MANATEE — From ballet on the beach to Jet Skis along the causeway to dozing in a park, Manatee County took time off Monday to enjoy Labor Day.
There was morning drizzle, but by about 1 p.m. many were making their way to area beaches for swimming, fishing or boating or just plain staying home and fixing barbecues for friends.
It was a day just to kick back.
Greyhawk Landing resident Ruth Everhart left her pink Cadillac — the vehicle she earned from her labor at Mary Kay Cosmetics — at home and came to the Palma Sola Causeway in an SUV.
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“It’s a day to take time off and relax,” said Everhart, who divided time between reading her book, “Cutting For Stone” by Abraham Verghese, and watching her husband, Glen, her son, Matthew, 13, and Matthew’s friend, Grant Weisman, 13, zip around on a Jet Ski, owned by her friend, Karen O’Brien.
“We live in a great place where you can see fish, dolphin and there are fun things to do,” she said.
While the boys were out on the Jet Ski, O’Brien and Everhart caught each other up on goings-on.
“We met at church in New Jersey 15 years ago and we’ve been friends ever since, even ending up down here together,” Everhart said of O’Brien, who is president of Assured Transportation in St. Petersburg, an agency that provides buses for agencies.
Like many Labor Day participants, Everhart packed for fun, including noodles, rubber tubes, beach chairs and sandwiches.
“Originally, we were going to go to Coquina Beach,” Everhart said. “But we figured that was crowded, so we decided to come here.”
Everhart’s family calls the Palma Sola Causeway, which is on Manatee Avenue West, “the doggie beach.”
“It’s the one place where we can bring our dogs,” said Manatee County Rural Health nurse Roxanne Powell, who was camped out a bit farther west than the Everharts on Monday, enjoying a picnic in the causeway parkway along with the family’s two dogs.
“Mom likes to put her feet in the water and we like to get together and picnic and relax,” said Powell, referring to her 26-year-old son, Tom, and her mom, Ann Winnick.
Her family also includes Duster, a papillon, and Gunner, a Rhodesian Ridgeback.
Gunner doggie-paddled to his heart’s content while Duster enjoyed a cool breeze.
Further west, at the Manatee County Public Beach on Anna Maria Island, Jonesha Belvin, 17, a captain of the Bayshore High School Honeybears dance team, and her fellow captain, Kwanna Ferguson, also 17, found the beach the perfect place to practice ballet moves.
The pair was with Chelsea Wilder, 18, a friend from Bayshore High.
“Labor Day is all about being with friends and catchin’ up,” said Belvin, who was eager to enjoy the sunshine with some fellow Bruins, including Bobby Shown, Donte Taylor and Devon Simmons.
Belvin and Ferguson will soon be in the world of labor. In fact they are dreaming of it.
“One day I’ll be teaching ballet at my own dance studio,” said Belvin before she hit the beach for her day of fun.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.