Sarasota is a city located on the southwestern coast of Florida, and is the county seat of Sarasota County. Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands between the Gulf of Mexico and the bay are all part of the city. The islands near the city form the Florida Keys, which are famous for their quality sandy beaches. Sarasota has an estimated population of 52,715 inhabitants as of 2005. The city is the major city of the Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice metropolitan statistical area.
The Keys included in the Sarasota city limits are Bird Key, Coon Key, Lido Key, Otter Key, Saint Armand Key, and portions of Siesta Key and Longboat Key. Longboat Key is the largest one separating the bay from the gulf.
Sarasota is a lively mix of art, culture, history and sports. The FLorida West Coast Symphony, founded in 1949, claims Sarasota as home, and holds a three-week Sarasota Music Festival. This festival is known world wide, and draws in renown teachers and the finest students of chamber music. The Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, the Banyan Theater Company, and Florida Studio Theatre are a few examples of other musical, artistic, theatrical, and dance venues.
Golf is a popular sport in Sarasota, due to the warm climate and early settlers (the Scots). Due to the popularity, there are many courses that dot the area. Ed Smith Stadium is also located in Sarasota. This stadium is where the Cincinnati Reds (MLB) train in the spring. It is also home to the minor league Sarasota Reds.