Bridge Street Market in Bradenton Beach

If you have visited our wonderful little island of Anna Maria, then you have probably been to Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. If you haven’t, then you’re missing out on a lot!
Especially if you are on the Island anytime between November and April. Because that is when the Bridge Street Market takes place!

 

 

Bridge Street Market is held from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm every Sunday in November, through April. The market is located at 107 Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach. Visit your favorite vendors and enjoy fantastic food, beautiful art and jewelry, great local musicians, fresh produce, and much more!

Address: 107 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
Contact Number: (215) 906-0668

 

The Annual DeSoto Grand Parade

 

Parades are a big thing on Anna Maria Island. It seems that every holiday there is a coordinating parade that takes place. People will line up off the road and wait for the floats to come by. It’s truly always a fun time, no matter what occasion the parade is for.

 

However, there is an extremely impressive (and massive) parade that takes place in Bradenton every year since 1939. The DeSoto Grand Parade is a huge event, and in recent years, it has brought in a crowd of over 200,000 spectators. To give a little background, In the early 1500’s, Conquistador, Hernando DeSoto, and his army of soldiers walked the grounds of Bradenton, making local and national history.

 

The parade travels 2.4 miles in a 3 hour time span with over 150 illuminated floats/entries. The parade starts at Manatee High School, and then travels to Manatee Avenue where it continues until it reaches Downtown Bradenton.

 

The event takes place on a Saturday, typically in the month of April. You’ll know the parade is going to start soon once you see lawn chairs out on the side of Manatee Avenue. This brings me to another important aspect of the DeSoto Parade, GET THERE EARLY! Walking to the parade is the best to avoid traffic. So if you have a friend or family member that lives close to the parade route, I’d ask to park at their place. Remember, Manatee Avenue will be closed starting around 5PM from 44th Street West, to U.S. 41.

 

So bring the kids, wear comfortable clothing, and collect some beads and other goodies at the annual DeSoto Grand Parade in Bradenton!

 

Parade Route

Click Here to View Larger Map Photo

Where to Vote on Election Day – Anna Maria Island

Below you will find the local locations to cast your vote at on Anna Maria Island.
Remember, it doesn’t matter who you’re voting for, as long as you make your voice heard.

Anna Maria Island Voting Locations:

For Holmes Beach, voters should go to:
. Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (6608 Marina Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217)
Or
St Bernard Catholic Church (248 S Harbor Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217)

For Anna Maria, voters should go to: Roser Memorial Community Church (512 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216)

For Bradenton Beach, voters should go to: Bradenton Beach Fire Hall (107 Gulf Dr N, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217)

 

Polls will be open from 7am – 7pm on election day. You will need to bring a valid and current photo and signature ID. 

Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

 

Who Dun it? Find out at Anna Maria Islands annual  Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. The dinner (which in 2018 was a two night event) has a different theme each year.

This fundraising dinner gets the audience involved, and is always a night full of fun, laughter, and murder of course.

Tickets for the Murder Mystery are $45, and go towards supporting the Center of Anna Maria Island.

Besides crime and food, there are also raffles, a live auction, and a cash bar.

 

The cast of a previous AMI Mystery Murder Dinner Theater
When: the 2018 murder mystery dinner took place the 3rd weekend of february (friday and saturday). 
Where: The Center of Anna Maria Island, 407 Magnolia Ave, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
Phone: The Center’s phone number is, (941) 778-1908
This Event is for adults only!

 

 

Local Music Festivals and Events

Amazing live music, exceptional talent, and it’s all taking place in practically our own backyard. These local music festivals and events are sure to impress.
Take a look at all the sweet-sounding occasions that occur every year in our area.

Anna Maria Island 

Symphony on the Sand
Symphony on the Sand is an event that takes place every year at Coquina Gulfside Park in Bradenton Beach. This event features live music by the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra (AMICCO). There will also be delicious small plates prepared by local restaurants, and of course beer and wine.  Take a visit AMI’s pristine Coquina Beach , all while enjoying live music and a picturesque sunset over the Gulf of Mexcio.
Where: Gulf Dr S, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
When: Second Saturday of November
Time: 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Tickets: Tickets for Symphony on the Sand range from $20 to $150

 

Bradenton 

Bradenton Blues Festival:
A weekend full of exceptional live blues music, food vendors, and local craft beer is exactly what you’re in store for at the annual BRADENTON BLUES FESTIVAl in Downtown Bradenton. This event sells out FAST, so if you’re going to be in town or on the island during this time of year and want to attend this fun filled festival, purchase your tickets ASAP! This event is produced by the non-profit organization Realize Bradenton, and proceeds will support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music programs for the community.
Where: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: First weekend of December (Friday – Sunday)
Time: Begins 6pm Friday, ends 2pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the festival range from $10 – $100

 

Music in the Park:
Picture yourself watching a beautiful sunset over the Manatee River, all while listening to amazing local musicians. That is exactly what the event MUSIC IN THE PARK is all about. This family-friendly occasion also offers snacks and beverages, including local craft beer and wine, for purchase. It is encouraged to bring a picnic basket, blankets and chairs, and even your furry friend (as long as they’re on a leash of course).
Where: Mosaic Amphitheater at the Bradenton Riverwalk (606 3rd Ave. West Bradenton, FL 34205)
When: Begins the second Friday of March, and continues every Friday until the last Friday of April.
Time: 6pm – 8pm
Tickets: Free event

Sarasota

Sarasota Music Festival
The Sarasota Music Festival is a three week long event that occurs every June. This musical affair features internationally recognized guest artists, and student musicians from around the world. The beautiful music and amazing talent that is produced at this musical event is enough reason to make the Sarasota Music Festival one of the most exceptional classical-music events in the country.
Where: Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
AND Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
When: Typically the event begins the first Sunday of June, and ends the last Sunday of June
Tickets: To purchase tickets for this event please go to the the Sarasota Orchestra website

 

 

Giving Hunger the Blues & Jazz on the Bay 
Known as “Sarasota’s Favorite Outdoor Music Festival”, the Giving Hunger the Blues & Jazz on the Bay Festival raises awareness and funds a local not-for-profit organization called The Mayors Feed The Hungry Program. This event takes place at the grounds of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center along Sarasota Bay. featuring local and regional talent, and tons of tasty food from the areas finest restaurants. All proceeds from Giving Hunger the Blues & Jazz on the Bay go to supporting local hungry families over the holiday season.
Where: 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
When: The 2018 event was different compared to the prior years.
The 2018 event features not one but TWO days of music during the second weekend of October (Saturday and Sunday).
Time: Begins 3:00pm Saturday and ends 8:30pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the event are $15

 

Bradenton Riverwalk Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Check Out All the Fun That’s Going on Throughout the Year 

Bradenton Blues Festival:
A weekend full of exceptional live blues music, food vendors, and local craft beer is exactly what you’re in store for at the annual Bradenton Blues Festival in Downtown Bradenton. This event sells out FAST, so if you’re going to be in town or on the island during this time of year and want to attend this fun filled festival, purchase your tickets ASAP! This event is produced by the non-profit organization Realize Bradenton, and proceeds will support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music programs for the community.
When: First weekend of December (Friday – Sunday)
Time: Begins 6pm Friday, ends 2pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the festival range from $10 – $100 depending on type of ticket purchased.
For ticket info and pricing please check out the link, http://www.bradentonbluesfestival.org/tickets/.

 

Fourth of July Firework Display:
The Bradenton Riverwalk puts on a Zambelli International fireworks show on the 4th of July ever year (weather permitting). Take a walk down Main Street, maybe grab a drink while you’re there, and then head over to the Riverwalk for a spectacular firework display over the Manatee River.
When: July 4th
Time: The grand firework finale will begin at 9pm

 

Music in the Park:
Picture yourself watching a beautiful sunset over the Manatee River, all while listening to amazing local musicians. That is exactly what the event Music in the Park is all about. This family-friendly occasion also offers snacks and beverages, including local craft beer and wine, for purchase. It is encouraged to bring a picnic basket, blankets and chairs, and even your furry friend (as long as they’re on a leash of course).
When: Begins the second Friday of March, and continues every Friday until the last Friday of April.
Time: 6pm – 8pm

 

Manatee Pride:
Manatee Pride is all about empowering and supporting the local LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning) community. The event is put on by volunteers and has been taking place every year since 2014. Manatee Pride features different local vendors, live entertainment, and food and beverages, which includes the “Manatee Pride” beer.
When: Third Saturday of March
Time: 12pm – 5pm

 

Walk for the Poor:
The annual St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor is an event supporting the poor in our community. All proceeds from the Walk for Poor go to helping those in need with food, clothing, and financial help to qualified families and those going through emergencies in their lives. Take a stroll through Riverwalk for a good cause.
When: Typically the third or fourth Saturday of March
Time: 8am – 10am

 

 

 

Local Art Events

Our charming little island of Anna Maria and surrounding areas have always been big on art. So it should come as no surprise that there is an abundance of local art events taking place throughout the year. Below is a list of art events on Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, and Sarasota.

 

Anna Maria Island

 

Winterfest:
If you’re free the second weekend of December, head over to Winterfest, a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts Show taking place at City Hall Field in Holmes Beach. This event is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League and features food, drinks, live music, and of course some arts and crafts you can purchase from local artists.
Plus, admission and parking are free!
Where: 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
When: Second weekend of December (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 4:30pm

 

. Springfest:
Springfest (just like Winterfest) is a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts that takes  place in Holmes Beach every March. This weekend event features art, activities, food, drinks and live music! Proceeds will benefit the Anna Maria Island Art League which offers scholarships and other art education programs to local students.
Where: City Hall Field  (5901 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217)
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

. Holmes Beach Art District Art Walk
Every year, local art galleries and retail businesses participate in the Holmes Beach Art District Art Walk. The locations participating in the event will be featuring local art exhibits, complimentary refreshments, music, and lots of fun! The Art Walk is a wonderful way to explore and view art from local artists we know and love.
Where: There are different Island businesses that participate every year. You can check the Island Chamber of Commerce website to find what locations will participating in the Art Walk, for the year you ill be attending.
When: Begins the second Friday of January, and takes place every SECOND Friday of the month, until the second Friday of April.
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm

 

Bradenton

 . ArtSlam:
“A Celebration of Youth & Creativity!” is exactly how the Realize Bradenton website describes the event ArtSlam. It is a day where local students and artists get the opportunity to take their art from the classroom/studio, and out on Old Main Street in Downtown Bradenton. It is a chance where the community gets to observe and celebrate Manatee County’s talented and creative youth.
Where: Old Main Street in Downtown Bradenton (400 12th St W, Bradenton, FL, 34205)
When: First Saturday of March
Time: 9am – 4pm

 

 

. Mixon Farms Antique Arts and Crafts Fair:
Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton hosts a arts & crafts fair every 4th Saturday from April, through September. The fair features local vendors, and is sure to be a fun day for the whole family.
Where: Mixon Farms, 2525 27th Street E Bradenton, FL 34208
When: Every fourth Saturday, from April through September
Time: 10am – 3pm

 

. Mainly Art
If you love art and a good ole farmers market, then you should check out Mainly Art in Downtown Bradenton. It is an event where local artists/craftspeople are able to display and sell their work. Aside from the arts & crafts, there is also live music, and food. The best part is that Mainly Art connects with the farmers market on Main Street.
Where: Main Street, Downtown Bradenton, FL
When: Every third Saturday from October to May.
Time: 9am – 2pm

 

. Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County:
A 2 day event full of spectacular works of art in all different forms is exactly what you’ll find at the Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County! Yet another art event taking place in Downtown Bradenton, this event showcases; ceramics, digital media, drawing, glass, jewelry, leather, acrylic, oil, watercolor, photography, and so much more.
Where: Riverwalk, Downtown Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: Last weekend of February (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm Saturday and 10am – 4pm Sunday

Sarasota 

 

. Chalk Festival:
The International Chalk Festival is four day event that takes place typically in Sarasota Florida, or Venice Florida. Watch the largest gathering of extremely talented, and famous pavement artists create masterpieces from start to finish. Other featured activities include food trucks, beer gardens, live music, and interactive art areas.
Where: After six seasons of taking place in Burns Square in downtown Sarasota, the 2017 and 2018 events have taken place at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds. (675 Airport Ave East, Venice, FL 34285)
When: Begins the second Friday of November, and runs until the following Monday.
Time: 8am – 6pm

 

 

 

 

 

. Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival:
If you’ve been needing a new art piece for your home, or enjoy collecting art, you want to visit the Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival. The event is hosted by Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association and features; paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, woodworking, etc.
Where: 33 Gulf Stream, Sarasota, FL  34236
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

 

Local Festivals You Won’t Want to Miss

Below you’ll find information on all of the fun local festivals taking place on and off the island! You’ll end up wanting to take part in every single one.

On Anna Maria Island:

. Heritage Day Festival:
The Heritage Day festival takes place on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City, and is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. If you’re a history fanatic, this event is right up your alley. Ever wondered how to spin wool, make a bonnet, or create a basket out of pine needles? Well you’re in luck! Featured demonstrators will show you how to do all of that. With a children section, collectible sale, and a silent auction, it is sure to be enjoyed by everyone not matter what age they are.
P.S.  Don’t forget to pick up some of the produce, herbs and “Settlers Bread” that will be on sale while you’re there!
Where: 402 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
When: First Saturday of March
Time: Usually 9am – 2pm

 

 

 

. Beach’N Food Truck and Music Festival:
If you’re interested in a food and music festival on a white sandy beach with turquoise waters as your view, then you need to stop by the Beach’N Food Truck and Music Festival on Coquina Beach in the month of April! This all day event is family friendly and entrance is free. There will be a kid zone, car show, live music, adult beverages, and a variety of delicious food trucks.
Where: 2650 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach, FL, 34217
When: The past few years dates have varied, though the event is held on a Saturday in the month of April
Time: 10am – 8pm

 

Winterfest:
If you’re free the second weekend of December, head over to Winterfest, a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts Show taking place at City Hall Field in Holmes Beach. This event is sponsored by the Anna Maria Island Art League and features food, drinks, live music, and of course some arts and crafts you can purchase from local artists.
Plus, admission and parking are free!
Where: 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
When: Second weekend of December (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 4:30pm

 

 

. Springfest:
Springfest (just like Winterfest) is a Festival of Fine Arts & Crafts that takes  place in Holmes Beach every March. This weekend event features art, activities, food, drinks and live music! Proceeds will benefit the Anna Maria Island Art League which offers scholarships and other art education programs to local students.
Where: City Hall Field  (5901 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217)
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

Bayfest:
We have an entire blog about Bayfest, check it out!

 

Off the Island:

. Bradenton Blues Festival:
A weekend full of exceptional live blues music, food vendors, and local craft beer is exactly what you’re in store for at the annual Bradenton Blues Festival in Downtown Bradenton. This event sells out FAST, so if you’re going to be in town or on the island during this time of year and want to attend this fun filled festival, purchase your tickets ASAP! This event is produced by the non-profit organization Realize Bradenton, and proceeds will support Realize Bradenton’s free youth, art, and music programs for the community.
Where: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: First weekend of December (Friday – Sunday)
Time: Begins 6pm Friday, ends 2pm Sunday
Tickets: Tickets for the festival range from $10 – $100 depending on type of ticket purchased.
For ticket info and pricing please check out the link, http://www.bradentonbluesfestival.org/tickets/.

 

. Florida Strawberry Festival:
If you are visiting Anna Maria Island in the Spring then the Florida Strawberry Festival is a great event to visit.  The Florida Strawberry festival takes place in Plant City, Fl and typically lasts 11 days. There are crafts you can purchase, rides to go on, plenty of choices for lunch or dinner and of course every variety of strawberry dessert you can imagine. The Strawberry Festival is definitely worth the drive!
Where: 303 N Lemon St, Plant City, FL 33563
When: Usually begins the first Friday of March, and continues 11 consecutive days.
Time: The gates open daily at 10am, and close at 10pm
Ticket Price(s): Ages 13 and up are $10, ages 6-12 are $5, and ages 5 and under are FREE with paid adult admission.

 

.Cortez Fishing Festival:
We have an entire blog about the Cortez Fishing Festival, check it out!

 

. Chalk Festival:
The International Chalk Festival is four day event that takes place typically in Sarasota Florida, or Venice Florida. Watch the largest gathering of extremely talented, and famous pavement artists create masterpieces from start to finish. Other featured activities include food trucks, beer gardens, live music, and interactive art areas.
Where: After six seasons of taking place in Burns Square in downtown Sarasota, the 2017 and 2018 events have taken place at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds (675 Airport Ave East, Venice, FL 34285).
When: Begins the second Friday of November, and runs until the following Monday.
Time: 8am – 6pm
Ticket Price(S): For the exact price of tickets for each day please visit, https://chalkfestival.org/events/see-you-in-2017.

 

 

. Sarasota Film Festival:
With over 200 movies screened each year (including documentaries, shorts, features, kid-friendly picks, and more), the Sarasota Film Festival is a wonderful event to attend if you’re a cinema enthusiast. Taking place in Sarasota, Florida, this film festival is among the best in the world. It is a 10 day celebration of film that has been going on for over 20 years, and with how popular it is, it is sure to keep going on for another 20.
Where: 332 Cocoanut Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236
When: This event takes place at the end of March/beginning of April, for ten consecutive days. Make sure you look up the event dates for the year you’ll be attending.
Time: Take a look at the film guide for dates and times of the films being shown and activities taking place.
Ticket(s):

 

 

. Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County:
A 2 day event full of spectacular works of art in all different forms is exactly what you’ll find at the Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County! Yet another art event taking place in Downtown Bradenton, this event showcases; ceramics, digital media, drawing, glass, jewelry, leather, acrylic, oil, watercolor, photography, and so much more.
Where: Riverwalk, Downtown Bradenton, FL, 34205
When: Last weekend of February (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm Saturday and 10am – 4pm Sunday

 

. Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival:
If you’ve been needing a new art piece for your home, or enjoy collecting art, you want to visit the Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival. The event is hosted by Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association and features; paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, woodworking, etc.
Where: 33 Gulf Stream, Sarasota, FL  34236
When: Second weekend of March (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 10am – 5pm

 

 

 

Annual Anna Maria Island Bayfest

 

If you plan to be on or near Anna Maria Island in mid-October, than you’ll definitely want to check out the annual Anna Maria Island Bayfest on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City! This is an extremely entertaining , family friendly festival that will definitely please everyone in your group, no matter their age. The event features; a classic car show, a great lineup of live music, tons of yummy food vendors from popular local restaurants, adult beverages, arts and crafts vendors, a kid zone, and of course plenty of fun.

Bayfest usually takes place the third Saturday of October from about 10am to 9pm, and there is no charge for admission. It’s the longest running  music, crafts and food festival, and continues to be one of the most popular Island events every year. If you don’t already have plans to be here, you should make some!

When: Usually the third Saturday of October
Where: Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL, 34216
Time: 10am to 9pm
Ticket Price: FREE
Parking Info: There are a few options for parking/transportation:
. Take a ride on the free island trolley to Pine Ave.
You can park at Crosspointe Fellowship Church (8605 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) and hop on the free trolley that will be transporting people from the church, to the City Pier at the end of Pine Ave.
. There is some neighborhood street parking but BE CAUTIOUS. Pay attention to the signs that indicate where parking is permitted, make sure all four tires are off the road and sidewalks, and park with the direction of traffic.

Click here for a vendor application

Crowds gather for the Bayfest event in Anna Maria City

Local Halloween Events

Children participating in Trail of Treats pose for a group photo outside our office

Welcome to Halloween on Anna Maria Island! If you’ve never been on or near AMI during the spookiest time of year, you’re in for a treat. There’s a great selection of local family friendly events that everyone is sure to enjoy.

 

Trail of Treats, Anna Maria Island FL:
Between 4pm and 8pm on October 31st, many island businesses on all three island cities participate in the Trail of Treats. This is an event that gives kids ages 0-12 the opportunity to trick or treat safely, and take part in a fun costume contest. Check in for the Trail of Treats costume contest by 3:30pm, at the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce. This is a super exciting event for the kids and an island favorite every year!
Where: Costume Contest will be held at the AMI Chamber of Commerce (5313 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, FL, 34217)
When: October 31st
Time:  Costume Contest check in ends at 3:30pm, Trail of Treats will immediately follow until 8pm

 

Hunsader Farm Pumpkin Festival, Bradenton FL:
Probably the most popular event with the locals this time of year is the famous Hunsader Pumpkin Festival on Hunsader Farms in Bradenton. The event has taken place every October for over 25 years and continues to draw in large crowds every time. Usually taking place from 9am – 5pm the last three weekends of October, the pumpkin festival includes activities such as: Craft shows, live music, hayrides, a petting zoo, tons of food, and so much more! Admission is $10, parking is $5, and kids 12 and under are free.
This event is definitely worth the drive from the Island to town!
Where: 5500 Co Rd 675, Bradenton, FL 34211
When: Last three weekends of October (Saturday and Sunday)
Time: 9am – 5pm
Tickets: $10 admission (children 12 and under are free), $5 parking fee



Sertoma Pumpkin Patch, Bradenton FL:

If you want to test out your pumpkin carving skills, check out the Sertoma Pumpkin Patch in Bradenton. They have every size of pumpkin and tons of them to pick from. The pumpkin patch proceeds go to local charities and scholarships, and is open Every day of the week!
Where:  Jesse P. Miller School, 4201 Manatee Ave. West, Bradenton, FL, 34209
When: Typically begins first Saturday of October until Halloween day
Time: Monday to Friday 2pm – 9pm,  Saturday to Sunday  10am – 9pm

Join in on the fun on Anna Maria Island This Halloween!!

 

Tip: If carving pumpkins is too much of a mess and you don’t enjoy pumpkin guts all over your table, a fun alternative is getting some seashells from Raders Reef on AMI (5508 Marina Dr # B, Holmes Beach, FL 34217) to decorate!