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Date of Issue: October 14, 2009

Pine Avenue to host Bayfest

Pine Avenue becomes party central Oct. 16-17.

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Ross Ford shines up his 1967 Mustang on Pine Avenue for last year’s Bayfest celebration. This weekend’s event also will feature a classic car show, as well as hours of live entertainment, food and retail vendors and arts and crafts sellers.
Islander File Photo: Lisa Neff.

The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Bayfest takes place this Friday and Saturday, with a kickoff party planned for Friday night beginning at 5 p.m., and a full lineup of local entertainment and vendors planned for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Friday lineup features DJ Mike Sales from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the local band Bootleg, as well as a number of food and beverage vendors.

The Saturday lineup includes Jimi Gee’s Fogt’s Jr. All Stars Band at 9:45 a.m., Marc Anthony at 10 a.m., Rory Miller at 11:15 a.m., Firedoor at 12:30 p.m., the Human Condition at 1:45 p.m., The Island Rockers at 2:30 p.m., HWY 41 at 2:45 p.m., The Missing Links at 4:30 p.m., Koko Ray and the Soul Providers at 6 p.m. and the Billy Rice Band at 8 p.m.

“BOC Productions is doing our sound, and Anna Maria’s DJ of choice, Chris Grumley, will be our emcee and DJ for the day,” said Bayfest co-organizer Cindy Thompson.

Bayfest also will feature food, arts, crafts and retail vendors, children’s activities, a classic car show and an exhibit of The Doors public art campaign.

The festival, a fundraiser for chamber programs, will again be free to the public.

An Islander interview with Thompson.

The Islander: You’ve been organizing Bayfest for how many years now?

Cindy Thompson: I have been organizing Bayfest with my co-chair John Secor for nine years. We started it in front of Paradise Cafe on East Bay Drive — “Bay”-fest — and then the following year we were approved for half of Pine Avenue. Since then we have had approval for the whole street.

The Islander: How many people are involved in putting this event on?

CT:  I would estimate a total of about 50 people are involved. The Bayfest committee of 10, more than 30 community and business volunteers that actually work the event itself, also the chamber staff, board of directors and volunteers.

The Islander: The hours are extended again this year? Is that to provide more people with an opportunity to attend? Or to keep people attending longer?

CT: We chose to include Friday night to take advantage of the fact that we are already all set up for Saturday.

Also, our Friday night events are very well attended and eagerly anticipated. It will also provide an opportunity for people who can’t make it on Saturday to come out and enjoy a mini-Bayfest Friday night.  The feedback I get from the majority of community members, vendors and businesses in our community is “more is better when it comes to this festival.”

The Islander: With 12 hours of Bayfest on Saturday and the pre-party, how many times do you think you’ll travel up and down Pine Avenue?

CT: I will be dedicated to “the lot” on Friday night, but on Saturday I estimate I will travel up and down Pine Avenue over 100 times. I use a golf cart, and this year Beach Bum Billy’s on Pine Avenue has offered me use of its “Go-Ped,” which should be interesting.

The Islander: Tell us three favorite attractions that will be back this year?

CT: The music, the car show and the food are all such a nice complement to our unique vendors.

 The Islander: And any new attractions to look forward too?

CT: The kids area will be an actual KidFest organized by Island Dojo’s Kevin Bergquist. He does a children’s festival annually in October with the money he raises dedicated to at-risk children. This year I invited him to do his event in our event as a win-win for both of us.

Every year I am happy with how Bayfest went, but I always feel the kids’ area could be improved. This year I know it will be. Kevin has been planning some wonderful events and demonstrations, including martial arts demos, face painting, games and activities such as an obstacle course, a water slide, a dunk tank and a bounce house.

 The Islander: The food court always seems packed with people. What are some menu items this year?

CT: We will have a fantastic variety of local fare, including fish tacos, carnitas, fish and chips, gyros, barbecue ribs, chicken, hot dogs, meatball subs, chili, hamburgers, sausage and pepper hoagies, bratwurst, lobster rolls, Polynesian food, shrimp dishes, Southern food, crab cakes, pizza, ice cream, snow cones, kettle corn and beef jerky.

We still have food vendors signing up to participate, so the menu will be including a lot more.

The Islander: If you could give Bayfest a theme song, what would it be?

CT: Definitely Jimmy Buffett’s “Changes in attitudes, changes in latitudes.” I know it’s predictable, but it’s fitting.

Mmm: Mullet on Bayfest menu

The Anna Maria Island Privateers will sell its speciality — smoked mullet — at Bayfest Saturday, Oct. 17.

The fall mullet smokes are an AMIP tradition that raise money for the nonprofit group’s efforts, including the presentation of the Christmas parade Dec. 12 and the distribution of gifts to children after the procession, as well as the scholarship awards handed out each July 4.

The Privateers will anchor the Skully Wag at Bayfest and sell locally caught, freshly smoked mullet from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. — or until supplies last.

The group also will sell raffle tickets for a $600 gift certificate to Tradewinds Resort on Anna Maria Island.