ANNA MARIA ISLAND -- It's not as well-known a tourist photo-snapping site as the kissing nurse and sailor on the Sarasota bayfront, but Anna Maria's historic City Jail is a popular place for tourists to take pictures as family members grimace behind bars.
The jail will be part of Anna Maria Island's 22nd annual Heritage Days Festival 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Island Historical Museum complex, 402 Pine Ave.
"What is special about this festival is that we are in such a charming setting that helps give ours an old-fashioned festival feel," said Maureen McCormick, president of the board of the Anna Maria Island Historical Society and a museum docent for five years. "We have a beautiful park with a historic jail, a mangrove shoreline, a native Florida garden, local food, art and crafts, and music and even a pine basket weaving demonstration."
Carolyne Norwood is one of four local authors who will sign their history books at the event.
Norwood wrote "The Early Days" and "Tale of Three Cities."
Gilbert Smith will sign copies of "Lawyers and Legends of Manatee County," Norwood said. Smith's book is a history of lawyers in Manatee County from 1885 to 2012.
Ted Baird will bring copies of "Sandpiper Resort."
Don and Carol Thompson will sign their "Egmont Key, A History."
There is no cost to attend the event.
"The biggest new thing is that this year you can avoid traffic by taking a free shuttle provided by the Island Beach Monkeys who will meet festival guests at CrossPoint Fellowship at Gulf Drive and 85th Street," Norwood said. "They will transport you to the Island Museum complex. Tips will be accepted."
Island Beach Monkeys is a new business using golf carts with chickee hut roofs to carry people around the island for tips, McCormick said.
"We are grateful they wanted to partner with us," McCormick said.
A sign with a phone number will be at CrossPoint and guests can call a driver when ready to be picked up, McCormick said.
Music will be provided by the band State Road 64 and artist Ron Bopp playing the Dutch organ, McCormick said.