ENGLEWOOD — Fans can expect more than high-speed powerboat racing at the fifth annual Englewood Beach Waterfest.
This year, at least 65 racing teams are expected to come to town Nov. 23-24, to compete in Offshore Powerboat Association World Championship national championship off Manasota Key and at the public Englewood Beach. But that’s not all that’s happening.
Included in the festivities at Englewood Beach will be Waterfest’s second annual Family Conservation Center, sponsored by Ron & Matt Smith Agency of State Farm Insurance. Mote Marine Laboratory and six other environmental nonprofits — from the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program south to the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda — are planning to participate.
Other exhibits will include “green screen” video experiences and a tent where patrons can enjoy a “butterfly encounter” first hand, said Dana Lutz, a Waterfest board member and organizer.
Many of the activities are interactive for children, Lutz said, citing face painting, sand art and “kids boat craft,” where youngsters can make their own boats out of foam.
To encourage attendance, Waterfest organizers distributed free tickets to students of Englewood Elementary School and elementary schools throughout Charlotte County. Children need to be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult on the day of the races.
Children can participate in a $5 or $10 scavenger hunt where they will visit the various exhibits to complete their hunts.
“I think it’s a neat way for kids to learn,” Lutz said. In fact, the whole conservation center is to better educate the public about water and environmental stewardship.
Lemon Bay Conservancy board member Eva Furner agrees. The Conservancy participated last year and will be return to Waterfest with an exhibit.
“Families at the races can stop and learn about the environment,” Furner said. “We really appreciate what Waterfest is doing.”
To learn more about Englewood Beach Waterfest 2019 or to purchase advance two-day tickets for $20 ($25 at the gate) — which includes parking and transportation to and from the races — visit englewoodbeachwaterfest.com.