We all have our July 4 holiday routines and traditions. Mine tend to revolve around grilling and enjoying a few adult beverages with family and friends. Nothing says Independence Day like skirt steak fajitas and ice-cold margaritas, right? Throw in a good fireworks display that drives Molly, our poor 14-year-old beagle-basset mutt, under a bed and I’m in my happy place. (Molly has become mostly deaf in the past year, so this July 4 may go a bit better for her.)
Much more than an offshore powerboat race, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival has become integral to the Southwest Florida’s city’s annual July 4 holiday celebration. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
But for the past 35 years, the good people of Sarasota, Fla., have taken to celebrating July 4 to a much higher level. The city builds its Independence Day celebration around the annual weeklong Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, which benefits Suncoast Charities For Children. The week includes everything from a golf tournament and powerboating fun run, and of course a July 4 fireworks display. and finishes with a day of offshore powerboat races called the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. This year, the organizers are expecting 60 to 70 boats—a fleet-size not seen at the event since the mid 1990s—to compete in the multi-class contests.
The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival is inextricably linked to the city’s July 4 holiday doings. And exciting as the July 7 races will be this year as the Sarasota event is the third stop in the six-race American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series, they are merely the finale of a week that means the world to many Sarasotans.
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