Pickin' Picnic draws 3,000 to Bradenton Riverwalk for music, food, craft beers

BRADENTON -- A blanket or a chair was all you needed Saturday to have a good time at the fourth edition of the Pickin' Picnic.

Thousands of people came to the Bradenton Riverwalk in 90 degrees of muggy heat to listen to live bands, drink craft beers and sample a tasty selection of food truck delights.

Yvonne Pinder, 23, and her friend stretched their blanket out complete with cold beers and yummy snacks.

"It's very fun, very relaxing," Pinder said. "It's nice that we can just sit outside and enjoy living in Flori

da with some live music."

Some preferred bringing their own chairs to get comfy.

Ruth Warren, 56, sat in her chair, sipping a beer and listening to the band on stage.

"I love it, the whole vibe: craft beer, food trucks and live music," Warren said.

Warren recently moved to Bradenton from Raleigh, N.C., and said events such Pickin' Picnic remind her of Durham, a former neighboring town.

Hours before hitting the stage, members of headliner Have Gun Will Travel were enjoying the music off stage.

Band member Matt Burke, a Bayshore High School graduate, said the group had been looking forward to playing in their hometown.

"We feel a lot more support playing here than when we are on the road, obviously," Burke said. "We definitely feel a lot more love."

Burke was especially looking forward to his 8-year-old daughter joining him on stage Saturday night, he said. His daughter will have a harmonica solo, which she also did on their album.

Pickin' Picnic is a free event put on annually by Realize Bradenton. Executive Director Johnette Isham, cooling off with gelato from the Da Vinci's Gelato food truck, said she was pleased the turnout equalled last year's estimated crowd of 3,000.

"Realize Bradenton brings people together," Isham said. "So one of the things we do is showcase local talent. So here we are showcasing local bands, local crafts, craft beers and food trucks."

Over near the food trucks, Pete Olszak, 31, was filling his appetite.

"It's all very good and delicious," Olszak said. Before him lay remnants of a stuffed burger from Chefs 2 U and hickory barbecue and Mexican lime-flavored wings from "Ain't no thang but darn good wings."

For him and his family, the food was the draw.

"We always love the food trucks," he said.

With a happy belly, he said he had every intention of joining his wife and daughter to listen to some music.

"I don't even know who's playing, but I always like to listen to live music," he added.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.