Beach Blanket Bongos
Sometimes the best things in life are free — and the Sunday evening drum circle at Siesta Key Beach is one of those things. A weekly Sarasota ritual, the event draws hundreds of residents and tourists to the beach an hour before sunset the night before the work week begins.
We stumbled across it serendipitously while leaving the beach last spring. As we were headed toward our cars with beach chairs in hand, we were drawn to the distant sound of drumming. What a delightful surprise to stumble upon a large circle in the sand where drummers of all persuasions were pounding out polyrhythms, and beach-goers were seated on towels and chairs enjoying the percussionary flow.
Yesterday we returned for a second visit and arrived in time for the set-up. Musicians assembled their instruments — bongos, congas, castanets, and cowbells– while a young woman built a sand sculpture in the center of the circle. As the drumming intensified, audience members pulled out Hoola Hoops and capes, entered the ring, and swayed with the beats. Children and boomers danced on the sand as the sun set over Siesta Key.
This may not be Key West with its nightly zaniness at Mallory Square, but it’s a class act of its own and still a bit of a throwback to the 60’s. Peace out.
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.”