ANNA MARIA -- One of Anna Maria Island's longtime traditions will take place this Saturday without a familiar sight.
For the first time in 20 years, the beloved ship known as the Skullywag will not be in the Anna Maria Island Privateers’ Annual Christmas parade.
Last Saturday night, shortly after participating in a parade in Sarasota, the 63-foot float was involved in an accident.
"We had just dropped off our members, where they parked their cars, and as I was pulling out of the parking lot, a pick-up truck going at a high rate of speed, with no lights on, slammed into the side of us,” AMI Privateers President said Bob Dominas said.
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Dominas, who was driving at the time, said if the crash had happened five minutes earlier, someone would have been injured.
However, the Skullywag now sits in limbo at an auto body shop in Bradenton, unable to be operated.
"We don’t know what it’s going to take to fix it,” said Dominas.
It’s unfortunate news, since the group is holding its annual parade Saturday. The 7-mile journey normally features the Skullywag but until the group figures out what they need to do to repair the ship, it will remain sitting. However, members said this will not stop them from participating in this weekend’s parade.
"The parade is going to go on,” said Dominas. “We’ll be there. The Privateers will be there, even if we have to walk it, we would be there.”
The group will not have to walk. Another crew in the area, the Desoto Historical Society, is donating a ship for the Privateers to use.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Anna Maria Island Pier and Pine Street and continues across the island to its end at Coquina Beach. There will be hot dogs, Santa and gifts for children.