Annual Events in Anna Maria Island and Bradenton Beach

Bradenton decorated for the holidays

Situated along the stunning Florida Gulf Coast, Anna Maria Island and its neighboring areas offer more than just pristine beaches and turquoise waters. Throughout the year, the island comes alive with a variety of annual events that capture the essence of the local culture and community spirit. We’ve compiled some of the top annual events that locals and visitors to Anna Maria Island and Bradenton enjoy each year. We hope you’ll consider planning your next trip to Anna Maria Island around an event or a holiday, and we look forward to hosting you!

Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

The annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in February celebrates the area’s rich seafood heritage with delicious seafood, environmental exhibits, live music, kid’s activities and a craft fair. Located just over the bridge from Anna Maria Island, this family-friendly event is a fundraiser for the Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage and all proceeds go to support their mission. 

Bradenton River Regatta

Boats racing in the Bradenton River Regatta

Head to the Bradenton Riverwalk in February to watch supercharged powerboat racing at the Bradenton River Regatta. This family-friendly event features thrilling super league powerboat races, live entertainment and a stunning drone light show along the scenic Manatee River.

Anna Maria Island Heritage Day

The Anna Maria Island Historical Society hosts its annual Heritage Day in March to celebrate the history of the island. The family-friendly event includes tours of the museum, living history exhibits, food and live entertainment. This is a fundraising event and all proceeds benefit the AMI Historical Society.

Sarasota Film Festival

Film aficionados won’t want to miss the Sarasota Film Festival, a premier cinematic event held annually in April. Just a short drive from Anna Maria Island, this festival showcases a diverse selection of films, bringing together filmmakers and enthusiasts for a weeklong celebration of cinematic arts

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix

Feel the adrenaline at the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival in July. This high-performance racing event showcases powerboats competing along a technical course through the Gulf of Mexico, creating an exciting spectator experience for seasoned powerboat enthusiasts and newcomers alike.

Independence Day

fireworks 4th of july on the beach on Anna Maria island florida

Independence Day is celebrated in style on Anna Maria Island. The Anna Maria Island Privateers 4th of July Parade is very popular, with pirates throwing beads and candy, and sometimes dousing the crowd with water. On nearby Longboat Key, the “Shortest Parade in America” sets out along a quarter-mile parade route that ends at Bicentennial Park with a festival including food and kid’s activities. Set up your chair on the beach at sunset to catch an unobstructed view of the fireworks display.

BayFest

BayFest is an annual celebration of island life on Anna Maria Island. Every October, festival attendees are treated to a street festival with live music, local food vendors, artisans and a classic car show. This popular one-day event is a chance for visitors to come together with the local community to enjoy what the island has to offer.

Symphony on the Sand

Anna Maria Island Symphony on the Sand

Symphony on the Sand is a musical event in November featuring the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra. The elegant event is held on beautiful Coquina Beach, where the 45-member ensemble performs classical favorites, Broadway hits and film scores while attendees dine on gourmet food from local restaurants.

Holidays

Anna Maria Island has many holiday events during the month of December, including tree lighting ceremonies and holiday markets, a popular holiday boat parade and a Christmas parade featuring Santa and the Anna Maria Island Privateers

Bradenton Blues Festival

Nearby Bradenton hosts an incredible musical lineup every December at the Bradenton Blues Festival. This weekend event features outstanding blues musicians, delicious local food and beverages, as well as craft and merchandise vendors. 

No matter the season, Anna Maria Island and surrounding areas beckon visitors with a calendar full of exciting events. Consider planning your getaway around one of these captivating events to truly experience the magic of this charming island. Book your Anna Maria Island vacation rental.