Chairman’s Message – October/November 2015

With the start of season just around the corner, the SDMA is hard at work planning a variety of events and festivities to inspire

­community residents and visitors to consistently count ­downtown ­Sarasota as a not-to-be-missed ­destination for a myriad of entertainment ­opportunities.

But, before I mention all that is going on in the coming weeks and months, I would like to announce that Paul ­Thorpe, known throughout Sarasota as “Mr. Downtown,” has agreed to serve as SDMA’s new ­executive director. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position, and we are very ­fortunate to have him working on our team.

He has, in fact, been instrumental in orchestrating the design and development of the SDMA’s new downtown map. When open, the pocket-sized map will include a complete view of downtown at a glance.

Watch for delivery of this often-requested and much-needed map this month.

Now, on to exciting news about our upcoming events!

It is SDMA’s vision to make not just the first Friday of the month, but every Friday night a reason to visit ­downtown Sarasota. Consequently, we are starting to plan fun, family events to kick off every weekend.

As you know, every First Friday is the Palm Avenue Art Work, which is hosted by the Downtown Sarasota Alliance and offers special themed events, music, refreshments and more in the lower part of downtown.

On September 11, we launched “Cruise Night,” a brand new event that featured ­antique and classic cars, as well as hot rods. This popular event will be held on each ­second Friday going forward and, once the new roundabout is complete, we will move to Lemon Avenue and add DJ music.

Other ideas under consideration for the third and fourth Fridays of the month include “Music in the Park”—featuring live music, food trucks and beer and wine sales in Five Points Park—and “Art on Main & ­Beyond,” an evening that will spotlight the work of local artists, who will set up easels and artwork displays throughout downtown.

In addition to our plans to jump start Friday nights, here are more up-and-coming, SDMA-sponsored events that are certain to bring attendees of all ages downtown:

  • Dog-a-Ween—Saturday, October 31—Five Points Park
  • Sarasota Fall Fine Art Festival—Saturday, November 21 & Sunday, November 22—Gulfstream Avenue
  • The Annual Holiday Tree Lighting—NEW NIGHT! ­Thursday, December 3—Five Points Park
  • New Year’s Eve Celebration & Pineapple Drop—­Thursday, December 31 & Friday, January 1

I invite each and every one of you to get ­involved by volunteering at and/or participating in these events and to encourage your friends, family members and ­customers to support SDMA’s efforts to continue to ­cultivate more and more reasons to visit—and enjoy—downtown ­Sarasota.


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