BRADENTON -- Relocating to Riverwalk paid off.
While past years found vendors lined along Barcarrota Boulevard and Old Main Street, this weekend's 26th annual Taste of Manatee took place at Bradenton's highly popular new waterfront park.
The event featured many
of the most acclaimed restaurants in Manatee County as well as popular area music acts.
Presented by the Rotary Club of West Bradenton and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association while benefitting numerous local charities, the festival had a record-breaking year with an estimated 12,000-15,000 people attending.
"Sales were about double what they normally are," said Beth Browning, president of the West Bradenton Rotary.
"The Riverwalk is totally awesome."
People happily waited in line to nosh on Ocean Harvest's fish tacos, Blue Marlin's stone crab macaroni and cheese (until it sold out both days), YachtSea Grille's Polynesian pork shank and more delicious dishes from other Bradenton area businesses.
"Because of it being on Riverwalk, we had a better restaurant turnout," Browning said.
"More were willing to come down because all of the excitement about Riverwalk."
She also attributed the success of this year's Taste of Manatee to the hard work of numerous club members and volunteers.
And, yes, Browning expects Taste of Manatee will return to Riverwalk in 2013.
ArtSlam, also previously held on Old Main Street, takes place throughout Riverwalk on Saturday.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057.Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.