The city of Sarasota, Florida came became a household word for many Americans in September, 2001 for it was here that President George Bush was visiting a local elementary school when he received word of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Located in Sarasota County, the city is situated along the Gulf Coast of Florida between Tampa Bay and Fort Myers. The city limits include not just portions of the mainland, but also several of Florida's famous barrier islands, including Siesta Key, Otter Key, and Bird Key.
Sarasota boasts more than 50,000 permanent residents, making it a medium-sized city for its region. There are many Sarasota vacation homes available as short or long-term rentals, in part because this region of Florida is one that was greatly affected by the increase in housing price levels during the first eight years of the new millennium. With the subsequent crash in values, many people who had previously maintained second homes here decided to recoup some of their investment by making those homes available to tourists eager to soak in the sunshine that characterizes Florida during most months of the year.
In addition to sand and surf, Sarasota possesses several cultural attractions. These include the Asolo Repertory Theatre as well as the Sarasota Ballet and the Sarasota Opera. For more than ten years, there has also been an annual film festival held in Sarasota. One of the more unusual cultural attractions in the city is the Sarasota Chalk Festival, an event that celebrates street painting.