Happy Thanksgiving and good morning to you from the frozen tundra of north Alabama. Actually that is a slight over exaggeration but it appears that, after an extended trip to Sunny Florida, winter has chosen to welcome me back home in a very big way.
With my November trip to southern Florida coming to an end I had scheduled my last three days in Venice, Florida visiting a very dear friend James Hagler and taking in the cities sights and activities. James is the Director of Historical Resources for the Venice Museum and Archives and is the former curator for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The weekend was packed full of events including a blues festival and a premiere of the PBS documentary on the Kentucky Military Institute and its connection to the city of Venice.
Venice is small but well developed planned beach community on the Gulf of Mexico that was founded in 1927. It may be best known for its connection with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College, it’s large “snowbird population” and it’s moniker as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” Although I had grown up just north of the city in Tampa, Fl. this was my very first visit and I was looking forward to my time and touring the city.
One of the iconic sites in Venice is the 700 ft. pier located on the south end of the island and connected to Starkey’s on the Pier. It is where visitors, fisherman and beach bathers gather to fish, eat, sunbathe and watch the sunset.
The city is rich in history and its planned community design can be traced to the city’s founder, Dr. Fred H. Albee, the famed orthopedic surgeon and his hiring of the world-renowned N.Y. city planner, John Nolen. The look of downtown is very art deco and includes such signature buildings like the Venice Depot, the Hotel Venice and the Valencia Hotel and arcade.
The highlight of the weekend may very well have been attending the first annual Venice Brews and Blues Festival. I am a big blues fan and most of the acts were unknown to me. By the end of the festival I was a huge fan of all of the acts but was extremely impressed with the Ori Naftly Band from Israel, Selwyn Birchwood band and the Lauren Mitchell Band.
It was an exceptional three days spent in Venice and many thanks to all my new found friends for their generous hospitality: Judith Keller, Kat Quast, Kim LeMay and Ed and Ally Glennon!!!
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