PHOTO/MARY LOU JOHNSON
Fireworks at Mar Vista Pub on Longboat Key ushered in the
holiday weekend. Fireworks at the BeachHouse in Bradenton Beach
on Saturday and at the Sandbar in Anna Maria on Sunday
completed the weekend.
Ed Chiles was relaxing Monday after a weekend of fireworks shows that were intertwined with rainstorms. The owner of the Mar Vista, BeachHouse and Sandbar restaurants pulled off a fireworks display each night at one of those establishments, sometimes starting just after the rain stopped and other times, ending just before the rain started.
“I’m so proud of all my staff and the professionals who pulled off three nights of dinners and fireworks – a hat trick as a tropical wave brought rain all three days,” he said Monday. “It’s funny, you get the anticipation before each show with your stomach in knots and then the exhilaration when it comes off perfectly.”
According to police, all three shows came off as planned with few problems from the crowds that came to the beach to watch the pyrotechnics. Chiles said last weekend was a landmark for him.
“I am celebrating 31 years on Anna Maria Island,” he said. “I bought the Sandbar on July 5, 1979.”
Chiles said last weekend’s final fireworks show was his 46th and if he pulls off three shows next year, it will bring the total to 49.
While the weekend was precarious for the fireworks, it was nice and cool for the other activities. The Privateers parade went well, despite a problem that allowed a bunch of non-parade traffic to get between the first two-thirds of the parade and the final third. After the parade ended, the Privateers headed for the Café on the Beach to pass out scholarship checks to students. This year, they handed out a total of $29,500.
As our visitors checked out of their rooms Monday, Ed Chiles was taking it easy, trying to rest his voice from a weekend of talking.
“It can rain all it wants now,” he said.