Vol 7 No. 2 - October 4, 2006

The cars are back for Bayfest

This 1934 Ford Cabriolet, owned by former Holmes Beach City Commission Don Howard, was a winner in last year’s auto show at the Bayfest. Organizer Bill Mergens hopes to have up to 100 entries for this year’s show.

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – If you come to the Sixth Annual Bayfest on Saturday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Pine Avenue, you might think you’re looking at a Beach Boys album cover.

Organizers of the event, sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Sun, are expecting more antique and classic cars on display this year. Bill Mergens is in charge of recruiting the autos, which have lined the street in fall fests past, and he is hoping to get at least 100 of them this year.

"We’ve got around 60 cars signed up so far and we hope to have around 100," Mergens said last Saturday.

The vehicles will be judged and awards will be given to the winners before they disband and leave around 3 p.m. Last year, former Holmes Beach City Councilman Don Howard was one of the winners with his 1934 Ford hot rod. Howard, who lives in Palmetto with his wife, Nancy, is a past president of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, which is also a sponsor.

For local car owners, pre-registration is required. To do so, call Mergens at 920-2277.

Some of the vehicles were souped up versions of old cars and trucks, others were perfectly restored antiques and there were even a few more modern, high-performance vehicles on display.

"The thing about these cars is the fact that nearly everyone has a story about an old car that he or she might see there," Mergens said. "It gives the guys a chance to look them over while the wife is looking at stuff at the arts and crafts booths."

In addition to looking like a Beach Boys album, you might have the chance to hear the popular 60s group as there will be a disc jockey there to play oldies.

The cars will be on display near Gulf Drive on Pine Avenue, across the street from Anna Maria City Hall. Moving down Pine Avenue toward the city pier, there will be retail and arts and crafts booths, booths for not-for-profit groups, a food court near Roser Memorial Community Church and live music and dining near the pier. Across the street will be the children’s play area with games, a touch tank and a kid’s stage.

Bayfest is the first festival of the season and it attracts vendors and performers from around the area. Admission is free, and residents are urged to take the trolley to avoid looking for parking spaces.

Bayfest is an opportunity to find unique gifts and decorations while tasting the best from local area food outlets, listening to live music and reliving those days when driving a deuce coupe or woody was the only way to get to the beach.

For vendor information, call Cindy Thompson at 761-4766 or the Chamber at 779-9412.

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