Best of Sarasota 2013: Arts and More

The best of Sarasota 2013: Best Sarasota arts, entertainment and more.

By Megan McDonald May 15, 2013

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Best New Farmer's Market: Old Miakka Farmer's Market

Editors' Picks: Best of the New

Best New Music Venue

Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center

Tucked away in downtown’s Kumquat Court, the nonprofit Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center hosts small concerts, often in collaboration with community radio station WSLR 96. The mellow vibe is in tune with the center’s mission of promoting peace and social justice, as is the drinks menu, which includes beer, wine and (of course) coconut water. 525 Kumquat Court, (941) 587-6588.


Best New Public Space

Bradenton Riverwalk

Decades in the making, Riverwalk is the crown jewel of Bradenton’s revitalized downtown area. Families love the innovative playground and splash area, the skate park is heralded around the country, and the amphitheater and lawn are perfect venues for concerts, films and other community events. 452 Third Ave. W., Bradenton.


Best New Farmer’s Market

Old Miakka Farmer’s Market

With its new location at the Old Miakka Schoolhouse, the old Miakka Farmer’s Market is a trip to Florida as it once was. Local farmers sell produce, honey, crafts and more—including raw goat milk and cheese and yogurt. Bring the kids—they can coo over baby chicks or pet a baby goat—and enjoy lunch on a picnic table under the mossy oaks and palms. 15800 Wilson Road, (941) 322-1014.


Best New Athletic Challenge

Tree-Umph Adventure Course

Whether you want to build your own fitness or your corporate team, Tree-Umph Adventure Course offers heart-racing challenges in its treetop courses (sometimes as much as 60 feet high), including rope bridges, dangling nets, tightropes and a 650-foot zip line. Don’t worry; you’ll be safely harnessed the whole time. There’s even a senior option. 21805 S.R. 70 E., Bradenton; (941) 322-2130.


Best New Exercise Class

Circusoul Yoga

CircusoulYoga, owned and operated by trapeze artist Kerry Tice, is structured just like a regular yoga class, but with one big exception: Students are suspended in the air in bright-colored fabric hammocks, designed by Tice himself. Don’t feel like leaving the ground? Circusoul offers other yoga classes for all levels—but there’s something liberating about taking to the air. 1862 Seventh St., (941) 467-5884.


Best New Theater (Tie)

Florida Studio Theatre/Manatee Performing Arts Center

For Sarasotans, it’s Florida Studio Theatre’s renovated Gompertz, plus its brand-new John C. Court Cabaret, both of which have been welcoming patrons delighted with bigger lobbies, more restrooms and expanded auditoriums. For Manateeans, it’s the long-awaited Manatee Performing Arts Center, adding to the luster of the riverfront in downtown Bradenton. Luckily, we can cross county lines to attend both.


Best New Work of Art

Out in Front

Sarasota Museum of Art scored a hit with Patrick Dougherty’s newest “stickwork” sculpture, Out in Front, on the grounds of the old Sarasota High School, where thousands pass by every day on U.S. 41. Park your car and stroll around this intriguing fusion of nature and craft. Best part: Eager local volunteers got to help Dougherty create it.


Best Facelift for a Landmark

McKechnie Field

Bradenton’s McKechnie Field was built in 1923 and is often called, because of its charm and history, “Florida’s Fenway Park.” For more than 40 years, fans have watched the Pittsburgh Pirates play spring training games there. Now a $7.5 million renovation has added new seating, fan plazas and better restrooms, sound and scoreboard—even a tiki bar. Ninth Street West and 17th Avenue, Bradenton, (941) 748-4610.


Readers' Picks

Best Art Gallery (not a museum)

Dabbert Gallery

Clothesline Gallery, State of the Arts Gallery


Best Festival or Special Event

Sarasota Chalk Festival

Forks and Corks, Ringling International Arts Festival


Best Fund-raising Gala

Wine, Women and Shoes

Cattle Baron’s Ball, Van Wezel Foundation Gala


Best Performing Arts Group

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Florida Studio Theatre, Sarasota Ballet


Best Place to Hear Local Bands

5 O’Clock Club

Cock and Bull, Mattison’s City Grille


Best Free Fun


Sarasota Bayfront,

Sarasota Farmer’s Market


Best Place to Take Your Kids

Mote Aquarium

Beach, Sarasota Bayfront


Best Place to Meet Singles



Miller’s Sarasota Ale House


Best Place to Work Out


Sarasota YMCA, YouFit


Best Retirement Community

The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch

Sarasota Bay Club, Sunnyside Village


Best Veterinarian

Sarasota Animal Hospital

David Watkins (Animal Health Center), Gulf Gate Animal Hospital


Best Home Healthcare

Take Care Home Health

Approved Home Health, Comfort Keepers


Best Controversy

Public art

Homeless, Wal-Mart


Best Tourist Attraction


Mote Aquarium, Ringling Museum of Art


Best Citizen

Jack Ivins

Gil Waters, Paul Caragiulo


Best Local TV Personality

Scott Dennis

Bob Harrigan, Lauren Dorsett


Best Thing That Could Happen Here

Noise ordinance lifted

More flights out of SRQ, More jobs

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