Alliance Group Blog

The Singing Christmas Tree in Sarasota

By | October 21, 2017

Singing Christmas Tree

Singing Christmas TreeIf you’ve never seen Sarasota’s Singing Christmas Tree maybe this is the year to mark that off your list. It’s really something unique to see and during the Christmas season is a fun way to get into the spirit of the holidays.

The singing Christmas tree is 30 feet tall, has over 10,000 lights, 12 levels and holds 115 choir members. It has been a downtown Sarasota tradition for over 40 years hosted by First Sarasota Baptist Church. Performances begin on Sunday, December 3rd this year.

Tickets go on sale next Saturday, October 28th at 9:00am. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children. For the schedule and ticket information visit First Sarasota

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Chalk Festival Returns to Venice in November

By | October 11, 2017

Chalk Festival Venice Logo

Chalk Festival Venice LogoThe Chalk Festival is celebrating its 10-year anniversary next month during the week of November 10-13th with this year’s theme of ‘EVANESCENT EVERLASTING‘. After six seasons in Burns Square, a historic district in downtown Sarasota, it moved to Venice in 2014. This year will be its fourth season on the Island of Venice. Managed entirely by volunteers, this 501c3 non-profit organization strives to bring a global community of culture enthusiasts together who value the work involved to make and share memorable experiences.

Winning Sarasota Magazine’s Readers Choice Award for Best Event in Sarasota County 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and SRQ Magazine’s Readers Choice Award for Best of SRQ Local 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, it is no surprise that during any given year, the festival attracted over 200,000 visitors during its time in Sarasota and because of limitations with access to the fairgrounds it now attracts upward of 50,000 visitors with an estimated economic impact in the millions.

Chalk Festival with People in the ArtStarting in 2010 and every year since, the Chalk Festival features the most 3D pavement paintings ever created in one location. Also in 2010, it became the first international pavement art festival in the USA.

The artists who create these 3D pavement paintings invite visitors during the festival to step directly onto their artwork–becoming a part of illusion in photos. These artists come up with intricate ideas that make images and the ground appear to dip inward or rise above when viewed from a particular vantage point.

Chalk Festival ArtistsIn addition to the pavement artists who travel from all over the world, the festival organization invites anyone, of any skill level, to sign up as an artist and work alongside the professionals, creating their own pavement paintings. No other cultural organization mixes the most renown with beginners better than this festival, giving novice pavement and student artists a truly unique opportunity.

For more information visit the website at

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Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant

By | October 10, 2017

Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant

Cabbage Key Inn RestaurantThe Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant is located on a little island with no cars, and not even a single paved road. This historic restaurant sits up on an Indian shell mound, giving it excellent views of Pine Island Sound. The entire island is a secluded paradise and is only accessible by boat. If you don’t have a boat you can still get there by ferry from Bokeelia on Pine Island which is about an hour and a half south of Sarasota.

Cabbage Key Restaurant InteriorWalk inside, and you’ll quickly realize how unique this historic restaurant is. There are several areas to choose from, including a bar that has been serving this area for more than 60 years. The whole restaurant exudes rustic charm. In the bar and formal dining room, there are beautiful Cypress floors and working fireplaces. Replicas of game fish, antiques, and photographs showcasing the area’s history decorate the walls. In the main dining area, the walls and ceiling are covered with thousands of dollar bills, signed by past visitors. If you ask your server for a marker, you can sign your own dollar bill and leave your mark as well. The open-air main dining room looks out on the water and lush tropical trees, covered with moss and flowers. It really is a spectacular view for nature-lovers.

Cabbage Key Restaurant EntranceThe menu is full of delicious seafood, sandwiches, and burgers. There is a rumor that this restaurant inspired Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise” song. Don’t forget to end your meal with a tasty and refreshing slice of key lime pie.

There is a short hiking trail to an observation/water tower for a great view of the island and surrounding water and before you depart, don’t miss the gift shop for that perfect Florida souvenir.

The Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 365 days a year. Reservations are appreciated. To ask a question or make a reservation at the restaurant, call (239) 283-2278.

For more information visit their website at Cabbage Key Inn Restaurant.

Cabbage Key Ferry


Boat tours are available from several spots along the Gulf Coast and here are a few to check out:


Tropic Star of Pine Island

Island Girl Charters

Captiva Cruises

Fort Myers Boat Tour





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Upward Trend in Sarasota Real Estate

By | September 26, 2017

Upward Trend Multi Color

Upward Trend Multi ColorThe Sarasota Manatee Board of Realtors reports that compared to August 2016, the latest market report shows an increase in closed sales, median prices, and inventory for single family homes, while condos in the two-county area reported an increase in closed sales and pending sales. The August 2017 data was compiled from My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service by Florida Realtors®.

Closed sales for single family homes increased by 6.9 percent from August 2016 in the two county area. As for condos, closed sales also improved slightly from last year, with an increase of 0.8 percent. Combined, closed sales climbed from last month with a 6.4 percent increase to 1,819 sales in August. When looking at closed sales thus far in 2017, sales are higher than they were for the first eight months in 2016, a 2.1 percent increase to 14,254 closed sales.

New pending sales are up across the two-county area. There were 1,293 pending single family sales reported in the month of August, a 1.3 percent increase from last month and 516 pending condo sales, a 4.2 percent increase from July. Combined new pending sales also increased from this time last year, with a 2 percent increase in the two-county area. New pending sales can be a good indicator of future closed sales.

During the month of August, there were 6,791 single family and condo properties for sale in the two-county area, a 4.3 percent increase from this time in 2016. Inventory is down from last month in the two-county area. Single family home inventory decreased by 5.2 percent from July 2017, while condos decreased by 6.1 percent.

The month’s supply of inventory is the number of months it would take to deplete the current inventory at the recent sales rate. This figure has been decreasing since March of 2017, staying under the threshold for a balanced market. In Sarasota County, there was a 3.8 month supply of single family homes for sale, while Manatee dropped to a 4.1 month supply. Sarasota condos dropped to a 4.3 month supply, while Manatee is now at a 3.9 month supply.

Year-over-year, median prices continue to rise as distressed properties continue to decline. The median price of single family homes in Sarasota County rose 1.5 percent to $258,000, while it rose 6.2 percent to $286,855 in Manatee County, compared to August 2016. Condo median prices rose 10.9 percent to $183,000 in Manatee County, while they fell by 2 percent to $213,500 in Sarasota.

To view the full press release and statistical charts click here.

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October in Sarasota

By | September 21, 2017

October with Ghost

October with Ghost


The weather is great and our fall season is in full swing. There are a myriad of festivals and fun events going on in the Sarasota area during the month of October. Here are just a few to check out:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link for

More Information

Oct. 4th Phillippi Farmhouse Market Sarasota Farmhouse Market
Oct. 6th Music on Main Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Oct. 6th First Friday Gallery Art Walk Sarasota Downtown Sarasota Alliance
Oct. 7th 3rd Annual Beer, Bands & BBQ Lakewood Ranch Music Compound
Oct. 7-29th 29th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest Sarasota Fruitville Grove
Oct. 7th Taste of St. Armands Circle Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Oct. 7th ReptiDay Sarasota
Oct. 14-15th 11th Annual Hungarian Festival Sarasota Hungarian Festival
Oct. 14th 18th Annual Cortez Nautical Flea Market Cortez Florida Maritime Museum
Oct. 14th 12th Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale Sarasota UF Extension
Oct. 14-29th 26th Annual Hunsader Farms

Pumpkin Festival

Bradenton Hunsader Farms
Oct. 14-15th Desoto Pumpkin Festival Arcadia Desoto Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 18-21st 9th Annual Ringling International Arts Festival Sarasota Ringling Museum of Art
Oct. 20-22nd Sun Fiesta Venice Women’s Sertoma Club
Oct. 21st Garden Fest Sarasota Sarasota Garden Club
Oct. 21st 17th Annual Anna Maria Island Bayfest Anna Maria
Oct. 21st Sarasota Celtic Music Fest Sarasota
Oct. 21-22nd St. Armands Boat Show Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association
Oct. 21-22nd 4th Annual Arcadia Fall Rodeo Arcadia
Oct. 21, 28 & 29th Pumpkin Patch Express Parrish Florida Railroad Museum
Oct. 27-29th Sarasota Pumpkin Festival Lakewood Ranch Sarasota Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 27th Lakewood Ranch Boo Fest Lakewood Ranch Lakewood Ranch Main Street
Oct. 27-29th Coin Show Sarasota Sarasota Manatee Coin Clubs
Oct. 28th Sidewalk Astronomy Holmes Beach Sidewalk Astronomy
Oct. 28-29th 23rd Annual Downtown Sarasota Art & Craft Festival Sarasota
Oct. 31st Fright Night on St. Armands Circle Lido Key St. Armands Circle Association

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to ViewHomesOnTheGulfCoast. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!


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Sarasota Celtic Music Festival

By | September 12, 2017

Sarasota Celtic Music Festival 2017

Sarasota Celtic Music Festival 2017The Sarasota Celtic Music Festival will take place on Saturday, October 21st from 10am to 9pm at Nathan Benderson Park. It is sponsored by the Sarasota Chapter of New World Celts. SRQ Celtic Music Festival is proud to bring to Sarasota some of the most innovative bands touring America today who are on the forefront of the Celtic Fusion, Celtic Folk, and Celtic Rock scene.

We are also excited to bring you some of Florida’s local pub entertainment favorites. Whether you’re a band groupie and know the songs by heart or are curious about discovering your next new favorite band.

In addition to lots of musical entertainment, there will be many food and craft vendors, a blood drive from 11am-4pm and a dog parade at 2pm.

Come sample a variety of award winning Celtic beers & ales from Gold Coast Eagle Distributors under our giant tent and be prepared to sing, clap along, and dance the day away!

For more information visit


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Metro Diner Now Open in Sarasota

By | September 6, 2017

Metro Diner Logo

Metro Diner LogoAs part of the renovation of the Westfield Siesta Key Mall, new restaurants are moving in and one that is now open is Metro Diner.

Since its humble beginnings in 1938 and its revival as Metro Diner in 1992, Jacksonville’s favorite place for breakfast has been serving satisfied guests for nearly 25 years. In 2000, master chef Mark Davoli and family took over and elevated the menu to include innovative new dishes created from local ingredients. Known for warm, welcoming service, familiar faces and award-winning food, Metro Diner is a go-to eatery for locals, visitors and those just passing through town.

They have expanded throughout the southeastern United States and in Florida to 18 locations with Sarasota being the latest. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

We had brunch there on a recent Sunday morning and it was buzzing. After a short wait we were seated and promptly greeted and served. I would describe the food as comfort food with many popular menu items. Portions are large. It was all good and I’m sure we’ll be going back soon. Here’s a couple photos of our meals:

Metro Diner Breakfast


BLT for Lunch








To check out the Metro Diner menu visit

To keep up-to-date on the progress and changes at the Westfield Siesta Key Mall visit their website at

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Ski A Rees are Back for the Season

By | August 30, 2017

ski a rees logo

ski a rees logoFor almost 60 years the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees have brought excitement and fun to Sarasota Bay. They are a diverse group that spans several decades and several generations. They’re especially proud of their members, some of whom have grown up being a Ski-A-Ree and plan on passing on the tradition of performing one of the best amateur water ski shows in the Nation. One thing they all have in common is a love of waterskiing, family and great friends.

ski a rees pyramid pinkFree shows are scheduled throughout the year at their location near Mote Marine. Check out the event calendar for details. There are bleacher seats, or you can bring your own lawn chair. There is free parking available as well as a concession stand to purchase snacks and drinks.

The first show of the season is scheduled for Sunday, September 24th at 1:00pm. For more information visit a rees crowd

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Inventory Low, Prices Rising

By | August 27, 2017

Price Increase

Price IncreaseThe Sarasota Manatee Association of Realtors reports that in July median prices continue to rise in response to the low inventory of properties for sale and the decreasing number of foreclosed and short sales. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS®, reported that home prices in most metro areas continued their fast ascent in the second quarter because supply remained at pitiful levels.

The median price of single family homes in Sarasota County rose 7.2 percent, while it rose 7.1 percent in Manatee County as compared to July 2016. Condo median prices rose 4.5 percent in Sarasota County, while they fell 10.9 percent in Manatee County for the same period. Overall, however, median prices in July were lower than during the recently ended season.

Inventory has shown an increase year-over-year, but has been trending lower since the peak in February. Last year at July month-end, there were only 6,687 properties for sale in the two-county area. By the end of February, the level had increased to 8,557. At the end of last month, there were 7,182 properties on the market.

Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have continued to fall as the economy has improved. Only 4 percent of all sales in July this year were distressed sales, compared to 5.3 percent in the same period last year.

New pending sales for single family homes are up 4 percent from July 2016 in the two-county area. For condos, the area shows a decline of 2.6 percent from last year.

The month’s supply of inventory, the number of months it would take to deplete current inventory at the recent sales rate, peaked in March with levels inching toward a balanced market. However, like inventory, this figure has been steadily decreasing since then. In Manatee County, there was a 4.2 month supply of single family homes for sale, while Sarasota dropped to a 4.1 month supply. Sarasota condos are at a 4.6 month supply and Manatee condos are at a 4.1 month supply. The market remains a seller’s market.

New listings of single family homes in Manatee County experienced a significant increase of 18.4 percent compared to July 2016, while Sarasota decreased by 1.7 percent. Condo new listings in Sarasota increased by 2.2 percent from last year and Manatee decreased by 6 percent.

To view the full press release and statistical charts click here.

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September in Sarasota

By | August 24, 2017

September 2017

September 2017

This month marks the beginning of the fall season. Here’s just a sampling of the activities happening in the Sarasota area during the month of September:

Date Event or Activity Location Click Link for

More Information

Sept. 1st Music on Main Lakewood Ranch Main Street Events
Sept. 1-24th “Roar! The Music of the 1920s and Beyond” Sarasota Florida Studio Theatre
Sept. 1-2nd Village of the Arts ArtWalk Bradenton Village of the Arts
Sept. 1-3rd 71st Annual Labor Day Regatta Sarasota Sarasota Sailing Squadron
Sept. 2-4th Tampa Bay Labor Day Soccer Tournament Lakewood Ranch Chargers Soccer
Sept. 2nd 14th Annual Venice Triathlon Venice SW Florida YMCA
Sept. 2-3rd 9th Annual Downtown Venice Craft Festival Venice
Sept. 2-4th Englewood Pioneer Days Englewood Englewood Pioneer Days
Sept. 8th Free Friday Night Music Venice City of Venice
Sept. 9th Literacy Amongst the Trees Osprey Oscar Scherer State Park
Sept. 9th Sarasota Farmer’s Market Sarasota
Sept. 9th A Taste of Downtown Sarasota Sarasota Sarasota Opera
Sept. 12th Jackson Pollock-A New Voice for America Art History Lunch & Lecture Osprey Historic Spanish Point
Sept. 14-30th “Mame” Bradenton Manatee Performing Arts Center
Sept. 15-17th Sarasota Bradenton Fall Home Show Sarasota Home Show Florida
Sept. 15th Friday Fest – Reverend Barry & the Funktastic Soul Sarasota Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Sept. 16th International Coastal Clean Up Siesta Key Sarasota County
Sept.20-24th Josh Sneed @ McCurdy’s Sarasota McCurdy’s Comedy Theater
Sept. 21st Ladies Night on the Circle Lido Key St Armands Circle Assn.
Sept. 23rd Museum Day Live Sarasota Ringling Museum
Sept. 23rd Arcadia Antiques Fair Arcadia Arcadia Antiques
Sept. 23rd Sidewalk Astronomy Bradenton Sidewalk Astronomy
Sept. 23rd Mystical Bazaar Sarasota Sarasota Mystical Bazaar
Sept. 24th Ski-A-Rees Waterski Show Lido Key
Sept. 30th 33rd Annual Siesta Key Triathlon Siesta Key Sarasota YMCA
Sept. 30th National Public Lands Day Various National Environmental Education Foundation

Call us when you are ready to make your move! To search for homes in the area go to View Homes On The Gulf Coast. We’re here to help you every step of the way…call us today!


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