New MainStreet Business Partner Artisan SignMasters: A Full Service Sign Company

New MainStreet Business Partner Artisan SignMasters: A Full Service Sign Company

Artisan SignMasters, a division of Lykins Signtek, is a one-stop shop for all your signage needs, servicing the local community in Nokomis, Venice, Siesta Key, and Sarasota County for more than 30 years. From simple vinyl lettering and graphics, including vehicle wraps to ADA signage to full-size monument signs, they do it all.

Most recently, Artisan SignMasters has expanded its product offerings to include electrical signs, pylon signs, street signs, and residential and commercial mailboxes. Artisan SignMasters is located at 580 Central Avenue, Nokomis; 941-484-9169; Hours of operation—Monday-Thursday 8-4 and Friday 8-4:30. For more information visit

Event Cancellations for March through May 1, 2020

Event Cancellations for March through May 1, 2020

Please see the below message from the City of Venice regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

City of Venice cancels special events through 5/1

From City Manager Ed Lavallee: On this date (3/12/2020), the Office of Governor DeSantis issued a strong recommendation that in light of the risk of contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus), large-scale gatherings be canceled.

Accordingly, consistent with provisions of the City of Venice Special Events Agreement, page 2, paragraph 1, in the interest of public health and safety, all special event permits issued by the City of Venice are hereby canceled. This notice is effective immediately and continues until May 1, 2020. The cancellation period is subject to adjustment pending changes in the public health and safety risk level for contracting coronavirus.

Venice MainStreet is working to keep an up to date list of cancellations of events in Venice. We will add to this list as more information becomes available. The following ongoing events in the City of Venice have been canceled through May 1, 2020:

  • City Bicycle Rides on the second Wednesday of the month
  • Historic Bike Tours scheduled for March 17 and March 31
  • Venezia Park and Grand Homes Walking Tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • All concerts at the Centennial Park Gazebo including Friday Night Concert Series on March 13, March 27, April 10 and April 24
  • Gazebo Starlight Cinema (movies in Centennial Park) on April 3
  • Walk in Pinebrook Park on March 18
  • A Vette Together Corvette Show on March 15
  • Writers Festival on March 20 and Book Fair on March 21
  • Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash on March 27-28
  • Antique Automobile Car Club of America Car Show on March 29
  • Downtown Wine Walk on April 2
  • Venice Sharks Tooth Festival on April 3-5
  • Eggstravaganza on April 11
  • Venice Farmers Market on Saturdays (canceled through April)
Cleaning Out Your Pantry: Think Food Bank

Cleaning Out Your Pantry: Think Food Bank

As spring cleaning begins and the snowbirds prepare to head north, remember to gather up your unwanted non-perishable food items and drop them off at the local food bank. Any Goodwill location in Venice will accept food donations on behalf of All Faiths Food Bank. And if you can, support All Faith’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger.

In Sarasota County, nearly half of children participate in the free and reduced meal programs at school. So when school ends for the summer, many of these children are at risk of hunger. Last year, the campaign enabled the distribution of 3.3 million meals to more than 38,000 children.

Together we can make a real difference in ending hunger in our community. To learn more, contact All Faiths Food Bank at 941-379-6333 or log on to

A Book Lover’s Event:  Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

A Book Lover’s Event: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Bringing together the people who create books with the people who love to read them is at the heart of this two-day event. On Friday, March 20, 2020, an array of lectures and panel discussions will take place during the Writers Festival at the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The festival is a special opportunity to chat with journalists, publishers, and authors, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Festival Schedule Overview- March 20th 
10:30-11:30 Writing about Family with Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Writer-in-Residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

1:30-2:30 Raising a Writer: A Conversation with a Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and Her Author-Mom. Lane DeGregory, a Pulitzer Prize recipient, and her mother, Clarissa Thomasson, will offer insights on raising readers, kids who write, write well and win awards. Maria Carrillo, Deputy Editor of the Tampa Bay Times, will moderate.

3:00-4:00 How to Turn Your Expertise into a Book, panel discussion moderated by Venice High School teacher, Beth Donofrio. Panel members include Craig Faulkner and Ray Sinibaldi, authors of 61 Motivational Stories for Every Coach of Every Sport, along with Dr. Christopher Cortman, author of Your Mind: An Owner’s Manual for a Better Life.

4:30-5:30 So, You Wanna Write a Book? is a panel discussion on finding and maximizing literary representation, editing, publicizing, marketing, and selling your book. Panel members include Turtle Tales author Kim Cool, Shark Fin Soup author Susan Klaus, literary agent Amanda Leuck, and Venice Books-A-Million store manager Myra Turley. Camille Cline, Literary Spa Editor, will moderate.

Registration is required for the Writers Festival and should be done via the book fair website, A donation of $25 is requested to attend and must be made via the website.

Book Fair- March 21st
The Writers Festival will be followed by a book fair on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Monty Andrews Arboretum in West Blalock Park. The book fair, which is free to the public, will feature more than 50 authors and vendors to satisfy all your literary interests. You will be delighted with the variety of genres from children’s literature to science fiction. Authors of every genre are looking forward to chatting with you and your children.

Take a moment while visiting the many writers and educational vendors to enjoy the arboretum, home to more than 80 species of trees and palms identified with information signs, along with a Florida-friendly native shrub area, butterfly garden, and four life-size animal sculptures. Enjoy lunch in the park from one of the food trucks that will be parked on Nassau Street between Milan and Turin Streets.

Come celebrate the art of the written word at this fun, cultural, community event. All proceeds from the Book Fair and Writers Festival go to Venice Heritage, Inc., the 501c3 fundraising arm of two historic sites in Venice—the Lord-Higel House, currently under restoration, and the Venice Museum and Archives. For more information on this literary event, visit

Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Crawl on February 25th

Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Crawl on February 25th

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Come parade with our second line band in Historic Downtown Venice! The after-party to follow will be at Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar and Made in Italy.
Music stops include the following locations:
Café Venice
Ciao Gelato
Crate and Marrow
Dick’s Shoes
Mother’s Cupboard Spice Shoppe
TJ Carney’s
Venice Avenue Creamery
Venice In Vogue
Venice Wine and Coffee

19th Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic, March 7th and 8th

19th Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic, March 7th and 8th

March 7th-8th
Free Admission

Vibrant downtown Venice will transform into an art-lover’s Mecca during the 19th Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic. Over 200 of the nation’s top artists will set up booths, gallery-style along West Venice Avenue on Saturday and Sunday, March 7th & 8th from 10 am to 5 pm. Residents and visitors are invited to stroll amidst life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewels, photography, ceramics and more during the free, outdoor event.

To apply for upcoming arts and crafts festivals organized by Howard Alan Events, click here.

Get Inspired at Venice Art Walks and Venice Art Classic

Get Inspired at Venice Art Walks and Venice Art Classic

Venice Art Walks
Mark your calendar for these upcoming Venice Art Walks—Thursday, February 13, March 12, and April 9 from 5-8 p.m. These walks are special opportunities to explore our growing art district and engage with local artists. Each one is unique with different featured artists. Many of the galleries will have live music and refreshments. Hop on and off the free trolley, which starts at the Venice Art Center and will make a continuous loop between all the participating galleries. The participating galleries are:
MainStreet Partners
Art Escape Gallery, 206 Miami Avenue West
Clyde Butcher Venice Gallery, 237 Warfield Avenue
Collectors Gallery and Framery, 114 Nokomis Avenue South
Mary Erickson Art Studio, 216 Palermo Place
Piece By Piece Art Studio, 211 Nassau Avenue South
Schmidt Gallery at Century 21, 100 West Venice Avenue
Venice Art Center, 390 Nokomis Avenue South
Venice Island Gallery & Gifts, 100-A West Venice Avenue

Other participants include Final Touch Frame & Gallery, Nellie’s Notecards and Wilson’s Whimsies, Soos Jewelry Design, and Voila! Gallery. Art walk maps are available at Collectors Gallery and Framery. Leah Sherman, proprietor of Collectors Gallery and Framery, says “Venice Art Walks expose participants to the vast trove of creatives in our South Florida area. More than one gallery hosts classes that inspire you to grow your own distinctive style. All this and it is a fun, free activity after dark in Venice.” Make an evening of it and stop for dinner, drinks, or dessert at one of the many downtown restaurants.

Venice Art Classic
Downtown Venice will transform into an art-lover’s mecca during the 19th Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic, March 7-8, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 200 artists will set up booths, gallery-style along West Venice Avenue. Visitors will enjoy strolling the avenue amidst life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a kind jewels, photography, ceramics, and more during this free, outdoor event. For information on these and other local events, go to or contact Venice MainStreet at 941-484-6722.

Use SeeClickFix to help keep Venice beautiful

Use SeeClickFix to help keep Venice beautiful

The City of Venice makes it easy for residents to report issues and help keep Venice beautiful. Use SeeClickFix Venice Connect (click here for link) to request assistance with City of Venice services or to report problems such as potholes, roadside junk, broken sidewalks, storm drain issues, traffic signal/sign problems, code violations, etc. Users can also submit photos of the issue to assist City staff. Venice Connect will acknowledge newly submitted issues and forward them to the appropriate departments to take care of the requests. Users will receive email updates and can return to the site to check the status of submitted issues. When the issue is resolved, the issue will be closed.

SeeClickFix is also available as an app for iPhone and Android. Select Venice Connect from the app store on your device. For more information about this app contact Shirley Gibson at 941-882-7439 or go to

Thank you, Nick Flerlage and Welcome, Ronnie Fernandez and 2020 Board!

Thank you, Nick Flerlage and Welcome, Ronnie Fernandez and 2020 Board!

Many thanks to Venice MainStreet’s outgoing 2019 Board President, Nick Flerlage! Nick served on all committees for MainStreet offering leadership and support. He devoted countless hours to our nonprofit organization and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. Nick and his wife Beth are Realtors for The Flerlage Team for the RE/MAX Alliance Group.

We are excited to have Ronnie Fernandez as our new Venice MainStreet President for 2020! Ronnie is Assistant Bank Manager for CenterState Bank and works with his wife Tiffany at Venice Florida Tours, a business they started that offers walking tours of downtown Venice. Ronnie also serves the community as Board President of Venice Heritage, Inc. We look forward to his ideas and energy to support MainStreet’s mission to preserve, protect and promote historic downtown Venice.

2020 Board of Directors

Ronnie Fernandez, President
Sandra Di Pentima, Vice President
Patrick Carney, Secretary
Brad Patton, Treasurer
Andrew Britton
Kathy Crisman
Nick Flerlage
Jeannie Gomes
Rod Nafziger
Bill Willson

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