When the Anna Maria Island Bridge closes Monday, Sept. 29, for six weeks of rehabilitation and repair, we’ll be on our own. Left with one direct link (the Cortez Bridge) to the mainland, access will be limited.
That’s when Bridging the Gap kicks in, offering festivities every weekend to draw people from the mainland who would normally avoid the beach due to the bridge closure. It also offers something for our Island residents and visitors.
The first events planned will be held on Saturday, Oct. 4, on Bridge Street, just south of the Cortez Bridge. The Fish Hole will host a mini-golf tournament and the Bridge Street Market will be held that morning in the open lot across the street from BridgeWalk.
The market offers arts and crafts, fresh produce and edibles for lunch plus household items and live floral displays. The market, held the first and third Saturday of each month through July, quickly became a popular event. The Fish Hole, which opened last spring, offers challenging mini golf set in lush landscaping and architecture reminiscent of an old fishing village.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, The action turns to the BeachHouse restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., with the Skimbash skimboard competition organized by West Coast Surf Shop’s Ronee Brady and a sandcastle building competition sponsored by Pam Fortenberry. The Island Sun also will be a sponsor of the Skimbash.
Bridging the Gap is a product of Ginny’s and Jane E’s owner Ginny Dutton and Sun Advertising Director Chantelle Lewin, who felt a grass-roots movement by the business community would attract people to the Island during the weekends.
The Sun will run a full-page color ad each week to promote Bridging the Gap by listing the upcoming events.
Other events planned include pickle ball demonstrations and tournaments at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, a dog costume contest sponsored and hosted by The Sun; a fishing tournament on the Historic Bridge Street Pier and a battle of the bands.
According to Dutton, there are still details to be worked out and when all the events are confirmed, The Sun will print a final schedule.
Volunteers are also needed for some of the events. If you see something in the listings below that interests you, call the person or people in charge to find out if you can help.
Bridging the Gap event list grows
Here’s a preliminary list of events for Bridging the Gap along with event chairs and their phone numbers. Volunteers are welcome.
- Tennis tournament, Kip Lalosh, 778-5446
- Realtor progressive open house, Sandy Rich, 778-0426
- Dog costume contest, The Sun newspaper, 778-3986
- Anna Maria block party, Ed Spring, 778-9399
- Sand castle tournament, Pam Fortenberry, 778-0436
- Skim Board Bash, Ronnie Brady, 778-1001
- Artwalk, Nancy Ambrose, 518-4431
- Fishing tournament, Jake Spooner and Dana Snell, 778-3400
- Mini-golf tournament, Jake Spooner and Dana Snell, 778-3400
- Progressive raffle, Sandy Rich, 778-0426
- Trolley poker run and October Festival, Linda Haack, 779-2545, ext. 1130 and Caryn Hodge, 778-8705
- Key Royale Golf Tournament, Tom Tollette, 779-1888
- Bicycle tour, Lauren Sato, 352-514-6545
- Motorcycle run, Laura McAdams, 792-6366
- Five-Mile Flea Market, Ginny Dutton, 778-7370
- Battle of the Bands, Mark Kimball, 518-6329 and Steve Bark, 720-3200
- Holly Trolly, Sabine Musil, 778-5405
- Pickle Ball, Robert Taylor, 778-6465
- Three-mile Run/Walk, Irene Pearman, 518-9806
- Wing Eating Contest and Karaoke Contest, Tom Siwa, 419-341-1035.