Rss feedTweeter buttonFacebook buttonTechnorati buttonReddit buttonMyspace buttonDelicious button

*16th Annual Florida Haiti Benefit Auction is this Saturday*


The Haiti Benefit Auction is this week at the Sarasota Fairgrounds located at 3000 Ringling Blvd
Sarasota Florida 34237.
In the past, 3000 – 4000 people attend this 2-day Event
Local Mennonite and Amish business owners and volunteers from all over the country, help with this project … Open to the public!
For more info click on the link below.

*Sarasota’s Memorial Day Parade starts at 10:00AM on Monday*

Sarasota’s Memorial Day Parade, starting at 10 a.m. Monday, travels down Main Street, followed by a post-parade ceremony at J.D. Hamel Park on Gulf Stream Avenue. The keynote speaker will be Sarasota resident Scott Bill, whose son Brian was among 22 Navy SEALs killed when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in August 2011. For more information, call (941) 861-2899 or (941) 954-2613.

Memorial Day 2011 is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.

Amish on vacation: What happens in Pinecraft stays in Pinecraft

From December through April, Amish travelers pack charter buses making overnight runs from Ohio to Florida. Stiff black hats are gingerly stowed in overhead bins as the bus winds its way through hilly farm country, making pickups in small towns like Sugarcreek, Berlin and Wooster.
One afternoon, I boarded one of those buses, full of grandparents, neighbors and childhood friends. They talked into the night, using conversation as entertainment instead of movies and music. I sat up front next to two boisterous bishops named Roy J.C. Yoder, 75, and Andy Miller, 65. They peppered me with questions: “Are you married?” “Will you have kids?” “Do you believe in Christ?” But they mostly killed time on our 19-hour ride by ribbing Lee, one of two bus drivers on board, and then each other.
“When Roy became a preacher, he was a little bit of a slow learner, so we sent him to seminary school,” Andy told me. “They asked him ‘Where was Jesus born?’ And he says ‘Pittsburgh.’ So they say ‘Nope, Bethlehem.’ And then Roy says, ‘I knew it was some place in Pennsylvania.’ ”
The rows behind us exploded in laughter. We were headed to Pinecraft, a village east of Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. What started out as a tourist camp around 1925 has evolved through word of mouth into a major vacation destination for Amish and Mennonites from all over the United States and Canada. Some 5,000 people visit each year, primarily when farm work up north is slow.
Advertisement

On the bus, older passengers reminisced about going down to Pinecraft as children when roads were just sand and dirt. One man wistfully recalled a great-uncle who hitched a ride down in a Model T. But I didn’t fully understand the town’s popularity until we reached the end of our 1,222-mile drive, at a church parking lot, where we were greeted by 300 people under a hot Florida sun — bus arrivals are a community event in Pinecraft.
Walking around Pinecraft is like entering an idyllic time warp. White bungalows and honeybell orange trees line streets named after Amish families: Kaufman, Schrock, Yoder. The local laundromat keeps lines outside to hang clothes to dry. (You have to bring your own pins.) And the techiest piece of equipment at the post office is a calculator. The Sarasota County government plans to designate the village, which spreads out over 178 acres, as a cultural heritage district.

‘Amish Las Vegas’

Many travelers I spoke to jokingly call it the “Amish Las Vegas,” riffing off the cliche that what happens in Pinecraft stays in Pinecraft. Cellphone and cameras, normally off-limits to Amish, occasionally make appearances, and almost everyone uses electricity in their rental homes. Three-wheeled bicycles, instead of horses and buggies, are ubiquitous.
“When you come down here, you can pitch religion a little bit and let loose,” said Amanda Yoder, 19, from Missouri. “What I’m wearing right now, I wouldn’t at home,” she said, gesturing at sunglasses with sparkly rhinestones and bikini strings peeking out of a tight black tank top. On the outskirts of the village, she boarded public bus No. 11 with six other sunburned teenagers. They were bound for Siesta Key, a quartz-sand beach about 8 miles away.
After a couple of days, I started to pick up the rhythms of a seasoned Pinecraft traveler, thanks to tips from a chatty Amish-Mennonite woman. I had rented a private room from her for $40 a night.
Breakfast starts as early as 6 a.m., when men start settling into booths at the back of Troyer’s Dutch Heritage, a sprawling restaurant. They trade news from home over mugs of coffee and plates of bacon, eggs and biscuits.
On a Friday morning, I followed yellow fliers to the backyard of the Miller family, where I found that most Amish of activities: a yard sale and auction. Throngs of shoppers inspected long rows of plastic tables overflowing with an eclectic mix of household goods that included a 1979 book on “Modern Refrigeration and Repair.” An auctioneer standing in the back of a pickup truck sold off a box of shoes for $2 and a bunch of wrenches for $42.

Shuffleboard central

When the auction started to wane, foot traffic migrated over to the shuffleboard center at Pinecraft Park where the first court, according to a sign, is always “Reserved for Ladies.”
Miriam Lehman, 60, from Shipshewana, Ind., sat on the sidelines dispensing advice after playing two games in flip-flops. “Knock her out of there!” she yelled as a Pennsylvania woman named Ida slid a yellow puck down the court and scored. They had met that afternoon and had become fast friends.
Pinecraft Park is a melting pot of Amish and Mennonite America. Old order, new order and nontraditional congregate. Clothing choices clue you in to hometowns: Men from Tampico, Ill., wear denim overalls; girls from Lancaster, Pa., cover their dresses with black aprons; and women from northern Indiana have neatly pressed pleats on their white bonnets.
“All these groups can mingle down here in a way they wouldn’t at home,” said Katie Troyer, 59, a year-round resident who left the Amish church but still embraces the culture. “That’s a puzzle people have been trying to figure out for ages.”
Just over 3 feet tall and always riding around on a bike with a camera, Troyer is a beloved fixture in Pinecraft known for discreetly taking pictures of daily life that she posts on her blog, Project 365.
Evenings in Pinecraft almost always culminate in music. The Chuck Wagon Gang, a gospel and bluegrass band, often plays on a patch of grass that’s been dubbed Birky Square. More than 400 people turned out on the night I visited. A giant cast-iron pot of elk stew simmered over an open fire while the barefoot lead singer of the Chuck Wagon Gang harmonized with his wife.
One audience member, Alva Yoder, 67, from Elnora, Ind., has traveled to Pinecraft almost every year since 1972. “You’ll never find another place in the world that’s like this one,” he said.

By Miki Meek
New York Times

**Sarasota Downtown Christmas Parade is tonight**

This year’s theme: “Tropical Holiday.” Among the 4,000 participants are five marching bands, children’s performing groups, etc., and of course, Santa. Float contest includes Best Tropical Theme float, and the Mayor’s Trophy (best in show). Defending champion is Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences.

7-9 p.m. Dec. 3. Along Main Street, from U.S. 301 to Gulfstream Boulevard.


70-80 Community parade units – High School marching bands – Community floats – Boy Scouts – Girl Scouts – Shriners – K of C – Motorcycles – Parade lasts approx. 2 hours

**Light Up Siesta Village is Tonight ~ 6-9 p.m.**

The annual lighting and holiday open house of Siesta Key Village will be held on Nov 26, 2011 from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.


Children can give Santa their wish list, have their face painted, visit with Santa’s elves and be entertained by Clifford the Big Red Dog and Sunshine the Clown. Santa’s gift bags provided by Beach Bazaar will be given to the first 250 children who visit with Santa. Santa will arrive by fire truck at approximately 6:15 pm.
Businesses will provide refreshments, while you enjoy live musical entertainment by the Pine View High School Jazz Band, Barbershop Quartets, Key Board Players and choirs singing holiday songs. Ocean Blvd. will be lined with luminaries and businesses will be decorated for the holiday season. Free Trolley Rides will be available from Siesta Key Public Beach to the Village from 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm.

Veterans Day 11.11.11

Happy Veterans Day to everyone! Thank you to all of our Veterans!

Below is a list of events that take place today in Sarasota, Florida to honor or Veterans.

Veterans Day in Sarasota
Friday, 8:50 a.m: Cadets from Sarasota Military Academy will assemble at the school for a veterans’ recognition ceremony featuring a WWII POW/Silver Star recipient, a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor and other military veterans. Cadets will leave for the Sarasota Veterans Day parade about 9:15 a.m. with a police escort.

Friday, 10 a.m: Annual Veterans Day parade starts at corner of Main Street and Osprey Avenue in downtown Sarasota. Bands and/or color guards from Booker, Sarasota and Riverview high schools will march in the parade, in addition to the Sarasota Military Academy drum line, horses, pipers, band and 850 cadets, with approximately 1,500 SMA parents wearing red, white and blue. The parade will end at J.D. Hamel Park at the western end of Main Street.
Friday, 11 a.m.: The Veterans Day ceremony at Hamel Park in downtown Sarasota will begin with a flyover. SMA board member Col. Ben Knisley will be the featured speaker. Knisley was a medivac chopper pilot shot down in Vietnam and saved from the burning aircraft by an Army colonel just before the enemy arrived.

Friday, 11 a.m.: The Navy Junior ROTC at North Port High will participate in the Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park in North Port. The annual ceremony, hosted by local VFW Post 8203 and the city of North Port, features many local veteran military organizations. North Port City Commission Chairman James Blucher will read a proclamation and a speaker will salute veterans.

Friday, 2:15-4:15 p.m: During the hour-long Young Marines Leadership classes at Venice Middle School, veterans will share their experiences with cadets.

Sarasota Florida Beaches (Best Rated in The US)

When people think of Florida, they often picture white-sand beaches where families build sandcastles and memories. Check out the award-winning Siesta Key Beach which is consistently rated as a top 10 beach in the USA. And lets not forget the world-famous sand. Its the softest sand imaginable… You simply have to feel it to believe it. When it comes to beaches, Sarasota and Her Islands are as diverse as it gets.

Sarasota Memorial Day Parade is Downtown May 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM.

The annual Sarasota Memorial Day Parade with live music, food vendors and activities. Parade route is Mainstreet and parts of Osprey Ave, downtown Sarasota.  Date: May 30, 2011  Time: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.

There will be a ceremony after the parade at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park on Gulfstream Avenue.

Memorial Day 2011 is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day 2011 is on 30th May in 2011.

Siesta Beach in Sarasota No. 1 in nation on list by ‘Dr. Beach’

Every year, “Dr. Beach,” aka Florida International University professor Steven Leatherman, announces the best beach in the USA.

Drum roll, please. This year it’s the white sands of Siesta Key, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, not far from Tampa and Sarasota. Why? Because of its “40 acres of almost pure quartz crystal sand” on the barrier island, Letterman told the Associated Press. Siesta Key tourism literature boasts about its dazzling white sand.

“The sand is like sugar,” added Leatherman, who is director of FIU’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. “You have to bring sunglasses because it’s so bright. It’s super soft, super fine. They claim to have the finest, whitest sand in the world, and I can’t argue with that.” Also, the currents are gentle.

I’ve been to Siesta Key, and it boasts long, wide and white beaches perfect for walking and basking. There are restaurants that are reasonably priced and serve good food. When it comes to lodgings, though, expect Old Florida-style motels and condos. I was surprised at the lack of inviting beachfront lodgings. The only hotel that stood out to me was a the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach Resort “residence club” where you can rent apartments when they’re not full. Very upscale, state-of-the-art everything, right on the beach, accommodating staff, and if you have a big family or two or three couples, it’s a good choice. No surprise, it’s No. 1 for Siesta Key on TripAdvisor. (If I missed any standouts, comment please.) here’s the island’s tourist guide.

Back to beaches: Runner-up was San Diego’s Coronado Beach, followed by Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki, Honolulu; Main Beach, East Hampton, N.Y.; Cape Hatteras in North Carolina; St. George Island State Park, Florida Panhandle; Beachwalker Park, Kiawah Island, S.C.; Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod, Mass.; Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Oahu; and Cape Florida State Park near Miami.

Leatherman rates beaches on criteria including sand, water quality, weather, facilities and crowds. A top score is 250. Siesta Beach was in the 230s, losing points because of beachside condos in some places. If you missed seeing one of your favorites on the list, know that once a beach makes No. 1 it is retired. Go to drbeach.org to see past winners.

Meanwhile, what’s your favorite U.S. beach?

Magazine names Sarasota, Bradenton among top cities for art

Readers were pumped up and fully engaged in casting ballots for their favorite arts places in AmericanStyle’s 2011 Top 25 Arts Destinations competition. It’s the 14th annual edition of our wildly popular readers’ poll, and the results are now official. For the fourth year in a row, no other major city in the country has been able to unseat the Big Three: New York City held on to first place in the Big Cities category, with nearly 40 percent of all votes cast; Chicago remained in second place, with 23.4 percent; and Washington, D.C., stayed in the No. 3 spot, with 20.2 percent. San Francisco came in at fourth place, followed by Boston at No. 5.

In the Mid-Size Cities category, St. Petersburg, Fla., held on to the No. 1 spot with 26.9 percent of the vote. Former sixth place city Savannah, Ga., leapfrogged four places ahead into the No. 2 spot, pushing last year’s second place finisher New Orleans down a notch to No. 3. Rounding out the top five in this category are Charleston, S.C., at No. 4, and Scottsdale, Ariz., at No. 5.

The tightest voting margins played out in the Small Cities category, with Asheville, N.C., winning by a hair with 16.7 percent of the votes over No. 2 Santa Fe, N.M., with 16.5 percent. Third place went to Gloucester, Mass, a total newcomer to the Top 25 Small Cities list, which pushed Saugatuck, Mich., down a notch into fourth place. Sarasota, Fla., held its position again this year at No. 5.