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Sarasota Bay Water Festival to Showcase Wildlife Photographers, Artists

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A dozen top wildlife photographers and artists will be featured

SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Water Festival on Saturday, November 17 will feature a special Creative Arts Tent showcasing a dozen top area wildlife photographers and artists. The free regional event will be held at Ken Thompson Park from 9am to 5pm. The participating artists include Barbara Bowen, Jean and Dave Clark, Maxis Gamez, Sandy Hedgepeth, Dave Johnson, Rick Hotton, James and Wilks Mammone, Paul Martinelli, Lou Newman, and Ron Wooldridge. Their bios and photos are posted on the event website.

“Our plan is to sell mostly photos, prints and related items that capture the beauty and diversity of Sarasota Bay and Florida’s habitat and wildlife,” said Sandy Hedgepeth. Sandy is the volunteer coordinator with the event planning team focused on Bay Creative Arts. Her team members include Sheryl Vieira of Sarasota and Paige Long of Bradenton.

Another artistic component of the Sarasota Bay Water Festival is the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest with three age divisions. Guidelines for the contest are posted on the event website. First, second and third place ribbons will be presented at the event and all of the winning submissions will be on display along with other finalists.

The theme of the Sarasota Bay Water Festival is Enjoy the Bay and activities are being organized around three areas: Bay Recreation, Bay Creative Arts, and Bay Science & Education. Other highlights include live music on the main stage, local food vendors, and many exhibits and activities promoting all forms of boating, fishing, paddle board sports, scuba diving, birding, and other fun activities.

Florida’s first “iceberg” will be unveiled thanks to the creativity of Rick Herzog, a Sculpting Professor at New College of Florida. The Sarasota Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team will perform at 4pm. Event guests can also gain free admission to the popular Mote Aquarium which is open from 10am to 5pm. Admission requires obtaining a stamp at the event so please come early if you want to include an afternoon visit to Mote Aquarium.

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the host sponsor and Triple 3 Marketing (T3M) is organizing and managing the festival. SBEP is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. and a long term advocate of a healthy Sarasota Bay. T3M is the same leadership team that produced the E-Fest Green Living Music & Arts Festival in 2007 and 2008.

Early event sponsors include City of Sarasota, Solar Direct, Manatee County, Whole Foods Market, Sarasota County, Janicki Environmental, Inc., Town of Longboat Key, HDR Engineering, Inc., City of Bradenton, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Stantec, Mote Marine Laboratory, Caldwell Trust Company, Visit Sarasota County, New College of Florida, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Scheda Ecological Associates, Inc., WSRQ 1220AM Radio, Around the Bend Nature Tours, Save Our Seabirds, Reef Innovations, Inc., Sarasota Audubon, Nature’s Academy, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, Science and Environmental Council of Sarasota County, and the UF/IFAS Extension in both counties.

Event organizers are seeking additional sponsors from the private and public sector. Some of the sponsor contributions will support SBEP education and volunteer programs benefiting Sarasota Bay. Details about sponsorship and exhibiting are posted on the event website.