PHOTOSFROMTHEAIR.COM | SUN
Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Brockman said Friday the Chamber had been getting calls from people wanting to know where rooms might be available, but few resorts had called saying they had a room for rent.
The Chamber has a service for member resorts and rental agents who might not be sold out or get a last-minute cancellation. If they call the Chamber and tell them there is something available, Chamber volunteers will try to match people needing places to stay with them. Apparently, she said, people made their reservations early and few had to cancel.
Meanwhile, Saturday appeared to start off slow in some areas. The roadside at Manatee Avenue heading for Manatee Public Beach had some of the overflow from the parking lot but at 3:30 p.m., traffic was flowing well. However, Sunday was another story.
Westbound traffic on Manatee Avenue in Bradenton was moving at a snail’s pace, according to witnesses and that two-lane line extended east to 37th Street.
On the Island, Coquina Beach was overflowing, according to Bradenton Beach Police Sgt. James Gill. He said there were no incidents of violence.
“It was packed full and we had people in the water, under the trees and in the groves,” said Manatee County Lifeguard Marshall Greene. “We had a few assists and some missing children reported, but no rescues.”
Manatee County Beach was also packed, according to Lifeguard Joe Griffith.
“It was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it,” Griffith said. “Normally the number of parking spaces limits the number of people, and they were parked up and down Manatee Avenue.”
Griffith said he had to navigate through the crowd on an emergency call.
“I had to answer a lost child call at the Sandbar restaurant and if it had not been a low tide, I would have had to go off the beach and onto the road,” he said. “If the water had been any higher, I never would have made it.”
On Monday, he observed, “The parking lot is nearly full and it isn’t 10 a.m. yet.”