Bradenton Riverwalk to open with arts, sports and a major blues festival

Bradenton Riverwalk opens with arts, sports and major blues festival

wtatangelo@bradenton.comOctober 14, 2012 

Don't let the chain-link fence fool you.

The long-awaited, $6.2 million Bradenton Riverwalk project that began construction last summer has been completed.

On Thursday morning, the unsightly steel wire-mesh will be removed.

And at 4:30 p.m., the Grand Opening Celebration begins.

The Riverwalk will finally come alive with art talks, walking tours and skateboard, volleyball and tai chi demos.

Bradenton's new showpiece promises "something for everyone."

The Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile long park that includes an interactive splash fountain, a first-class skate park, tidal discovery zone, kayak launch, beach volleyball, fishing pier, rowing venue, shaded areas to read and lounge, and a 20-slip day dock.

The Riverwalk also serves as a gallery of outdoor art with about two dozen pieces that offer interactive sound sculptures, river history and beauty to match the river setting.

The "Postcards from the Friendly City" section, named after the critically acclaimed national release by Bradenton band Have Gun, Will Travel, features nine large-scale art panels along the Riverwalk to illustrate the community's history.

Centrally located in the park is a covered pavilion and event area -- the site for ArtSlam on Nov. 10 and the Bradenton Blues Festival on Dec. 1.

Grand Opening Season Events for Fall 2012

All events are free (except the history cruise on Nov. 4 and the Bradenton Blues Festival).

Riverwalk Grand Opening: 4:30-7:30 p.m., Oct. 18, Pavilion & Event Area

Opening celebration includes live music by State College of Florida, skateboarding, volleyball, tai chi, public art talks, and walking tours. Music and refreshments start at 4:30 p.m. with the ceremony at 5:15 p.m.

Reels at Rossi Movie: 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Pavilion & Event Area

The 2011 action-adventure thriller "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" (PG-13) starring Tom Cruise will be shown on a three-story screen. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Refreshments for sale.

Riverwalk Fishing College: Noon-2 p.m., Oct. 20, Mosaic Amphitheater and Fishing Pier

All ages are invited to learn the latest secrets from fishing guides on catching local fish. Information: 941-747-1998.

Star Talk along Riverwalk: 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 20, The Pavilion

Join the Bishop Planetarium team of astronomers for a laser-guided tour of the night sky and learn how you can best prepare yourself for that night's big midnight show, the Orionids meteor shower. Information: Samantha Sprague at 941-746-4131, ext. 31.

Music in the Park: 5-7 p.m. Oct. 25, Pavilion and Family Fun Zone

The Sarasota Pops Orchestra performs a preview of its opening season. Food and beverage available. Bring your blankets and chairs.

Village of the Arts Sampler: 5-8 p.m. Oct. 25, Pavilion and Family Fun Zone

Experience the Village of the Arts and enjoy the Sarasota Pops Orchestra. Sample and purchase jewelry, fashions, paintings, mosaics, food, quilts and folk art. Information: 941-744-2487.

Manatee Players: 12-1:30 p.m., Oct. 27, Mosaic Amphitheater

Manatee Players Summer Youth Theater Training Program performs musical theater favorites including highlights from "Pippin" (12-12:30 p.m.).

Then the Manatee Players perform live musical selections from their upcoming production "Pump Boys and the Dinettes" (1-1:30 p.m.). Information: 941-748-5875.

Music in the Park: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 1, Mosaic Amphitheater

VizzTone recording artist Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, of Bradenton, perform material from their new, nationally released album "What's it Gonna Take." Bring chairs and blankets for a night of fun, first-rate blues and swing. Food and beverage available.

Taste of Manatee: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 3 and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 4, Pavilion, Family Fun Zone, Mosaic Amphitheater

Time-honored, two-day celebration featuring food and entertainment relocates from Barcarrota Boulevard. There will be cuisine from local restaurants and vendors as well as activities for the entire family. Information: 941-773-2126 or

Pioneer Roundup: Noon- 4 p.m., Tower Plaza

Local history is on display through interactive activities involving boat-building, fishing, cattle and agricultural industries. Information: 941-741-4075 or

History Cruises: Noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., Day Dock

Cruise the Manatee River on the Island Pearl with historian Cathy Slusser and learn about the river's history and the people who lived along its banks. Reservations recommended by calling 941-780-8010. Tickets are $15.

Music in the Park: 5-7 p.m., Nov. 8, Mosaic Amphitheater

Performance by the Jake Castro Band featuring star student singer, guitarist and keyboardist of the Palmetto-based Del Couch Music Education Foundation. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Bring chairs and blankets.

ArtSlam at the River: Noon-10 p.m. Nov. 10, Pavilion

In its third year, ArtSlam, previously held on Old Main Street, brings together more than 20 interdisciplinary teams of artists, students and creative individuals to create one-day public art projects. Live music, food and family fun.

Riverwalk Open Air Painting: 9 a.m.-noon, Nov. 15, Pavilion

Plein Air painters fan out along the Riverwalk to paint the riverfront scenery. Come observe and purchase a work of art fresh off the easel. Information: 941-924-0818.

Music in the Park: 5-7 p.m., Nov. 15, Mosaic Amphitheater

Bradenton's Have Gun Will Travel performs their original Americana style music that has been heard on stations across the country including National Public Radio. Bring your chairs and blankets. Food and beverage available for purchase.

Reels at Rossi Movie: 6 p.m. Nov. 16, Pavilion

Classic 1978 music documentary directed by Martin Scorsese, "The Last Waltz" (PG) chronicles The Band's final concert with performances by Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell and other legends. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Refreshments for sale.

Water Works Science Fun: 9 a.m.-noon, Nov. 17, Pavilion and Family Fun Zone

Learners of all ages are invited to collect, test and respect water in an investigation of how its properties benefit plants, animals, even the earth itself. Information: Samantha Sprague at 941-746-4131, ext. 31.

The Blues Appetizer Concert: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 30, Pavilion and Family Fun Zone

Tampa-based blues man Selwyn Birchwood Band and Sarasota roots-rockers Kettle of Fish, led by singer-songwriter and guitarist Dana Lawrence, will perform on the site for the Bradenton Blues Festival. Food and beverage are available for purchase.

Bradenton Blues Festival: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 1, Pavilion

The inaugural Bradenton Blues Festival will feature eight acts including Grammy Award nominee Ruthie Foster, Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Neal and super group Southern Hospitality, which is led by Damon Fowler.

Food, drink, art and an array of vendors complement the live music. Tickets are $25 purchased online by Nov. 30, $30 cash at event, $20 with valid student I.D. and $10 for children ages 5-12. Information: 941-681-0708 or

Kid's Create: 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Dec. 8, Great Lawn and Tower Plaza

Children ages 6-16 will learn the tricks and techniques of painting outdoors. Supplies and refreshments are provided for this free activity. To register contact or call 941-746-2862.

Reels at Rossi Movie: 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Pavilion & Event Area

"Arthur Christmas" (G), released last year, is an animated feature that reveals an ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. Santa's son, Arthur Christmas, must complete an urgent mission before Christmas morning. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Refreshments for sale.

Drum Circle: 5-6 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 21-Nov. 18, Regatta Plaza

Participate in interactive drumming for all ages. Prior experience is not necessary and beginners are encouraged.

Yoga in the Park: 8-9 a.m. Saturdays, Oct. 20-Dec. 1, Outdoor Living Rooms

Start your morning off with yoga instructed by Preston Whaley.

Information: 941-840-0013 or

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