Many Northerners think of Sarasota as a either a retirement destination or a beach vacation. Last night’s Holiday Lights Boat Parade, however, revealed another facet in this shining gem of a city: Family Fun!
Waiting for the parade to begin, we navigated between kids dueling it out with saber light swords and glow sticks, babies with deer antlers in strollers, and picnickers spread out on blankets with coolers containing assorted snacks and libations. Top off the scene with just about every type of dog imaginable, and you have the great American festival.
But since Sarasota draws people of all ages and origins, we overheard spectators speaking German, Spanish, Croatian, and French. One couple traveled from Provincetown, MA; another from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. All were drawn to the water extravaganza.
Had there been stars in the inky sky (there weren’t), they would have have been out-distanced by the floating carnival. Moving slowly along the bay, each boat was a symphony of wild colors. Santa appeared in all forms — on water skis, with his fishing rod, in his traditional sleigh. One “float” that appealed to the kids was Santa’s Toy Shop, rife with beckoning presents and tinkly sounds. Several floats pumped out traditional carols; others played more festive tunes. Some were reverent and silent; others raucous and rockin’. All were decked out with enough saturated colors to knock out half the downtown power grid. 😉
Heading back to our car afterwards, we meandered between palm and kapok trees, sleeping infants and exhausted parents. Clearly, the southern traditions in a coastal city are every bit as exciting as those in the snow!
The Sarasota Spectator
Our Sarasota Spectator is Betsy Miller, a retired high school teacher and college professor. Originally from Columbus, Betsy has fallen in love with the Gulf Coast of Florida, especially Sarasota. Blogging about the area has been a creative outlet for the writer, opening up an avenue of exploration. You may find the bon vivant enjoying happy hour at a tiki bar, shopping on historic Main Street, or seated at a concert or show at a local theater. Chances are you also might find her buried in a book on one of our beautiful beaches. Asked to give one word about her feelings for Sarasota, Betsy replied, “Smitten.”