Details are coming together for the third annual Bradenton Area River Regatta scheduled for Feb. 4, but organizers promise more to come than what’s already on the schedule for a busy day in the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto and on the Manatee River.
“We are adding more stuff up to the minute,” Mike Fetchko, event organizer and president of Pittsburgh-based Integrated Strategic Marketing USA LLC.
In the meantime, regatta regulars are set to return to Bradenton and Palmetto, including the Powerboat Super League Formula 2 events, XPOGO, XHydro Cross Jet Skis and Disc Connect K9 show.
“The Palmetto pier in particular will be very active this year,” Fetchko said. “Activities on both sides of the Manatee River will be in full force.”
Organizers are planning a Jan. 19 press conference to announce the final details, but they have signed ZBTB, considered to be the premier Zac Brown tribute band, to headline in Palmetto. With much of the Florida Department of Transportation multimodal trail done on the east and west sides of the Green Bridge, Fetchko said the stage will be moved closer to the bridge this year.
“People will be able to see the show from the bridge and the pier, and it will bring everyone to a much better centralized location where all the activities will be,” Fetchko said.
The Nashville Yacht Club, which includes NBC’s “The Voice” contestant Cody Below, will headline the Bradenton concert. More music throughout the day is being planned, and Fetchko’s ISM USA is negotiationing with the popular Tampa country band Soul Circus Cowboys as one of several more potential musical acts.
But the main event features the return of the Powerboat Super League series opener.
“F2 has so many drivers that want to come to this event,” Fetchko said. “I’m glad I’m not the one that has to pick from them. F2 has their own selection committee for this event, so you know it will bring the best drivers in the country for this signature event.”
We are going to be ready and we are coming.
Mike Fetchko, Bradenton Area River Regatta organizer
Permits have not been finalized, but Fetchko said the process is coming together, and all permits should be in hand after the first of the year. Included in those permits will be the closure of the Green Bridge for much of the day Feb. 4, beginning before the 5K run and until after the fireworks.
“We are working with a whole new group this year, and they are doing a fabulous job,” he said. “We are working with a new environmental team and have engaged the folks who do races all over the Southeast, including the big cigar boat races on July 4 at Lido Beach. Save the Manatees and others will still be involved, but we have a very strong environmental team.”
The event has picked up a stronger Tampa Bay area media partnership with 10 News and radio stations Q105 and 99.5 QYK coming on board with SRQ Media and the Bradenton Herald.
Fetchko said he expects Spectrum, formerly Bright House Networks, to continue to be the event’s cable network partner. Much of the event will be similar to last year, which drew a crowd far less than the estimated 80,000 people in 2015. Last year’s cold, rainy weather made conditions tough for everyone, but thousands still came.
Rain or shine, “we are going to be ready, and we are coming,” Fetchko said.
One change this year will be the transportation from Bradenton to Palmetto over the Green Bridge. Fetchko said two Sarasota open-air trolleys, with a capacity to seat 35 people, will make loops between the two cities throughout the course of the day. The event will feature plenty of food, as most vendors are returning despite a poor showing during the rainy 2016 event.
The Hernando de Soto Historical Society is an active partner with the regatta and will return its “Little Angler” fishing tournament on the Palmetto fishing pier. Polls and bait are provided to all children and this year, the De Soto queen and princess will hand out the awards.
Zambelli Fireworks returns for a major regatta close-out show, and the awards ceremony returns to Old Main Street in Bradenton from 7 to 10 p.m.
For more details and event information, visit bradentonarearegatta.com.
Tentative Bradenton Area River Regatta schedule
7-10 a.m. Desoto “Little Anglers” Fishing on the Palmetto fishing pier
8-11 a.m. Saint Stephen’s Falcon 5K River Run, starts in front of Pier 22 at the end of Old Main Street
10 a.m.-6:45 p.m. Family Fun Zones in both Bradenton and Palmetto
10-11 a.m. Formula 2 Powerboat qualifying
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Formula 2 Powerboat Division 2 races
12:30-2 p.m. Hydro Xcross qualifying Mayor’s Cup
2-4:15 p.m. Powerboat Division 1 races
5-6:45 p.m. Zac Brown Tribute Band in Palmetto near the Green Bridge
5-6:45 p.m. Nashville Yacht Club Band performs at the Bradenton Riverwalk
6:45 p.m. Zambelli Fireworks show
7-10 p.m. Main Street Bradenton awards ceremony
Continuous throughout the day, XPOGO Stunt Show, Palmetto
BMX at the Bradenton Riverwalk amphitheater
Disc Connected K9’s at the Bradenton Riverwalk