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Beach Time on Anna Maria Island!

Summer is here and beach time on Anna Maria Island officially starts! School is out, the Gulf waters are warming up and locals as tourists are flocking to the beach. Just remember a few hints and have a great time enjoying sand and surf!

Beach flag warning system

Look at the flags at the Coquina and Manatee Public Beach. The life guards will change the flags accordingly:

Red – Swim with extreme caution due to strong currents or rough surf
Yellow – Swim with caution due to strong currents or rough surf
Green – Swimming allowed, calm conditions
Purple – Presence of marine pests such as jellyfish, sharks, stingrays or red tide

 

UV-Rays

Don’t underestimate Florida’s sun! It is extremely strong and applying sunscreen is a must if you do not like to suffer the rest of your vacation stay. Cover ups like hats and other UV protective gear, umbrellas or sun tents are also recommended.

 

Lightning

Have you been to the beach when you see the most beautiful turquoise water under blue skies and turn around to see dark, ominous clouds coming from the other side? Please remember Tampa Bay is called  the “Lightning Capital of the World” and the safest place to be in a thunderstorm is indoors. Head off the beach when you hear thunder in the distance because lightning is in striking distance.

 

Shore Fishing

Fishing directly off the shores on Anna Maria Island requires a saltwater fishing license for anyone over 16.  The piers have a blanket license under which you are covered.  Watch out for swimmers close to you. Nobody wants to be “hooked”.

 

 

Pool safety

Are you renting a home with a private pool? The sad statistic is that drowning is the leading cause of death of young children in Florida. Therefore a residential swimming pool must have at least one of these pool safety features. Make yourself familiar which safety option is at your rental home.
(a) the pool must be isolated from access to a home by an enclosure that meets the pool barrier requirements
(b) the pool must be equipped with an approved safety pool cover
(c) all doors and windows providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with an exit alarm
(d) all doors providing direct access from the home to the pool must be equipped with a self-closing, self-latching device

 

 

Litter Control

There are about 372,000 miles of world coastline with over one-third of the total human population or about 2.4 billion people living within 60 miles of an oceanic coast. Please be aware of what you are bringing to the beach and more importantly that you take it all back. With plastic trash accumulating in the oceans we all can help out a bit. There are trash and recycle receptacles at every beach access on the island.
Leaving nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories!

 

Hurricane Season

The official start for the storm season is June 1st and lasts through November 30th. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a near normal hurricane season with 9-15 names storms. The ongoing El Nino is expected to stay in place and suppress the intensity of the hurricane season. Preparation is key. If there is a mandatory evacuation all islanders need to leave which includes all vacation renters.

 

 

If you are planing to vacation on Anna Maria Island call Team Duncan for all your rental needs at 941 779 0304,  book online or send us us a quick message here.

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Birds of Anna Maria Island

white pelican on Anna Maria islandThe birds of  Anna Maria Island are just another part of the ecologically diverse paradise that is known for its sugar white, powdery beaches on the Gulf coast of Florida. Bird lovers will experience many sightings along the beach or in the sanctuaries on the island like Grassy Point or Leffis Key and the Robinson and Neal Preserve just over the bridge in Bradenton. There are local and migrating birds with the white pelicans being most visible in the winter months. Some shorebirds like to feed at high tide while others feed at low tide which makes any time during the day a perfect opportunity for bird watching by the water.

 

Bird Nesting Season

The Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch is also involved in shorebird monitoring. The bird nesting season on the island is a bit different than the turtle season and it runs from March through August. There are a few tips to observe during that time.

  • Never touch a shorebird chick, even if it is wandering outside a staked nesting area.
  • Teach kids not to chase birds. Bird parents may abandon their nests if they are disturbed.
  • Don’t feed birds. It encourages them to fly at people aggressively.
  • If birds are screeching or flying at you, you are too close.
  • Avoid posted bird nesting areas and use designated walkways to the beach.
  • Keep pets away from bird nesting areas. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches of Anna  Maria Island.
  • Keep the beaches clean. Food scraps attract predators like racoons or crows and litter can entangle birds and other wildlife.

The Manatee County Audubon Society in partnership with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch is sponsoring a Bird Steward program during the busiest weekends on Anna Maria Island.  The information collected on the Memorial Day holiday weekend and July 4th weekend is used to provide information to the beach visitors about the nesting birds and the importance of not disturbing the birds.  2 volunteers are taking 3 hours shift from 8 am to 8 pm. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Wildlife has an Alert hotline at 888-404-FWCC to report people disturbing nesting birds.

Bird Species

Other most common birds seen on Anna Maria Island are below:

Anhinga – The Anhinga, sometimes confused with the cormorant, has a longer, wider tail with a pale brown stripe, and dark wings patched with silver. The neck is extremely long and thin except when expanded to swallow fish caught by the diving bird’s pointed yellow beak.

Brown Pelican – Majestic brown pelicans are often seen perched on channel markers or swooping inches above the rolling waves. An instantly recognizable pouched beak and webbed feet enable this variety of pelican to dive into the water to scoop up food. Mature adults have a white head, dark brown and gray body, and a incredible wingspan of over seven feet.

Great Blue Heron – Standing at up to four feet in height, the regal great blue heron can be spotted wading along the shores of Anna Maria’s waterways and coastlines. Mostly covered in gray, the king of Sarasota’s wading birds is identifiable by the white crown stripe extending from behind its beak. Particular to south Florida and some areas of the Caribbean, the great white heron (not to be confused with the white egret) may also be sighted occasionally.

Roseate Spoonbill – Anna Maria is one of the few places in America where observers can find the roseate spoonbill, a somewhat odd yet elegant pink bird that is often mistaken for a flamingo. While its similar color may confuse visitors.  The distinctive spatulate bill and bald crown help to differentiate this bird from its Caribbean cousin.

Snowy Egret – The yellow feet and long black legs help the snowy egret to stalk small fish swimming alongside the edges of Sarasota’s ponds and coastlines. This brilliant white bird is distinguished by its black beak and small yellow accent under the eye. Though smaller than the great egret, the snowy egret’s flight over Sarasota Bay is still a breathtaking sight.

White Ibis – Often seen along Anna Maria’s coastlines, the white ibis sometimes wanders inland to search for food with its curved, orange-red beak. Mostly white in color, this medium-sized bird’s mask and legs are a matching red with black accenting the wing-tips.

Christmas Bird Count

The Audubon Society holds the Christmas Bird Count, a tradition introduced by the ornithologist Frank M. Chapman beginning on Christmas Day 1900. The last count was held December 15,2018 in Bradenton for a 15 mile circle with 149 species registered.

Manatee Audubon Society

Interested in learning more about the birds of Anna Maria Island? Visit the Anna Maria Turtle Watch volunteers at the weekly Tuesday farmers market at the end of Pine Ave or stop by our office Duncan Real Estate, also on historic Pine Avenue. You can reach us at 941 779 0304 or a send us a quick message.

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Turtle Season 2019

Turtle Season 2019 is fast approaching on Anna Maria Island. The official start date is May 1st and will last through October 31, 2019. It is that time of year when special beach rules are in place to protect the threatened sea turtles that are coming ashore to lay eggs and their babies.

Loggerhead Turtles

Anna Maria Island on the Gulf of Mexico sees mostly the loggerhead sea turtle which is also found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. They are named for their oversized large log like head.

A female loggerhead sea turtle may travel thousands of miles to return to the beach where she hatched as a baby to lay her own eggs as an adult. This species has a low reproductive rate. The turtle reaches sexual maturity within 17–33 years and has a lifespan of 47–67 years. Females generally nests every two to three years. On average, they lay eggs four times in one nesting season with each nest containing up to 100 eggs.Hatchlings will appear after about 60 days and dig their way up through the sand toward the surface. They wait underneath the last layer of sand until nightfall to pop out and head toward the ocean. to avoid predators like raccoons, crabs and birds.

 

Lights

The three Anna Maria Island cities will monitor the compliance of all island residents strictly. Lighting inspections will begin the 1st week of May. All lights that are a direct point source of light visible from the beach from sunset to sunrise  need to be turned off or shielded.  Turtle friendly bulbs (including rope lighting) need to be installed. Mother turtles can get confused by the lights when they come ashore to nest which could result in a false crawl where the mothers are not staying to lay their eggs or even drop them in the water where they do not hatch. Also, when baby turtles are hatching during the night they depend on the moon light to guide them to the water. Other light sources can be distractions and can result in disorientation which is fatal for the hatchlings when reaching Gulf Drive instead of the Gulf of Mexico.

Don’t use flashlights, lanterns or camera flashes during the nighttime on the beach.

Turtle Season 2019Beach

All beach furniture and related beach items must be removed from the beach and/or pulled back behind the frontal dune line from sunset to sunrise. Objects can deter sea turtles from nesting or become obstacles that can entangle them in those items.  Turtles do not have a “reverse gear” and cannot free themselves.

Also, beach-goers should fill in holes that they dug in the sand before leaving the beach. Nesting turtles or hatchlings can get trapped, get distressed and cannot live long out of the water.

 

Keep your Distance

If you happen to spot a female turtle or hatchlings on the beaches keep your distance. Never touch a sea turtle – it is the law! The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission has a Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404 FWCC in case you notice anything unusual.

 

Anna Maria Island Sea Turtle NestAnna Maria Island Turtle Watch

This organization monitors the turtle nesting activities. Each morning volunteers walk the beach and watch for tracks and signs of new nests that are getting marked. After the hatchlings left the nest the shells are counted and recorded for state documentation. More information is available on the Island Turtle Watch website at islandturtlewatch.com.

 

Team Duncan members proudly participate in the Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch program. Please call Duncan Vacation Rentals at 941 779 0304 for any Island related questions. Our knowledgeable stuff is looking forward to assisting you weather planing your next trip or some local tips for a great holiday experience on Anna Maria Island.

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Passion for Fashion

The premier fashion show “Passion for Fashion” on April 11, 2019 was a successful event at the Center of Anna Maria Island. This first showcase of spring and summer styles from the local boutiques on Pine Avenue is a fundraiser for the center’s programs that will receive all the proceeds. Tickets were $40 to participate to support this important part of our community that serves so many.

The event featured an elegant luncheon, a silent auction, honoring of local businessmen Ed Chiles and Mike Thrasher and the guest speaker Barbara Zdravecky that gave a talk about her passion for women in business and female empowerment.

 

 

Center Stage took the fashion show itself with models wearing the latest fashion wear from Pine Ave boutiques Bella By The Sea and Pink&Navy. With the owners Jo-Ann Lefner and Amy Fleece being co-chairs of the event plus several models being owners along other Pine Ave business female success was very well presented. Darcie Duncan of Duncan Real Estate showed 3  different looks on the cat walk that also features beach hats and bags. Jo-Ann from Bella By The Sea stressed that not only bold colors like yellows are popular, also being comfortable makes jumpsuits, jogging style pants and wrinkle-free sundresses a favorite choice this season. Amy Fleece from Pink&Navy narrated her model styles that showed off cute swim style choices for the little ones as well as men beach wear. Live steel drum music accompanied the experience.

Darcie Duncan (2nd right)

 

The silent auctions featured several handmade bags and fun get togethers like a shopping party for 20 at Bella By The Sea or Pink&Navy, Wine and Cheese pairing lesson from Olive Oil Outpost,  a luncheon hosted at the Shiny Fish Emporium and a makeover at a Salon.  The beautiful orchid decor at the tables was also available for purchase to support the Center’s programs.

Delicious cookies from the Pine Ave store “Hometown Dessert” were served as sweet endings of a great event. In addition each attendee received a swag bag of samples from several Pine Ave businesses.

 

 

Anna Maria Center Fashion Show

 

 

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Golf carts or LSV?

Traditional golf cartsHave you seen all the funky, little vehicles on Anna Maria Island? But are they golf carts or LSV (light speed vehicles)?
Traditional golf carts that are found on golf courses are really the minority of vehicles you see cruising on the island. They are not allowed on any street that has a 35 mph or higher speed limit including State Road 64 (Manatee Ave),  State Road 789 (East Bay Drive), Gulf Drive (north of SR 64), Palm Drive, Marina Drive. However, they may cross the main streets but are also banned from sidewalks, bicycle paths and multi-use paths. All of the traditional golf carts in the city of Holmes Beach are privately owned.

They have in common with the popular LSV that they both need seat belts and must be operated by a licensed driver.

 

Light speed vehicles travel at faster speeds and in addition need to be equipped with headlights, mirrors and a windscreen and have to be licensed and insured. They are fully street legal.

All rental places on the island offer this kind of transportation. They come in all shapes and colors and look like a lot of fun! If you are staying with Duncan Vacation Rentals take advantage of our Duncan V.I.P. Perks! The island shop “Beach Bums” offers a large, meticulously maintained, rental fleet of bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, surreys, beach supplies, electric golf carts, and electric bikes! Click here for their website. Enjoy 10% off any rental item with your Duncan guest promo code.

Beach Bums Rental Vehicles

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tennis Anyone?

Anna Maria Island supports an active lifestyle with inviting blue skies almost all year around. The beaches are great for relaxing but also good for exercising. Besides swimming in the Gulf of Mexico stroll at an easy pace and pick up shells on your way or power walk along the shores. You can watch people playing frisbee, beach ball, spike ball or a round of beach volleyball at the Manatee Public Beach. There is beach Yoga offered or bike along the multi use trail by Coquina Beach.

Many homes and condo complexes offer community pools but how about tennis, anyone?

There are free public courts in Holmes Beach by 62nd St or try the hard courts at the Center on Magnolia Ave for a daily or longer membership cover.

Even better is staying at one of Duncan Vacation Rentals condos that offer tennis courts or pickle ball as a great additional amenity. There are three complexes in total.

Water;s Edge on Anna Maria IslandWater’s Edge

With the beach steps away and the rest of Anna Maria Island easily accessible by car or trolley, you have no shortage of ways to enjoy your next Florida vacation in this Gulf front resort.
The large pool is located between the two Water Edge buildings. You can swim in the heated pool and gaze out over the Gulf! There are loungers to soak up the sun. The tennis courts are just across the street.

Stay at Water’s Edge 205 S or Water’s Edge 110 N and don’t forget your racket!

 

 

Playa Encantada TennisPlaya Encantada

Right next door is “Playa Encantada”. This supreme Anna Maria Island Gulf front complex offers direct access to one of the best beaches on the Florida West Coast. Elevator, heated pool and hot tub, meeting room and covered parking are some of the features amenities. The tennis courts are across the street next to the rest of the condos on the East side of Gulf Drive.

Book Playa Encantada 214 or Playa Encantada 116! The later one is for the tennis enthusiast and offers first row seating right!

 

 

Nautilus Tennis CourtsNautilus

The Nautilus complex is a sought-after beach resort that has plenty to offer. Don’t miss any of the stunning sunsets that the island is famous for! Lounge around the pool area and meet new friends! Nautilus 104 and Nautilus 117 are ground level and have direct access to the heated community pool via a side door from the condo. Be active – walk the beach, take a swim or pick up the tennis racket.  The tennis courts are located street side.

Book now! 

 

 

If you need more information on these Duncan Vacation Rentals on Anna Maria Island or others in our rental program please contact Team Duncan. You can contact us at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick message.

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Super Bowl LII on Anna Maria Island

We look forward to having you as a guest and spending this Super Bowl LII weekend on Anna Maria Island. We wanted to share with you some of our favorite places to watch the big event this Sunday!

The Anna Maria Princess is the only paddle wheel boat sailing the waters of AMI and Longboat Key. Measuring about 80 feet from bow to stern, the boat was built in 2002 and was extensively refurbished prior to its inaugural Sarasota Bay cruise in 2018. They are offering a cruise where you can watch the first half at sea and the second half at port for $32, click here for the link to their website.

“Slim’s Place” is a great spot to watch the game if you are looking for the sports bar environment with great wings and pool tables. They are located just around the corner from us on the North end. Click here for the link to their website.

Duffy’s Tavern: an Anna Maria island staple. Cheap cold beer and amazing burgers. This cash only tavern is the perfect spot to watch the game for the whole family, click here for their website.

A German restaurant that is used to watching another kind of football, this Sunday they will be showing the American version. Make sure you try the schnitzel at the “Old Hamburg Schnitzelhouse”, click here for their website.

A new small bar tucked away behind Wicked Cantina in Bradenton Beach. They are hosting a party for the big game with burgers and dogs, $2 Busch cans and $4 fireball, see the event here.

A great spot on Bridge Street is the “Bridge Tender Inn”! Watch the game and walk down to watch the sunset at half time. Click here for their website.

An Irish pub where you can get some amazing food and a tall pint in one sitting. “Freckled Fin” is a sure spot for the game with indoor and outdoor seating, click here for their website.

Image result for super bowl picture

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Holiday Restaurants

Be merry and don’t do dishes when enjoying some open restaurants during the holidays. Christmas and New Year’s have become popular times for beach visitors and island restaurants are awaiting holiday guests. Below the list of places that invite you to spend family time:

 

 

 

 

Island Restaurants

Anna Maria Island Beach Café (Open ALL Holidays)
4000 Gulf Dr, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
941-778-0784

Bridge Tender Inn (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
135 Bridge St, Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
941-778-4849

Sandbar (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216
(941) 778-0444

Rod N Reel (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/ Day)
875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216
941-778-1885

Waterfront (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
111 S Bay Blvd, Anna Maria, FL 34216
941-778-1515

Waterline (Open Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s Eve/ Day)
5325 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, Fl 34217
941-238-6262

Off  the Island

Bonefish Grill (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
7456 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
941-795-8020

Carrabba’s Italian Grill (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
2106 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34207
941-755-7712

Columbia Restaurant (Open ALL Holidays)
 411 Saint Armands Cir, Sarasota, FL 34236
941-388-3987

Harry’s Continental Kitchen (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
525 St Judes Dr, Longboat Key, FL 34228
941-383-0777

Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant (Open Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve/Day)
760 Broadway St, Longboat Key, FL 34228
941-383-2391

Outback Steakhouse (Open ALL Holidays)
 4402 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
941-792-1898

Pier 22 (Open ALL Holidays)
1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205
941-748-8087

 

If you need any more suggestions for your holiday stay please contact our experienced Vacation Rental Team at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick message.

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Egmont Key

Egmont Key is another beautiful island in the Gulf of Mexico and Anna Maria Island’s neighbor to the North. Situated at the mouth of Tampa Bay the key is close to the Tampa Port Shipping Channel. For over 70 years, Egmont Key has been the location of a pilot station serving ship traffic into and out of the port of Tampa. It can only be reached by boat or ferry. There are several private charter and snorkeling tours offered as well as the Egmont Ferry.

History of Egmont Key

Earl of Egmont

The island comes with a lot of history given the back and forth of ownership over Florida. It was first surveyed by Spanish explorers in 1757. However, Spain had given up Florida to the British in 1763 in the first Treaty of Paris at the end of the French and Indian War. The island was named by Britain after John Perceval, the 2. Earl of Egmont. He was a British politician, political pamphleteer, and genealogist who served as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Britain divided the territory into East Florida and West Florida and the 2 Floridas remained loyal to the crown throughout the American Revolutionary War. Spain participated in this war as an ally of France.  In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War and returned all of Florida back to Spanish control. The United States Army started leading increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory. Over time Florida had become a burden to Spain, which could not afford to send settlers or garrisons. Madrid therefore decided to cede the territory to the United States through the Florida Purchase Treaty, which took effect in 1821. Florida become a US territory.

 

In 1847, concerns with hazardous navigation at the mouth of Tampa Bay led to the construction of the first lighthouse.  A severe hurricane, also called The Great Gale of 1848, made landfall in the Tampa Bay area and swamped the island. The lighthouse was mostly destroyed. The lighthouse keeper was able to save himself in a rowboat tied to a palm tree. He resigned after the storm had passed. In 1858, the lighthouse was replaced. It is still in operation and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard as a navigation aid.

Egmont Key also played a part at the end of the Third Seminole War. The US Army used it to detain Seminole prisoners. During the Civil War the island was occupied by Confederate and Union Troops. Defense considerations during the Spanish–American War led to the construction of Fort Dade on Egmont Key in 1899.  The Fort was completed in 1906 and the island remained a military reservation for years. Egmont Key had been the property of the U.S. Department of Defense until 1974. The U.S. Department of the Interior, specifically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took over.

Egmont Key Wildlife Refuge and State Park

Since 1978 the 1.6 mile long key is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was turned over to the State of Florida in 1989 and became a state park. The entire 328 acres of Egmont Key are protected by state and federal laws. The Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge is located at the South end of island.  It is a nesting ground for shorebirds and sea turtles. There is also the gopher tortoise preserve. The Egmont Key Lighthouse and the ruins of Fort Dade are part of the park area of the island. The lighthouse is the oldest structure in the Tampa Bay area and about 87 ft high. It is not open for visitors but there is a small museum next to it. The State Park is open 365 days from 8 am to sunset. Activities consists of touring the historic sites and trails, enjoy swimming, shelling, fishing, wildlife viewing, and picnicking.

Renourishment Project

In order to protect what is left of the Fort Egmont Key’s beaches are in need of renourishment. A $10 million dredging project is slated to begin this December 2018. It is scheduled to be complete in about 5 months in time for turtle season. The sand will not be the high-quality white beach that is used for renourishment of Anna Maria Island but sand dredged from the Tampa Harbor Egmont and Mullet Key channel cuts. The sand will be placed in the middle of the West side of the island that faces the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

If you like more information on day trips or other activities while spending time on Anna Maria Island please contact Team Duncan. We can be reached at 941 779 0304 or send us a quick message.

 

 

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Sandcastle Contest

Sandcastle ContestAlthough there is hardly anything better than spending time on the beautiful beaches on Anna Maria Island check out the sandcastle contest on Siesta Key. If you are looking for a special outdoor plan for this weekend head towards Sarasota and explore the annual sand sculpting festival on the barrier island just to the South of us.

The International Sand Sculpting Festival is starting today and lasting through Monday, Nov 12th. In its 9th year there will be twenty four master sand sculptures to compete for the 1st place on the Siesta Key Public Beach. A new solo competition will also be introduced.  Artists have only 24 hours to create their master piece of sand which will be displayed for 4 consecutive days in the beach outdoor gallery. Daily tickets will be sold and over 50 000 attendees are expected.

 

There will be more than just sand! This open air festival also features live music, a large village of shopping and food vendors. Check out the sand sculpting lessons and the amateur sculpting competition. Have fun in the party tent on Saturday and Sunday night and admire the sculptures lit through a fabulous light display.

Anna Maria Island also features a sandcastle contest which is usually held in November. It was postponed this year to an undetermined date.

Find out about more events or call our knowledgeable Duncan Vacation rental team for more information at 941 779 0304.

Contact us or call Duncan Real Estate today at 941-779-0304 to speak with our knowledgeable real estate specialists.