For many of us, the most festive part of summer begins with our Fourth of July Independence Day celebration. Relaxed beach time with family and friends, picnics and music all wrapped in red, white and blue. We honor our nation’s birth and all who have served, ensuring our freedom and keeping us safe.
Siesta Beach Park is our County’s most beautiful environment for a night of fireworks. Our Fire Marshal clears the beach for safety, well away from dune vegetation, people and wildlife. This opens our view along the wide expanse of crystal white sand. The Gulf of Mexico mirrors the setting sun, creating nature’s ‘fireworks’ in the sky.
One of only three legally permitted Fireworks events in Sarasota County, all costs (approximately $35,000) are covered through citizen donations and fundraising activities of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce. Kevin Cooper, Executive Director, continues leading this effort of privately funded Fireworks. Having served in the US Army, Kevin especially appreciates the purpose, started 23 years ago to welcome troops returning from the Gulf War.
At our June 6 meeting, Sarasota County Fire Marshal John Reed spoke about Fireworks. He shared important information so necessary for safety on this special night.
No personal fireworks are permitted on Siesta Key.
1. There is a rigorous permitting process which requires the Sheriff’s approval for personal fireworks. Only 3 permits are presently issued for Sarasota County.
2. What is legal: If it ‘propels itself and blows up’ it isn’t legal.
3. Chinese lanterns are not legal.
4. Sparklers are legal but you cannot throw or ‘launch’ them.
5. No Fireworks are permitted in any County Park, including Turtle Beach Campground and the Beach park open sandy area.
6. Some conservation land and wildlife are at risk from debris or potential fire hazard from fireworks on the open beach or grass dune areas (imperiled nesting birds are protected from disturbance in season until September)
7. You may be fined up to $1000 for illegal use of fireworks.
On another safety issue, Chief Reed shared information about the “File for Life”program. Using a red magnetic pocket, critical medical information can be inserted and referenced by Emergency Medical Responders. These magnetic pockets can be attached inside your refrigerator or kept inside your car’s glove compartment. These kits can be obtained at: 6750 Bee Ridge Road or call 941-861-2290 for more information.
For those interested in ‘more hidden’ Siesta Key, we invite you to share the beach with two species of imperiled beach nesting birds. Snowy Plovers and Least Terns are now in full nesting mode. Despite early nesting losses, with shared efforts of Sarasota County Parks and Recreation staff, Natural resources, FWC, Sheriff’s Officers, and dedicated Volunteers from SKA and SAS, some chicks will survive and fledge. Nesting season occurs between March and August for these and other beach nesting birds of concern. Least Terns and Snowy Plovers are both imperiled species of concern. Volunteers are especially needed once chicks hatch. Please call 941- 364-4880 (SKA) or (941) 364-9212 (SAS), to be part of the Beach Nesting Bird Program.
We wish you a happy and safe July 4th holiday and summer vacation. Our next meeting will be held August 1, 4:30P at St. Boniface Episcopal Church, room F.
With its focus on maintaining and enhancing the quality of life on the Key, the Siesta Key Association’s representation of island resident interests ultimately benefits everyone who spends time on Siesta Key. SKA’s website is www.siestakeyassociation.com. “Like” us on Facebook!