BRADENTON -- Hundreds came out to the Riverwalk on Saturday to savor what Manatee County's local eateries have to offer and to listen to local talent.
Al and Vicky Packwood were among the regulars at the 26th Annual Taste of Manatee.
"We eat out a lot, so we use this event as a guide," he said.
The couple, married 51 years, are big fans of the event, calling it a great way to spend a Saturday or even the whole weekend.
"We come for the music too, there's a good mix of blues and rock," Al Packwood said.
The couple love the new location for Taste of Manatee.
"The Riverwalk is useful," Packwood said. "It's easier to get to."
The two-day celebration will continue on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with plenty more food and music for those who go.
"It is certainly what Bradenton should become known for," he said.
The event featured new vendors this year, to the Packwoods' delight.
"Seems to be good for the vendors themselves," Al Packwood said. "It's good exposure for them."
Renaissance on the 9th was among the first-time vendors at this year's Taste of Manatee.
"A lot of people that don't know who we are or what we do," said Executive Chief David Meador.
Meador hopes the event will draw exposure to the bistro, which is open Monday through Friday, as well as its banquet facility, which holds 300 people.
"We also do catering," Meador said. "All kinds of events -- from small parties to corporate events and bar mitzvahs."
Anne Morrison, of Bradenton, had just had her first taste at Saturday's event.
"I have never been to that restaurant before, it was good," Morrison said. "It was a lot of food, I was surprised."
Morrison was enjoying a drink in the Tiki Tent, which was complete with a flat screen television for people to enjoy the football games throughout the day.
"It's a great event because it doesn't cost you anything to enter," Morrison said.
She also sat waiting for the live music to begin after rain had caused a delay.
"The rain kind of put a damper on things," Morrison said. "Hopefully it will be better (Sunday)."
Christy McCoy had her hands full as she had a taste.
"I got some pumpkin bread for later," McCoy said. "I also got some of the green goddess shrimp from the Riverhouse Reef and Grill."
McCoy, of Bradenton, had a cold beer in hand as she made her rounds enjoying the food.
"It's delicious, I came last year," McCoy said. "It's a great way to sample all the local restaurants."
Jessica De Leon, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.