The first hot spot I was able to hit was none other than a Realize Bradenton event itself. It was a hot, sun-filled day on the Riverwalk Pavillon, but that did not stop waves of hundreds of people from enjoying downtown and the Pickin' Picnic on Saturday, May 23. From the time the event started at 2 p.m., people began steadily filtering in to enjoy all the event had to offer.
Some were milling around the food truck area, buying lunch or a refreshing gelato treat from DaVinci’s Coffee and Gelato. Others in the same area — myself included — anxiously awaited the beginning of the Food Truck Battle, hosted by Andrew Seeley, the owner of Suncoast Food Trucks. The food trucks included in the battle were Chefs2u, Flying Sliders, Ain’t No Thang, and Croz’s Surf Shack. Across from the food trucks, there were other people picking out the perfect spot, whether it be under the shade of a small oak tree or out in the full sun as they waited for the music to begin at 3 p.m. with the opening act, Chasing Jonah.
From the time setup started early Saturday morning, all the way the through the event, there was another group of people who I think made the day really special. These were the people who were there by accident in the beginning, but chose to stay and enjoy the great food and music. These people included families who brought their kids to the Riverwalk Splash Pad to cool off on an unseasonably hot afternoon, individuals who live in the Riverwalk area or go there as a scenic place to get in their daily exercise. Regardless of why they were there, these people who choose to take advantage of such beautiful part of Bradenton were all rewarded with an amazing event.
That is what makes Riverwalk such a key part of downtown and all it has to offer. When you have a place like this to host events, then regardless of whether people plan to attend or happen upon it, everyone enjoys the event – I know I certainly enjoyed the event. Pickin’ Picnic marked both my first weekend back in Bradenton to start my summer after a long junior year of college and my first day as an intern for Realize Bradenton. After not really living in Bradenton for the past three years (other than the time that I am home for summer), it was really interesting to be at this event and see how much has changed in what I thought was our small little town.
Growing up, I really only recall two major events that would happen every year, the Seafood Festival downtown and the DeSoto parade, that was it. And the parade is not even really downtown, but it is a notable city event. Now, Realize Bradenton has introduced this amazing calendar of events that they successfully host annually. While I was not in town for the majority of their events, I am glad I got the opportunity to attend their last event of the season and see how they bring people together to increase vibrancy and economic prosperity in downtown Bradenton.
Continue to follow me this summer through my many adventures in downtown Bradenton!