SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Thousands of people packed Pine Avenue in Anna Maria all day
Saturday for the 10th Annual Bayfest celebration.
ANNA MARIA – They started showing up on Friday evening and kept jamming into Pine Avenue by the thousands all day Saturday, making this year’s Bayfest one for the record books.
That’s the reaction from Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Brockman, who said preliminary figures from the 10th annual celebration look great.
“It was a very packed crowd,” Brockman said. “It appears we did very well.”
Brockman still has to deduct expenses from revenues and she won’t have the final figures for a few days, but signs that it would be a huge success came early.
“They sold all the rum and wine on Friday night,” she said. “We sent Lois (Gift, from Whitney National Bank) and Wende (Webb, of SERVPRO of Bradenton) to get some more and we also ran out of cups The Sun provided and had to buy more.”
Brockman said there were other signs that it was a success.
“I never saw so many hundreds and fifties in my life,” she said, referring to money. “It was a great day.”
Brockman said the weather played a big factor, but so did the crowd.
“It seems like everybody was ready to cut loose and enjoy the first festival of the season,” she said. “They all had had enough of summer and they were ready to celebrate.”
She thanked the sponsors, including Bright House Networks, LaPensee Plumbing, The Anna Maria Island Sun and Miller Electric, whose owner, Ed Gocher, served as the co-organizer along with Chamber Chair Cindy Thompson.
“Ed spent a lot of time helping set up things, plus he provided electricity to all the booths and the band,” she said. “He really did a great job.”
The crowd seemed to enjoy the music. Friday night’s performers played to a packed field with lots of dancing to the music. The food vendors stayed busy both Friday night and all day Saturday. Anne and Karl Deans were busy serving baked goods and other treats. They recently appeared in a competition on The Food Channel. Other vendors served everything from fresh fish to barb, cue.
Chamber volunteers kept the beer, wine and rumrunners flowing and Island Community Center volunteers served soft drinks and water.
Island Dojo Kevin Bergquist kept the kids entertained all day in the parking lot across the street from Roser Memorial Community Church. The church also had activities for the children in a tent on the front lawn and cold water for the people and their dogs walking by. Further up the street, Bill Mergens’ car show was lots of fun for men and women. There were antiques from the 1920s and 30s, hot rods, sleek new high-performance vehicles, a few trucks and some heavily chromed tanks from the 1950s and 60s.
All in all, it was a success if you judged the smiles on the faces of those who attended and the Chamber will likely find it earned a lot of money. As for the quality of the event, Brockman had something to say.
“It was the best Bayfest we have ever done.”.