Florida misses some of the elements associated with the Christmas spirit, but for every thing that is lacking, there is something that more than makes up for it on Anna Maria Island. The fine white sand of our beaches is a great substitute for snow. Boat parades are as festive and full of holiday cheer as any parades or groups of carolers up north. On days we want to stay snugly at home, there often is real reason to light a fire, as temperatures can dip low enough to make that the perfect way to warm the house for just a few hours. When it’s time to head out to buy gifts, there is no shortage of good Christmas shopping, in all three of the island’s cities.
Anna Maria’s Pine Avenue, and Bradenton Beach’s Bridge Street, are picturesque main streets that become festivals of lights and good cheer during the holidays. Shops, boutiques and restaurants of all kinds beckon. These lovely shopping areas are ideal places to take visiting family and friends, for last minute presents and enjoyable meals and snacks along the way.
Holmes Beach has not yet become as tourist-oriented, in terms of providing a charming centralized street of shops that are easily accessible on foot. From the resident’s point of view, in some ways this is good. There is much to be said for what Holmes Beach does offer.
The 30th annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival will be held Saturday February 18 and Sunday February 19 10am to 6pm.
On display are demonstrations, museum and historical records of Florida’s oldest working fishing village. Seafood, arts and crafts and live music will also be part of the increasingly popular festival that is held every year.
Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids under 12. All proceeds are to the benefit of the F.I.S.H Preserve, the non-profit Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage.
To get to the festival head for 4600 124th Street West, Cortez, Florida 32415, but because of the popularity and small streets of Cortez Village, free parking is available east of the village off Cortez Road. Go early or late to get a parking spot. Anna Maria Islanders can take the free trolley from Coquina Beach to the parking site. More remote parking is available at G.T. Bray Park at 5502 33rd Ave W, Bradenton where a shuttle service connects to the festival for $2 round-trip.
Rules and regulations for the beaches of Anna Maria Island are governed by Florida State Law, the code of ordinances of Manatee County plus the additions and modifications within the 3 cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach, that comprise the municipalities of the island.
The beach is considered a ‘park’ for the purposes of applicable codes and enforcement of rules. Alleys and paths to the beach are included as ‘entryways’. Some special rules apply at the county public beach parks Anna Maria Bayfront Park, Coquina Bayside Park, Coquina Gulfside Park, and Manatee Beach Park where there are facilities and areas zoned for specific uses, and lifeguards.
The main regulations include:
- No consumption or possession of alcohol
- No assembly without permit
- No pets except service animals
- No vehicles or bicycles except wheelchairs
- No disturbing or feeding wildlife
- No removal of natural resources
- No littering
- No fires
- No fireworks
- No launching watercraft except surfboards, sailboats, catamarans, kayaks
- No throwing games or propelled objects
- No lights, unattended chairs and cabanas, screens, umbrellas, between sunset and sunrise during turtle nesting season May 1 to October 31.
An island friend has been telling me for several years that she is about to buy a new car. Meanwhile, she is driving the old sedan passed down from her father. She tried to sell it at a yard sale several years ago, but, since it did not sell, she has gotten several more years of good use from it, as she has tried to make up her mind about what new car to buy. Why can’t she decide what make and model to buy?
The thing is, the old sedan has a lot of things going for it. Many new car models do not stack up to it as well as one might think … especially in light of the special circumstances that exist on an island. For one thing, salt and high humidity are tough on an automobile. There is something nice about having a car that is so old that there is no concern about watching it deteriorate. It’s not a big investment or a status symbol.
On an island such as Anna Maria Island, many people live without having to travel far. Although it is a popular destination with tourists, the island has not given up all the resident-oriented businesses that make it possible to get just about anything one needs without crossing the bridge to the ‘city’. The streets are two-lane and the speed limits are low. It doesn’t make much difference what one drives around here, unless one wants to participate in a parade. Other than that, any old sedan will do.