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

The Annual Cortez Fishing Festival

 

The Cortez Fishing Festival, a local tradition and rightly so with the delicious fresh seafood and old Florida atmosphere it brings. The festival which takes place in Cortez’s historic fishing village is a fun filled day for everyone. Enjoy fantastic live music, nautical art, and plenty of delicious seafood for you to munch on. This event is a favorite for visitors and locals, which is why it draws a crowd of around 20,000 people! The Cortez Fishing Festival certainly keeps growing and getting better each year. The festival is organized entirely by a volunteer committee of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.), a Florida not-for-profit corporation.

*Expert tip: the earlier/later you get to the festival, the less of a crowd there will be. If you don’t enjoy large crowds, avoid going mid-day*

What you need to know:

Where:
Cortez Fishing Village
Cortez, FL 34215

When:
Usually takes place the 3rd weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of February.

Time:
10am to 6pm

Admission:
Adults – $4
Children 12 and under – FREE

Parking:
Every year there is something new at the Festival. Festival goers will want to note that there is a remote parking area in west Bradenton. You can avoid the traffic and enjoy the bus ride with your friends to the Festival ($2.50 round trip). The new parking site is located at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209). Just turn east off of 59th St. onto 33rd Ave. W. You can’t miss it. As in past years, this same shuttle service is being provided from the remote parking area located at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. Island folks can take the free trolley to the parking site.

Also, the parking area just east of the village off of Cortez Road has been expanded again this year. But get there early or later in the day as this parking area tends to fill up quickly. Parking spots open up later in the day.

Another option is to park in the western part of town. Many folks manage small parking areas throughout the village with some charging a fee depending on how close they are to the village.

Best 4 seafood restaurants around Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria- If you’re looking for exceptional seafood, you’re at the right place! With water surrounding almost all of Anna Maria, it’s no doubt our restaurants have access to the best seafood. All within 20 minutes of the island, here are four restaurants that you’re sure to love!

Seafood Restaurants

1. The Ugly Grouper Bar & Grill

Located on the island, The Ugly Grouper is right across the street from our Marina Drive office. They serve delicious food such as grouper sandwiches and mahi fish tacos along with meals for people who don’t care as much for seafood.  Also, all of their fish is fresh off the coast of Anna Maria, so you’re sure to get fresh fish. The Ugly Grouper has a history here on Anna Maria Island, as it was previously The Barefoot Tiki Bar and even before that a gas station! Take a look at the menu here.

The Ugly Grouper seafood restauraunt
Stop in for a bite at the Ugly Grouper! Photo courtesy of www.bradenton.com

2. Derek’s

Found on Manatee Avenue, Derek’s is prided on its ever-changing menu and good food. They serve wild pink shrimp pasta, blackened salmon and much more. Whether you want to have a causal luncheon or a fancy dinner, Derek’s is the perfect place to go. They do accept reservations and are open from 5am-10pm Monday-Saturday.

Derek's seafood
Photo Courtesy of www.dereks-bradenton.com

3. Mar Vista

Mar Vista resides in Longboat Key and is casual place to get great seafood. Some of their best dishes are a Grouper sandwich and Scallops Mar Vista. Another cool aspect of Mar Vista is its history on Longboat Key. It was one of the first structures built by Rufus Jordan in 1912 and has withstood hurricanes and erosion. Still in the original building, Mar Vista is an extremely interesting place to visit that has tasty food!

Mar Vista seafood
Enjoy yummy food along with a historic atmosphere at Mar Vista! Photo from www.tripadvisor.com

4. Starfish Company Market

If you’re wanting to cook your own or buy already cooked seafood Starfish Company is the perfect place to go. Located off Cortez, they sell locally caught seafood such as fish, scallops, and shrimp. Starfish Co. was started in the 1920’s and sits on one of the few remaining working waterfronts. With an absolutely gorgeous view, Starfish Co. is a must visit when vacationing here on Anna Maria.

Seafood at Starfish Company
Come visit Starfish Company for delicious food and a great view!

2015 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Cortez – The 33rd annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is this Saturday and Sunday, February 14th-15th from 10:00am – 6:00pm. Art, music and seafood will bring scores of people to the historic Cortez fishing village and you won’t want to miss it!

cortez commercial village festival

Admission – $3.00 for Adults – Children 12 under free

To find Cortez Village on a map, locate Bradenton which is about 50 miles south of Tampa. Find State Road 684, known locally as Cortez Road or 44th Avenue, and go west to the beaches.

Remote Parking for the Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Every year there is a something new at the Festival. Festival goers will want to note that there is a remote parking area in west Bradenton. You can avoid the traffic and enjoy the bus ride with your friends to the Festival ($2.50 round trip). The new parking site is located at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209). Just turn east off of 59th St. onto 33rd Ave. W. You can’t miss it.

As in past years, this same shuttle service is being provided from the remote parking area located at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. Island folks can take the free trolley to the parking site.

Also, the parking area just east of the village off of Cortez Road has been expanded again this year. But get there early or later in the day as this parking area tends to fill up quickly. Parking spots open up later in the day.

Another option is to park in the western part of town. Many folks manage small parking areas throughout the village with some charging a fee depending on how close they are to the village.

The Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is organized entirely by a volunteer committee of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.), a Florida not-for-profit corporation.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island – Dine and Drink El Fresco!

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island is the quintessential way to hang out in beautiful tropical climate! There’s nothing better than when going out to grab a bite to eat or drinks, having the warm island breeze surrounding you. Some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve listed below have beautiful water views of either the crystal clear Gulf or Bay, or an open-air setting directly across the street from the beach.

The fresh air of AMI always makes your food taste that much better and your drinks that much tastier, bringing you relaxing vibes that will be sure to lift your spirit. I have suggested different places from smaller and more quant spots, to casual any-time spots, to romantic night spots.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Sandbar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria

Direct Gulf front

Sandbar

The Waterfront – 111 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Bay views

Waterfront

Anna Maria Pier – 100 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Out in the middle of the Tampa Bay

Pier

Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front

Bridgetender

Island Time Bar & Grill – 111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach
Open-air setting, across the street from the Gulf

Island time

The Beachhouse – 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Direct Gulf front

Beachhouse

Coquina Café – 2650 Gulf Drive South, Coquina Beach
Direct Gulf front

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

2014 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Cortez – Just over the bridge from Anna Maria Island is the little town of Cortez. A fishing village to this day, it’s home to the Coast Guard, Starfish Food Co. and more. Once a year in February, this tiny piece of Florida history is home to the Cortez Fishing Festival.

Featuring great live music, nautical arts and crafts, children’s activities, environmental exhibits, more seafood than imaginable and, of course, beer, the Cortez Fishing Festival is an event unlike few others in Manatee County. Admission is $3 at the door , children 12 and under are free.

2014 Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in Cortez Florida

Music Schedule

Saturday February 15th

10:00 – 10:20 am:  Shanty Singers
10:45 – 12:00 pm: Passerine
12:00 – 12:15 pm: Awards and Introductions
12:30 – 2:00 pm: Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones
2:30 –  4:00 pm: Eric von Hahmann
4:30 –  6:00 pm: Razing Cane

 

Sunday February 16th

10:30  – 12:00 am: Soupy Davis and his Band
12:30  –  2:00  pm: Eric von Hahmann
2:30  –  4:00 pm:   Soul R Coaster
4:30 –  6:00 pm:   Shotgun Justice

Parking and Directions

The Cortez Fishing Village is just over the Desoto Bridge in Bradenton Beaach. Head over and veer to the right. You can’t miss it. There is a remote parking area in west Bradenton. You can avoid the traffic and enjoy the bus ride with your friends to the Festival ($2.50 round trip). The new parking site is located at G. T. Bray Park (5502 33rd Ave. Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209).  Just turn east off of 59th St. onto 33rd Ave. W. This same shuttle service is being provided from the remote parking area located at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island. Island folks can take the free trolley to the parking site. You might even be able to find a parking spot in the surrounding neighborhoods, but they property owners may charge a price.

The Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival is organized entirely by a volunteer committee of the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.), a Florida not-for-profit corporation.

Ocean Star Review. . . For Kids!!! :)

Hey kids!  You’ve made your way back to Kids Corner, the #1 island blog written by kids, for kids.  I’m here to talk about one of the best Asian food places on the island, Ocean Star.  Not only does it have awesome food, but the atmosphere is very realistic and entertaining.  Read on if you want to learn more.

Ocean Star is this great sushi and Japanese food restaurant located at the Galati Marina.  It hcontact_oceanstarlogoas the most yummiest sushi and dumplings you’ve ever tasted.  And no matter what you like there’s something on the menu to amuse everyone.

So let’s start with the food.  Honestly, I would have to say that sushi is their specialty.  My favorite has to be the Hawaiian Role-Tuna and Cream Cheese tempura with eel sauce-soooo good!  I mean, the other items I have tried on the menu were fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but I think the thing they spend more time perfecting their sushi than anything else.  But if you’re not exactly the sushi type, Ocean Star has plenty of other options for you.  They make a variety of tempura dishes (fried veggies and fish – finger food that satisfies even people like my brother).  They also serve many different types of rice, dumplings, soups, noodles, and even steak, to satisfy your hunger.  So feel free to eat up and enjoy!

Next, the atmosphere.  As soon as you walk in the door, it’s as if you’ve entered a whole different world.  In short, it’s very different than your everyday mealtime.  You can eat at a table, in a booth, at the bar, or in a canopied-in booth with strips of seating area all around the table.  To add to the realistic Japanese ambiance, the lights are dim and the chefs are constantly preparing food right in front of you, which adds to the awesome mood.

So, to conclude, Ocean Star is a fun, awesome restaurant that serves great food, has a fantabulous atmosphere, and is a great place to eat whether you have a special event or are just looking for a cool place to eat for dinner or lunch.  Well, i gotta go.  See ya l8tr. Byeeeee!!!!!!!!

Blue Marlin Restaurant On Historic Bridge Street

Blue Marlin Restaurant on Historic Bridge StreetThe Blue Marlin Restaurant on Anna Maria Island serves only the freshest local seafood and is a great spot to catch local musicians.  Located on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach the Blue Marlin offers a unique dining experience in an intimate setting. The Blue Marlin is a nautical theme restaurant with local artwork and pictures throughout the restaurant.

Owner Adam Ellis has extensive knowledge of the local seafood market and purchases fresh fish daily in the Village of Cortez which provides the exquisite entrée selection and daily specials featuring the day’s catch. If you’re not a seafood lover try their famous steak sandwich, short ribs, or roasted chicken you won’t be disappointed.

Courtyard at the Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach

If you’re in the mood for live music after dinner than the courtyard is the spot for you.  The courtyard at the Blue Marlin offers live music on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings in a very relaxing outdoor setting featuring different live bands every week.

So the next time you’re in the mood for tasty food and live music head down to the Blue Marlin on Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach.

Blue Marlin
121 Bridge Street
Bradenton Beach, FL 34217

A few other choices on Bridge Street can be found on our Bridge Street information page.

31st Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

cortez commercial fishing festival

What were you doing 31 years ago? In Cortez, just 10 minutes south of Anna Maria Island, the 1st Annual Commercial Fishing Festival was fast approaching.

February 16 -17, 2013 will bring the 31st Annual Cortez Fishing Festival to the community along with live music, children’s activities, nautical arts & crafts, environmental exhibits, beer, and were we forgetting something? Oh yeah, seafood!

This event is a must for anyone considering themselves a fisher or looking for a fun filled festival, and attracts an average crowd of around 25,000 guests. Entertainment will include live music from Passerine, Shanty Singers, Eric von Hahmann, Soul R Coaster, Razing Cane, Soupy Davis and his Band, Shotgun Justice, and Scott’s Garage. Check below for a full schedule of live music! Proceeds benefit the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage (F.I.S.H.) Preserve.

Bring the whole family for some fun! Admission is $3 for adults. Kids 12 and under attend free! The event runs from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on both days.

Parking can be found at Coquina Beach with shuttles to Cortez ($2 round trip). Expanded free parking will also be available one block east of 119th Street off Cortez Road, in the village (5 minute walk).

Cortez Village
119th Street
Bradenton, FL 34209

Main Stage Schedule

Saturday February 16th

10:00 – 11:30 am Passerine
11:30 – 12:00 pm Shanty Singers
12:00 – 12:15 pm Awards and Introductions
12:30 – 2:00 pm Eric von Hahmann
2:30 – 4:00 pm Soul R Coaster
4:30 – 6:00 pm Razing Cane

Sunday February 17th

10:30 – 11:30 am Soupy Davis and his Band
12:00 – 1:30 pm Eric von Hahmann
2:00 – 3:30 pm Shotgun Justice
4:00 – 5:30 pm Scott’s Garage

Anna Maria Island Top Ten Restaurants

Anna-Maria-Island-RestaurantsLooking for tasty food while you’re on the Anna Maria Island? Well you’re in luck we have composed list of island restaurants from fine dining, to beachfront restaurants, pizza, and where to get the best burger on the island. We have plenty of tasty restaurants to choose from on AMI but the ten restaurants below are a MUST VISIT!

1) Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach – Enjoy fine dining on the Gulf of Mexico with an excellent wine selection and amazing entrée’s.

6600 Gulf Drive
Holmes Beach, FL, 34217
(941) 778-6444

2) Sign of the Mermaid in The City of Anna Maria – A unique dining experience on Anna Maria Island with award winning key lime pie.

Gulf Drive
Anna Maria, FL, 34216
(941) 778-9399

Continue reading Anna Maria Island Top Ten Restaurants