The joy of visiting Anna Maria Island is that a milestone is celebrated every day: the sunsets that are gorgeous enough to inspire spontaneous applause.
In May, the city of Anna Maria — one of three tiny towns on the seven-mile strip of barrier island about 20 miles west of Bradenton — will mark another occasion, one that comes far less frequently.
It's the 100th birthday of the Anna Maria City Pier, which will be acknowledged starting May 13 with a dedication ceremony and parade along historic Pine Avenue. On May 14, the festivities continue with Food and Wine on Pine, an upscale culinary and art event that will showcase fresh, local and seasonal Florida foods, a beer garden, more than 50 wines, a juried art show and actors dressed in period costumes, minstrels and music. The celebration will end with an evening down by the pier, followed by dinner, fireworks and, of course, one of those amazing sunsets.
Visit piercentennial.com for more information.
That's not the only event on tap in the coming weeks on Anna Maria Island. Or look ahead to summer, an opportunity for Florida resident discounts and other specials in the island's slow season.
Here's a look at upcoming events:
De Soto Heritage Festival (through April 30): Hosted by the Hernando de Soto Historical Society, it celebrates Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto's landing near the mouth of the Manatee River in 1539. Featured events include a Bottle Boat Regatta on April 16, children's parade on April 22 and Easter sunrise service on April 24. Visit desotohq.com for more information.
5th Annual Gulf Coast Rhythm & Ribfest (concludes today): The best rib-masters in the nation will be cooking at the Manatee County Fairgrounds. There's also entertainment from Kellie Pickler and a variety of other acts. Tickets: $10 advance, age 12 and under. Visit gulfcoastribfest.com for details.
Euphemia Haye Lesson Luncheons (April 27, May 11): Chef Raymond Arpke of Euphemia Haye Restaurant on Longboat Key hosts sessions based on popular menu items. Cost is $60 per person for classes, held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit euphemiahaye.com for details.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun