City Hall and City buildings are closed to the public due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Most services are continuing. Please contact us through this website or call: 941-263-6000.  For more information please go to our COVID-19 Information Page

Cultural Special Event Grant Program

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Office of Economic Development

Special Events can be used to draw new visitors to less well-known business districts in the City of Sarasota. Increased interest and traffic in these areas helps local businesses by shining a light on their corner of the City, and their special business offerings. 

Cultural special events differ from unspecified special events due to their unique and inimitable nature. Cultural Special Events amplify the community’s existing culture: the shared language, cuisine, social habits, music, arts, literature, crafts, history, and customs of our citizens. A successful Cultural Special Event demonstrates and celebrates what is uniquely Sarasota, and attracts a wide and enthusiastic audience from the local community and regional area to under-activated commercial areas of the City. 

The City Commission approved a total of $150,000 in Economic Development funding for this initiative at their May 6, 2019 Regular Commission meeting. These funds will be used to match the amount of funding a Cultural Special Event provides independently, with no match awarded larger than $50,000.  

For prospective applicants to be considered for a matching grant they must:
• Be a 501c3 organization, registered with the State of Florida and as a charity with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. 
Propose a new or expanding event that meets the definition of a Cultural Special Event as defined above.
• Hold t
he event on or adjacent to under-served commercial corridors/business districts within the City of Sarasota (i.e., not on a Fairground, in an Event-Center, or in a business district that is already the location of multiple special events). 
• Prove that the event organizer is providing an amount equal to, or larger than, the amount of Grant funding being sought from the City.

Click here for the City of Sarasota's Cultural Special Event Grant Program
Click here for the City of Sarasota's Cultural Special Event Grant Program APPLICATION
Click here for a Project Budget Excel worksheet (optional)

Questions? Please contact the Office of Economic Development at 941-263-6284 or email