Vol 7 No. 5 - October 25, 2006

Bayfest - hot, hot, hot!

Some of the estimated 8,000 to 10,000 visitors pack Pine Avenue Saturday near the food court. Unseasonably hot and humid weather had people lined up at the concession stands and looking for shade.

By Tom Vaught
sun staff writer

ANNA MARIA – Bayfest 2006 was better than ever, but the weather may have kept it from bringing in the biggest crowd.

Bayfest organizer Cindy Thompson said preliminary estimates put the crowd last Saturday at 8,000 to 10,000 people, compared with last year’s 10,000 to 12,000. She blames the hot, muggy weather for driving people away this year.

"I don’t think you can measure success by the number of people it drew," she said. "Despite the weather, the people who attended had a good time and the vendors who I talked to sold a lot of merchandise."

Thompson credited the Bayfest Organizing Committee for its planning over the past six months to address any problems they had with last year’s event. She said she is ready to start planning for Bayfest 2007.

"I think I want to limit the number of restaurants to 10 from the 17 we had this year," she said. "That would give us more room in the food court."

She also said she wants to hold a jazz festival next year the night before the event to get everyone in the mood.

From the 105 classic and souped up cars parked along Pine Avenue to the savory aromas emanating from the food Chefs from 10 of the restaurants were busy preparing crab cakes for the judges across the street during the afternoon. Chamber President Mark Davis and member Karen LaPensee helped deliver the plates to a six-member panel that judged them for taste, texture and presentation. D Coy Ducks took the silver platter while Paradise Café and The Sun House took second and third.

The children’s area was located in the parking lot across the street from Roser Memorial Community Church. There was a NASCAR model car race, a large slide, an inflatablebounce house and several games for the kids. Live music from a small stage drew a crowd. A trailer with three air-conditioned, portable restrooms at one end of that lot became very popular during the heat of the day. Face painters kept busy and there were pictures to color for the smaller children under the tent in front of the church.

A duet played jazz in the garden behind Belle Haven, sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. Those who sat at outdoor tables enjoyed the shade and the breeze coming off the canal.

As the day wore on, the crowd at the large stage got larger as music filled the air. There were beer, wine and margarita vendors located nearby.

<< Go back to Index October 25

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper