County focuses on historical, cultural tourism


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Visitors to the Island Historical Museum buy
homemade Old Settler’s Bread at Heritage Day.

BRADENTON – When it’s cold and windy, as it was last week, or you’re just beached out, there are other things to do in Manatee County, according to Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Debbie Meihls.

Among them are historical and cultural attractions that were featured at a Manatee County Historical Gathering on Jan. 28 at Jiggs Landing in east Manatee County, including Jiggs Landing, the Island Historical Museum and the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez.

The Anna Maria Island Museum is selling homemade Old Settler’s Bread every Wednesday through March, and will host a Heritage Festival on Saturday, March 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust has completed its application to designate Anna Maria as a Florida Historic City, which the city commission will vote on, spokeswoman Sissy Quinn said, adding that the designation will give the group more input in saving historic homes, which the Island is losing to vacation rental developers.

Four replica cabins at Jiggs Landing, on the Braden River, will be for rent soon; Jiggs Landing is historically significant because of its reservoir, which made Bradenton’s development possible, said Charlie Hunsicker, director of Manatee County’s Natural Resources Department.

The Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez has a new 15-minute video on the Kitchen, the part of Sarasota Bay where fishing families can always find a meal, and a photography walking tour of the village is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, at 9 a.m., volunteer Sam Bell told the group.

The museum is one of the many sponsors of Manatee Heritage Days, which will feature more than 25 events including tours, cruises and concerts at several of the county’s historic sites during March, timed intentionally to coincide with the height of tourist season.

While acknowledging that residents get frustrated with lines at restaurants and traffic jams this time of year, Meihls said that the economic impact of tourism creates one job for every 85 visitors. Tourism has replaced agriculture as the largest industry in the county, she added.

The CVB will sponsor an industry partner meeting on using social media on Monday, Feb. 11, at 8 a.m., just prior to the 9 a.m. Manatee County Tourist Development Council meeting at the Manatee County Commission chambers in Bradenton, she said.

The county’s visitor guide will be out soon and will be more of a lifestyle magazine this year, published by Time Inc., with some tourist businesses carrying recommendations from Southern Living Magazine, she said, adding that the guide will be available on an iPad app and in an e-book version on the county tourism website,

Published in: on February 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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