ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria, Bradenton Beach and Holmes Beach residents of all ages are invited to the Thanks-Living community gathering on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
The community gathering will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. under the shade sail at City Pier Park in Anna Maria, at the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.
Attendees are encouraged to bring finger foods, appetizers, hors d’oeuvres and a bottle of wine, an adult beverage or soft drinks to share with others.
Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and personal hygiene products for the Roser Food Pantry, and/or cash and checks for the All Island Denominations collective of churches that provides cash vouchers that assist needy Island residents and employees.
Thanks-Living will feature a blackboard upon which attendees can write what they love about the Island and Will Corr and his band will provide live entertainment.
Thanks-Living is supported by the city of Anna Maria and the Anna Maria Island Sun.
Thanks-Living was inspired by “For the Love of Cities” author Peter Kageyama’s presentation at The Center this summer.
Kageyama’s presentation led to the creation of the For the Love of Anna Maria Island task force that currently consists of Anna Maria residents Carol Carter, Janet Kingan and Barbara Zdravecky and Holmes Beach resident Bruce Meyer.
“We got together and decided we needed to create some community events to bring the community together like Peter suggested. We came up with four or five ideas and Thanks-Living is the first,” Carter said.
“That was the second time I heard Peter’s lecture and I was very excited about the opportunity to bring some of his ideas to Anna Maria,” Zdravecky said.
“I think it’s important for folks who live here to have a sense of community. As the Island’s characteristics have changed from being mostly residential to now being mostly tourism we’ve lost some of the binds that hold us together. An event held the night before Thanksgiving when people’s families are here, is an opportunity for islanders to come together and break bread and have a drink and toast to the lovely island we live on,” Zdravecky said.
“I’m really grateful to my friend Will Corr, who’s playing the music that night. Will has a lot of heart in the Island. This is islanders celebrating islanders and also helping islanders who have needs,” Zdravecky said.
“We love Anna Maria, but our community is shrinking so we thought what can we do to build community?” Kingan said.
“Peter’s message was about why people love their community,” Meyer said.
The task force is contemplating future activities that include a long-table dining event on or near the new city pier when it reopens in early 2020.
The task force has discussed a “Bees and Trees” campaign that would promote the importance of bees and the flowering shrubs and bushes bees help pollinate.
“I have some friends who are beekeepers and it’s not a hard thing to put a little bee colony in your yard,” Zdravecky said.
“We also want to have a public art project and put that on or near the pier,” Meyer said.
“When Holmes Beach gets their dog park finished, we want to do some sort of dog and animal blessing there,” Carter said.
The task force doesn’t currently include a Bradenton Beach resident, but Carter said that would be a welcome addition.
“I think everybody in this country should be doing something to help someone in their community,” Zdravecky said. “That’s really what Peter’s book was about: creating opportunities for communities to come together so people get to know each other as human beings and not just as someone who lives down the street.”