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Date of Issue: November 17, 2005

Holiday Prelude launching season

Thanksgiving night the annual Holiday Prelude in Bradenton Beach will do its traditional job: Launching the holiday season with a big citywide street party.

It will be on all of Bridge Street from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 24, with the program to be presented by Michelle Bishop. The officials, merchants and residents of the city emphasized that it is for everyone, that the whole Island and beyond will be welcome.

Other major celebrations during the season include:

Friday evening, Dec. 2, the City of Holmes Beach will screen the classic movie "White Christmas" on a big outdoor screen on the city hall sports field, 5801 Marina Drive. At dusk refreshments will be served in the Island Butterfly Garden next door, with the city, its beautification committee and the butterfly garden's association providing the refreshments. Bring a chair or blanket. The movie will start at dark.

Friday evening, Dec. 9, the Holmes Beach central business district at Marina and Gulf drives will have the annual Holiday Open House with food and drink provided by local merchants. The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce will have a special lighted tree in its parking lot with coffee and cake. The Manatee High School Chamber Orchestra will perform at The Islander office at 5:30 and 6:30. The local merchants will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Santa and "snow" will be outside Ooh La La! Bistro as well.

Saturday, Dec. 10, the Privateers will present its Island-long parade from Bayfront Park in Anna Maria south through Holmes Beach to Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach. It will start at 10 a.m. and end in Coquina about noon, when Santa will hand out presents and the Privateers will provide hot dogs and sodas to the youngsters. The Islander's annual decorated boat parade will begin at dusk, wrap around the bay side of the Island and end at Anna Maria City Pier for the fireworks there.

Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10 and 11, Anna Maria Island Art League will stage its annual Winterfest Festival of Fine Arts and Crafts from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day at the Holmes Beach City Hall field.

Saturday, Dec. 17, the Lester-Islander Fun Day will be at the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with Santa arriving at noon. There will be food, games, rock climbing and other fun for the family.

Saturday, Dec. 17, also, Anna Maria merchants will have their citywide open house from 5 to 8 p.m. with a children's decorated bike parade at the end of Pine Avenue at the City Pier. Roser Memorial Community Church will make its annual Bethlehem Walk at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 18, the Anna Maria Island Chorus and Orchestra will presents its holiday concert, featuring "Messiah and More," at 2 p.m. at the Island Baptist Church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria.

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