Click on thumbnails to see full size images and captions

Bayfest Car Show on Anna Maria Island • 2007

story and photos by Bill Mergens

Every year on the 3rd Saturday in October, which for 2007 meant October 17th, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce holds a festival. It takes place on Pine Avenue, which runs for about 6 or 7 blocks, and ends at the Bay. It is a great place to bring the entire family, and they offer music and food all day long. In addition they have about 100 arts and crafts vendors, a children’s area, and a classic car show to make the perfect day complete.

The car show is limited to 100 pre-registered vehicles, displayed along Pine Avenue so that all the people who come to the festival have the opportunity to walk through the car show on their way to the vendors, music and food. The festival itself runs from 10:00am to 7:00pm, with the car show taking place from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Since the Chamber of Commerce added the car show back about 4 years ago the attendance at the festival has doubled. Some of that is because of the car show, but it has a lot to do with how well the event is run, and the near perfect setting of Anna Maria Island.

The cruisers who attend say it is one of the best events of the year, not only because of the car show itself, but also because they have the ability to check out all the other great things that the festival has to offer as well. I know I mentioned the food, but in addition to great food you could have that meal with a glass of wine, a beer or even a margarita. It is a great change from the typical car show that is held in a hot parking lot with nothing else to do for 6 hours. The trophies at the end of the day were custom made and featured die cast gas pumps. In addition to the regular trophies there were three large specialty awards presented by the major sponsors; The Chamber of Commerce, The Island Sun newspaper, and LaPensee Plumbing.

If you have never been to Anna Maria Island you owe it to yourself to make a visit. It’s like walking back into island life in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. Better yet, mark your calendar for the 3rd Saturday of October in 2008 and come to the car show. You’ll be glad you did. CN