By ANDREA SHAY
Anna Maria Island’s historic Bridge Street held its annual holiday festival Dec. 17 complete with live entertainment from the Dickens Carolers dressed in full holiday regalia. The event also featured Russ & Brandi [Adams] and the Sweet Adelines (Magic of Manatee) and the Roulette Children’s Choir.
Vendors had gourmet food and crafts for sale, and there was face painting. The festival showcased the island’s yearly tree-lighting ceremony and an outdoor showing of holiday favorite The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
Additionally, live music acts provided entertainment for the crowd with a holiday skit and theatrical renditions of holiday classics. Afterward, Russ & Brandi bathed the audience in acoustic sounds and traditional favorites. Throughout the event, the spirit of the holiday season remained alive and flourishing.
The district’s “Christmas on Bridge Street” event also held a silent auction with proceeds benefitting Turning Points, an organization that helps people who are homeless or have housing and financial problems. The organization helps people access services that can help them find housing or pay utility bills. Turning Points aims to prevent homelessness by aiding people and families to keep their existing housing situations, if possible.
Turning Points offers a variety of programs to help their clients meet their basic needs, and they serve over 200 people each day. The organization’s Open Door Day Resource Center helps people access things like hot showers and clothing, which are often difficult to obtain for people living on the streets. Turning Points also has a transitional development program, a medical and dental clinic and they receive food donations from Our Daily Bread of Bradenton.
To get in touch with someone with Turning Points’ Open Door or Transitional Development programs, whether to make a donation or to request help — e-mail them at email@example.com. To reach someone at the medical and dental program, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.