Suncoast Super Boat Festival continuing through Sunday

A trailered Grand Prix boat is among the racers ready to launch in Sarasota Bay this weekend. Photos by Norman Schimmel

All weekend events of the 28th Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival remain on schedule, according to the event’s website, with the Festival Parade of Boats starting at 7 p.m. today, June 29, on Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

The Boats by the Bay Downtown Block Party began at 5 p.m. on Gulfstream Avenue at the end of Main Street and will continue until midnight. The party features vendors, food and the Grand Prix boats on display. Live entertainment will be provided in J.D. Hamel Park.

The Meet and Greet Who’s in the Driver’s Seat will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 30, in the Tropics Room at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. Tickets are $5 for adults, with children age 12 and under admitted free.

The brightly colored boats stand out at Centennial Park in Sarasota.

Powerboats By the Bay has been scheduled from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 30 at Centennial Park, at the intersection of 10th Street and U.S. 41 in Sarasota.

Bands will be playing from 12:30 p.m. until 9 p.m.

The Miss Super Boat Grand Prix Bikini Contest will be held on June 30 as well, with judging at 3 p.m. The contest will be on the stage at Centennial Park.

The annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix itself will feature two heats, tentatively scheduled at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, with live streaming on

The best viewing area is Lido Beach between New Pass and Big Pass.

The annual festival is a benefit for Suncoast Charities for Children. Over the years, the event has raised $14 million for facilities to serve children with special needs and their families. Among the agencies Suncoast Charities supports are the Loveland Center, Sarasota Special Olympics, Children First and The Florida Center.

The Sarasota grand prix is one of the longest continuously held races in the country, Suncoast Charities points out.

The Sarasota County Commission recognized the festival with a proclamation on June 26, noting that in 2011, the week-long event drew about 100,000 people, with the county realizing an economic impact
 of approximately $12.7 million.

For more information and a complete festival schedule, visit