With what would have been the 36th annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix cancelled, go-fast powerboat enthusiasts—make that the entire Southwest Florida community—could use some good news. The offshore powerboat race is the lynchpin in the annual weeklong Sarasota Grand Prix Festival benefitting Suncoast Charities For Children, and its cancellation translates to a loss in funding for the nonprofit and revenue for Sarasota County.
The organizers of the late-June Blast On The Bay Fun Run are expecting participants from all over Florida and beyond. Photo from the annual invitational 2018 New Year’s Eve Sarasota Photo Shoot by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix/speedonthewater.com.
That makes the inaugural Blast On The Bay Fun Run on Saturday, June 27, positive news for everyone involved. Proceeds from the event, which cost $50 per boat and $25 per passenger, will go to Suncoast Charities For Children. And performance boat enthusiasts in the area, and likely from across the Sunshine State and from the Midwest and Northeast, will have an early summer event in Sarasota to celebrate.
“Many people don’t realize that the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival is probably the only race site in the world organized by a local charity as a fundraiser,” said Lucy Nicandri, the executive director of Suncoast Charities For Children and the key organizer of the race. “Having to make the difficult decision to postpone this year’s race will negatively impact the financial support Suncoast Charities for Children is able to provide six local non-profits that serve more than 5,000 children, teens and adults with special needs.”
Check-in for Saturday’s run, which is slated to begin at noon, is at Marina Jacks and starts at 11 a.m. Stops during the day include the Old Salty Dog, the Bridge Tender Inn and Dockside Bar, Woody’s River Rod Pub and Grill and Caddy’s Bradenton. Scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m., the awards reception will be held at the Tarpon Bay Grill.
The festivities will kick off Friday evening with a welcome reception in the Sarasota Hyatt Regency ballroom. That event is open to all registered participants. A VIP celebration that evening in the adjacent Boat House, a historic venue in the high-performance powerboating world, costs $75 per person.
“For 35 years organizers of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix have worked hard to produce a world-class event for race fans and race teams to enjoy” Nicandri said. “It is my hope that the boating community, and race teams, will still come together and show their support so that Suncoast Charities for Children can maintain the financial flexibility to continue its local non-profits that provide critical programs and services to those in need. Our fundraising goal is $40,000. If things go well this year, we will continue to hold the Blast On The Bay Fun Run as an annual event during next year’s Festival.”
A popular element of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, the “Meet The Racers” event for beneficiaries of Suncoast Charities for Children will not happen this year.
For registration and more information, visit the Suncoast Charities For Children website. Donations to the organization can be made online or via phone, 941-706-3795.