It was a big news week on Longboat Key.
The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort was about to be demolished. A cellular tower was coming to the “Flower Fiesta” sculpture at Publix.
Resident Terry Griffin sat down at the bar at Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant last week with a copy of the March 28 issue of the Longboat Observer.
He was especially interested in the cellular tower. He thought it was a good idea, although he said that it would mostly benefit Publix.
Then, he turned the page, saw the story about the swan, peacock hybrid called the “sweacock” and broke into laughter.
“This has gotta be April Fools’,” Griffin said.
April Fools’ Day came early to Longboat Key, with our annual “gotcha” edition hitting stands five days before April 1.
The 100-point “COLONY TO BE DEMOLISHED” headline that ran across the top of the front page fooled more than a few readers.
One reader stopped by our office for a back issue and spotted the headline on the current issue.
“That’s sad,” she said, walking out the door before we could tell her it was an April Fools’ prank.
Resident Gwen Mooney was at the Longboat Key Post Office, where a man was reading the story.
“It’s about time,” he said.
She suggested he read on, but he said “it’s always something with them” and that he is “constantly reading” about the Colony.
One woman, who was featured in a real article in the March 28 issue, said she had hoped her story would make the front page — but understood that the demolition of the Colony was a more important issue.
The demolition of the shuttered resort wasn’t surprising to many residents given the uncertainty surrounding the resort’s future. Still, for many, the idea of it being demolished in the 2013 Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam tour was the giveaway — although one reader left a voicemail at our downtown Sarasota office in which he asked where he could buy tickets.
Another reader left a voicemail asking if the ban on car carriers was already in effect. She was worried because a car carrier was scheduled to pick up her car that day and wanted to know if she needed other arrangements.
Whitney Beach Plaza owner Richard Juliani had never heard of the Longboat Observer’s April Fools’ spoof.
When a man walked into his office and asked if a strip club was really opening in the shopping center, he jokingly said, “Yes.”
But, by the time the fourth person asked the question in a single day, he wanted to know who was spreading the red-hot rumors.
We don’t just fool Longboaters.
The Sarasota Observer, East County Observer and Pelican Press all featured April Fools’ specials.
One reader had a practical question about the East County Observer’s story about an agreement between Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and the state of California to export SMR’s medical marijuana crop: How was the marijuana going to be transported to California?
One woman said she stared long and hard at the front page of the East County Observer’s “magic eye” front page and finally saw the hidden picture: three towers.
The idea of Sarasota County allowing motorists to park on Siesta Key’s white-sand beaches riled a few readers.
One man said he canceled his condominium purchase on Siesta Key.
For those who aren’t interested in all the fake news we saw fit to print, the real paper began on page 5A.
Still, even the real news fooled one reader, who called to say that we messed up big time by printing two front pages.