With four months left until the Anna Maria City Pier Centennial Celebration, celebration committee chair Sissy Quinn had a number of concerns alleviated at the committee’s Jan. 10 meeting.
Two concerns were laid to rest when Sandbar Restaurant owner Ed Chiles, organizer of the May 14 inaugural food festival, said he would fund additional law enforcement if it’s needed for the food festival.
That event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, along Pine Avenue, with food, refreshments and art vendors.
In addition, The Islander and the City Pier Restaurant are sponsoring a $10,000 fireworks display May 14 on the pier that includes law enforcement in nearby waters.
The Islander publisher Bonner Joy told Quinn the fireworks portion of the celebration, including the cost of any required safety measures for the display, is being paid by the city pier operators and the newspaper.
Quinn was concerned about funding an estimated $800 for five Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies who will be needed during the day on May 14, but City Commissioner Jo Ann Mattick said those costs should “be prepared after the event, in case we have to pay anything.
“That’s when we’ll know what’s come in. We could be in great shape,” she said.
Quinn suggested Chiles and the City Pier Restaurant might want to give additional funds to the committee, but Chiles assured her that the food vendors have agreed to a 75-25 split of revenue.
Expenses will be taken from the 25 percent split of the revenue and the remaining balance will be donated to Island nonprofit organizations, he said.
Joy said the newspaper and the pier have partnered to sell memorial planks on the city pier for $100 each to cover the cost of fireworks and related expenses. The donation is $10,000, and that’s a “significant amount,” Joy said.
Anna Maria Mayor Mike Selby said he would waive special event permit fees, and, if necessary, bring the issue of funding for law enforcement to the commission.
Quinn relaxed after hearing that news, but noted that, if she’s concerned, it’s only because this is the “first year we’ve ever done this,” and a centennial celebration is only going to occur once a century.
Quinn said she wants donors to cover expenses, but Mattick said the celebration is still four months away and sales by the committee of memorabilia likely will pick up as the event draws closer.
More good news came from Barbara Sato of Sato Real Estate and the North End Merchants Organization, She said NEMO had sponsors for the 33 street banners needed to promote the event.
Quinn remained worried about lagging sales of T-shirts intended to fund some centennial expenses, but Susan Cecere of the city’s environmental education and enhancement committee stepped up to the plate.
Cecere volunteered to contact and distribute T-shirts to merchants, keep track of sales and return the resulting funds to the committee.
Presently, the shirts are available at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society museum on Pine Avenue and J&J Graphics, 9701 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.
Cecere also pledged to help spruce up the landscaping and vegetation at the city pier entrance before the celebration, and help the committee in any way possible.
“This needs to be a showcase,” she said.
Committee members and volunteers discussed holding a party following the Anna Maria Island Privateers May 13 evening parade, and Quinn suggested that Mike and Lizzie Vann Thrasher may wish to be included in some manner at the Anna Maria Historical Green Village, now under construction on Pine Avenue.
John Lefner and Erin Heckler of Island Real Estate in Holmes Beach presented more good news when they said they would put information about the centennial celebration on the company’s website and blog.
“It’s something we want to do to reach out to the community,” Lefner said. “This is part of the Island’s heritage, and we support that for the Island.”
Sandy Mattick suggested the committee prepare a flyer to put in welcome packets distributed by real estate offices, accommodations, rental agents and motels.
Chiles suggested contacting Manatee Educational Television to document the centennial and contacting U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) to have a centennial proclamation placed in the Congressional Record.
SueLynn of the committee produced a proclamation that will be offered to other government bodies in advance of the event.
Caryn Hodge suggested the committee move forward with a marketing plan and Sandy Mattick volunteered to take the job. She said she would present a formal public relations/marketing plan by February, or possibly at the committee’s Jan. 31 meeting.
At that meeting, Quinn said she wants to finalize the list of events for committee members, media and event participants.
The centennial is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Friday, May 13, with the Privateers parade at CrossePointe Fellowship, leading to Pine Avenue and ending at the pier.
Among the many events planned for May 14 are the food and cultural festival, a Privateers family picnic at Bayfront Park, VIP dinner on the pier and the fireworks display.
The committee’s next meeting is 3 p.m. Jan. 31 at Anna Maria City Hall, 10005 Gulf Drive.