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Thousands watch fireworks in downtown Bradenton

Thousands of people came to downtown Bradenton for a front-row seat at this year’s Fourth of July fireworks. Everyone filled the river front for the annual pyrotechnics.

While the throngs stretched from 26th Street West to past Manatee Memorial Hospital, most people made their way downtown to Barcarrota Boulevard. The friendly crowd included Bradenton City Councilman Gene Gallo and his wife, Pat. Gene was easy to spot, since he wore his favorite Gator orange and blue instead of the traditional red, white and blue.

Mark and Karen Nowadly, with their kids, Quinn, Miles and Eammon, found a prime watching spot on the sea wall, while Barbara and John Bozick spread their blanket on the lawn of the City Centre.

The Old Main Street merchants held their own party before the fireworks, with the band Rye Road keeping everyone dancing.

The restaurants and additional food vendors satisfied any appetite and cold beer and soft drinks helped keep folks cool in the 90-plus degree weather.

The Matten and Pike families spent July 3 making their own patriotic tie-dyed shirts and were standouts on July 4. Rhonda and Noah Pike and Dan, Sean, Hallie and Emma Matten wore their creations for the Old Main Street fun.

Friends Peggy Terry, Susan Schneider and Louise Martin also spent the pre-fireworks time on Old Main Street, decked out in their own red, white and blue.

The huge and happy crowd and particularly spectacular fireworks show made me glad to live in Bradenton.