861-5000. This is sponsored by Sarasota Parks and Recreation and I understand they’re doing this at the Venice Beach also. The phone number above can give you that info as well.

While you’re strolling around the Village, stop into Bliss and check out the clothing line to the right of the store.  The “Sunshine Everyday” line is by my neighbor, Sandy Norton.  Words like “Laugh Everyday”, “Run Everyday” “Pray Everyday”, “Dance Everyday” are on the front of these shirts and other items.  They make a perfect gift for anyone (hint…Valentine’s Day!).  You can find Sandy’s work at ww.sunshineeveryday.com.  

Around Town:

For all you SHAKESPEARE fans (such as I), the American Shakespeare Center On Tour is performing “Hamlet” on February 3 and “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” on February 4 at New College. Tickets are free but you have to call for reservations: 941-487-4155. Both performances take place in the Harry Sudakoff Conference Center begin at 7:30 pm.

Another SHAKESPEARE show, “A Winter’s Tale”, opens January 23 at the Asolo Rep Theatre.  www.asolo.org

Florida State Fair: February 5-16 in Tampa at the Fair Grounds. www.floridastatefair.com

GWIZ: Titanic exhibit ends Feb 8. I highly recommend it. Check out my blog for review.  www.gwiz.org

MOTE Marine Laboratory: HALF PRICED AFTERNOONS…all general admission tickets are half-priced between 3pm and 5pm through the end of February. Always wonderful stuff going on. Mote Marine Laboratory, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Mote Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota 941-388-4441 www.mote.org

Ringling Museum: the Kimono exhibit ends Feb 8. But more exhibits start this month.  www.ringling.org

Want to help out the Make A Wish Foundation? Go to Canvas Cafe for lunch every Wednesday through Feb. 25, 2009. They’re located at 239 S. Links Ave. Sarasota. Call for more info: 366-2233 or just show up.

The last day of the Sarasota Indian Festival is Feb 1 at Oscar Sherer Park. 9am-6pm. For more info: 941-924-2784.

The last day of the St. Armand’s Circle Arts Festival is Feb 1 from 10am to 5pm

Palm Grove Quilt & Craft Show & Sale: Palm Grove Mennonite Church, Wednesday, Feb. 04, 2009 – Saturday, Feb. 07, 2009. Wednesday-Friday 8AM-5PM; Sat. 8am – Noon  Palm Grove Mennonite Church, 1087 Beneva Road, Sarasota, 941 955-2187

Smooth Jazz on St Armand’s Circle. http://www.starmandscircleassoc.com

21st Annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts  (www.Artfestival.com)  Saturday, Feb. 21- Sunday, Feb. 22 from 10am-5pm Downtown Sarasota, Main Street between Orange and 5 Points

Winterfest at the Phillippi Estate Park  Large arts and crafts show featuring artists from around the country. Saturday, Feb. 21 – Sunday, Feb. 22;  10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For info: 941-861-5000

Bayfront Boat Show at Marina Jack’s. Jan 30-Feb 1; noon-7 Friday; 10-7 Saturday, noon-5 Sunday and FREE to the public. Check out the boat show website:  http://www.yachtworld.com/sarasota-yacht/sarasota-yacht_22.html

Dog Festival: Everyone with dogs loves to go to the Venice Dog Beach. We haven’t been. The idea of bringing home a wet dog in my car is not that appealing BUT, I’m bound to try it out anyway. If you’re a dog owner you’ll have to go to Fido Fest (dog festival) at Woodmere Park in Venice on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 12 -2 p.m. Woodmere Park is located at 3951 Woodmere Park Blvd. in Venice. For more info: 941-861-5000

Another dog event is the Sarasota Pet Fest on February 22nd, 11am-4pm.  Sponsored by Animals by Nature, the festival takes place at the Grand Slam Plaza (outside the store), 1100 North Tuttle Avenue across from Ed Smith Stadium.  For more information www.animalsbynature.com.  Look for my neighbor, Sandy, and her Sunshine Everyday booth.  She’ll have her “Wag Everyday” and “Purr Everyday” t-shirts, along with some others. 

Do you own a Ferarri or like to look at them? Then check out “Ferraris on the Circle“, the Florida Region of Ferrari Owners Club show/festival. Saturday, Feb. 14, 10 am, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. For more info: 941-388-1554

History Day in the Park sponsored by the Historical Society of Sarasota County is held at Phillippi Estate Park on Tamiami Trail, Sunday, Feb. 8, 10:00 am. Located at 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. For more info call: 941 366-1323

Selby Library has some events going on. Call the Friends of the Library for a schedule at 941-365-5228.

Sarasota Polo: Sundays, 11am-3pm. Call 941-907-0000 or http://www.sarasotapolo.com. The Polo games are a “must-go-to”. You’ll be surprised at how fun it is…not only the game but the activities going on around the game and the tailgating.

Lure Makers Art: Past and Present:  This sounds interesting. It’s an art exhibit, at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, that examines the history of fishing lures by exhibiting lures from the 1890s along with the contemporary work of Jan Cummings. How cool.  Through February 15th.  www.southfloridamuseum.org

For all of you art lovers, New MCC Fine Art Gallery Hosts Society of Artists Exhibit through Feb 19.  Call for info: 941-752-5225 or www.mccfl.edu.  There are plenty of other art venues, galleries on and near Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, the statue of the kiss at the corner of Ringling and Tamiami Trail, Historic Burns Square Artist’s Market on Saturday’s, and then this list of the arts (theatre, music, visual): Asolo Repertory Theatre,  Art Center Sarasota, Florida Studio Theatre, Gulf Coast Men’s Chorus, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Arts Council,  Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Other things to do: Selby Gardens, Historic Spanish Point, Crowley Museum.

December on Siesta Key

What a packed schedule of events this month!

Not only do we have the usual stuff going on (tree lightings, museum events, symphony shows, church choir performances) but we also have family from both sides coming to FL this year to visit. 

Here’s a list of things you can do while you’re here in Sarasota this December:

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: SANTA JAWS, December 6 from 12pm-2pm www.mote.org for info.

GWIZ: Toy Drive for Mothers Helping Mothers: Starting December 2 10am-5pm everyday until December 15th.  Bring your unwrapped gift to the front admissions desk.   Mothers Helping Mothers helps those who have fallen through the cracks by providing necessities like cribs, baby supplies, clothes and some financial assistance. They are an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to helping Sarasota’s families in need.

Also at GWIZ (my favorite kind of holiday fun): 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Building Competition December 20, 12pm-3pm.   Join G.WIZ for a tasty way to show off your engineering and architectural skills by creating a spectacular gingerbread house from graham crackers! Feel free to bring in your own creative and edible materials! $6 per family team.  www.gwiz.org for info.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Selby Lights in Bloom (we went last year and it was awesome).  December 11-14, December 18-21, and December 26-28 from 6pm-9pm.  Their Family Night activities are scheduled for December 13 & 20 featuring Santa, cookie decorating, face painting and other kid’s activities.  www.selby.org for info.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens:    Celebrate the 5th Annual Holiday Lights and Jungle Nights at Sarasota Jungle Gardens! Ten acres of lights will sparkle and dance and bring cheer to all who visit.  The 65 lighted displays range from season traditional to exotic animals like macaws and lemurs.Don’t miss the 21 foot three-dimensional holiday tree with over 4,000 lights and a 17 foot elephant in the Open Gardens!

Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails will be available for purchase to the adults by Bella Cucina. Holiday music will be provided by “Just Judy” for children’s entertainment. A snowball toss, marshmallow roast, and visits from Santa add to the festivities.  Check their website for dates and times: www.sarasotajunglegardens.com

Ringling Museum: December 4 6pm-9pm  Holiday Splendor to benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program covering Manatee and Sarasota counties.  For more info go to their website:   http://www.ringling.org/special_event3.asp?id=2084   Also Breakfast with Santa, December 13 at 9am.  Reservations are requred – please call 941/358-3180 for yours.

The Nutcracker Ballet:  Florida Ballet Arts Academy Ensemble presents The Nutcracker at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple St.;  Sat., Dec. 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm and Sun., Dec. 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm
For tickets call (941) 955-3422.

Phillippi Arts & Crafts Festival: December 6 & 7 from 10am-4pm

Sandy Claws Beach Run on Siesta Key: December 13 at 7am.  From the website: The 32nd Annual Sandy Claws Beach Run will take place on 12/13. Registration begins at 7am. One mile fun run is at 8am. 5K is at 8:20 am. Pre-registration deadline is December 5. Pre-registration fee is $18 per adult and $15 per child. Race Day registration fee is $25. 5K age groups: 9 & under, 10-12, 13-15, 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-89, 90-94, 95-99, 100 & over, Masters & Grandmasters Awards to overall male & female. Awards to age group winners 1st-3rd place. Ribbons to age group winners 4th-6th place. Register by calling Twin Lakes Park at 941-861-7275 or online at www.parksonline.scgov.net.

Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: December 13.  Starts at the southern end of Longboat Key and ends at Marina Jack.  If you can’t make it, catch it live on Channel 6, SNN.

Sarasota Holiday Parade: December 6 at 7pm along Main Street in Downtown Sarasota.

Holiday Night on St Armand’s Circle is December 5 at 6pm with a tree lighting.

The Florida West Coast Symphony has a list of various performances this month.  A family concert “Home for the Holidays” on December 6 at Van Wezel PAH; “Mozart and Mahler” on December 12, 13 & 14, at Van Wezel PAH; and a celebration of holiday cheer on December 17, 18, 19 & 20, Holley Hall.  For more info: www.sarasotaorchestra.org.

And our favorite: driving through Siesta Key and neighboring areas to look at the lights at night.  If you’re coming to Siesta Key, drive over the north bridge (Siesta Drive).  There should be a great display of lights to your left.  Stop off in the parking lot just over the bridge and take a look.  You’ll want to drive through the Village and then down Beach Rd south to Midnight Pass and Turtle Beach.  The resorts have done a nice job showing off their lights. 

Other activities can be found at the Sarasota County Government website calendar of events: www.scgov.net

There are so many  other things going this month.  Hope you find something to enjoy.  Have a Merry Christmas.