With good weather forecast, the third annual Bradenton Area River Regatta’s stage is set for a full Saturday of free family fun, featuring the largest field of competitors yet in both the Formula 2 powerboat and Hydrocross racing events.
“We are excited and delighted for the third annual Bradenton Area River Regatta and ready to thoroughly entertain families on the water, land and in the air,” regatta organizer Mike Fetchko said. “The partnership and support of the cities, county, state and all respective agencies and the U.S. Coast Guard have been outstanding and we are ready for a super Saturday of free family fun.”
Overnight lows on Friday night may mean some cooler weather for the first two events of the day, which are the Saint Stephen’s 5K Falcon Run and One-Mile Fun Run. The Hernando De Soto Historical Society’s Little Anglers Fishing Tournament begins at 8 a.m. on the Palmetto Fishing Pier. Entry forms are still available on the society’s website at desotohq.com.
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The tournament is free and open to children ages 5-12. The first 150 participants will receive a free rod and reel, and representatives from Fish Florida will be on hand for personalized instruction.
While the kids are baiting hooks in Palmetto, runners will be gathering in Bradenton on the corner of 12th Street West and Barcarrota Avenue at the entrance of Pier 22 for an 8:30 a.m. start to both the 5K competitive event and the family-oriented Fun Run. The course will take runners over the Green Bridge into Palmetto and back again.
Visit the Saint Stephen’s website at saintstephens.org for registration through Friday afternoon. Fees are $15 for runners younger than 18 and $20 for 18 and up. Race-day entries also will be accepted for $30.
Green Bridge closures and rules
The Green Bridge will close at 4 a.m. Saturday morning and will reopen around 11 p.m. Saturday night. Regatta spectators can obtain prime viewing spots for the Formula 2 racing on the east side of the river and Hydrocross racing on the west side on a first-come, first-serve basis. Coolers are allowed on the bridge, but according to Bradenton Public Works Director Jim McLellan, “are subject to inspection by law enforcement.”
The regatta is alcohol-free with the exception of the beer garden on the Palmetto side of the river. Water also will be sold on the bridge during the event.
The regatta will offer two 35-seat, open-air trolleys that will make a constant loop over the bridge between Bradenton and Palmetto throughout the event following the conclusion of the 5K run. The bridge will be cleared prior to the fireworks show at 6:45 p.m.
Traffic, parking and road closures
With pleasant weather expected for Saturday’s event, organizers are expecting the third annual event to match or exceed the 2015 event, which drew an estimated 80,000 people throughout the day.
“We encourage motorists who are attending the regatta to carpool or use public transportation,” states a release from the city of Bradenton.
Road closures in Bradenton during the regatta include 12th Street West between Manatee Avenue West to Barcarrota Boulevard, Ninth Street West between Manatee Avenue West and the Green Bridge, and the westbound lane of Third Avenue West between Ninth Street West and U.S. 301. Palmetto will close down Riverside Drive between Eighth and Ninth avenues west.
A limited area for watching the races from boats will be set on the east side of the CSX Railroad bridge. A map of the site can be found at cityofbradenton.com. Drones are prohibited at the regatta. Marine wildlife observation helicopters will be in the air throughout the racing, as well as helicopter tours.
Bradenton Area River Regatta schedule:
8-11 a.m.: Saint Stephen's Falcon 5K River Run - Main Street and Barcarrota Ave. (Front of Pier 22), Bradenton
8:30-10 a.m.: Desoto "Little Anglers" Fishing - Palmetto Pier
10 a.m.-6:45 p.m.: Family Fun Zones - Bradenton & Palmetto
10-11 a.m.: Formula 2 Powerboat Qualifying - Manatee River
11 a.m.-noon: Del Couch Music Education Students - Bradenton Main Stage
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Budweiser Clydesdales Harnessing - Green Bridge Base Bradenton
11a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Formula 2 Powerboat Div. 2 Races - Manatee River
11 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: Soul R Coaster Concert - Palmetto Main Stage
Noon-1 p.m.: Crystal Eyes Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
12:15-12:30 p.m.: Budweiser Clydesdales Green Bridge March - Bradenton to Palmetto
12:30-3:30 p.m.: Budweiser Clydesdales Meet & Greet - Green Bridge Base Palmetto
12:30-2 p.m.: HydroXross Qualifying Mayor's Cup - Manatee River
1-2 p.m.: Under the Moon Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
1:30-3:45 p.m.: Zebron and James Concert - Palmetto Main Stage
2-2:30 p.m.: Matt Walden Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
2-4:15 p.m.: Powerboat Div. 1 Races - Manatee River
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Andy Pursell Band Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
3:30-4 p.m.: Paige Merriman Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
4-4:45 p.m.: Soul Circus Cowboys Concert - Palmetto Main Stage
4-4:45 p.m.: Sam Woolf Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
5-6:45 p.m.: ZBTB-Zac Brown Tribute Band Concert - Palmetto Main Stage
5-6:45 p.m.: Nashville Yacht Club Band Concert - Bradenton Main Stage
6:45 p.m.: Zambelli Fireworks Spectacular - Manatee River
7-10 p.m.: Main Street Bradenton Awards - Front of O'bricks, 427 12th Street W., Bradenton
Continuous shows all day: Disc-Connected K9's - Manatee Riverwalk Great Lawn
Continuous shows all day: XPOGO Stunt Show - Palmetto-West Side Green Bridge
Continuous shows all day: BMX Stunt Show - Manatee Riverwalk Amphitheater