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TREASURE ISLAND – City leaders moved forward on a resolution April 15 to approve an expanded version of the annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic fishing tournament.
The 23rd edition of the event is planned Thursday, May 29 through Saturday, May 31 off Kingfish Drive next to Gator’s Café.
Tournament organizers Sid Rice and Ryan Farner said this year’s event will include 15 food and non-food vendors, along with 23 display boats, most of which will be in an 8,750-square foot area south of Kingfish Drive and Charlie’s Dock. There will also be live music on Thursday evening during the captain’s meeting and during weigh-ins on Saturday afternoon.
“Why is this so much different than past years?” asked Commissioner Carol Coward.
“It’s going to be more of a special event than in past years,” said City Manager Reid Silverboard. “We just don’t know what the impact is going to be this year with the additional activities they’re going to have. This one is going to have a boat show and there’s going to be music.”
Silverboard said past tournaments included festivities primarily for the participants but this year it will be more of a public event expected to attract as many as 200 on Thursday and as many as 400 on Saturday afternoon.
“We just want to make sure there are no traffic problems created, particularly in the Lagoon Lane area, and that we have sufficient Port-A-Potties,” said Silverboard.
In addition to eight on-site restrooms, the city is proposing the use of six additional port-o-lets and four additional dumpsters.
The city is also proposing the use of a police officer for traffic control on Thursday evening in addition to an officer all day on Saturday.
“Just for the one day (Saturday), I don’t think you’re going to need an officer for 10 hours,” said Commissioner Alan Bildz. “Maybe two or three hours. And having gone through a lot of traffic problems in Sunset Beach in the last few years, I think Lagoon Lane would be well served by an officer. I don’t think we should let up on that.”
Bildz also expressed concern over fish heads being deposited in the dumpsters and Commissioner Tim Ramsberger wanted to make sure none of the 55 boats expected for the tournament would be launching from a local boat ramp off Lagoon Lane.
“All of the fish will be taken away in a frozen truck and donated to charity,” said Farner. “Boats will be launched from ramps outside of Treasure Island, including War Veterans Memorial Park at Bay Pines.”
Public parking will be available for $5 on the south side of Kingfish Drive across from Gator’s Café, as well two lots off Gulf Boulevard between 125th and 127th avenues. Vendors, band members and Gators employees will be able to park at the Rock House site on the west side of Gulf Boulevard at 12725 Sunshine Lane with access to the tournament site under the bridge.