Holiday season arrives on Bridge Street

    Holiday season arrives on Bridge Street
    The Bradenton Beach tree lighting ceremony on Bridge Street on Saturday kicked off the holiday season on Anna Maria Island. - Jason Schaffer - Sun

    BRADENTON BEACH – The holidays are lighting up Bridge Street and getting revelers in the holiday spirit.

    The fun started with the annual holiday lights celebration, with palm trees, businesses and even a giant Christmas tree lighting up the night on Nov. 19, showcasing garlands, hand-placed ornaments and other festive adornments.

    As the sun set, a crowd gathered near the base of the 32-foot tree while the Magic of Manatee Sweet Adelines sang traditional holiday carols. At 6 p.m. Paradise Boat Tours General Manager Sherman Baldwin introduced former city commissioner Ed Straight who had the honor of flipping the switch, lighting the tree for the first time this season. After the tree lighting, attendees were encouraged to partake in the shopping and restaurant opportunities along Bridge Street.

    Holiday season arrives on Bridge Street
    (left to right) Glen Tellone, Heather Tellone, Chase Castagna, Chris Castagna, Tina Castagna, Abby Castagna, Pennie Castagna, Cara Spath, Kyle Castagne, Jason Spath and Emma Spath enjoy the tree Lighting on Bridge Street. Jason Schaffer | Sun

    “This is possible because of a lot of hard work from the merchants of the Bradenton Beach Bridge Street area who’ve come together for the second week in a row to make this happen,” Mayor John Chappie said. “This is a signature event now that is something people look forward to, and it’s part of what we had hoped would happen for Bridge Street when we created the Community Redevelopment Agency.”

    This huge holiday undertaking came at a cost of more than $40,000 and was sponsored by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the city of Bradenton Beach and local merchants. The lights come on at sunset and will be in place through the end of December.