Performers announced for opening ceremony of World Rowing Championships, set for Sept. 23

Circus Sarasota, Cuban Ballet School, Sarasota Pops and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe among the participants

The World Rowing Championships website featured this banner on June 29. Image from

Incorporating a circus theme, performers from a variety of community arts organizations will collaborate for the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Rowing Championships, event organizers have announced.

On Saturday, Sept. 23 — the eve of the first day of competition — the free event at 7 p.m. has been designed to resemble those held for the Olympic Games, a news release explains.

The non-ticketed event “will be emceed by a world-renowned NBA public address announcer, who has showcased his talents during NBA All-Star Weekend and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing,” the release notes.

The ceremony “will tell the story of Florida’s Suncoast and how it became the amazing coastal and cultural community it is today,” the release adds.

The performers will be as follows:

  • Circus Sarasota (Circus Arts Conservatory and Sailor Circus).
  • Jah Movement Reggae Band.
  • Sarasota Cuban Ballet School
  • Sarasota Pops Orchestra.
  • Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team.
  • The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.

At the end of the evening, Creative Pyrotechnics will light up the night sky with a fireworks show over Nathan Benderson Park, the release notes.

The event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a Fan Fest experience, the release continues: Food trucks and restaurants “will serve their most popular menu items.”

“The Opening Ceremony is something not to be missed,” said Sue Brady, director of production for the 2017 World Rowing Championships, in the release. “It’s going to be a magical evening that will have everyone up and dancing.”

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County has been instrumental in assisting the 2017 World Rowing Championships with securing the acts for the extravaganza, the release points out.

“It’s not every day that a community gets an opportunity to have a showcase to the world,” said Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, in the release. “The Sarasota/Bradenton area is well known as the cultural coast of Florida and we look forward to letting the world know what a great cultural gem they can experience when they visit here,” he added in the release.