The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 10 No. 25 - March 24, 2010


Crowds come early to Friday Fest

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTOS/TOM VAUGHT The crowd came early and
stayed late to enjoy the weather and listen to the four
bands that played well into the night.

ANNA MARIA – Crowds were in the field at Pine Avenue and Bay Boulevard long before the work week ended last Friday, a sign that our seasonal visitors and tourists were ready to party, and party they did.

The Island Rockers started off the music with some old time rock and roll. As the aroma of the food vendors wafted through the field, some people broke their diets and started dinner a little early.

The arts and crafts vendors were also doing well. One popular item was marionette fluffy puppies that look like live animals walking. They attracted the attention of the kids who asked their parents to buy them one and many did.

This time there were two barbecue sellers, which made it difficult to concentrate on anything else. In addition to the Waterfront’s fish tacos, Peter Barreda served pineapple curry chicken tacos, which were also popular. The spiral potatoes from Cheryl’s Concessions were also a hot item, both literally and figuratively. Tyler’s Ice Cream from Cortez was also busy during the evening.

The Human Condition was the second musical act, offering acoustic, rock and progressive music that kept the audience tapping its toes. As the day wore on, more kids took to the portion of the field in front of the stage, and some people brought bubble machines. Soon the area was full of bubbles and children chasing them.

Toward dinnertime, the refreshments were flowing and the food vendors were dealing with long lines. SoulRcoaster took the stage playing a mixture of pop and rock with some blues and jazz. People danced in front of the bandstand. As the act wound down, the band played a high-energy version of the disco standard “I Will Survive” that got everyone on their feet at the end to dance and shout.

The final act of the night was Kettle of Fish, which continued the dance theme, as more people came to burn off the frustrations of the work week or just enjoy the beginning of another weekend.

This is the last Friday Music Festival for the season, and there will be more next fall and winter.

Kissick book a living history lesson

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Jim Kissick on Sept. 26, 1949,
an ensign flight student landing
an SNJ-5C aboard the U.S.S. Cabot.

BRADENTON BEACH – Bradenton Beach resident Jim Kissick’s new book brings aviation history to life.

Ever notice the Sikorsky wing at Tampa International Airport? Kissick hovered the helicopter named for Igor Sikorsky over his parents’ house in Terra Ceia, and met Sikorsky to boot.

The World War II combat veteran later headed a task force in Viet Nam, then embarked on a civilian aircraft career. During his military career, he served on 19 aircraft carriers and became one of fewer than 100 people quadruple qualified as a naval aviator, having served as a dive bomber pilot who flew in jet fighters and helicopters and commanded an airship.

Despite his accomplishments, he wrote the book in third person, because he’s uncomfortable in the limelight.

The book’s title, “A Flyer’s Dash,” refers to a poem about the dash in between the birth and death dates on a tombstone. It’s how you spend the “dash” that counts, the poem says.

A poet himself and an illustrator, Kissick includes his poetry and drawings in the book, along with historic photographs and mementos.

The 85-year-old Terra Ceia native has had a unique “dash” in the theater of aviation, he said, avoiding several disasters with the help of divine intervention.

“I think I’ve had a guardian angel all my life,” Kissick said.

His favorite part of the book is not the near-misses, but the dedication, in which he quotes his two main philosophies of life: “All men are not created equal, but are created with an equal opportunity to become unequal,” which he borrowed from a banner at the Bell Helicopter Co., and “Flying in itself is not inherently dangerous, but is mercilessly unforgiving of human carelessness,” which he borrowed from a banner at a hangar at Saufley Field in Pensacola.

His military experience gives him a unique perspective on the current war in the Middle East.

“I don’t think we have any options,” Kissick said. “If you have a rat that keeps chewing holes in your walls, you have to get rid of the rat.”

Still, he said, “Nobody wants to go to war, particularly those that know something about war. But if you have to maintain peace, who else is going to do it for us?”

The book is not Kissick’s first; he also wrote “From the Muzzle of a Pistol,” a family history whose title refers to a note found in the muzzle of a gun that once belonged to his great grandfather, James Green Williams, one of Manatee County’s early residents.

He wrote “A Flyer’s Dash” primarily for his family, too. There will be no book tour at his age, he said with a laugh, but he is promoting the book among museum and aviation groups.

To purchase the book, call Bradenton Press at 758-8878 or e-mail

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