Lakewood Ranch Girds for a Festive March


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, February 1, 2018 – Residents of Lakewood Ranch, especially those at Greenbrook Village, will have a ringside seat to one of the larger events ever to be hosted in the master development.

Meticulous preparations are now underway for the maiden run of the Sarasota Balloon Festival to be held March 8‒11 at the Premier Sports Campus which Manatee County has recently purchased from Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder Manatee Ranch (SMR).

Manatee’s New Leisure Hub

Located just across Greenbrook and also flanked by Lakewood National, DelWebb and Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch, the sports campus promises to become a significant contributor to local leisure activities with the county handling its stewardship. The county’s deal with SMR for the campus notably included a 36-acre tract where an aquatic center could be built.

The balloon festival indeed looks a great way to jumpstart the sports campus’s role for Manatee County. Its organizer, Ricky Garvie, whose firm Midflo is the event host, has provided assurance that the event is no one-shot deal. A former Oklahoma resident who moved to Longboat Key last year, Garvie said Midflo has a five-year plan developed for the Sarasota Balloon Festival.

Family-oriented Festival

Sarasota Balloon Festival

The four-day event, according to its organizer, will feature balloon “competition flights” each morning. Evenings of the festival will be highlighted by a “Balloon Glow,” featuring illuminated balloons going airborne to the sound of music. Rides on tethered balloons will also be offered each night of the festival.

Garvie promises a family-friendly setup for this festival which won’t charge entrance fees. Besides “dozens of hot-air balloons,” the event will have live music, over 100 vendors, and 23 food trucks or more, he said.

A contract has already been signed for Garvie to rent an area at the Premier Sports Campus. Its site will be in an area similar to Thunder by the Bay motorbike festival held at the facility last year. Incidentally, this bikers’ event is returning to Sarasota after its single run in Lakewood Ranch in 2017.

Music on Main

Music on Main

Meanwhile, the festive March mood in Lakewood Ranch begins a week prior the balloon extravaganza. On March 2, the first Friday of the month, the Music on Main again takes center stage at Lakewood Ranch from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

This monthly event, besides live music, offers food, wine and beer sales at the master development’s Main Street. A family-oriented occasion, it likewise features face painting, balloon twister and other fun activities at Main’s fountain area.

Irish Celtic Event

A week prior the balloon festival, residents of Greenbrook and its neighboring communities will also have the chance to join the 7th Annual Irish Celtic Festival. Set on March 10, it will be held at the Lakewood Ranch Adventure Park near Greenbrook.

The highlights of this event include more besides traditional Irish cuisine. There will be a dog parade and contest for the Most Irish, Cutest, and Dog/Owner look alike. Also in the lineup are a scavenger hunt, dance and music numbers, and the event’s popular hit “Best Legs in a Kilt” for men. The festival, which offers free admission and just $5 for parking, will likewise host the first Irish Spirits Relay Race that pretty much shows the richness there is in living at Lakewood Ranch.