Community gathers for holiday carols in the park

Anna Maria holiday carol singers
Mayor Dan Murphy invited Bob Carter, Barbara Murphy (the mayor’s wife) and Angie Blunt to lead the crowd in a holiday sing-along. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The city hosted a weather-modified Holiday Carols in the Park event on Friday, Dec. 14.

Despite the threat of rain, nearly 100 people showed up at City Pier Park late Friday afternoon for the second annual event.

City Commissioner Doug Copeland and city staff members dispensed ice cream-enhanced eggnog and cookies.

Anna Maria holiday carols Eggnog
City Commissioner Doug Copeland serves eggnog to Anna Maria residents Carol Conte and Michael Cusato. – Joe Hendricks | Sun

Members of the Public Works Department assisted Santa Claus as he appeared through a cloud of multi-colored smoke at the far end of the park. After Mayor Dan Murphy greeted Santa, the children lined up to speak with the jolly one. Santa also got a few kisses from a small dog named Piglet.

Weather concerns led to the cancellation of the vocal and instrumental performances to be given by students from St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, but Bob Carter, Barbara Murphy and Angie Blunt led the crowd assembled underneath the shade sail structure in a Christmas carol sing-along.

“I wish the weather had cooperated a little more, but this is one of those things where you go with what you’ve got. That was what we decided, and I’m glad we did. The children are enjoying it and that’s the important thing,” Murphy said of his 2 p.m. decision to proceed with the event.

The holiday event was part of the city’s continued efforts to utilize City Pier Park as a community gathering place.

“It’s a place to get together, celebrate and have a good time. We’re trying to foster a sense of community and these events bring people together in one place to chat, renew acquaintances and make new acquaintances. This is a perfect fit for the park, I can’t think of a better use. And what’s better than a sing-along?” Murphy said.

When asked if the mayor has Christmas wish for the citizens and business owners of Anna Maria, Murphy said, “Yes. I’d like for you to have a new pier.”

The construction of the new Anna Maria City Pier is slated to begin in late-January.