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Date of Issue: October 22, 2008

Detour to Paradise

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The Islander staff invites you to join us on a Detour to Paradise as we ride out the closure of the Anna Maria Island Bridge through Nov. 13.

The bridge is closed. Traffic, depending on the hour, may be slow-moving on and off the other bridges at Cortez Road and Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach and on Gulf Drive to Longboat Key.

But hey, this is an Island on the Gulf of Mexico, a place of good vibes and good times.

So, during the shutdown, put yourself on Island-time. Relax. Don’t worry. Be happy.

Oct. 22 – Oct. 28

Wednesday, Oct. 22: Browse through Holmes Beach’s Island Gallery West, a co-op gallery featuring the work — watercolors, jewelry, sculptures and photographs — of regional artists. The fanciful mural outside marks the spot.

Thursday, Oct. 23: Shuffle over to the shuffleboard courts at Holmes Beach City Park, 5801 Marina Drive, and shove a disc. Shuffleboard is quintessential Florida, but the game dates back through the ages. Henry VIII banned his archers from playing because the game was getting in the way of archery practice.

Friday, Oct. 24: Discover the gem that is Grassy Point Preserve in Holmes Beach. Meander through the mangroves in a kayak — just for fun and adventure.

Saturday, Oct. 25: The city of Holmes Beach welcomes vendors of various items to its park, 5801 Marina Drive, for an open-air market. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 26: Paddle hard. A kayak festival takes place on the Gulf of Mexico just south of the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach. Activities are planned for most of the day, including races and prize-drawings.

Monday, Oct. 27: Have you ever seen a scarlet tanager? They prefer to hide in forest canopy, but at least one of the striking red birds has been seen in the trees at Leffis Key in Bradenton Beach. Break out your Audubon Society guide to Florida birds and start your quest.

Tuesday, Oct. 28: Angling for a good time? Cast off from one of the Island’s main piers — the Rod & Reel and Historic City piers in Anna Maria or the Historic Bridge Street Pier in Bradenton Beach.

For a complete listing of events this week, turn to The Islander calendar.