Arts News

Great Holiday Shopping, Food and Music at Winterfest

The Anna Maria Island Art League held its twenty-fourth Winterfest Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts on Saturday and Sunday, December 10 and 11, 2011, at City Hall Park in Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island. The quality of this show had been raised to very high levels in recent years by Art League director Joyce Karp, who stepped down this year. Still, many of the same excellent artists from all around the country were glad to return. Applicants were juried into the show, and then juried for awards by Dr. Barbara Grazul Hubbard, and artist, arts educator and university professor.

One hundred and five artists displayed work in media including ceramics, fiber and paper, glass, pastels, jewelry, metal, mixed media, oils and acrylics, photography, sculpture, watercolors and wood. Prices were extremely reasonable, and some excellent Christmas shopping opportunities were taken advantage of by hundreds of visitors.

Winterfest Anna Maria Island 2011Meanwhile, live music entertained those taking a break to relax or enjoy the food court. On Saturday, the Anna Maria String Band was followed by State Road 64 and then the Gumbo Boogie Band. The music line-up for Sunday started with the Bontrager Sisters, followed by the Anderson Brothers and The Two Howards, Koko Ray, and the Gumbo Boogie Band.

Arts Community News Tourism

Bayfest 2010 Anna Maria Island

Bayfest returns for 2010 in Anna Maria. The always popular event will be held October 15th, 5pm to 10pm and 16th, 10am to 10pm at Pine Ave in Anna Maria City, at the north end of Anna Maria Island.

This year’s features include:

  • Bayfest Children’s Fishing Tournament
  • Classic Car Show and Oldies DJ
  • Taste of the Island Food Court
  • Over 100 Art, Craft, and Retail Vendors
  • Music and live bands both Friday and Saturday
Environment News Tourism

Oil Spill Meeting at Anna Maria Island Community Center

The pristine beauty of Anna Maria Island’s beautiful clean white-sand beaches is something that thousands of local people and visitors care very much about. Although the oil spill occurred almost 400 miles from our beaches, and although there is no oil near our shores, it is worth being prepared to act in case the oil comes our way.

Anna Maria Beach

On Thursday evening, June 17, islanders concerned about the oil in the Gulf gathered in large numbers at the Anna Maria Island Community Center at 407 Magnolia Avenue in Anna Maria. The streets around the center were lined with parked cars, and the crowd of hundreds filled the gymnasium, including the bleachers.

A large panel of speakers and representatives of various public and private organizations sat at a long table. A big projector screen showed the face of the speaker as well as slide presentations throughout the evening.


Space Shuttle Launch View from Anna Maria Island

Of all the man-made shows seen from Anna Maria Island, the most awesome is the launch of a space shuttle. Over the past ten years, there have been quite a few, and it’s surprising how much they vary. Perhaps it has to do with the position of the sun at the time. This week I arose to watch the last ever shuttle launch to take place in darkness. The program will end soon, and the remaining daytime launches probably will not be visible. It was 6:21, and the angle of the sun, not yet risen, made for a spectacular effect.

As I stood barefoot in the dark on the second-floor deck, facing east, I suddenly noticed an orange fireball right over the distant trees. It rose slowly and eventually I saw a tail on it. Then the cloudy contrail became apparent, and it zigzagged quite sharply, I assume because of the upper-level breeze. The thick trail was dark on the bottom and lighter higher up.

Shuttle launch exhaust glow 4/5/2010
Shuttle launch exhaust glow 4/5/2010

The shuttle became nothing but a small bright spot and it eventually started to look as if it were losing altitude. I worried for a moment and then remembered that the laws of perspective would predict this apparent descending path, from my position, as the distance became great and it headed around the curve of the earth. The most amazing visual development at that point was a huge, curved contrail behind the speck that was the shuttle. It must have been lit by the very early rays of the sun. This is my unscientific description and understanding of what I saw.


Anna Maria Island Temperatures Plunge

Early January (2010) has been unusually cold on Anna Maria Island. So cold that we came alarmingly close to that Florida “four letter word”: snow. Early one morning I looked outside and it was raining. The outdoor thermometer registered 32 degrees. Although it did snow just to the north of Tampa, we were spared.

Still, the temperatures remained low for most of a week, barely making it into the forties for a daytime high. We were less cold than much of the country, but still cold enough to want to stay inside. We left the heat off at night, and the house temperature dropped into the low fifties. One morning it was 48 degrees.

It was sad to see the effects of this coldest spell in ten years on the wildlife. One morning we saw lots of large fish swimming in strange circular motions near the surface of the water. These jack crevalles were suffering and most of them died, along with snook and many other tropical species.

Florida cold kills fish We have seen a dead pelican float by, and a dead egret floating across the bay. We marvel at the dedication and endurance of a parent great blue heron who has continued to sit in its nest through these frigid times. We wonder what has happened to the eggs or tiny chicks that may have been in the nest when the temperatures dropped. In general, it’s disturbing to think of what might happen to the birds’ food supply with thousands of fish now dead from the cold.