ANNA MARIA – The business district becomes a tropical holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m., and everyone is invited for fun, food and gifts.
Most of the businesses will be open to meet and greet visitors, just like Christmases of yore. Each one will be working to make this the best holiday celebration ever. Look for snacks, refreshments and music as you walk down the street like they did in the old days. The only thing missing will be the snow, but if you catch “It’s a Wonderful Life” on television, you’ll be able to see snow from the safety of your home.
When you stop at your first participating business, be sure to get a card. As you progress, get seven more marks and drop it in the box at The Sun Newspaper or the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. Your card will be entered in a drawing for a basket filled with dozens of items, coupons and gift certificates from Anna Maria businesses.
Merchants in the city will have the opportunity to participate in a holiday window decoration contest as well. Visitors will be able to name their favorite display on the raffle card, and the results will be tallied. The winning business will receive a gift basket at The Sun newspaper. Don’t forget to bring an unwrapped toy in its package for Toys for Tots to drop off at The Sun.
The Historical Society will host the Roser Church Chorus plus singers from the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra will perform from 6 to 7 p.m. The Sign of the Mermaid will supply refreshments for those listening.
At the Island Sun Plaza, Santa will park his sleigh and talk to kids of all ages, with snow courtesy of Mark Kimball construction. The Sun newspaper, the Loft 5/AJ’s Island Network, Fran Maxon Real Estate and Three Island Monkeys will have music, food and refreshments. Dips Ice Cream will be providing holiday ice cream for Santa’s visitors and Rotten Ralph’s will have complimentary wine, also in the Sun Plaza.
Other participating businesses include: J & J Graphics, which will be serving hot-spiced tea, the Sign of the Mermaid will be donating refreshments for the Historical Society, Feeling Swell has Cuban bites and mac and cheese. Rudy’s will serve finger subs, Christmas cookies and beverages, and An Island Place Realty/Coastal Cottages will serve refreshments.
Anna Maria City Hall will be open for refreshments and to meet with city staffers. The White Egret, Pine Avenue General Store and AMI Accommodations will have refreshments. The Olive Outpost will offer holiday cheer and entertainment and the Island Cabana will serve hot buttered rum. Bella by the Sea will serve refreshments, and Duncan Real Estate will have refreshments and Christmas beads.
Beach Bums, Sato Real Estate and Chapae will serve refreshments. Two Scoops will offer a free cup of hot chocolate and Two Sides of Nature will have holiday cookies and treats.
Whether you come for the raffles, refreshments, food or chance to meet Santa, make sure you get here and bring your good cheer.