SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT Jason Oransky, visiting from Atlanta,
joined his friend, Kelley Burdette, owner of the Shabby
Caterpillar Hand-painted Inspirations, at her booth at
the Friday Music Festival.
ANNA MARIA – After two previous bouts with rain, the Anna Maria Island Music Festival came off without a hitch, or a drop of rain, last Friday, but a new permit fee by the city of Anna Maria caused some grief for the sponsor.
The permit fee, initiated by the city this past year, is $500 for outdoor events serve alcohol. Festival organizer Cindy Thompson said she needs input to decide if people want to continue them through the summer or wait until January.
"These events don’t make enough money to cover expenses and the fee during the summer," she said. "We’re already planning Bayfest for Oct. 18, and it makes enough money from vendor fees and beer sales so that the fee wouldn’t be a problem."
Thompson said she would like to hear what people have to say. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thompson said locations in the other two cities are problematic because they sell beer, wine and mixed drinks at the event.
"The city of Holmes Beach won’t allow alcohol sales in the field next to city hall," she said. "I’ve been told that the county won’t allow alcohol sales in their parks, such as Manatee County Beach and Coquina Beach."
Thompson said she’s inclined to drop the festivals through the remainder of the summer, get through Bayfest which is traditionally the first big festival of the season and resume the Friday Music Festivals in January and on through tourist season.
Meanwhile, she estimates around 3,000 people attended last Friday’s festival. Thompson said she noticed a lot of families attended.
"There were a lot of children in the crowd and a lot of people were dancing," she said. "We want this to be a family event and it appears that’s what it is."
The Anna Maria Island Sun is a sponsor of the Friday Music Festivals.