Safety costs and downtown construction are blamed for the cancellation of the traditional and very popular street parade of boats prior to the Sarasota Grand Prix, July 1-2 in Sarasota, Florida. With the rising costs of safety expenditures, as well as potential conflicts with downtown construction, the boat parade wasn’t as feasible this year, says Lucy Nicandri, executive director for Suncoast Charities for Children, which puts on the event.
Cutting out the parade this year and expanding the block party was a three-prong decision based on expenses and feasibility, as well as the overall spectator and boater experience, according to a report by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Putting on a parade would have required added security and more than 200 metal barricades at the festival’s expense. This is the second year too that the festival has had an extra day of boat racing, which further pulls on resources. The move also created the opportunity to extend the hours for the July 1 Boats on Main block party and to give festival-goers more one-on-one time with the boats and their teams.
“They’re going to be signing autographs and taking pictures,” Nicandri says. “In the parade, you couldn’t throw things to people. They were limited. We’re trying to make it a more fan-friendly experience to get to know the teams.”