Known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” Venice, Florida features miles of pristine shoreline and abundant sunshine, making it a perfect destination to enjoy Florida’s Gulf Coast. Travelers are drawn to the area for swimming, snorkeling, sailing, and even some fossil hunting. Another major draw is the city’s historic downtown area, which was built in the 1920’s and modeled after Venice, Italy.
The Shark's Tooth Festival has been a go-to community event for two and a half decades. It will take place April 7-9 at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds and festival organizers expect more than 15,000 attendees. Venice’s first big celebration of the year features arts and crafts, food, and 24 fossil vendors. Local acts will perform live music, and Special Olympics Sarasota County will conduct a special fishing presentation. The Festival is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Sarasota County, helping to provide athletic training and competition to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We got the opportunity to interview Maggie Riggall, Executive Director of Special Athlete Boosters, to learn about this unique experience.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MR: This will be the 25th year of the festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MR: Approximately 15,000 over the three days of the festival.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
MR: People of all ages are encouraged to attend.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MR: It is a festival celebrating Venice, Florida, as the Shark's Tooth Capital of the World!
RAL: Take me through the Activities of a day at the event.
MR: Here is a breakdown of what people will find:
Children’s Game Area
A non-profit area featuring Mote Marine Mobile Lab
Commercial Marketing Booths
Art & Craft vendors
3 large tents with vendors selling sharks teeth, fossils, minerals, gems, etc.
Great food and beverages
RAL: Will there be any Guest Appearances?
MR: Kim Betts and her Gamble Creek Band will be performing on Saturday night.
RAL: What is the environment like?
MR: It’s outside under the ever-present Florida sun. The Festival takes place on the Venice Airport property on an old runway. There is plenty of free parking and admission is only $4 per person (children 12 and under are admitted free of charge). No pets, please.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
MR: The City of Venice and surrounding area have many unique accommodations for the traveler. We suggest people go to the Venice Chamber of Commerce site.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
MR: Best Western Plus Ambassador Suites Venice is one of our sponsors, and it's located near I-75 which is only three miles from the festival grounds. They are offering some great festival discounts.
RAL: Is there maybe one place in particular that guests have been flocking to since the event started?
MR: Sharky’s on the Pier is a great place for people to visit after they’ve been to the festival.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MR: Yes, people come from all over Florida and the Southeastern U.S. and spend money at local businesses, restaurants, and hotels.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
MR: The event raises funds for the Special Athletes of Sarasota County; specifically for the Special Olympics.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
MR: You can spend the day looking at all the beautiful wares for sale. There are also many things to do in and around Venice including spending time on the beaches, visiting the excellent restaurants, and perusing high-end shops.
For more information about the Sharks Tooth Festival, please visit the event website.