One of the concerns that visitors to Sarasota voice about living here year ’round is that they would miss the fact that here there are “no seasons.”
The conclusion that we lack seasons is off base in two ways.
First, we have weather seasons, although it is true that they are less extreme than up North. (But really, who envies that!)
Our temperatures do not swing between high 90s and below zeros; precipitation does not range from rain, to ice, to snow; and leafless trees do not rattle like dry bones in the chilly wind.
But there are indeed seasonal shifts.
The three-four months of summer are sweltering hot and humid, and rain comes in torrential downpours each day around 4 p.m. (It actually illustrates the expression “sheets of rain” because you can see it coming like a wall of water from a mile away.)
Fall and Spring are glorious: full sunshine, low humidity, and temps that remain in the 80s. In essence, Paradise.
Winter (that is, that one day in December and perhaps up to 10 days in January), is cool and sometimes even requires that we turn the heat on over night. The sun shines and rain is rare. The gulf water drops for a few days below 70 degrees, but the sunsets are spectacular.
And no matter the season, something is in bloom or growing in Florida. Right now in January, our orange tree is heavy with ripe fruit. Grapefruit are soon to follow.
But the second point about Sarasota seasons, is that January 1st kicks off what locals refer to as “The Season.” This is the three-month period when tourists flood into our city and triple our population, triple our traffic, and pay triple prices for rentals.
But Season is more than just crowds: it is about a cultural bounty as well.
Sarasota Season is defined by opera, ballet, symphony, plays, performances, art installments, festivals, sporting events (including polo, tennis opens, golf tournaments, and baseball spring training), innovative restaurant menus, and of course, fantastic white sand beaches.
As much as locals bemoan the traffic congestion, the waitlists for restaurants, and the difficulty in finding beach parking, (and yes, we do moan and groan about all this), we also acknowledge and appreciate that without tourists and their dollars, we would be a much poorer community not only monetarily but also culturally.
To put a different spin on it: Tourists are the reason for our Season.