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 info@venicemainstreet.com. 

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 Eventbrite.com/e/chalkfestival-garden-of-wonders/.

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

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.

Calling Ghosts and Goblins for Venice Halloween Parade

Calling Ghosts and Goblins for Venice Halloween Parade

Show off your favorite costume at Venice’s annual Children Halloween Parade, sponsored by the Venice Lions Club and Venice MainStreet. Scheduled for Thursday, October 31, children—accompanied by an adult—should gather at the gazebo in Centennial Park at 4:30 p.m. At 5:00 p.m., children will follow the Lions Club float out of Centennial Park onto West Venice Avenue—which will be temporarily closed for this event in the 200 and 300 blocks. The parade will travel westbound in the westbound lanes of West Venice Avenue to Nassau Street. At Nassau Street, the children will use the designated crosswalk to the sidewalk on eastbound West Venice Avenue.

Following the brief parade, children are encouraged to trick-or-treat along the downtown avenues. Shop owners—many of them in costume—will be greeting visitors with special treats. This community event is a great chance for kids to show off their Halloween costumes to the delight of spectators, parents, and grandparents.

The Venice Lions Club has proudly sponsored this event for 61 years. The Club conducts a wide variety of vision and hearing projects as well as a number of community-related activities.

Be a part of this fun, family-friendly fall event. No registration required. Free admission and parking. For more information about this event, contact Venice MainStreet at 941-484-6722.

Local Shop Owners Nurture Creative Crafters

Local Shop Owners Nurture Creative Crafters

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.

 

Cafe Longet: Fine Cuisine with a French Touch

Cafe Longet: Fine Cuisine with a French Touch

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
Reservations: cafelonget.com

4th Annual Venice Beach Party

4th Annual Venice Beach Party

Grab your flip flops and head to Venice Beach on Saturday, September 28 for Venice MainStreet Inc.’s 4th Annual Venice Beach Party. Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and open to the public for free, this entertaining outdoor event features live music, food vendors and cocktail bars on the beach starting at 3 p.m. and lasting until sunset.

“We are excited to be in our 4th year of this great event, and we have expanded this year!” said the Events Coordinator for Venice MainStreet Inc., Nick Sperry. “We look forward to being back on the beach!”

Gulf Shores Realty will be giving away 1,500 custom designed t-shirts for FREE promptly at 3 p.m. The collectible shirts feature original artwork from Gemini Apparel created specifically for this year’s event. Gulf Shores Broker Wayne Welsh said, “We simply wanted to say thank you to the community for making us the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce 2019 Business of the Year.” This is the 2nd year Gulf Shores Realty has done the T-Shirt Give-a-Way. They cannot be purchased or reserved and no shirts will be given out early.

Nothing tastes better than food on the beach and there is plenty to choose from including local bites from BrewBurgers, The Maine Menu, Sharky’s On the Pier, Bonefish Grill, and Kona Ice. Enjoy a variety of mixed drinks featuring Siesta Key Silver Rum or pop the top on a Landshark Lager.

The music lineup on the Truly Nolen Stage will keep you grooving until the sun goes down! The Sarasota Steel Pan Band kicks things off from 3pm to 5:30pm, then Offshore Riot takes the stage from 6pm to 8pm. Admission is free and a free shuttle will travel from the Centennial Park parking lot downtown to the Venice Beach Pavilion, located at 101 The Esplanade, and back.

Proceeds from the concession sales go to support Venice MainStreet’s mission to enhance the quality of life in our community by preserving, protecting, and promoting Historic Downtown Venice.