SUN PHOTO/MIKE FIELD
With a boistrous parade by the Privateers, fireworks
displays that defied the elements, and beaches full
of tourists covered in oil, the Island's Fourth of
July holiday was one to remember.
An estimated 132 vehicles snaked their way from Coquina Beach to Bayfront Park to celebrate the Fourth of July Monday, despite a couple of mechanical breakdowns that left holes in the procession.
The Anna Maria Island Privateers initiated Internet parade signups this year, resulting in 79 applications with more people signing up before the parade Monday morning, according to Privateer Tim "Hammer" Thompson.
"There was a place where you could print out an application, but there was a glitch," Thompson said. "The darned thing wouldn't let you print, so those people ended up signing up right before the parade."
Most of the entries sported red, white and blue décor, and the Privateers blasted a few salvos from their cannons to give the effect of fireworks.
When the parade arrived on Pine Avenue, people lined up on the sidewalks and the front porches of the new businesses in Anna Maria's commercial district. Nick Gable, of Eastbourne, England, was there with his wife and four children.
"This is day one of our vacation," he said. "This is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday."
Fran Lundy, who winters in Anna Maria, said she likes watching the parade on Pine Avenue.
"We usually watch it from the library (in Holmes Beach)," she said. "I love watching it from here because of all the shops and the shaded porches."
After the parade, The Privateers reassembled at Anna Maria Island Beach Café for some lunch and grog and then to distribute the 18 Privateers scholarships and to watch Dennison Miller give out his memorial scholarship, dedicated to his daughter, Bridget, who died the summer after her high school graduation.
Ourania Lardas, an Island resident who graduated from Anna Maria Elementary School and Manatee High School, was awarded the memorial scholarship. She also was awarded scholarships this year from the Anna Maria Island Historic society, the American Association of University Women and the American Legion auxiliary after applying for 15 scholarships total.
"It was a lot of work," she said. "I put in many hours of preparation."
Ourania will attend Florida Gulf Coast University and major in education.
Chelsea Hodges, of Bradenton, wants to major in communication disorders at Florida State University and she was awarded a scholarship.
"I am most appreciative of the Privateers for offering this scholarship," she said.
The Privateers raise most of the money for scholarships through their outdoor markets in the summer, selling smoked mullet and other efforts.
Other winners were Dominic Cox, Chelsea Sloan, Kyle Messina, Sarah Beth Scott, Sarah Norris, Kayla Kerns, Samantha Glodde, Christopher Chawi, Sajani Patel, Hilary Hathaway, Kelsy Braun, Sydney Clark, Brandi Ricker, Leanne Browning, Alexander Chawi, James Campbell and Jennifer Luong.