HOLMES BEACH – Vendors are still calling the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce about the upcoming 18th Annual Bayfest celebration, in spite of the serious red tide outbreak that is cutting into the tourist business, according to Chamber President Teri Kinder.
In fact, all of the food vendor spots have been taken.
“We sold out early,” Kinder said. “I have to tell them that they’ll have to try next year.”
Kinder said nobody seems concerned that the red tide might intensify, despite the lack of an “all clear” from the agencies that monitor conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.
Bayfest, known as the Island’s first festival of the season, will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. along Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. Admission is free, those attending will be greeted with a wide choice of local food, live music, a Kid’s Zone for the youngsters and a classic and antique auto show. The Anna Maria Island Privateers also will bring their ship, the Skullywag.
Kinder said the classic auto show will be as big as ever.
“Car owners are calling daily to enter,” Kinder said. “We expect to have 100 vehicles at the show.”
The Chamber has not forgotten the damage the red tide has done to businesses and their employees.
Some of this year’s Bayfest festival proceeds will go directly to local tourism industry workers for disaster relief assistance.
Local workers affected by the red tide economic crises must sign up before Oct. 19 with the Chamber. A short application form has been posted on its website, [email protected] The form can also be picked up at the AMI Chamber, 5313 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. as well as at the Roser Food Pantry during its regular hours. Call 941-778-0414 for Roser Food Pantry hours. Applicants may also call the Chamber to have a form emailed to them.
Completed application forms must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, along with employment verification in the form of a recent pay stub or letter from one’s employer.
All funds will be distributed to eligible registered applicants on Friday, Oct. 26, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. at CrossPointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive in Holmes Beach. Recipients must present a valid ID to receive their check.
To raise additional funds for this cause the AMI Chamber will be selling raffle tickets for an Island Experience, a basket full of local fun with gift certificates to stay, eat and play on the Island and the surrounding waters. Tickets are $5 each and will be sold at the Chamber prior to and at the festival all day during Bayfest. The raffle drawing will take place at 9 p.m. on the main stage at Bayfest. Winners need not be present to win. Gift certificates and items to be included in the raffle prize basket, as well as monetary donations for the relief fund itself, are being accepted at the Chamber. All of the raffle proceeds and monetary donations will go directly to eligible affected tourism industry workers.
For more information, contact the Chamber at 941-778-1541 or at [email protected]