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Start-Up Circle

The Start-Up Circle is an energizing 9-session business and project planning course designed for aspiring and newly established entrepreneurs.

Classes are taught by local experts and cover the basics of starting or bolstering an independent business – from licensing to financial literacy, market research to cash flow and more. Participants leave the class with a completed business plan, a cohort of entrepreneurs in the Bradenton area, sources of small business capital, and the knowledge and confidence to take their ideas to the next level.

We are currently recruiting for the Fall 2022 Cohort. Interested participants must complete the application of interest by Friday, September 30, 2022 for consideration.


Timeline for The Start-Up Circle Fall 2022 Cohort
September 30: Applications of interest due
October 7: Notified of acceptance into program
October 11: Orientation at 6:30 pm at Manatee Chamber
Tuesdays, October 18 – December 13: Sessions at 6:30 at Manatee Chamber

For all questions contact Kristie Kindstrom at


Presenting Sponsors


Children’s Book Fair

As part of the Downtown Bradenton Public Market, this event is free to attend, open to all, and features book signings and other activities.

2022 Children’s Book Fair
Saturday, April 30
9 am – 2 pm
Downtown Bradenton Public Market
Old Main Street

The 2022 Children’s Book Fair is part of the Suncoast Remake Learning Days presented by The Patterson Foundation. Find more innovative learning events here.


Children’s book authors from the Bradenton area are invited to this annual event as a way to connect with their readers and inspire youth as the next generation of writers. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, mentors, teachers, and all caring adults discover fabulous local resources to inspire a love of reading in the young children in their lives.

Thank you to our event sponsor,
Manatee Community Foundation.

The annual Children’s Book Fair is a partnership with the Bradenton Public Market and ABC Artisans of Books for Children and Adults. Thank you for the Manatee Community Foundation for grant support.

Please contact Peg Haynes with any questions,


Twenty-three teams of elementary, middle, and high school students develop a business plan to share their collective creativity with the public at an all-day event on Old Main Street.

Public Art

Realize Bradenton collaborates with the City of Bradenton to offer a public art collection that includes a variety of artists, styles, and mediums.

Since 2012, downtown’s art collection has increased from seven pieces of art to over 67 works of art for the community to enjoy.

Local residents and artists participate in the artist selection process.

The downtown collection includes the ‘Postcards from the Friendly City,’ murals, sculpture, and functional art.

To view a sample of the collection, click

To view the entire public art collection, go to

Dine Bradenton

What do you do when you have 25+ places to eat & drink in less than 1 square mile and only one of those places is a franchise? Celebrate locally-owned, unique, original culinary treasures! 

What is Dine Bradenton?

In 2016, Realize Bradenton initiated a Dine Bradenton promotion to showcase the Village of the Arts, in downtown Bradenton. With many chef-owned restaurants and bakeries, Dine Bradenton was a tour of:

  • Sugar Cubed Bakery
  • Arts & Eats
  • Arte Caffe
  • Birdrock Taco Shack
  • Ortygia
  • Retrobaked.

Bon appetit!

To view the Dine Bradenton video playlist, click here or check out the video shown on this page.

Eager to visit some of these yummy spots for yourself? Navigate to on any device and filter for “Eat and Drink.” When you visit one of downtown’s restaurants or cafes, make sure to share a pic and tag #DineBradenton!

Thank you supporters

Thanks to support from the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, this campaign continues to grow to showcase locally-owned deliciousness from around Manatee County. To explore the #DineBradenton hashtag on Instagram, click here.


Back to all Realize Bradenton Initiatives.


Bradenton Blues Festival

Soulful harmonica, electrifying fiddle, boogie-woogie piano, driving guitar and so much more makes the Bradenton Blues Festival line-up a treat for all music lovers – but especially blues aficionados. For the price fans normally pay to see one Blues group, guests enjoy eight diverse Blues groups – many of which are Grammy-nominated.  

Now in its 10th year, the Bradenton Blues Festival – voted Best Blues Festival in the Country in 2015 – invites guests to spend the day strolling around and relaxing at LECOM Park while listening to talented blues musicians and enjoying delicious food, as well as local craft beer, full bar, and other refreshing libations.

For more information, visit:

couple standing watching performers at bradenton blues festival


Kicking off the Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend is the Blues “Appetizer” Concert Friday evening; followed by the Bradenton Blues Festival on Saturday, presented by BMO Harris Bank; and wrapping up the weekend on a LOCAL note is the Blues Brunch, produced by Mattison’s Grille, Downtown Bradenton Riverwalk on Sunday. 


The festival generates a short- and long-term economic impact of spending and investment. Spending at downtown hoteliers, dining establishments, and entertainment businesses goes up considerably during that weekend according to sources (business owners and managers). In 2019, ticket buyers hailed from 


In addition to fostering a healthy business climate, the Bradenton Blues Festival weekend enriches the community through “Blues in the Schools.”  Ticket proceeds and donations provide a meaningful way to support our youth arts and education initiatives. 


Blues musician Willie Dixon once said: “The blues is the roots: everything else is the fruits.” Blues music is the foundation for nearly all popular styles of music listened to today.  Although not played on today’s Top 40 radio stations, this genre of music attracts people from all walks of life precisely because it is unique.  And recent blues-y hits by artists like Amy Winehouse, Elle King, and Leon Bridges are spurring a resurgence of interest among young people in a movement some are dubbing “Nu-Blues.”

Read more about the Bradenton Blues Festival’s historic 10th year anniversary and the history of the blues with an article from Blues Music Magazine’s Art Tipaldi: “Bradenton Celebrates the Blues.

Music in the Park

Fridays, March 18 – April 29, 2022
6:00 – 8:00 pm 
Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion at Rossi Park

452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton 

Bring a chair or blanket, friends, and your leashed pups to this free, family-friendly music series.

2022 Music in the Park Lineup

March 18
Derek Lersch Music

March 25
Have Gun, Will Travel

April 1 Canceled Due to Rain
James Tyrone Band

April 8
Hurricane Shane
Dance Rock

April 15
Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones

April 22
Eric Von Band 
Island Country

April 29
Combo Fusion
Variety Dance & Latin

Mainly Art

Local artists and creators featured at the Bradenton Public Market weekly to build their businesses and market their creations.
Due to the popularity of Mainly Art, it has become a weekly addition.

Enjoy examples from this Flickr Album.

Downtown Bradenton Market Analysis


Kennedy Smith of the CLUE Group completed the Downtown Bradenton Market Analysis in December 2020.

Full Downtown Bradenton Market Analysis Report

Recommendations from the Downtown Bradenton Market Analysis:

Recording of Kennedy Smith sharing the completed report on February 19, 2021.


The purpose of the video is to summarize responses from people who expressed interest in the Market Analysis, many of whom participated in a May 7 webinar that shared preliminary results. 

Below is a PDF link to more detailed results from the follow-up survey, including graphs, charts, and comments sorted by sections. 

Results from Market Analysis Follow-Up Survey

Work continues with CLUE Group on the Market Analysis Report for Downtown Bradenton. If you have any ideas, questions, see contact info at the bottom of this page.

With so much going on right now, thank you for staying tuned in to this project as it sets the stage for important recovery efforts and long-term progress. 


In the fall of 2019, Realize Bradenton together with partners City of Bradenton and the Manatee Chamber of Commerce engaged Kennedy Smith of the Community Land Use + Economics (CLUE) Group to conduct a market analysis for downtown Bradenton and to recommend strategies for strengthening the district’s retail/commercial/culinary composition, with particular attention on cultivating young entrepreneurial talent.

When this initiative began, COVID-19 was unknown. CLUE Group conducted market research just a few months before the pandemic began to unfold. While it is difficult to know what the mid- and long-range impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on downtowns throughout the country and around the world, it is clear that the retail, hospitality, and culinary landscape will be changed.


Rather than producing a comprehensive market analysis report based on downtown Bradenton’s pre-pandemic conditions, CLUE summarized some of the major findings from the market research in the May 7 presentation.

The May 7 presentation outlines eight recommendations. Here is a sampling of four:

This important study was funded by the Knight Donor Advised Fund at the Manatee Community Foundation. 

Interested in learning more? Contact Jodi Carroll at Realize Bradenton

Love This City Bradenton

Reconnect | Reimagine
Rediscover | Redevelop

Through Love This City Bradenton, Realize Bradenton will provide opportunities for the community to rediscover and reimagine Downtown Bradenton. By promoting these actions, we hope to increase awareness for local businesses and cultural assets, encourage entrepreneurs to start new businesses, and promote economic growth in Downtown Bradenton.

Quirky Snapshots of Bradenton’s Past

In honor of Bradenton’s 119th birthday, a fun history reading was performed at the Downtown Bradenton Public Market. Cast and Crew: Mayor Gene Brown, Councilwoman Marianne Barnebey, Ethan Bedell, Aaron Empsall, Simone Peterson, Marjorie and Bud Martini.

“Our Fair City” by Have Gun, Will Travel

Bradenton-based band Have Gun, Will Travel (HGWT) has written a song as part of Realize Bradenton’s Love This City Bradenton campaign. The new song, “Our Fair City,” takes the listener on a journey through Bradenton and what makes it a vibrant place to live, work, and play. 

Our Community Quilt

Local community members were given a small canvas and the prompt, “Why do you love this city?” These visual representations of love have been combined to create our community quilt.

Love Poem to Bradenton

During the fall of 2021, as a part of the Love This City Bradenton campaign, Realize Bradenton gathered input from a wide spectrum of people who live, work, and play in our City. With pages of your responses, poet Joanna Fox wove together a love poem to Bradenton. “To Realize Bradenton” was read live by Joanna Fox, Gloria Ferrer, and Travis Ray at the Downtown Bradenton Public Market on February 5, 2022.

Reasons Why We Love This City

The following videos share a few of the many reasons why we Love This City Bradenton! More videos coming soon!

Love This City Gift Guide

The Love This City Gift Guide will help you share your love of Bradenton all year long! When you shop local, you are not only showing your love to the person receiving the gift, but you are also supporting a local entrepreneur and the City of Bradenton. Click on the cover for the electronic version.

Love This City Events

Love This City Bradenton Kick Off Event
Saturday, November 13
9 am – 2 pm
Downtown Bradenton Public Market
Old Main Street

Valentine’s Celebration
Saturday, February 5
9 am – 2 pm
Downtown Bradenton Public Market
Old Main Street

Bradentown Birthday Bash
Saturday, May 21
9 am – 2 pm
Performance at 10:30 am
Downtown Bradenton Public Market
Old Main Street

Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that brings people together to build a vibrant, healthy, and strong community!

Love This City is made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Knight Donor Advised Fund at the Manatee Community Foundation and event support from the City of Bradenton Community Redevelopment Agency. 

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