Palmetto continues to supplant Bradenton as the go-to place for major events. First, Palmetto became the site for the very popular DeSoto Seafood Festival in April, which abandoned downtown Bradenton after three decades.
The Hernando De Soto Historical Society moved the festival north this year because of crowds at an exhibit at the municipal auditorium and other considerations.
It's clear Bradenton has lost an advantage over Palmetto. The remarkable improvements at Sutton Park -- and the more expansive parking -- have given Palmetto a strong hand at competing with Bradenton's Riverwalk. And the rental cost is considerably cheaper.
Taste of Manatee organizers this week announced the northern move across the Manatee River for November's event, blaming the loss of a huge parking ground due to apartment construction and the large increase in Riverwalk fees -- from the previous $25 a day to $2,000.
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That pays for garbage collection, police protection and other expenses that taxpayers should not bear.
Palmetto, on the other hand, only charges $150 a day, so those savings -- and Taste of Manatee is a Rotary Club of West Bradenton fund-raiser for charities and nonprofits -- are a big deal.
Bradenton lost a large open field for parking when the luxury apartment complex began rising this year. But is $2,000 a day reasonable? Aren't the benefits worth greater consideration?
Certainly, a city must recoup some of the expenses but leaders also must invest in positive event branding. Bradenton's loss is Palmetto's gain.