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Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival Changing Dates

A July 4 week staple for 35 years in Southwest Florida, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival will be held June 20-28 in 2020. The news was announced in a press release from the organizers of the event, the proceeds of which benefit Suncoast Charities for Children.

According to the release, presenting sponsor Visit Sarasota County “expressed a need to focus on expanding demand outside of a popular holiday weekend for local businesses and hoteliers to organizers.” The City of Sarasota, a major sponsor for the festival, also “expressed that such a move will help with surrounding city staff resources needed during a busy holiday weekend.”

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In 2020, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival will be held at the end of June. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

“We want to continue being a good partner to the community and feedback from key sponsors is something we always take into consideration before planning any special event”, said Lucy Nicandri, the director of the Sarasota Grand Prix Festival, in the release. “Our board of directors welcomed and carefully reviewed this suggestion along with feedback from participating race teams traveling to Sarasota.

“I feel moving the race to the weekend before the July 4 holiday will now allow visitors and locals, who could not attend before due to the holiday, to experience next year’s festival,” she added.

The traditional finale for the weeklong festival, this year’s Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix was third event in the six-race inaugural American Power Boat Association Offshore Championship Series. Visit Sarasota County reported in its economic impact report that the 2019 Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix generated an estimated economic impact of $29.6 million—a considerable increase from $21.9 million reported in 2018—and a direct total impact of $17.9 million in expenditures, according to the release

CBS Sports and Fox Sports aired an hour long post-race program reaching approximately 65 million homes within the United States and 400 million households in over 150 countries. The races were also livestreamed with 301,276 viewers tuning in from around the world, the release stated.

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