Murder and home tours come to Center

center events quilt
Joan Pettigrew, of the Eyeland Needlers, and new Center board member John Munn display this year's Tour of Homes quilt. - Kristin Swain | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Spring is on the way and so are two major events for The Center of Anna Maria Island.

First up is the annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. This year’s theme is “Viva Las Vegas,” featuring Elvis, mobsters and a who-dun-it at the Hard Rock Anna Maria Hotel and Casino. In its 10th year, Executive Director Kristen Lessig said the two-night event has quickly taken the place of the discontinued gala Affair as the Center’s signature event.

Lessig said both title sponsors for the event, Air and Energy and the Hagen family, are interested in committing to a multi-year sponsorship for the dinner theater. Former board member Erik Abrahamson stepped up as bar sponsor for the event. Though tickets are still available at $45 each, Lessig said they’re selling out quickly. This year’s murder mystery will be solved Friday and Saturday nights, Feb. 16 and 17, at the Center.

Another event Center leadership hopes will sell out is the 25th Annual Tour of Homes. Lessig said four homes have now been confirmed for the Tour with a fifth being considered for inclusion. A new stop on the Tour route this year is the Center campus in Anna Maria which will be home to the Tropical Treasures Boutique, sponsored by Duncan Real Estate. This year’s Tour quilt, the 18th one designed and created for the event by the Eyeland Needlers, will be on display at the boutique and raffled off near the end of the one-day event. Also at the Center will be food and refreshment vendors. Tours of the facility also will be available throughout the day.

Tickets for the quilt raffle are available at the Center for $1 each or six for $5. Tickets for the Tour also are available for $25 each. This year’s Tour of Homes takes place March 17.

A new event continuing through the spring is bingo, a bi-weekly event taking place the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Lessig and board chair David Zaccagnino praised the event for bringing community members of all ages to the Center. Attendees do not need to be members of the Center to play.