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Date of Issue: November 25, 2009

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Expect the season’s first jingle of sleigh bells Dec. 4, when Holmes Beach businesses usher in the holiday season with an open house.

The Friday night celebration will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the downtown area — Marina and Gulf drives.

Main attractions will kick off with a visit from Santa Claus and the Anna Maria Island Privateers outside The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, and the 5 p.m. lighting of the Christmas tree outside the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, 5313 Gulf Drive.

In addition, many businesses in the area will open their doors, extend their hours and serve goodies to a parade of visitors.

For more information, call The Islander at 941-778-7978.

The day after the Holmes Beach open house, the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, hosts The Lester-Islander Family Fun Day.

The Dec. 5 event, held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Center gym, offers old-fashioned fun at old-fashioned prices, according to organizers.

Fun Day will include visits with Santa, who arrives on a West Manatee Fire Rescue truck; Duffy burgers, hot dogs and sodas — each for a quarter; chances at winning holiday turkeys; children’s games and crafts; and entertainment.

For more information, call the Center at 941-778-1908.

The holiday calendar also includes:

• Dec. 6, 5 p.m., the annual FISH Holiday Potluck at Cortez’s Bayside Banquet Hall.

• Dec. 12, 10 a.m., the Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade with Santa, from Bayfront Park to Coquina Beach.

• Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., the Roser Memorial Community Church, Anna Maria, Bethlehem Walk.

• Dec. 19, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., holiday open house and lighted boat parade in Bradenton Beach, centered on Bridge Street and the Historic Bridge Street Pier.

• Dec. 20, 2 p.m., Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra concert, “An Island Christmas,” Crosspointe Fellowship, 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

• Dec. 31, midnight, New Year’s Eve fireworks at the BeachHouse Restaurant, 200 Gulf Drive N., Bradenton Beach.