Sites on the island sparkling with sales on July 4, influx of tourists

John Hudak (left), Lani Knoch, Scott Knoch and Steve Martz, attending friend Anna Maria’s beach wedding from Medina, Ohio, enjoy drinks and conversation on June 24 at the crowded seafood restaurant Ugly Grouper. The eatery is waiting for a busy weekend dedicated to Independence Day. Islander Photos: Kane Cayman

Montana Stockford (left), general manager of Ugly Grouper, assistant general manager Sean Culhane and assistant manager Rob Bellis pose at the restaurant’s famous perch sculpture on June 24. Islander Photo: Kane Cayman

The Washingtons, the Hamiltons, maybe even the Franklins, the Founding Fathers will show their faces on the island during the three-day Fourth of July holiday.

Tourism and business insiders are expecting traditional crowding, but rental managers on Anna Maria Island are struggling to fill vacancies that are against historical trends.

Meanwhile, business owners are putting forward individual approaches to the holiday.

“We expect Anna Maria Island to be busy,” Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Convention and Visitors Bureau, said on June 22.

“Every national holiday weekend in the summer is always strong. Whether it’s Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day, if the weather isn’t really bad, it’s going to be strong,” he said. “Because not only do you have a strong driver market, it’s complemented by summer flights that we have now that we probably didn’t have 6-8 years ago.”

Despite high fuel prices, the American Automobile Association predicts Florida’s Fourth of July will be the second busiest since 2000, with 2.6 million Floridians expected to drive 50 miles or more over the holiday weekend.

The expected influx of drivers – up 4% from last year – is likely to be bolstered by air travel from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, which has expanded flight offerings in recent years.

According to Falcione, as a result, accommodation for short stays is fully booked on the island for July 1-4.

“And at this point, for the Fourth of July holiday, we expect a weekend status quo very similar to last year. Orders look pretty solid,” he said.

Silver Resorts general manager Angela Rodoker confirmed Falcione’s findings, telling The Islander in an email dated June 21 that Bradenton Beach’s sister properties Bridgewalk Landmark Resort and Silver Surf Gulf Resort are nearly sold out.

“I expect we will be completely full by the weekend,” she added. “Next week is also very busy. It’s very common year after year.”

About 80% of hotel guests filling the resort’s 78 combo rooms will be from Florida, Rodoker said, with the remaining 20% ​​coming from the Southeast, Midwest, and Northeast – another standard summer trend.

Most of the guests are families staying for 3-4 days and arriving on Saturday 2nd July or Sunday 3rd July.

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