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Sarasota Bay Water Festival announces sustainability plan

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Water Festival (SBWF) will focus on alternative transportation, recycling and composting, and reducing single-use bottled water as some of the key components of the festival sustainability plan. The free regional festival is set for 9am to 5pm on Saturday, November 17 at Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota. The purpose of the festival is to celebrate the importance of Sarasota Bay to the region’s environment and economy.

“Our vision is to minimize the overall carbon footprint of the festival while promoting alternative transportation and reducing waste,” said Sherri Swanson, the sustainability manager. Sherri is also one of the associate directors and she works for HDR Engineering, Inc.

Alternative transportation includes a water taxi service from Marina Jack to the dock area at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron. The service is free thanks to Freedom Boat Club. Two boats will be departing every 30-40 minutes from Marina Jack as of 9am on November 17. Folks using the service can use the valet service at Marina Jack or public parking nearby. The boats are commanded by Coast Guard certified boat captains.

Other forms of alternative transportation include carpooling, hourly stops by both SCAT (Route 18) and the LBK Trolley, a free bike valet, and a free kayak and canoe valet. Use of the valet service requires that visitors receive a ticket from one of the festival volunteers. As an incentive for carpooling, festival volunteers will present a free raffle ticket to any motor vehicle driver arriving with at least four individuals in the vehicle. The grand prize drawing at 3pm on the live music stage is a two night stay at the Longboat Key Resort & Club. Another raffle item is a photograph by the noted nature photographer Clyde Butcher.

Waste Management, Sarasota County and the City of Sarasota are helping with trash removal and recycling. The Agriculture & Extension Service with Manatee County will provide six Earth Machines to capture organic waste. The Orange Blossom Community Garden will collect the bio-degradable, organic waste at the end of the festival.

SBWF has partnered with a local Brita distributor to present the Brita Hydration Station offering free water refills to visitors. The water station offers filtered and chilled water directly from the municipal supply. Visitors are encouraged to bring their reusable water bottles to the festival. Reusable bottles and bottled water will also be available and visitors can use these containers for unlimited free water refills.