Island chatter: December

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Holiday parade is Nov. 27

Saturday, Nov. 27 is the big day for the 36th annual Light Up Siesta Key & Village Holiday Parade.

A festive decor and a holiday atmosphere will be on display, beginning at Avenida del Mare and Beach Road at 5:30 p.m., traveling north on Beach Road and then Ocean Boulevard, into the Village.

Those looking to participate should visit for more information, including a required preregistration form. There is a $50 fee per entry; $35 for non-profit organizations).

Santa will arrive at the Siesta Center at 6:30 p.m. and will greet children and pose for pictures until 8:30 p.m. The first 250 kids who visit Santa will receive a gift bag, courtesy of Beach Bazaar.

Free transportation is provided by the Siesta Breeze Trolley, from Turtle Beach to the Village, with multiple stops in between.

Sponsorships are available, as are volunteer opportunities. Email or call (941) 349-3800.

Children’s book now available

The ABC’s of Siesta Key, a children’s book featuring illustrations by Shawn McLoughlin that showcases all things Siesta Key, is now for sale at the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, 5114 Ocean Blvd. in Davidson Plaza.

The book depicts different local events and scenes that correlate with each letter of the alphabet.

The price is $15.

You can also order online by visiting

For more information, call the chamber at (941) 349-3800.

Red-tide designation dropped from Siesta Key, rest of Sarasota County beaches

After nearly a month of red-tide presence, all 16 of Sarasota County’s beaches were cleared of their warning status Nov. 5, according to the Florida Department of Health. That includes Siesta Key’s Turtle Beach and Siesta Beach.

Two rounds of testing that showed acceptable levels of bacteria began Nov. 1.

Siesta Key’s beaches re-joined the list of areas where elevated levels of red tide were present on Oct. 8.

Earlier, on July 13, Siesta Key was among the county beaches designated with red tide conditions, being first dropped from warning status on Sept. 9.

Nominations sought for chamber awards

Each year, the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce recognizes two outstanding member businesses, one member business person, one community partner, one leadership and service individual or organization, one Shining Star, and one Volunteer of the Year.

Chamber member businesses, customers and employees may submit nominations. Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged.

Completed nominations must be received by Dec. 15. Visit for a nomination form.

Awards will be presented at the chamber’s annual Awards Dinner on Jan. 27 at TPC Prestancia.

Holiday concerts set for ODA students

Students from Siesta Key’s Out-of-Door Academy are participating in a pair of holiday concerts that are open to the public.

On Dec. 9, they entertain the Oaks Club in Osprey with their annual show. Call (941) 966-2161 or (941) 441-1870 to purchase tickets.

Dec. 17 is the date for the Selby Library Holiday Concert in Sarasota. Visit

Online presentation showcases ongoing Grand Canal project

The Siesta Key Association, which continues to spearhead a canal regeneration project, now has a PowerPoint presentation on its YouTube channel that summarizes the project and speaks of its future.

As of early November, 11% of the 878 properties with docks along the 9-mile canal have had mini-reefs installed (99 homes have them, with some having more than one, totaling 132).

Open Midnight Pass group now in donations mode, beginning with study

A volunteer group hoping to take strides toward the re-opening of Midnight Pass, which used to be a waterway separating Siesta and Casey keys, is now in donation mode.

The pass was eventually filled in during the early ’80s, diminishing water flow between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Step one is to raise $25,000 for a study by a coastal engineer, organizers say.

Visit for more details. Donations are tax-deductible.

Sandy Claws Beach Run is Dec. 11

The Sandy Claws Beach Run will be held Dec. 11 at Siesta Beach.

To register, visit Participants will receive an event shirt and runner bag while supplies last.

The event features a 1-mile Hot Cocoa Run at 8 a.m. and the 5K race at 8:20 a.m.

Music, food and a raffle will highlight the event, along with a holiday-themed costume contest.

An early-packet-pickup party is set for 3 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9 at New Balance Sarasota, 1872 Stickney Point Rd.

For more information, call (941) 861-5000.

New code enforcement officer on board

Rick Russ is Sarasota County’s new code enforcement officer for the zone that covers Siesta Key.

He previously held a similar position with the town of Longboat Key. Russ replaces Susan Stahley, who will continue her career in the same capacity in Venice. Stahley began working with Siesta Key in 2015.

If an issue arises, Russ encourages residents to call his cell phone at (941) 264-4988.

Chamber holiday event is Dec. 2

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Reception is set for Dec. 2 at Marina Jack.

Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts will be served. Tickets are $65 each or $120 for two.

A gift raffle will be held.

RSVP is required. Visit 

Siesta Sand
Author: Siesta Sand

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