Tropical Storm Nestor forces changes to 19th Bayfest on Anna Maria Island

Tropical Storm Nestor is throwing a wrench in plans for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce’s annual island extravaganza, but the show must go on.

The chamber announced Friday afternoon that harsh weather won’t cancel the 19th annual Bayfest, but this time it’s got a “reimagined” twist. Citing wind gusts of up to 40 mph, organizers say they can’t hold the street festival outside, as usual.

As Nestor moves from the Gulf of Mexico toward Florida’s Panhandle, the storm is expected to bring strong winds and rain to Bradenton and Anna Maria Island. On top of a 90 percent chance of rain throughout the day, the National Weather Service also reports a coastal flood and high surf advisories until Saturday night.

“We’ve all dealt with heavy rains, but this storm may bring us torrential downpours and ankle-deep standing water,” the chamber wrote. “After much thought and consideration, and in true island spirit, we have made the decision to make the best of a bad situation.

Instead, Bayfest will take place at The Center, 407 Magnolia Ave, between noon and 9 p.m. on Saturday. According to a release, the event will retain its live music, drink and food options from Chamber member vendors, but craft vendors won’t be accommodated due to space constraints.

According to the chamber, the free island trolley will run from the CrossPointe Fellowship parking lot at 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, to a stop near the Center.

Ryan Callihan is the Bradenton Herald’s County Reporter, covering local government and politics. On the weekends, he also covers breaking news. Ryan is a graduate of USF St. Petersburg.
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