By Tom Vaught
SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
From left to right: Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn, Holmes
Beach Mayor Carol Whitmore, Bradenton Beach Mayor
John Chappie and Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce
President Don Schroder are working together.
sun staff writer
HOLMES BEACH Don't call it consolidation; call it cooperation.
The mayors of the three Island cities have been meeting recently
with Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Don Schroder
to discuss coordination of all the events between Thanksgiving
and New Year's Day that make up the holiday season on the
Schroder said they have agreed that each city will host at
least one event and that all the events will be labeled Islandwide
celebrations in an attempt to draw residents across city limits
to attend each one.
The events include the Christmas Prelude, to be renamed the
Holiday Prelude, in Bradenton Beach; the Privateers Christmas
Parade that starts in Anna Maria and ends in Bradenton Beach;
and the Holiday Walk at the shopping centers that surround
the intersection of Gulf Drive and Marina Drive. Also to be
included are the Holiday Boat Parade, the Christmas Tree Lighting
at the Chamber office and the Anna Maria Island Art League
Winterfest at Holmes Beach city field.
Schroder said the Chamber became interested in coordinating
the events about four years ago and that he had talked with
the mayors of all three cities over the years, but this summer
they got together to put their ideas on paper.
Bradenton Beach Mayor John Chappie said he told Schroder he
wanted the Prelude, which is held on Thanksgiving evening,
to be an all-Island event.
"There are going to be changes to the Prelude this year,"
he said. "I got positive feedback from my city commission
that the city will pay for it (Sun, July 13)."
Chappie said he would like to see holiday lighting contests
in all three cities, although they would not have to be at
the same time. Bradenton Beach normally has one to coincide
with the Prelude, although there was not one last year due
to time and financial constraints. Schroder agreed, saying
they could have contests among homeowners as well as business
Elizabeth Christie, treasurer of the Anna Maria Island Privateers,
said they are voting on their schedule for next year soon
and that she could send it to the Chamber when it is approved
so they could incorporate the Privateers into the planning.
Schroder said he would like to get the information from all
other organizations that plan events during the year, including
the Kiwanis, the Rotary Club, Anna Maria Elementary School
and local churches.
"We could publish a calendar of events so that people
could either get one at the Chamber or call us to see what
is going on," he said.
The Island Sun will publish the calendar and continue to list
upcoming events in its Town Crier section as well.
The mayors will continue to meet to work out the details as
they and Schroder pull the three Island communities closer
toward cooperation, not consolidation.
That's something the people might decide one day.