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

Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Photo above courtesy of Venice Florida Tours

What better way to start the new year than learning about the rich history of the Venice area. With all the activities and programs sponsored by Venice’s three local historical organizations—Venice Museum & Archives, Venice Area Historical Society, and Venice Heritage, Inc.—it is easy to immerse yourself in the city’s historical journey.

Take a guided, docent-led walking tour or pick up a self-guided tour map of historic downtown Venice, created in partnership with Venice Heritage, Inc., Venice Museum & Archives, and Venice MainStreet. They are available at the information kiosk in Centennial Park Mondays to Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; at the Venice MainStreet office downtown at 101 W. Venice Ave., Suite 23; and at the Venice Museum & Archives. So make a resolution today to explore our historic district and read the stories that bring our city’s history to life. You might discover something new!

Venice Museum & Archives
Venice Museum & Archives, housed in a 1927 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, maintains a collection of more than 30,000 photographs, archives, objects, and publications pertaining to the area’s history. The museum engages visitors with permanent and changing exhibits; admission is free. Now through July 29, 2020, the museum is displaying a new exhibit—Playing in Paradise: The History of Venice Sports. The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and first and third Saturdays now through April from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Architectural Walking Tours
Walking tours of the city, led by Architectural Historian Sebastian Liseo, are being offered by the Venice Museum & Archives on Tuesdays (Venezia Park Walking Tour) and Thursdays (Grand Homes Walking Tour) from January through mid-April 2020. 24 hour advance registration is required via email or (941) 486-2487. Tickets $20. More information at

Downtown Walking Tours
Guided walking tours, including haunted history tours, are available through Venice Florida Tours. Reservations can be made at, 817-793-8433.

Venice Area Historical Society
Venice Area Historical Society offers free tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot on Saturdays year-round from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and seasonally, now through April, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also sponsors a lecture series, which is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is “Women Get the Vote.” Go to for the program schedule.

Venice Heritage, Inc.
Venice Heritage, Inc. is offering trolley tours of historic Venice on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at The group also is showing free monthly movies about Venice’s history at the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library. The next one—Reflections: A History of Sarasota County—is slated for Friday, January 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. in the library’s community room.

A Successful Year for MainStreet and Great Things to Come

A Successful Year for MainStreet and Great Things to Come

By Kara Morgan, Venice MainStreet CEO

What an incredible year! Venice MainStreet, a nonprofit 501(C)3 organization, works to make Venice better for everyone, an effort that would not be possible without your commitment and partnership. Thank you to the individuals, companies, and organizations who gave to our community this year. Thank you for caring, believing, and being a part of this amazing network of people and progress.

Our priority has always been to establish meaningful relationships in the community. All year long we welcomed new businesses, new residents, and new visitors to Venice. We achieved exciting milestones including growing to over 400 partners and welcoming over 100,000 people to 37 MainStreet events.

Most visibly, we created a public art mural on Celebration Corner at Nassau Street and Venice Avenue. We collaborated with the Venice Institute of Performing Arts for the family-friendly Gazebo Starlight Cinema program, which will continue in 2020.

For 2020, we are excited to continue to bring 24 concerts to the Centennial Park Gazebo, 5 downtown art and craft festivals, along with our Wine Walks, Oktoberfest, Christmas in July, Barstool Open, Venice Beach Party and Christmas Walk, among other fun community events. From the board of directors, staff, and volunteers of Venice MainStreet, Inc. we wish you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!

13th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival

13th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival


Presented by Howard Alan Events and Venice MainStreet

Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th, 2020
10am to 5pm
200 W Miami Ave in Venice, FL
Free Admission

Join us in Downtown Venice to browse and purchase a wide variety of ceramics, jewelry, stained glass, metal works and much more. Our event will be set up along West Miami Avenue, one of Venice’s historic downtown streets. Our Green Market offers live flora, freshly popped kettle corn, gourmet spices, and sauces. Come meet and visit with some of the nation’s best crafters, as you stroll along downtown Venice. Located on Florida’s west coast, Venice is a vibrant town on the Gulf of Mexico, filled with historic charm, natural beauty, and independently owned shops and restaurants. 

For information on being a vendor at the arts and crafts festivals in downtown Venice, visit

Holiday Window Decorating Winners

Holiday Window Decorating Winners

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 this year’s winners!

Most Creative:
1st Place- Luxurious Interiors
2nd Place- Art Escape Gallery

Most Elegant:
1st Place- Heitel Jewelers
2nd Place- St. Marco Boutique

Most Traditional:
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

Most Whimsical:
1st Place- Tangi & Jess
2nd Place- Sirene Coastal Interiors

Best Use of Lights:
1st Place- Sunbug
2nd Place- Old Venice Pub

Ring in the Holidays with Venice MainStreet’s Christmas Walk

Ring in the Holidays with Venice MainStreet’s Christmas Walk

Start your holiday shopping with a stroll down the avenues of historic Venice on Thursday, December 5 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Venice MainStreet’s Annual Christmas Walk. Downtown will be all aglow with holiday lights and festive décor. Be sure to check out the winners of the storefront decorations contest—Most Creative; Most Elegant; Most Traditional; Most Creative Use of Products; Most Whimsical; and Best Use of Lights.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be stationed at Coldwell Banker, 331 West Venice Ave., to greet visitors and hand out special treats. Stores will be offering a host of discounts and specials to help you find something truly unique for everyone on your shopping list. Relax after your shopping spree at one of the many local restaurants and listen to the sounds of the season as holiday music emanates from the storefronts on Venice and Miami avenues. Bluegrass band Swinging Bridge will be playing at the Venice Avenue Creamery, saxophonist Eirinn Abu will be at Sirene Coastal Interiors, Coastal Keys will be at Venice Wine & Coffee Company, and Wanda will be playing at Mother’s Cupboard Spice Shoppe. The event is sure to be fun for the entire family.

During this season of giving, give a gift to your community—buy local and put your money were your heart is. Show your support for our wonderful city—Shop. Eat. Enjoy. Local.

Volunteer “Downtowners” Serve as Venice Ambassadors

Volunteer “Downtowners” Serve as Venice Ambassadors

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 

Chalk Festival Returns to Venice, November 15-18, 2019

Chalk Festival Returns to Venice, November 15-18, 2019

Photo courtesy Chalk Festival. Art by Michela Bogoni.

Get ready to be amazed as hundreds of artists from around the world take to the Venice airport pavement, turning it into a “museum in motion.” Spectators can interact with the artists as they go about creating their chalk masterpieces, bringing to life this year’s theme—Garden of Wonders, “a tribute to the marvels of the natural world and the human imagination.” Especially exciting will be the 3D pavement illusions which make the road surface appear to dip inward or rise above as the artists create intricate designs that become interactive when finished. Volunteers along with foot markers will show visitors the best photo spot to capture you and your friends in these illusion works of art. In addition, the Young and Young at Heart area will provide chalk for everyone to try their hand at chalking.

New this year, anyone can participate in several pre-event cultural boot-camp experiences to become more immersed in the chalk culture. “The Chalk Festival always approves anyone of any skill level to participate in the festival and we encourage more local people to give it a try,” states Denise Kowal, Founder/Chair of the festival. “There are studies that show art makes you mentally healthier, even if you’re not good at it.” Opportunities include restoring the Megalodon World Record painting; making huge flowers for displays; or painting walls for the illusion room or maze. As part of the restoration experience, participants will be working alongside renowned artists, such as Kurt Wenner who invented the 3D pavement art form. The artwork created pre-event will be finished the day the festival opens on Friday.

Besides the exquisite artwork on display, there will be live music performances throughout the four-day event along with vendors and a host of food and beverage options. The festival runs from Friday-Monday, November 15-18, 2019 from 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Ticket prices: parking and children 12 and under free; Adult and Student prices range from $5-$15 depending on day; Monday veterans are free with ID. Ticket includes admission to the chalk festival and free onsite parking at the Venice Municipal Airport Festival Grounds. Pre-sale tickets available at

To get more information about the festival, learn about the talented artists, and explore the photo gallery, log on to

32nd Annual Downtown Venice Art Festival

32nd Annual Downtown Venice Art Festival

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday, November 3rd, 2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Location: West Venice Avenue, Venice, Florida 34285

Free Admission!

Located on Florida’s west coast, Venice is a vibrant town on the Gulf of Mexico, filled with historic charm, natural beauty, and independently owned shops and restaurants. Considered one of the best kept secrets in all of Florida, the community of Venice has a number of special surprises awaiting you. Whether you like shopping in the unique stores of the downtown Venice Main Street district or prefer golfing, boating, or other recreational activities, Venice has it all.

Settled along West Venice Avenue, the Downtown Venice Art Festival adds to the ambiance of this unique town. More than 100 of the nation’s most notable artists will exhibit their work, ranging in mediums from photography to jewelry, paintings to sculpture, ceramics, glass, mixed media and more during this weekend community festival.  Festival patrons and art collectors alike can meet and visit with their favorite artists, view and purchase original works, or commission custom pieces.

Our Platinum Partners