EVERYBODY LOVES BAYFEST
A member of the Capoeria Luanda
Brazilian martial arts team,
above, performs at Bayfest Saturday in Anna Maria. The group,
based in Bradenton, trains through Kevin Berquist's Island Dojo.
SUN PHOTO/MAGGIE FIELD
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ANNA MARIA – After spending hours working on this year’s event, Bayfest organizer Cindy Thompson had to go home Saturday morning after coming down with the flu.
It looks like she did a good job organizing it because it went off without a hitch.
The two-day bash began Friday evening, just as a long awaited cold front started through the area. As dual DJs Mike Sales and Chris Grumley entertained the crowd of diners and drinkers in the field across the street from the Anna Maria City Pier, the wind blew in some rain around 6:30 p.m. and some of the crowd decided to move on. Those who stayed were treated to the sounds of Bootleg, a popular local group after the rain quit.
The next morning, vendors and volunteers for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce were treated to cooler air as they set up for the 10 a.m. opening. Despite gusty winds early in the morning, the weather settled down and the crowds kept coming, and coming and coming.
“It was a great event,” AMI Chamber President Mary Ann Brockman said. “The food, the music, the car show and the vendors all commented about the crowd.”
More than 100 antique, classic and souped up vehicles lined Pine Avenue’s west end. The oldest was actually a replica of a, early 1900s curved dash Oldsmobile that resembled the type of cart pulled by a horse. The newest were a couple of Chevrolet Camaros, General Motors’ newest version of its classic pony car.
The children’s area in the Roser Church parking lot ran smoothly. Kids enjoyed the inflatable slide and bounce house, Bengal tigers, a large turtle and pony rides. Island Dojo Kevin Bergquist’s students put on shows during the day. In the afternoon, several of his students were awarded their black belts with Papasan Grand Master Jack Stern, the man who founded the World Organization of Martial Arts in 1960, in attendance. Those new black belts were Tuna McCracken, Jackson Kibler, Dylan Joseph, Luke Valadie and Maddie Valadie. Grayson Wallace, Bergquist’s assistant, also won her black belt. Later, members of the Capoeira Luanda demonstrated Brazilian martial arts, which the Island Dojo’s staff also teaches.
Across the street, Katie Walter and volunteers from Roser Memorial Community Church helped kids build necklaces and bracelets with beads. There also were bubble machines and other fun activities.
The aroma of food filled the air as you went further down the street to the food court with various dishes. Jackie Estes of Paradise Bagels had a busy day.
“I sold twice as much food this year as I did last year,” she said. “It was tremendous.”
Other vendors ran out of certain dishes and the beer flowed. They used up 38 kegs, compared with 30 last year, according to Brockman.
At the end of Pine Avenue, the Privateers sold out of their smoked mullet fairly early, but they stuck around in the shadow of their parade ship to sell raffle tickets to a fund-raiser they are conducting.
Brockman said it was a great time and she praised the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies who provided security.
“They were awesome,” she said. “I’ve never had so much coverage. They were with me all the time and it allowed me to leave my money and go visit people from time to time without worrying about somebody stealing it.”
The deputies were aided this year with Segways and three-wheel electric vehicles that allowed them to increase their patrol coverage.