Sarasota Grand Prix Festival gears up for holiday weekend

Fourteen Factory 1 class boats take off during a past Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix.
Fourteen Factory 1 class boats take off during a past Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. HERALD FILE PHOTO

If you haven’t been to this year’s Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix festival yet, you’ve missed some fun stuff like a car show, golf tournament and boating fun run. But the best is still ahead.

The 10-day festival is halfway through. It began June 25 and runs through the Fourth of July.

The centerpiece of the festival is the actual power boat races. Those are coming up this weekend, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and going into the evening. Your best bet for free viewing is from Lido Beach. If you’re in the mood for something fancier, you can buy VIP tickets for $100 (plus service charges) and watch from the special event area at the Sandcastle Resort on Lido Beach.

Also ahead are the always popular Boats on Main downtown block party, from 6-11 p.m. on Friday. Live music comes from Tampa-based band Luna Blue.

There will be a lot of people crowding into event areas, and parking will present some challenges. The City of Sarasota Parking Operations Division is offering some tips that should make everyone safer, and keep some people from getting parking tickets. Among them: Don’t obstruct traffic, park in the direction of traffic, park 20 feet from crosswalks and 30 feet from stop signs, remain clear of fire hydrants and don’t block the sight lines of drivers at intersections.

Legal parking on Sarasota streets or right-of-ways is free. Hundreds of parking spaces are available on South Boulevard of the Presidents and the south parking lot on South Adams Drive on St. Armands Key.

Details: Races from 9 a.m.-5 p.m, July 2-3, Lido Beach, Sarasota. Free. VIP tickets $105.99. 941-487-7904, ext. 103, sarasotapowerboatgrandprix.org.

Marty Clear: 941-708-7919, @martinclear