The drawn-out Ringling Bridge saga made for some long meetings … and plenty of April Fools’ fodder. Here’s a look at the spoofs from our annual April Fools’ issue:
In 2001, the Longboat Observer claimed it obtained a 90-page document outlining the Bridge Too High Committee’s strategy to create hysteria about traffic in Sarasota to force a bridge to Longboat.
But that couldn’t top 2003, when we ran a huge aerial photo of the new Ringling Bridge under construction, taken and doctored by photographer Jack Elka, that showed the bridge noticeably out of alignment. The story claimed water currents in Sarasota Bay had moved the 800-ton section of the bridge.
An engineer working on the construction of the Oakland Bridge in California, destroyed by an earthquake, called the Longboat Observer in distress and asked that we fax him the story NOW. He was serious … and less than amused when the Longboat Observer told him: “April Fools.”