Weekend Recap: The Ringling International Arts Festival and Chillounge Night 2011

By Megan McDonald March 7, 2011

It was another jam-packed weekend here in Sarasota—particularly Saturday night, which saw the announcement of the 2011 Ringling International Arts Festival performance schedule as well as the fourth annual Sarasota Chillounge Night.

Look for more from our Arts & Travel blogger, Charlie Huisking, tomorrow regarding the Ringling International Arts Festival lineup, but here’s some background on the event: The museum partners with the Mikhail Baryshnikov’s New York City-based Baryshnikov Arts Center to put on the festival, which means the expectations for the six-day event are already inherently high. That said, this year’s lineup is packed with talent. Dwight Currie, the Ringling’s deputy director, was on hand to announce the lineup—which includes performances by Meklit Hadero and Asphalt Orchestra, among many others—to a room of faithful Ringling Museum supporters and members of the media, but the real surprise was that arts icon Mikhail Baryshnikov was on hand to offer his take on this year’s festival. Dressed in a perfectly tailored black suit and glasses, Baryshnikov briefly but sincerely thanked those in attendance for their support, then retreated to the second level of the Historic Asolo to watch Currie finish his presentation and, presumably, gauge the audience’s reaction to the news. For more on the 2011 festival, visit



Chillounge Night 2011. Photograph by Rebecca Baxter.


Saturday’s other big event was Chillounge Night, the brainchild of event planner Rainer Scheer, which is now in its fourth consecutive year. With Palm Avenue closed for the evening and lined with white and orange lounge furniture, attendees—who came from as far away as Orlando and numbered more than 1,000—were able to wander the streets to live music by Nicolas Kraster’s Cabal Band and AJ & The Automatics, take in a Brazilian samba parade, enjoy a fashion show presented by Ana Molinari, and sample food and drink provided by local vendors. Although there was a threat of rain at the beginning of the night, the weather quickly cleared and the overall feel of the event was nothing less than festive. Proceeds from the event benefited UCP, and upcoming Chillounge Nights will be held in Orlando and Tampa. For more, go to

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