This year's DeSoto Heritage Seafood Festival features an expanded area for kids activities, a free trolley and an appearance by Uncle Kracker.
But when you ask festival chairman Gary Krotzendorf what's new and different about this year's event, the first thing he mentions is the admission charge.
For the first time, this year there's a small admission fee -- $2 per day -- to get into the festival..
"We've just been sucking it up for the past four or five years with all the increasing costs," Kortzendorf said. "Everything is going up in price."
So far, Krotzendorf said, he hasn't heard any complaints about the admission charge.
"I'm sure we'll hear some on the day of," he said. "But it's only $2. It's not like we're try to make a killing. We just had to do it."
Part of the money will go to help the Hernando de Soto Historical Society defer costs from the festival. The rest will go to two local charities, Manasota Operation Troop Support (MOTS), which provides a variety of services for military personnel and Feeding Empty Little Tummies (FELT), which provides food for homeless children.
As always, there is a full lineup of live music on two stages, including headliner Uncle Kracker, who's know for such hits as "Follow Me" and "Drift Away."
"We've had country for so long, and Uncle Kracker is still country but he also does rock so that might bring some new people down to the festival," Krotzendorf said.
And there's tons of food. Local restaurants and other vendors will offer everything from traditional Florida seafood dishes to barbecue, so there's going to be something to suit anyone's taste.
The children's area is larger this year, and in a addition to bounce houses and other activities that are strictly for young people, the Kid's Zone will have miniature golf and a few other activities that families can enjoy together.
Parking issues should be eased this year, at least on Saturday, thanks to a free trolley sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority, Realize Bradenton and Manatee County Area Transit.
The trolley will run from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunday, in a loop from the parking garage between Sixth Avenue West and Eight Avenue West, to the corner of Third Avenue and Old Main Street and then to the corner of Ninth Avenue West and 12th Street West. The trolley will allow festival-goers to head over to the Village of the Arts for the monthly art walk and the Bradenton farmers market, which is being moved to the village this Saturday only.
For information, call 941-747-1998 or visit www.desotohq.com.