Downtown Venice is all aglow with holiday lights and festive décor. Be sure to check out the winners of the storefront decorating contest awarded by members of Venice MainStreet’s Board of Directors and the Design Committee. Thank you to all the merchants who participated in bringing holiday cheer to downtown Venice and congratulations to the 2019 winners!
1st Place- Luxurious Interiors
2nd Place- Art Escape Gallery
1st Place- Heitel Jewelers
2nd Place- St. Marco Boutique
1st Place- Croissant & Co.
2nd Place- Ristorante San Marco
Most Creative Use of Merchandise:
1st Place- Island Gift Nook
2nd Place- Mother’s Cupboard Spice Shoppe
1st Place- Tangi & Jess
2nd Place- Sirene Coastal Interiors
Best Use of Lights:
1st Place- Sunbug
2nd Place- Old Venice Pub
The Venice MainStreet volunteer “Downtowners” are a combination of goodwill ambassadors, educators, public relations experts and an invaluable resource for Venice area tourist information. Beginning in November and ending during mid-April these Historic Downtown Venice volunteers can be readily identified by their green shirts and “Ask Me” name badges.
All the volunteers share a common pride and dedication to provide a positive image of Venice while at the same time supporting our local businesses. A key volunteer goal is to make certain that visitors and locals alike depart Venice with a positive impression to ensure the continued vibrancy of its downtown.
The volunteer teams are split into two distinct roles. The “walkers” maintain a roving presence from the 100-300 blocks of West Venice and Miami Avenues. This strolling army of smiling, approachable volunteers provides on-the-spot answers and directions. The conveniently located West Venice Avenue information kiosk in Centennial Park engages a busy volunteer staff ready to answer questions and disseminate useful tourist information of what to explore in the historical downtown district, as well as in the immediate area.
Both teams maintain a schedule broken into two hour shifts from Monday-Saturday, 10:30am-2:30pm. Volunteers are asked to commit to four hours each month based on their own schedule. Anyone interesting in becoming a Venice volunteer ambassador can contact Venice MainStreet, Inc. at email@example.com.
Two local shops—Needlefish Yarns of Venice and Deborah’s Quilt Basket—are cultivating a love of crafting across generations. Fueled by a passion for their craft and a desire to create friendly, supportive learning environments, these shop owners are inspiring patrons to begin their own special knitting, crocheting, or quilting project.
Needlefish Yarns of Venice, established in 2016, offers a wide selection of natural fibers—linen, cotton, hemp, and wools—in a variety of weights and styles plus accessories and tools to meet all your knitting and crocheting needs. In addition, classes are provided to all skill levels on a range of projects and designs. And every Thursday evening crafters gather for Open Craft Night, where they learn from each other and foster a sense of community. Nancy Broughton, owner of Needlefish Yarns of Venice, says “our goal is to make everyone feel welcome and inspired. We feel fortunate to be part of such a great community.”
Deborah’s Quilt Basket, the oldest quilting shop in Sarasota County with 35 years in the business, carries more than 2,000 bolts of cotton fabric to create quilts, clothing, tote bags, and home decorations plus an assortment of books, patterns, and gifts for quilters. A variety of classes for all skill levels are offered during winter months. The shop also is a drop-off site for Ryan’s Case for Smiles, an organization founded to create and distribute whimsical pillowcases to give children in hospitals an emotional boost. Deborah Iversen, owner of Deborah’s Quilt Basket, says “we collect pillowcases that are hand-made and then give them to hospitalized children in the Tampa Bay area. Many thanks to my customers for the past 35 years.”
For more information on these crafter destinations, contact Needlefish Yarns of Venice, 258 West Miami Avenue, at 941-486-1584 or visit needlefishyarns.com; and Deborah’s Quilt Basket, 337 West Venice Avenue, at 941-488-6866 or visit debsquiltbasket.com.
As Cafe Longet is approaching its three year anniversary in downtown Venice, chef and owner Steve Longet and wife Jessica continue to fall more in love with Venice. Moving from their native country of France three years ago, they never imagined the community and opportunity they would find in Venice. Selling everything they owned and moving their two daughters to a new country with a dream of opening a French fusion restaurant has proven to be a success.
At Cafe Longet you will experience a modern French menu with an American fusion, inspired by fresh seasonal organic produce. As Chef Steve hand-selects his produce, meats and imported French wines, he is able to ensure the best quality available. A delicious range of options is available, from the traditional American classic beef burger with his French touch and naughty french fries, signature burgers, one-of-a-kind Florida shrimp burger, the best asparagus scallop risotto, or European sea bass to imported, unique cheese accompanied by his house-made jam and French baguette. “There is something fresh and amazing for everyone. You are sure to have a unique food experience unavailable anywhere else,” says Chef Steve.
Location: 239 Miami Avenue W., downtown Venice
Summer hours: Mondays-Fridays lunch from 12:00pm to 2:30pm and dinner 5:00pm to 8:30pm; Saturdays dinner from 5:00pm to 9:00pm