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Venice Sharks Tooth Festival set for April 13-14, 2024

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Last updated on July 5th, 2024 at 09:03 am

You don’t have to dig deep or look very hard to find a shark’s tooth on the beaches of Venice, so every year this Florida city celebrates its unique place in the world with the Venice Sharks Tooth Festival.

venice sharks tooth festival
Shark’s tooth found on the beaches of Venice. (Canstock photo)

The teeth you find today are centuries old, when sharks were prolific in the Gulf of Mexico and Florida was under the sea.

Venice’s calm waters gave the Gulf’s shark’s teeth a place to settle into the sea bottom, aided by the tides and shifting sands, and earning this Southwest Florida coastal city the moniker “Shark Tooth Capitol of the World.”

Beachgoers use sifters, some use toy beach shovels, most just use their fingers or pick them out of the surf like sea shells. You’ll find them. Nobody goes home without at least one.

Venice Sharks Tooth Festival Casperson Beach in Venice
Beachgoers hunt for shark’s teeth on Casperson Beach in Venice, FL.

So it’s only fitting, in this state of Spring festivals and tourist distractions, to have a festival to celebrate shark’s teeth.

The Venice Shark Tooth Festival is held each year in mid-April.

Sharks have 40 or more teeth in each jaw and continually shed their teeth and replace them.  Over a period of 10 years, an average Tiger shark can produce as many as 24,000 teeth. Dead sharks (and their shedded teeth) sink to the ocean floor, where they are covered with silt and sand and decompose, leaving only the teeth.

The unique tides and Gulf currents that wash shells up on the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva also wash sharks teeth up on the beaches of Venice. (Venice also has its share of shells). Snorkelers and divers go deeper for the prize and often come up with the large teeth that don’t always make it to the beach.

One of the more captivating opportunities at the Shark’s Tooth Festival is the viewing of fossil displays, where you can buy sharks teeth and other marine fossils from the area. There is continuous music throughout the weekend, and an art show.

Venice Sharks Tooth Festival

Saturday, April 13

10 AM – 4 PMVenice Gondoliers Barbershop Chorus will be roaming throughout the festival grounds
10:30 – 11 AMVenice Elementary School Chorus
11:00 AM – 11:30 AMWelcome by: Kara Morgan, Venice Main Street CEO and The Key Note Speaker: Dr. Demian Chapman, Senior Scientist for Mote’s Sharks and Rays Conservation Program and Director of Global Fin Print
11:30:00 AM – 2:00 PMUnique Full Circle (Motown)
2:00pm-2:30pmJazzercise Demonstration
3:00pm – 5:00pmAurora V (Rock & Roll)
6:00pm – 8:00pmMaiden Cane (Rock & Roll)

Sunday, April 14

10:00 AM – 4:00PMVenice Gondoliers Barbershop Chorus will be roaming throughout the festival grounds
11:00 AM – 11:30 AMMain Stage Megladon Give Away!
Megladon Derby Winner Presentation
Dive into Diving Q & A with Derby Participants
12:00pm – 2:00pmLatitude 26 (Multiple Genres)
2:30pm – 3:00pmThe Bridget Phillips Experience (teaching Country Line Dancing for the concert)
3:00pm – 5:00pmPure Country of SWFL (Country Music)

Educational Speakers

Saturday, April 13

10:00am – 10:30amChris Mandell – Fossil Recovery Exploration
11:00am – 11:30amJane McCormack & Doug Woodring (Gulf Coast Mineral Fossil and Gem Club)
2:00pm – 2:30pmCarole McConnell & Clay Bulan (Manasota Fossil Club)
5:00pm-5:30pmChris Mandell – Fossil Recovery Exploration

Sunday, April 14

10:00am – 10:30amChris Mandell – Fossil Recovery Exploration
2:00pm – 2:30pmJane McCormack & Doug Woodring (Gulf Coast Mineral Fossil and Gem Club)

Venice Sharks Tooth Festival, April 13-14, 2024. Saturday, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday, 10 am-5 pm. Admission is free. Centennial Park, 200 West Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285. Free parking with continuous shuttle service from Venice High School. Phone: 941-484-6722. Web site: www.venicesharkstoothfestival.com

More Things to do in Venice

Venice’s historic downtown shopping district encircles Centennial Park, where the sharks tooth festival is being held after moving from the grounds of the Venice Municipal Airport. During the festival, parking with free shuttle service will be available at Venice High School, 1 Indian Ave, Venice, FL 34285

The Legacy Trail is a multi-use trail created on an old railroad bed that starts in downtown Venice with 30 miles of interconnected trails through woods, parks, wetlands and back yards. At the historic railroad depot in Venice, near Centennial Park, the trail connects to Venetian Waterway Park, a multi-use trail that parallels the Intracoastal Waterway (both sides), one of which takes you out to Venice’s beaches.

The Legacy Trail runs through Oscar Scherer State Park, a few miles north of Venice on U.S. 41 in Osprey. In addition to bike trails, you’ll also find a full day’s worth of hiking and kayak trails, wildlife viewing, a swimming lake and some fantastic camping (see note below).

If photography is your thing, visit renowned Everglades photographer Clyde Butcher’s Venice Gallery & Studio, but you’ll have to do it Tuesday through Friday, the only days the gallery is open. This is the home of Clyde’s amazing large-format darkroom where he produces his original prints. The gallery is located in an industrial park off Venice Avenue at 237 Warfield Ave. 941-486-0811. (Clyde also has a gallery in the heart of the Everglades in Ochopee on the Tamiami Trail).


Where to eat:

Venice Pier and Sharky's

Sharky’s is the pier restaurant on the main beach and one of our favorite places to enjoy seafood. The outdoor tiki bar is spacious with a great view of the beach. You can also eat inside. The service is fast and the food is good. 1600 Harbor Drive South, Venice. Phone 941-488-1456. TripAdvisor Reviews

T.J.  Carney’s Irish pub on the south side of Centennial Park has outdoor sidewalk seating and a comfortable bar inside where you can enjoy a cold beer, a stacked sandwich or a full dinner. Great place to people-watch as the bar opens up on the square. 231 West Venice Ave. 941-480-9244. TripAdvisor Reviews

venice sharks tooth festival crowsnest Venice Sharks Tooth Festival set for April 13-14, 2024

Crow’s Nest. Great views from the upstairs dining room, and there’s quaint tavern tucked away in a corner downstairs. An excellent selection of seafood entrees, and oysters are the raw bar specialty — from all over the world, priced accordingly. Definitely worth a visit. 1968 Tarpon Center Drive, Venice. 941-484-9551. TripAdvisor Reviews.

The White Elephant Pub in Englewood Beach is another favorite, not so much for the food but because of the outdoor deck overlooking a quiet marina on the Intracoastal Waterway. The food is reasonably priced pub fare, and you’ll often find a band playing outside on weekends. About 15 miles south of Venice at 1855 Gulf Boulevard, Englewood Beach. Phone: 941-475-6801. TripAdvisor reviews


Hotels and other Lodging

Book your room with hotels.com


Camping near Venice

Camp Venice RV Resort. Shady campground with direct access to a beautiful stretch of the Myakka River for paddling and boating. Privately owned. Pool, hiking trails, clean and well-kept. 4085 East Venice Avenue, just off River Road. For reservations, book online or call (941) 488-0850.

Read more: A favorite campground rebounds: Camp Venice is back!

Oscar Scherer State Park. Beautiful state park with shady campsites and access for paddlers to the Intracoastal Waterway. Swimming lake and access to the 9-mile-long Legacy Trail, which will let you bike to the festival. Just north of Venice at 1843 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey FL. Reserve your campsite online or call 800-326-3521 (TDD 888-433-0287).

Read more: Oscar Scherer State Park: Coastal oasis with camping, paddling and top-rated bike trail

Ramblers Rest RV Park is a couple of miles downriver from Camp Venice with more than 500 RV sites. Thiscampground is more like a small city with a boat ramp, a dock and picnic area on the river.  1300 North River Road. 941-493-4354 or online.


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