ANNA MARIA – Pine Avenue was awash with holiday spirit and a sense of community during Friday night’s Holiday of Treasures Open House.
From 5:30 to 8 p.m., the businesses along Pine Avenue shared free food and drink samples and other goodies and treats.
Once again, Beach Bums had a long line of folks waiting for their tasty grilled hamburgers.
Outside the Pineapple Marketplace, AMI Guy, AMI Gal and AMI Pup Res- cue Inc. shared free Island Christmas Cocktails created by Dcoy Ducks bartender Shane Weaver, with input from marketplace vendors Mark McConnell and Christine Aaron. The tasty cock- tail featured SVEDKA blue raspberry vodka, lemonade, soda, grenadine and blueberries. All tips received were donated to AMI Pup Rescue.
The Holly Rae Revue provided the marketplace’s musical entertainment.
“This is great. It brings in tons of people. We bring the band and the booze and we’re raising money for AMI Pup Rescue,” McConnell said.
At Duncan Real Estate, friends and visitors enjoyed Prosecco sparkling wine and the Grandma Georgie’s Chipotle Oysters grilled and served by the Anna Maria Oyster Bar.
“We’re enjoying a great night during the holiday festivities with our neighbors and friends and showing our appreciation with oysters and Prosecco. It’s a wonderful night,” owner Darcie Duncan said.
While preparing more oysters to put on the grill, AMOB managing partner Lynn Horne said, “We do this every year. John (Horne) and I have been friends with Darcie forever.”
Pizza Social shared cinnamon sugar dough nuggets – a holiday twist on their Garlic Parm Dough Nuggets. Across the street, Salt Scissors hair salon shared hors d’oeuvres and punch.
The Flip Flop Shop & Candy Stop served wine, Pixy Stix, jawbreakers and dark chocolate sea salt caramels.
“I love that this event brings the community down to Pine Avenue. A lot of the locals don’t shop in these stores so it’s nice to bring them together,” owner Jamie Hinkle said.
Locals Realty shared dog treats, freshly popped popcorn and more. Olive Oil Outpost shared red and white Lolailo sangria and the gRub restaurant shared free samples of its Frosé frozen wine slushies.
“They’re good,” said Oklahoma visitor Jennifer Steriegel, who was accompanied by her sister, Angela Steriegel, of Maine.
The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum served Christmas cookies and apple cider.
Dips shared free samples of its apple pie ice cream and the Anna Maria General Store & Deli shared free brownies and beer.
“It’s such a fun night. We had 500 to 600 people visit us tonight. It was very festive and fun,” general store owner Brian Seymour said.
Cool Beans A.M.I. owners Ben and Morgan Bryant shared gluten-free pizza, a medley of hors d’oeuvres, or- ange ice cream, sangria, cham- pagne and free samples of the CBD products they sell there and also at their Live Naturally store in Holmes Beach.
Morgan also displayed her vocal and piano talents while performing “Santa Baby” and other Christmas favorites to those gathered at the recently opened coffee café.
“It’s great. People in the community who might not normally come by get to see our new store and see what’s going on,” Ben Bryant said.
Two Scoops ice cream served free hot chocolate to its visitors.
While patrolling Pine Avenue, Sgt. Brett Getman from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Anna Maria Unit said, “We have a great turnout and having Pine Avenue shut down creates a safe atmosphere for everybody.”
The Anna Maria Historical Society and The Anna Maria Island Sun sponsored the annual holiday event.