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Sarasota Bay Water Festival accepting final exhbitor applications

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SARASOTA – The Sarasota Bay Water Festival is accepting final applications from prospective exhibitors for the regional event set for Saturday, November 2 at Ken Thompson Park. Organizers already have 75 registered exhibitors and expect to start a waiting list this week. An online application is available at

Most of the exhibitors are focused on water recreation sports and activities, recreational boating, fine arts and crafts, wildlife and nature photography, local clubs that enjoy outdoor fun, wildlife conservation, eco-tourism, and environmental education.

Festival highlights include the bay’s first ever dragon boat races, live music on the main stage from noon until 7pm, fine artists selling unique gift items, panel discussions on bay-friendly living, food trucks and local restaurants, vintage and new boat displays, a display of the winning submissions to the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest, fun stuff for kids including dip netting and nature walks, and exhibits focused on boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle board sports, scuba diving, birding, protection of wildlife, bay-friendly living, fine arts, and wildlife photography.

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Presenting Sponsor and HDR, Inc. is the Host Sponsor for 2013. Other sponsors in random order include Sarasota County, Freedom Boat Club, Economy Tackle and Dolphin Paddlesports, Sierra Club, City of Sarasota, The Old Salty Dog, Hotel Indigo, Whole Foods Market, SUP Sarasota, Nature’s Academy, Manatee County, Sarasota Sailing Squadron, Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota Wind and Water Adventures, Suncoast Food Trucks, West Coast Inland Navigation District, Caldwell Trust Company, Stantec Engineering, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Florida Underwater Sports, Scheda Ecological Associates, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Town of Longboat Key, City of Bradenton, Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, Save Our Seabirds, Around the Bend Nature Tours, High Five Dragon Boat, Suncoast Waterkeeper, Sun King Disc Sports, Hotel Indigo, Friends of Sarasota County Parks, University of Florida IFAS Extension, and Triple 3 Marketing.

Media sponsors include the Observer Media Group, WUSF Public Media / WSMR 89.1 Classical Radio, WSRQ 1220 Sarasota Talk Radio, Sarasota Day (The HuB), Top10 Sarasota, and Transformation Magazine.

Vintage Paws of Sarasota is the nonprofit partner for 2013. The proceeds from the sale of beer and wine will go to Vintage Paws to support their mission to provide a sanctuary for unwanted senior dogs. The Water Festival is pet-friendly, but don’t forget your six-foot leash and doggie bags.

Photo: Local exhibitors at the 2012 Water Festival; the 2013 event will have more participants.