Bradenton celebrates Riverwalk's 1st birthday with 2-day party

jtate@bradenton.comOctober 17, 2013 

BRADENTON -- The Riverwalk turns 1 year old Friday, and the two-day celebration will include musical performances, food trucks and a huge birthday cake.

Realize Bradenton and the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority worked closely with the city to wish the Riverwalk a happy birthday.

Johnette Isham, director of Realize Bradenton, says they are proud to kick off the first Riverwalk birthday with a big party.

"When music and nature are brought together with old and new friends at two back-to-back free celebrations -- there is almost nothing better," said Isham.

Realize Bradenton is an economic development organization that works to promote downtown to attract visitors, residents and businesses.

The DDA spearheaded the redevelopment of the downtown areas and works with community redevelopment agencies.

The two-day birthday bash begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with Music in the Park, an event featuring local musical talent.

Saturday's festivities continue at 4 p.m. at the Pickin' Picnic.

On both days, food and beverage will be available for purchase.

Mayor Wayne Poston, who will attend both days,

says he's excited to celebrate that residents' dreams of a safe, attractive Riverwalk came true.

"Everyone is there together and it's exactly what you guys wanted to happen," said Poston. "It is everyone's park."

The success of the Riverwalk has much to do with the venue promoting diversity and inclusion, Poston noted.

Future plans for the Riverwalk include expanding it to the east for at least another 1 1/2 miles.

Dave Gustafson, director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, said that the extension is not going to happen right away, but it is on the city's and DDA radar.

"Imagine a three-mile long Riverwalk," Gustafson said.

He, too, is ready to celebrate for two days.

"Doesn't everyone like to celebrate their birthday for more than one day?" said Gustafson. "If we could, we would have celebrated three days."

For more information on the event, visit RealizeBradenton.com.

Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.

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