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Wednesday, Sep 27 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Journey to China and Taiwan

Starting April 7, 2016, 18 Friendship Force members from 4 Florida clubs traveled to mainland China for 2 unforgettable weeks and then followed with a one week home stay with the FF of Greater Taipei club.

This was an amazing adventure including a 4-day Yangtze River Cruise with stops in Shanghai, Xi'an, many villages along the Yangtze and finally days in Beijing followed by a flight to Taipei, Taiwan where we were met by an extremely fun-loving FF club. We were treated like royalty in Taiwan. Frank Hsaio was the host ED and made us all feel very welcome. They love to eat amazing food and sing and dance.

                  Sarasota and Surrounding Areas

...                                 Siesta Beach

The metropolitan area of Sarasota, Florida is known worldwide for its excellent beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Beaches such as: Siesta (arguably the best in the world), Turtle, Crescent, Lido, Casperson, Coquina and Bradenton.  Great Beaches!!!                         

 

But, Sarasota has so much more to offer than just beaches…

                         

           In the early twentieth century and later, many people with a passion for culture, art, music and dance among other things began to find the beauty of the Sarasota area; names like Ringling, Palmer, Selby, Payne, Mote began to establish this garden spot as a cultural mecca.   What was started in those early years has been nurtured to give this area an international reputation for its culture along with its natural beauty.                

            

      The Sarasota area has the world class John & Mable Ringling Museum complex with a fantastic art museum, the newly renovated Ringling home, The Ca D’ Zan, and a museum dedicated to the tradition of the circus. William & Marie Selby left us their property which has become the beautiful Selby Orchid and Botanical Gardens. William Mote established the Mote Marine Aquarium and Research Center and it is recognized as a leader in marine biological research.     

 

                   All of these facilities, along with others, set the tone for an explosion of the arts by attracting many families that were willing and able to endow a plethora of excellent programs: The Sarasota Orchestra, The Sarasota Opera,  The Sarasota Ballet, The Van Wezel Performing Arts Center along with the afore mentioned Ringling Complex, Selby Gardens and Mote Marine. We boast of many repertory and amateur theatre groups including the Manatee Players, The Asolo Repertory Theatre, The Players, The Florida Studio Theatre and the Venice heatre among others.

           

          Wedding Pagoda at Selby Gardens

 

The cities of our area; Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, Palmetto, Englewood, Lakewood Ranch and North Port continue to benefit from the gracious people that provide the endowment funds and the tremendous amount of volunteers that keep all of the above operating and continuing to prosper.

                                      

            Only a short ride, east of the city of Sarasota, is Florida’s largest state park: Myakka State Park is a haven for birds, alligators, exotic plant life and a unique Canopy Walk. Of course, our area offers other wonderful outdoor activities not the least of which are golf and all the beautiful golf courses that abound in the area. And, we must not forget all the water sports along our beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Bradenton is the headquarters of the internationally known Bollettieri Tennis Academy and many of the current tennis greats have trained right here in Bradenton. The city of Bradenton is the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and many other Major League teams train very close to the Sarasota area.

            After all that exercise in our wonderful outdoors, everyone is hungry and the area offers great dining with every ethnic form of food offered in attractively appointed surroundings,

            Yes, we are a college town!!!! We boast of one of the top art colleges in the entire United States. The Ringling School of Art & Design, and other schools as well: The State College of Florida, the University of South Florida, New College and branches of many of the new upper level schools. Our multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial environment encourages students from all over the world to attend our upper level institutions.

            Yes, the metropolitan area of Sarasota has many, many great beaches, but, as you have seen, we have so much more to offer – and we have a great Friendship Force Club!!!

            Please come and see us, however, we must warn you – you will not want to leave…

 

Wayne Peterson

 

 For more information about Sarasota, go to www.sarasotagov.com