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Biggest party of the summer: Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix 2013

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(Go to our Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix page for photo galleries and continuing coverage.)

In spite of the annual travails about funding, the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix continues to be the marquis event of the summer, and one of the biggest events of the entire year. It’s easy to see why: nine days of events that range from genteel air conditioned galas to sandy partying on the beach, from bikini contests to golf tournaments, all benefiting Suncoast Charities for Children. Shoehorn Independence Day in the middle of all that and you have a long week to remember.

Oh, yeah, there’s also the race itself. Our hometown hosts one of the biggest races on the Super Boat International circuit, with the largest number of teams, many based here in the area. Their garish boats will surge through the almost 60 mile course at bone-crunching speed, many skipping over the waves in excess of 170 miles per hour.

More than 60,000 people are likely to turn out to the Grand Prix events, which means you might want to exercise some advance planning to make the most of the week. Here’s our updated guide to the events of the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix.

FRIDAY (July 5)
Festival Parade Of Boats
The parade is impressive, with many of the teams displaying their boats on a slow troll down Main Street. This year’s grand marshal is Capt. Edgar Hansen (of TV’s “Deadliest Catch” fame), but this year offers an even bigger thrill: Nik Wallenda will return from his triumphant crossing of the Grand Canyon to the adoration of locals and race fans.
7 p.m. Free. Main Street, downtown Sarasota.

“Boats By The Bay” Downtown Block Party
They’ll close off the streets where the parade ends for a late-night party featuring music by Kettle of Fish and Soul Purpose, plus food, drink and plenty of boats.
5 p.m.-midnight. Free. Between Orange and Pineapple Avenues; Lemon Avenue between First St. & State St.

FRIDAY-SATURDAY (July 5-6)
Powerboats By The Bay
Look and touch the massive machines that power the races, visit vendors, meet teams, purchase food and drink and see live entertainment on the stage.
Noon-5 p.m. Free (no coolers or pets). Centennial Park, corner of 10th St. and U.S. 41.

SATURDAY (July 6)
“Meet & Greet Who’s In The Driver’s Seat”
Meet participating race teams, who will be signing autographs and giveaways to guests.
10:30 a.m.-noon. $5 adults, free for children 12 and under. Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. 953-1234; sarasota.hyatt.com.

Motorcycle Charity Ride
This poker run will cruise from Whitfield Ave. to Powerboats By The Bay, with $500 in prizes for people who buy hands.
Registration: 9:30-11 a.m. Last bike out 11 a.m., last biker in 2 p.m. $10 Hand / 3 for $20. Begins at Jennette Properties Inc., 5899 Whitfield Ave.

“Miss Super Boat Grand Prix” Bikini Contest
Always a favorite spectacle at Powerboats By The Bay, for obvious reasons. Go ahead and gawk, that’s what the event is for. Cash prizes range from $1000 for first to $100 for fourth.
3-4:30 p.m. Free. Centennial Park, corner of 10th St. and U.S. 41.

Hyatt Regency's "Pre-Race" Party & Fashion Show
The night before the race and tensions are high, so why not a party and some pretty clothes to take the edge off? Cash bar and food, casino-style gaming and live music will share the evening with the Swim City fashion show.
6-11 p.m. $15. Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. 953-1234; sarasota.hyatt.com.

SUNDAY (July 7)
Annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Boat Race
The best place to watch the races is Lido Beach, which is adjacent to the course. Be sure to get there early and carpool with your friends to make it easier on everyone else.
Heats at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Race Awards Celebration
It’s free and you can celebrate with the winning teams, or commiserate with the losers.
5 p.m. Free. Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. 953-1234; sarasota.hyatt.com.

 

Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix
suncoastoffshore.org
See photo galleries and more coverage on our Grand Prix page.
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Brian Ries

Brian Ries is the editor of ticketsarasota.com.
Last modified: July 8, 2013
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