It may not be the biggest entertainment event of the year on Bradenton's Riverwalk, but it may be the most important.
The Manatee County Pride Festival is scheduled for Saturday. Organizers expect about 1,000 people to attend this year's event, the first of its kind in Manatee County, and they're looking to make it an annual happening.
It's an afternoon of gourmet food trucks, craft beer, local food vendors and live music, but there's a serious mission behind the festivities.
The Manatee Pride Festival is organized by Prism, a Bradenton nonprofit that provides services for young people (ages 13-23) who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or who may be questioning their gender identity or sexual preference.
Among its programs are a youth center that's open every day and peer-led discussion groups.
Everyone's encouraged to the attend Saturday's free event, but one of the ideas is to attract a lot of local LGBT young people to the Riverwalk, so that young people who may be feeling isolated will see that they're part of a community.
All the proceeds from the Manatee County Pride Festival will go to Prism.
Prism is at 3700 26th St. W. Bradenton.
Details: Noon-4 p.m. March 22, Riverwalk Pavilion and event area, 452 Third Ave. W., Bradenton. Admission: Free. Information: 941-357-0111, www.manateepride.com.
-- Marty Clear