Weekend Planner

Your Top 9 Things to Do: March 30-April 5

The Sarasota Film Festival opens, a Whiskey Obsession Festival, La Musica and more.

By Ilene Denton March 30, 2017

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Sarasota Film Festival

March 31- April 9

Cue the klieg lights—the Sarasota Film Festival starts Friday with more than 250 films being screened at Regal Hollywood 20, celebrity red-carpet sightings, Q&As with Diane Lane and Aisha Tyler, block parties and much, much more. The 19th annual film fest opens Friday at the Opera House with the documentary Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton; filmmaker Rory Kennedy will be feted at a tribute luncheon that afternoon. 

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Image: Shutterstock

Whiskey Obsession Festival

March 29-April 1

If whiskey is your obsession, this is your weekend. Now in its fifth year, the Whiskey Obsession Festival has grown into the largest festival of its kind in the U.S. The grand tasting is Friday night at Michael’s On East, with more than 250 whiskies to sample. (Pace yourselves!) Saturday night is the big Bourbon Rock & Blues Bash at the Gator Club.

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Wine Walk to Ca d’Zan

March 31

Among the many ways to enjoy the Ringling Museum’s beautiful bayfront grounds, none is more convivial than the annual Wine Walk. Meander from the Visitor Center to the historic Ca d’Zan mansion, sipping wines and enjoying hors d’oeuvres along the way. It’s for a great cause: the Ca d’Zan restoration fund. 

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Embracing Our Differences

April 1-May 31

Dozens of giant inspirational banners are sprouting around downtown Sarasota’s Bayfront Park for the 14th annual Embracing our Differences art show. A record 10,761 entries from 115 countries were submitted this year. Shown here is Positive Difference by Anamika Bhattacharya of Bangalore, India. On exhibit through May 31.

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La Musica International Chamber Music Festival

April 3, 6, 9, 12

Artistic director Bruno Giuranna once more welcomes musicians from around the world—Italy, Switzerland, Brazil, Korea—for this celebration of chamber music by such composers as Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Paganini and Mendelssohn. Four concerts take place at the Opera House, April 3, 6, 9 and 12, but you also can sit in on open rehearsals. 

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Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks

March 31, April 1-2

Guest conductor Han-Na Chang conducts the orchestra’s last Masterworks concerts of the season with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 and the William Tell Overture by Rossini. Guest pianist Bertrand Chamayou will perform Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No. 1. 

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Image: Dario Acosta 

Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan Piano Duo

March 30

Young Russian pianist Daniil Trifonov, first prize winner of both the Tchaikovsky and Rubinstein international piano competitions in 2011 when he was just 20, is joined onstage by his longtime mentor, Sergei Babayan. It’s the final performance of the Sarasota Concert Association’s excellent Great Performers series this season.

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Image: Brendan Ragan

Urbanite Theatre presents BO-NITA

March 31-April 30

A one-woman comedy about a precocious 13-year-old who winds up with a dead ex-stepfather on her bedroom floor. 

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Hermitage Artist Retreat Beach Reading

March 31

Playwright George Brant, whose harrowing one-woman play, Grounded, was a hit for Anne Hathaway off-Broadway in 2015 (it opened last weekend at Florida Studio Theatre to excellent reviews, like this one from our own Kay Kipling), will join fellow playwright Amlin Gray to read scenes from their plays at a Hermitage Artist Retreat beach reading Friday night. They’ll be joined by writer/director Saschka Unseld, co-founder of Oculus Story Studio, an animated virtual-reality (VR) film studio, who will give you a glimpse at the future of storytelling. Bring your lawn chair.

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In this Article


Sarasota Film Festival Opening Night

Editor’s Pick Sarasota Opera House

The 19th annual festival opens with Rory Kennedy's documentary, Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton.

Food & Drink

Whiskey Obsession Festival Grand Tasting

$45-$195 Michael's On East

he Fifth Annual Whiskey Obsession Festival will be held from March 29 to April 1, 2017 in Sarasota, Florida.


Wine Walk to Ca d'Zan

Editor’s Pick $135 John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

A self-guided wine tasting tour along the drive to John and Mable Ringling’s historic mansion.

Classical Music

La Musica International Chamber Music Festival

Sarasota Opera House

La Musica International Chamber Music Festival’s 31st Season.

Classical Music

Sarasota Orchestra Masterworks: Magnificent 7

Editor’s Pick From $33 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Beethoven's joyous Symphony No. 7 is the highlight of this concert series.

Classical Music

Sergei Babayan & Daniil Trifonov Piano Duo

$37-$65 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

The Sarasota Concert Association concludes its Great Performers Series with the piano duo of Sergei Babayan, and his student, 26-year-old sensation, Daniil Trifonov.


Urbanite Theatre presents "Bo-Nita"

Editor’s Pick $20-$28; $5 for students with I.D. Urbanite Theatre

A wild one-woman, seven-character adventure follows a mother and daughter’s elaborate plan to try to hold their dysfunctional family together.

Readings & Lectures

Hermitage Artist Retreat Beach Reading

Editor’s Pick Free Hermitage Artist Retreat

With visiting artists, Playwrights Amlin Gray and George Brant and writer/director Saschka Unseld.

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