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Date of Issue: December 16, 2009

Privateers deck the street with holiday glory

Shyanne Woodland, Meghan Woodland and Mariah Albert await a toss of beads during the Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas parade Dec. 12.
Islander Photos: Lisa Neff.

Santa Claus listens to Brian Greer, 8, left, and Bodi Wartenbert, 7, tell him whether they’ve been naughty or nice.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers take the lead, deliver the beads and entertain roadside merrymakers in their holiday parade.
Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

Island massage therapist Nadia Tryciecky tosses beads to the crowds along the Privateer parade route.
Islander Photo: Bonner Joy

With cannons blasting and booming shouts of “Merry Christmas,” the Anna Maria Island Privateers threw their traditional holiday party Dec. 12.

The celebrating began with an all-Island parade that traveled from Bayfront Park in Anna Maria through the Island cities to Coquina Beach, where the Privateers’ guest for the day, Santa Claus, visited with children.

“I gave him a pretty long list, so I don’t know,” Christine Callaghan said of her expectations for Christmas toys.

“Oh yes,” the 8-year-old added, “I’ve been pretty good. Ask my mom.”

The parade featured the privateers on the float-boat, which was held up near Manatee Avenue and East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach for the emergency treatment of an ailing passenger.

The parade also featured Santa in his sleigh, local elected officials and representatives from numerous local businesses and community groups.

Most participants in the parade tossed beads into the crowds of people along Pine Avenue, Gulf Drive, Manatee Avenue and East Bay Drive. Some tossed candy and toys.

Examining his loot, Gus Bayard, 7, said he enjoys all the Island parades.

“I’ve been to a lot,” he said, “I’ve lived here all my life.”

Elaina Bayard, 5, said her favorite moment in the Christmas parade was seeing Santa ride past in his sleigh.

“I like that,” she said, adding that she’d already had a visit with him. “I wrote a good list.”

At Coquina Beach after the parade, dozens of children stood in line to visit with Santa on the Privateers’ ship — and accept early gifts.

They also lunched on hot dogs and soda pop.

“After this, I think we’re going to the mall,” said Kyle Hannetty, 11.