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    Friday, 12 December 2014

    Spreading the Christmas cheer on Anna Maria Island

    Most places, Santa Claus wears a red suit. But on Anna Maria Island, the jolliest group you’ll find every holiday season is a motley crew of kindhearted pirates.

    The not-for-profit organization called the Anna Maria Island Privateers was founded in 1971 by a small core group of individuals who wanted to provide support for youth programs on Anna Maria Island and in Manatee County at large.

    All year, they throw fundraising events; everything from golf tournaments to mullet smokes to thieves markets – with their signature piratical style.

    But easily the most beloved event they put on each year is the AMI Privateers Christmas Parade. This festive holiday procession (which will take place on December 13th from 10am-2pm this year) starts at the Bayfront Park in Anna Maria, before traversing the main thoroughfares of Anna Maria Island until it ends at Coquina Beach.

    There is always a fun assortment of parade participants each year, but obviously the real stars are the Privateers who ride in a giant float shaped like a pirate ship and toss beads and coins to children along the way.

    Join the AMI Privateers Christmas Parade on Anna Maria Island!

    At the parade’s conclusion, you can mingle with the Privateers in their full pirate regalia and visit their Santa Open House which features the man in red himself handing out gifts to youngsters who stop by. 

    The AMI Privateers Christmas Parade is always a highlight of the season. Not only are the privateers Island experts, they’re bona fide Christmas experts. This event is a treasured (no pun intended) holiday tradition for locals, and visitors are warmly invited to take part in this family-friendly affair with no shortage of pirate panache.

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