Scavenger hunters boarded trolleys on Saturday to scour Anna Maria Island for everything from seagull feathers to live fish still on the hook during the first-ever Island Trolley Scavenger Hunt.
The mobile game was one of dozens of Bridging the Gap events designed by organizers and sponsored by The Sun to bring people to the Island while the Anna Maria Island Bridge is closed.
Furiously scanning the eight–page list of things to find, teams quickly devised strategies like sitting one on each side of the trolley aisle to look at both sides of the street at the same time. While some items could be identified from windows, others required getting on and off, making for a hot six hours of fun.
Julie Quinlivan and Sally Woodward placed first among 60 teams and 170 participants, with six other teams not available at press time taking prizes. The team moved to the Island in April, and thought the hunt would be a good way to learn about it as newcomers.
It was an educational experience even for longtime residents like Jeanie Chamberlain, who has lived here more than 30 years. Can you name the 12 chain stores on the Island without driving up and down Gulf Drive?
It wasn’t easy finding a real estate sales flyer for a property priced over $2 million, especially in these economic times, but Anna James and her dad, Buddy James (a/k/a The James Gang) found one for $2.9 million. Well, finding it and selling are two different things, after all.
Several searchers unabashedly approached fishermen at the Anna Maria City Pier to accompany them back to the check-in point with a live fish still on the hook. Christina Wallace had her son, Calvin, catch a fish to avoid embarrassment.
"That’s just bait," shouted one highly competitive "A" personality. But a ballyhoo is still a fish, and it was still alive in its bucket, Calvin pointed out.
Some items were easy if you live here – the number of stop lights on the Island, for example. Some were harder – all the lodging establishments with bird-related names (and no, there is no such place as The Pelican Dive).
The six-hour event wasn’t long enough to find everything on the list, but it was too long for some in the intense heat, said Chamberlain.
Nevertheless, "It was lots of fun," her teammate, Sara Green, said.
What could be more fun than learning how to say "What’s the soup of the day?" in German at a schnitzelhaus in paradise?
The hunt also provided people a chance to forget about the fact that the bridge is closed and won’t reopen for another four weeks or so.
"The whole thing was absolutely fantastic," said Sun advertising director Chantelle Lewin, one of the primary organizers of the Bridging the Gap campaign. "To see all of these families out here having such a great time is wonderful. I really don’t think they even cared that the bridge is closed. They were too occupied having so much fun."
Bridging the Gap Briefs
Shop Bridge Street Market
The popular Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach returns on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors will offer fresh produce and flowers, flower arrangements and plants arts and crafts T-shirts and clothing, jewelry and more. For information, call Nancy Ambrose at 518-4431.
will reward creativity
Haley’s Motel, 8102 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, is sponsoring the Gap’s pumpkin-carving contest and the winner will receive two nights at the motel.
Bring your carved pumpkin to the motel on Saturday, Oct. 25, where it will be photographed and placed on display. People are invited to stop by and vote for their favorite. The winner will be announced on Halloween night.
Enjoy kayaking fun
Join the BeachHouse restaurant, Beach Bums and Native Rentals for a day of kayaking excitement on Sunday, Oct. 26, at the BeachHouse, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free kayak demos will be offered all day. Novice kayak instructional clinics will be offered every hour on the hour. Kayak fishing clinics will be held at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
A 100-yard splash kayak relay race will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Relay teams will be co-ed and each relay team will consist of four people. Pick up teams will be available.
You can register the day of the event, but pre-registration is recommended at Native Rentals and Retail, 5340 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, 778-7757, or Beach Bums, 427 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, 778-3316.
Participants pre-registering will receive five free raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include a kayak, a low-rider bicycle and an Anna Maria vacation package. You must be present to win.
Dog costume contest
to create ‘winner’ dogs
Register by Oct. 23 for The Sun’s annual dog costume contest on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the AMI Sun Plaza, 202 Palm Ave., Anna Maria, weather permitting. Sign in is at 12:30 p.m. Prizes will be given for the most original, cutest, and best celebrity. All dogs must be leashed and owners are responsible for droppings.
Click to view Adobe PDF of Calendar of Events