Anna Maria Island Springfest Celebrates Art, Music and Camaraderie

Compared to some of the more exclusive keys along the Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island is often referred to as the friendly island, where visitors are welcomed to join locals in relaxed enjoyment of this wonderful Florida season. There is no better way to do this than at the festivals that support the Anna Maria Island Art League. There is no admission charge for festival visitors, even though these festivals raise most of the funds that keep the Art League in operation.

AnnaMariaSpringfest The Art League is a modest, but charming, art center in downtown Holmes Beach, where a wide variety of art by island and area artists is presented throughout the year. Classes are taught there, too. Most of the funding for this special island facility and organization comes from two festivals held every year: Winterfest, in December, and Springfest, which is coming up this weekend, on March 14 and 15.

Community Environment Sports

Mullet Invitational Fishing Contest

The Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage, F.I.S.H., will hold the first ever “Mullet Invitational Fishing Contest” in Cortez, Florida.

Star Fish Co and restaurant

The event will be held Friday and Saturday September 5-6, 2008. The contest will be a tribute to Ben Gullett of “Gullett’s Smoked Mullet” fame and proceeds will be to the benefit of F.I.S.H.


Donate Blood

Donate bloodThis year 2011, Saturday, Sunday, June 4 & 5, 9am to 4 pm.

Donate blood this weekend for the Island Blood Drive, which raises money for local non-profits.

The blood drive is sponsored by Florida Blood Services, anonymous donors, AMI Community Center,AMI Privateers, AMI Rotary, Wildlife Education Rehabilitation, and West Manatee Fire Rescue Volunteers.

The non profit groups receive $100 per donor who selects them.

With this program, anonymous patrons have contributed more than $10,000 to Wildlife Inc to feed and house rescued animals, and for scholarships through the Privateers.

The first 250 blood donors also get a free souvenir t-shirt.

The FBS donation facility will be at St Bernard Catholic Church, 248 S Harbor Drive, Holmes Beach.

For more information see where you can pre-register, or call 800-682-5663

Community Environment

Purpose and Place

Organizers of last month’s Cortez Fishing Festival announced it netted $113,000 from the 2-day event.

Cortez fish house

Dedicated volunteers and sunshine brought in about 28,000 people. Proceeds far exceeded expectations and almost doubled last year’s $60,000.

The first festival initiated to purchase 95 acres of historic waterfront raised $98,000.

The funds created the Florida Institute of Saltwater Heritage (FISH) Preserve, dedicated to retaining the character and heritage of one of Florida’s last traditional waterfront communities within a natural environment. More privately owned land may be added to the preserve as it becomes available. The old wharves, fish houses, 1912 schoolhouse and 1896 Burton’s Store are in the process of restoration.


Charity and Grace

Anna Maria Island Community Center raised more than $180,000 from its fund raising dinner February 23rd.

AMI Community Center

The “Affair to Remember” has become a highly anticipated formal attire event with auctioned luxury items and services that are donated by local businesses and philanthropists.

The evening began with champagne and open bar provided by Anna Maria Oyster Bar, hors d’oeuvre from Chiles Restaurant Group (Sandbar, Beach House, Mar Vista), followed by dinner from Harry’s Continental Kitchen.

A silent and live auction bid on various items, such as a golf cart, 50″ HDTV, and diamond and gold necklace.