Judy and Marion Duncan wear their best green in their
emerald golf cart during Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade
on Anna Maria Island. See more photos on Page 38.
MAGGIE FIELD | SUN
HOLMES BEACH – The whole Island was Irish last Sunday as thousands of green-clad revelers took to the nightclubs and restaurants for some corned beef and green beer, enjoyed the moderate weather at the Sham Rockin’ the Island Fest at city hall field and watched the elephant, camels and humans march and drive through the streets for a parade.
Event organizer Cindy Thompson put together the inaugural festival with proceeds going to the Anna Maria Island Community Center. It raised $7,622 before expenses, according to Interim Executive Director Scott Dell.
Thompson put the festival together in six weeks and she said they learned some things.
“You don’t want to run too late on a Sunday evening after a St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” she said. “I scheduled the headline band from 8 to 10 p.m., and by then, there were very few people left in the audience.”
She said next year she will schedule the headliner from 6 to 8 p.m. and end the festival then.
“I think in the future, we might hold this on Saturday, before everyone burns out with celebrating,” she said. “We might have the bulk of the events after the parade.”
The parade began at Eat Here and went up Marina Drive past the festival. By then, the attendees and others lined the street in a scene that looked like the Macy’s Parade in New York City.
Thompson said there was one bright spot.
“We did extra well in the kids area,” she said. “Next year, we’ll have more of a carnival theme and we might put the kids area over by the baseball field where it will have more room.”
The kids’ area this year included a very busy bounce house and an artist, Junior Pena, doing face painting.
Thompson said it was tough finding vendors for this event.
“When we contacted the regular, most of them were already booked because it is season and St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “We were lucky to have the ones we had.”
Still, she feels this could become a big event every year and it mwill continue to benefit the the Community Center.
“It was a successful event and a great marriage for next year,” she said.