Public gets a sneak peek of the races coming to the Beach in October
The VIP Ribbon Cutting for Roar Offshore was held at Sunset Beach Tropical Grill last Friday and the following Town of Fort Myers Beach Council meeting led to some compromises between the Council and the event planners to assure a successful event.
Roar Offshore is the return of powerboat racing to Fort Myers Beach. Starting on Thursday, Oct. 10 and going through Saturday, Oct. 12, the event will spread out over a dozen venues throughout the Beach.
The event will kick off that Thursday with a street party and boat parade over the north bridge, with opportunities to see the boats close up and to meet with the teams and racers competing in the event.
Three primary races, which will occur up and down Fort Myers Beach at 100 mph will follow on Saturday. Viewing parties will be hosted at dozens of beachfront venues with drink and food specials throughout the race days
The marketing event hosted last Friday by Sunset Beach Tropical Grill in cooperation with Roar Offshore was to make the public aware of special packaging available to them during the event such as pier access, food and beverage discounts, restaurant access as well as race access for meet and greets and photo opportunities with the competitors and their vehicles. Terry Persaud, owner of Sunset Beach Tropical Grill, helped cut the ribbon.
“We’re excited to see this kind of positive community response,” Mike Shepherd, chairman for Roar Offshore, said. “Fort Myers Beach has been hospitable to a fault, and we want to put that energy to work.”
Dozens of attendees took photos with two of the competition boats as well as purchased different tiers of packages for the event itself.
The following Monday had the last round of permit approvals and talks between Roar Offshore as well as logistics for the events.
“A big concern was waste management and Port-a-Potty locations which we’re happy to show that we have 500 percent more toilet locations than any other event in Florida currently,” Tim Hill, co-organizer of Roar Offshore said during the council meeting. We’ve also worked with town management to ensure there are extra Dumpsters on every parking site and people working to clean up loose trash.”
The town has put resources and extra fees on to the Roar proposal to cover what the town is now offering in addition which is beach trash facilities and cleanup staff.
Several restaurants have put in requests for special use exceptions during specific days of the event. Things like elongating open container areas and time frames, hours of approved operation, waiver of specific enforcement during the event.
“I have an issue with facilities requesting special exceptions that aren’t applicable to the site. A restaurant putting in for extension of facility for sales during the event and their parking lot as well? I don’t think it’s a good use, nor does it fit,” Councilmember Joanne Shamp said.
There are multiple avenues of use, including chair rentals during the event for viewing.
“I disagree with the council’s general consideration, we’re only using the parking lot as additional VIP seating and food and drink. We aren’t looking for additional vendors for the usage, we’re just using it on site for official usage. We’re using facilities to accommodate as many visitors to the island as possible,” Persaud said.
The event is spread out over a weekend, so the concern is density as well as exceptions.
The Council approved the special activity application for Sunset Beach Tropical Grill to have VIP tents on the parking lot adjacent, but has put in the clause that no beach chair or rentals will be allowed.