The Sarasota Bay Water Festival

Sarasota Bay Water Festival

Saturday, April 30, 2016
@ Beautiful Ken Thompson Park

2014 Photo Slideshow

2013 Photo Slideshow

2012 Photo Slideshow

The Water Festival celebrates the importance of Sarasota Bay to our region’s environment and economy. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Founding Sponsor and SBEP will be announcing a Community Sponsor and Host Sponsor later this year. Other sponsors are designated as Bay Champions, Bay Friends and Bay Supporters. We’ve moved the festival from early November to late April, but the venue remains Ken Thompson Park with its scenic views of the bay and downtown Sarasota.

Sarasota Bay is the region’s most important natural treasure and a major economic engine supporting tourism, fishing, boating, and real estate! Please like us on Facebook!

Sarasota Bay Water Festival Photo Contest 2013 Dragon Boat Race

2016 Highlights:

Have Fun – Live music with top area bands, food trucks & local restaurants, beer and wine garden, Art Zone featuring artists and photographers selling gift items, hands on kayak demonstrations, and a display of the winning photos from the I Love Sarasota Bay Photo Contest. Don’t forget the After Party. Details about the party will be posted in early 2016.

Other highlights include vintage and new boats, dip netting, nature walks, and exhibits promoting boating, fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. Come early and spend the day. Pets welcome too, but don’t forget your six-foot leash.

Learn New Things – Interact with local expert speakers from the public and private sector. We will post a schedule of speakers and topics in early 2016. The 2014 topics included the protection of local wildlife, the bay’s economic value, progress with local water quality and restoration, and the problem of discarded plastic harming wildlife.

Live Music:

Enjoy live music from 11am until 4pm. Our music lineup in 2014 featured award-winning guitarist Ben Hammond, Applebutter Express (photo), Serotonic, and Ari and the Alibis. Other bands that have performed since 2012 include: Come Back Alice, Hymn for Her, Democracy, The Lauren Mitchell Band, and Stumble Creek.

Welcome Sponsors:

The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is the Founding Sponsor. Inquires welcome at

Welcome Exhibitors:

The Water Festival Art Zone added color and energy!Connect with many exhibitors focused on water recreation and sports, boating and fishing, other outdoor activities, unique gifts for sale including nature and wildlife photography, arts and crafts, local groups promoting conservation and the protection of wildlife, and diverse groups promoting bay-friendly living. 


Our sustainability plan includes recycling and alternative transportation including biking, kayaking, carpooling, and the LBK Trolley. We plan to work with our friends at Freedom Boat Club on a free water taxi service between Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota and the Sarasota Sailing Squadron next to Ken Thompson Park.

Founding Sponsor:  The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs in the U.S. The Program strives to improve water quality, increase habitat and enhance the natural resources of the area for use and enjoyment by the public. Major government partners include Sarasota County, Manatee County, City of Sarasota, City of Bradenton, Town of Longboat Key, Southwest Florida Water Management District, and the U.S. EPA.