It’s Bayfest time again

Bayfest offers a wide variety of crafts and artwork, including signs for nearly any occasion. - File photo | Sun

ANNA MARIA – It’s an indication that hurricane season is waning and tourist season is just around the corner. The 17th Annual Bayfest celebration is coming to the Island once again.

Hosted by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, the Island’s largest festival will occupy the length of Pine Avenue in Anna Maria on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The annual free celebration has a little something for everyone, offering music, food, arts and crafts and classic automobiles to entertain the grown-ups.

For the youngsters, there also will be a Kids Zone, sponsored by AMI Health & Fitness, featuring games, bounce houses, the Privateer’s ship, Skullywag, and more.

For many, Bayfest annually sets the mood for fall and has become a destination date for thousands of visitors to the Island. It was the first AMI festival to have a car show and routinely displays more than 100 classic and antique vehicles. These range from souped-up hot rods to vintage customized cars and trucks, many restored to museum quality.

The car show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a Best in Show competition.

A celebration of music

Bayfest offers the best in live local music from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The lineup includes:

  • Renegade, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • soulRcoaster, 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Yesterdayze, 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • The Dr. Dave Band, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • The Karen & Jimmy Band, 7:30 to 9 p.m.

In addition, the food court will highlight some of the best regional specialties provided by local vendors and restaurants. Come out and sample a variety of delicious dishes. Wash the food down with beer, wine, rumrunners, margaritas and soft drinks. More about the food next week.

Bayfest has a strict no cooler and no BYOB policy, as the offerings from the vendors are varied and tasty. A large portion of festival proceeds benefit the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund. These scholarships assist graduating Manatee County high school seniors with their college tuition.

Park and ride

Residents are urged to take the free trolleys, as parking will be limited. Additional parking is available as you enter the city of Anna Maria at the CrossPointe Fellowship Church. Catch the trolley to the festival from CrossPointe Fellowship, the Manatee Public Beach or any of several trolley stops on the Island. The trolley runs until 10:30 p.m. For all those parking on the street in the city of Anna Maria, please note that all tires must be off the pavement. There is no admission charge for this family friendly event.