Age-Friendly Festival

Turning an aspiration into a reality, the Age-Friendly Festival became the FIRST community celebration in the nation to focus on LIFELONG WELL-BEING while CONNECTING PEOPLE OF ALL AGES. 

What did attendees experience at the Age-Friendly Festival?

Offering a multitude of ways to "enjoy, experience, and energize," the Age-Friendly Festival filled the Robarts Arena, the Ken Clark Auditorium, the Potter Building and outdoor areas of the Sarasota Fairgrounds with its diverse activities on Saturday, October 28, 2017. Spirited volunteers — 140 strong and a vital part of the festival team — were involved in all aspects, adding to the vibrancy of the day!

The 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. festivities kicked off with a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony that included both a presentation of the Sarasota County Government's proclamation designating this day as “Age-Friendly Festival Day” and a valued show of support from local and state government representatives in attendance.

More than 4,000 festival attendees enjoyed activities and gained knowledge about age-friendly practices and principles #ForAllAges from more than 125 participating organizations through:
    • Engaging Exhibits — Individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and local government showcased practices, services, and products advancing age-friendly principles in the community and beyond.
    • Hands-On Experiences Organizations encouraged attendees to try out fun hands-on activities that demonstrate ways to enhance quality of life.
    • Live Entertainment — Joyful performances by artists of all ages were presented through a partnership with the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.
    • Educational Presentations — Authors, longevity experts, and thought leaders shared insights and innovations on living optimally at any age.
Inspired by the Age-Friendly Sarasota initiative, The Patterson Foundation presented the Age-Friendly Festival as a gift to the community with free admission for everyone and no fees for organizations to participate. Age-Friendly Festival information booths at other events, special presentations to local groups, extensive use of flyers around the community, a special promotional insert in the Sarasota-Herald Tribune, and a variety of media coverage ensured that word spread prior to the festival that the entire county and neighboring areas were invited to attend.
Interested in learning more about the festival and participating organizations?
We are pleased to share information on all the elements that were a part of this dynamic festival. Check out the following webpages through the "details" link:
Participating Organizations (more than 125 with links to their websites!)  • 
Educational Presentations  •  Live Entertainment  • 
Festival Map  •  Volunteer Roles  •  Festival FAQs

What is the value to the community in having created
the Age-Friendly Festival?

The Age-Friendly Festival gave attendees the opportunity to discover many of the wonderful things that are happening in our community to support people at all life stages and abilities. Showing their enthusiasm for the age-friendly concept, the more than 125 participating organizations shined a spotlight on the services, practices, and products they bring to the community.
Age-Friendly Sarasota representatives were able to bring attention to the initiative’s Action Plan using educational presentations and an information booth, answer questions, and encourage involvement by attendees during the Plan's implementation phase that is in progress (June 2017 – May 2020). Through the creation of the festival, Age-Friendly Sarasota also made numerous connections throughout the community to help engage organizations in age-friendly issues and celebrate their accomplishments to date.
Sarasota County has one of the nation's highest populations of older adults. Currently, older adults — those age 65 and older — represent one-third of Sarasota County residents, and more than half of the county's population is over age 50. Every generation is living longer, and all ages are affected by this "longevity revolution." Age-friendly changes made today in the community will have a positive impact on future generations.
For reflections on achieving this milestone in Age-Friendly Sarasota's collaborations, please read AFS Senior Strategy Advisor Bob Carter's blog post: "Sarasota County Rose to the Occasion with the Nation’s First-Ever Age-Friendly Festival."
Interested in a recap of the Age-Friendly Festival?
See for yourself some of the festival highlights in either of these fun videos that include commentary by The Patterson Foundation's President and CEO Debra Jacobs on the meaningfulness of the Age-Friendly Festival. (The longer video includes commentary from some of the participating organizations and shows more festival activities!)

How did the Age-Friendly Festival advance
the Age-Friendly Movement?

The Age-Friendly Festival highlighted a local network of individual, business, nonprofit, government, and media “advancers” promoting age-friendly practices and principles that optimize community assets and enhance quality of life for all ages.

There were also Reflection Lounges set up at the festival — places where attendees could relax and share what the age-friendly movement means to them. Celebrating the age-friendly concept of Domains of Livability — important community features that impact well-being as we age — reflection lounges were named “Health & Well-Being,” “Housing,” “Transportation,” “Work & Play” and “Community Engagement." Attendees had the opportunity to provide feedback on how each of these domains could be made more age-friendly for the community.

The festival’s offerings reflected The Patterson Foundation’s tenets of "Connecting – Learning – Sharing – Evolving – Strengthening" — also an integral part of Age-Friendly Sarasota's philosophy — to help advance the age-friendly movement. And media coverage brought additional attention to this movement with headlines such as "Festival spotlights Sarasota's age-friendly attributes," "Roots of the Age-Friendly Festival," and "For first Age-Friendly Festival, Sarasota County shows off charm" and through an "Age-Friendly Sarasota Week" series of interviews by a local television station.
Age-Friendly Sarasota would be excited to see this successful example of community engagement replicated by other communities near and far to promote age-friendly practices and principles and to further the conversation about what it means to be "age-friendly."
Interested in creating an Age-Friendly Festival
in your community?
 We hope to inspire similar events in other communities by sharing the festival's details on our website. The Age-Friendly Sarasota team would also be happy to speak with your organization and answer any questions you may have about the nation's first-ever Age-Friendly Festival!
Share This Page