Thursday, August 28, 2014

Speed Limit Change On Siesta Key

When coming back to Siesta Key, please keep an eye on the speed limits.  

On a portion of Midnight Pass Road south of Stickney Point Road which was formerly 40 mph, the speed limit has now been lowered to 35 mph.

The change in speed limit was driven by local residents concerned about high-speed traffic in an area with so many cyclists and pedestrians.

Low-speed vehicles that can be rented by tourists are still not allowed on that same stretch of road.

Friday, August 22, 2014

2014 Sandfest Date Announced..Save the Date!

Siesta Key Chamber Sandfest 2014 presents:     
"Siesta Hoedown" 
Siesta Key Beach Pavilion 
6pm- 10pm

Current Chamber Job Opening - Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce

The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce is accepting resumes for a part-time bookkeeper position. Applicants should have experience in business applications such as QuickBooks and basic accounting. Resumes will be accepted only by email. Please send resume to Debra Lynn-Schmitz, Executive Director,

For a complete position description, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Join us for this year's Crystal Classic festival in November!

Get ready for this year's fabulous festival set to open on Friday, 11/14/14.


The festival this year features fabulous live stage entertainment with Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band, Have Gun Will Travel and Ally and the Venturas - Ally will be entertaining us on Saturday night, 11/16, under the stars in the midst of colorfully lit sand sculptures at the inaugural Taste of Siesta.

Make it a point to plan your vacation around this incredible event which happens on the #1 beach on Siesta Key from Friday, 11/14 through Tuesday, 11/18/14, open 10-5:30 PM, this year with a new event on Saturday night among beautifully lit, colored sand sculptures on the beach.

Highlights for this year include:

•   Margaritaville Fashion Show Exhibitions
•   Amateur Sculpting Contest
•   Live Entertainment with the Jim Morris Band, Have Gun Will Travel and Tropical Avenue Band to name a few
•   Taste of Siesta on Saturday Night: 6-10 PM featuring Ally and the Venturas
•   Vendor Village open Friday through Monday
•   Mobi-Mat on sand on Monday and Tuesday for easier walking
•   Santa Claus sand sculptures ready for your Christmas Photo Op
•   Sand Sculpting Lessons
•   Quick Sand Competitions
•   Fashion Show Runway made from Sand

Monday, August 4, 2014

What's in the water on Siesta Key?

For about a week now we have been hearing about a “flesh-eating bacteria” in the coastal and inland waters of Southwest Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, but what’s really in the water and how careful do I really need to be?

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacteria that occurs naturally in coastal waters. The bacteria, which is more abundant in the summer months (you know, the months without an “R” in the name), is not new, it is not more abundant than in years past, and it is not “flesh-eating”.

When exposed to the bacteria, individuals with underlying health conditions can experience symptoms including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and chills after eating raw or undercooked seafood, especially oysters. Swallowing water while swimming is not a danger, the gastrointestinal form of the infection can only be contracted by eating raw or undercooked fish. These gastrointestinal symptoms can be severe, or even fatal, but only for individuals with a compromised immune system.

Individuals with an open wound that has been exposed to seawater or brackish water can develop an infection at the site of the wound. Jay Grimes, a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory who has studied Vibrio bacteria since 1980 advises those who like to fish in Gulf waters to prevent the risk of Vibrio skin infections by keeping hydrogen peroxide and Betadine in their tackle boxes. “Hydrogen peroxide is not an antiseptic, but when you pour it on a wound, the bubbling has a cleansing effect. Then if you put Betadine on it, chances are good you won't get an infection.” he said.

“Floridians and visitors without flesh wounds or underlying medical conditions should not be alarmed”, said Michael Drennon, epidemiologist for Sarasota County. Healthy individuals should continue to enjoy the beach and other salt water activities.

It is important to note that that shellfish from grocery stores and restaurants are approved and licensed for distribution. If you choose to harvest your own shellfish, it should be from an approved harvesting site. Sarasota County does not have shellfish harvesting sites and harvesting sites in other parts of the state are currently closed. Cooking shellfish thoroughly eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses in the meat.

Please visit the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
5114 Ocean Boulevard
Siesta Key, FL 34242
(941) 349-3800

Flesh Eating Bacteria - Siesta Key Florida

We have received a number of calls at the Chamber about the bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, which is naturally occurring in the warm saltwater of southwest Florida and Gulf of Mexico. It is extremely unfortunate that the media has chosen to use the words, "flesh-eating" 

According to the Florida Dept. of Health in Sarasota County:

1.    Vibrio vulnificus is a naturally occurring bacteria - meaning it is present all the time in warm brackish water and seawater (salt water). This includes marine waters outside Florida. The concentration of bacteria does increase in the summer months, we are not sure why this occurs.

2.    Residents and visitors with certain health conditions are urged to avoid eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to seawater and estuarine water, which may harbor bacteria called V. vulnificus. Persons who have wounds, cuts or scratches and wade in estuarine areas or seawater where the bacteria might be present can become ill.

3.    Cuts or lesions can become infected with V. vulnificus when exposed to warm brackish water or salt water where the bacteria naturally occurs. Individuals may also become infected by consuming infected shellfish.

People should avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish such as clams and

•         It is important to know that grocery stores and restaurants shellfish are approved and licensed for shellfish distribution.

•         If you harvest your own shellfish, it should be from an approved shellfish harvesting site. Sarasota County does not have those sites and shellfish harvesting sites elsewhere in the state are currently closed.

•         Shellfish that you prepare yourself should be cooked thoroughly when consumed either by frying, stewing, or roasting eliminates harmful bacteria and viruses in the meat.

4.    Symptoms may include: pain, redness, blistering skin lesions, fever, chills and discharge at site of wound. Infection by V. vulnificus may result in a blood stream infection. It is important to seek medical care if an  individual develops these symptoms after wounds have been exposed to brackish water or sea water. Other symptoms of infection include GI illness such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, chills. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment consists of antibiotics.

5.    Individuals with underlying health conditions are most at risk for developing serious illness from Vibrio vulnificus. Those who believe they have symptoms of V. vulnificus should contact a health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

            6.  Important point: Healthy individuals can continue to enjoy the beach and other salt water activities; however, those with open wounds on their body should be aware that they are taking a risk of contracting V. vulnificus.

           7. This is not a flesh-eating bacteria. Necrotic fasciitis is not typically associated with this type of bacterial infection.

Coordination: DOH-Sarasota PIO provided interview using approved talking points.

For more information or questions, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota County Office of Environmental Health at 941-861-6133.
Please visit the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
5114 Ocean Boulevard
Siesta Key, FL 34242
(941) 349-3800