The holiday happenings are in full swing on Anna Maria Island! Starting this weekend there will be no shortage of holiday cheer. Take a look at this list of events. From young to old, big or small, there's something for everyone to enjoy!

  • Friday December 13 - From 4pm to 8pm Santa will be at City Pier Park, 101 North Bay Blvd. in Anna Maria. Refreshments and live holiday music will be provided from 4-6pm. Also, from 5:30-8 merchants on Pine Avenue will supply light refreshments and holiday cheer.

  • Saturday December 14 - AMI Privateer's Christmas Parade - At 10am the parade starts at Coquina Beach and heads all the way North to Bay Front Park in the City of Anna Maria. Immediately following the parade there will be a children’s Christmas Party with Santa at City Pier Park.

  • Saturday December 14 - Christmas on Bridge Street - From 4pm to 8pm Bridge Street will be closed to vehicle traffic and there will be lots of family friendly activities. The Bradenton Beach holiday boat parade floats by at approx 7:30.

  • Saturday December 14 - Bradenton Beach Holiday Boat Parade begins at 7pm. Learn how to take part in the parade by cruising on the Anna Maria Princess HERE

  • Friday December 20 - 10am Elf's on the Water! Bring a toy and your Board and make kids smile. All are welcome to dress up as up as Elves and Paddle the waters on SUP or kayak. Or just come to watch. Learn more at on the event Page.

  • Friday December 20 - From 6pm to 7:30pm take part in a Winter solstice candlelit yoga practice at Aluna Wellness. 2219 Gulf Drive $25

  • Saturday December 21 - From 5pm to 7pm will be the first annual Christmas on the Boardwalk in the AMI Plaza at the corner of Gulf Drive and Holmes Blvd. There will be an "Ugly Sweater Contest" complete with prizes.

  • Saturday December 21 - 8pm - The 2nd annual Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Tommyknockers saloon. 111 7th Street N, Bradenton Beach.

  • Saturday December 21 - From 6pm to 9pm is the Robinson Preserve Light Festival in Bradenton. $5 per person, more information available HERE.

  • Ongoing now through December 29 - A short drive away is the World's Largest Christmas Light Maze and Market at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. The event also features an artisan Christmas Market, Ice Skating Trail, seasonal food and beverage and visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Ticket prices vary. For more info visit HERE.

Have another great event to share? Let us know and Happy Holidays on the water!

Turtle nesting season is something that I've become fascinated with ever since we purchased our home on the island. Because we were once primarily only visitors to the island in the winter and spring time, I was never a witness this annual event. I'm now amazed by all the new information I'm learning about how we can help the sea turtles.

Nesting sea turtle photo credit Florida Fish and Wildlife

Did you know?

- Turtle season officially takes place from May 1st through October 31st.

- 90% of all sea turtle nesting takes place in Florida!

- The most prevalent turtle in the Anna Maria area is the loggerhead turtle, named for it's over sized, log-like head.

- Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand at night and lay as many as 100 eggs at a time.

- There is only a 1% survival rate for the baby turtles.

Baby loggerhead photo credit Florida Fish and Wildlife

When the mother turtle approaches the beach at night to lay her eggs the beach must be clear of obstacles and holes. If they run into an obstacle on the beach they may return to the ocean without laying the eggs. This is known as a "false crawl". It can be determined when tracks are found in the sand but the tracks do not lead to a nest. Holes are especially dangerous for the newly hatched babies trying to get out to sea. If they fall in a hole they will become trapped.

How can we help?

- Stay away from turtle nests on the beach marked with stakes and tape.

- Lights out on the beach during nesting season - lights confuse the turtle mamas and babies at night. No flashlights, headlamps or camera flashes.

- Remove all beach furniture, tents, and other obstacles from the beach at dusk.

- Knock down all sand castles and fill in all holes in the sand.

- Learn about more ways to help or become a sponsor on the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch website by clicking on the image below:

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