BRADENTON — Johnette Isham had been brainstorming for a fun event.
The Realize Bradenton executive director said she wanted to do “a creative cultural event,” something to help build community among “our Cultural Partners Work Group and local businesses.”
Then one day Isham and colleague Kevin Webb dropped into Council’s Bradenton Recreation Parlor, the throwback pool hall and downtown institution that has served killer cheeseburgers for decades.
“Hey, could we have a pool tournament here?” Isham asked proprietor Lawton Smith.
Absolutely, he said.
So come 7 p.m. Saturday night, the first Art Pool at Council’s will be held, including a field off 44 players representing nearly 20 organizations and businesses.
Isham expects the teams to bring at least 80 supporters.
“When Johnette asked what’s our capacity, I said, ‘Listen, we were around before y’all dreamed up that stuff. So I guess we’re all right,’” Smith joked.
“It’s going to be interesting. Could be like Mardi Gras.”
That’s because, besides a trophy for the winning team, there will be awards for the top three most creative costumes.
“I’ve heard we’re going to have ‘Minnesota Fats,’ players in tuxedos, outlandish stuff,” Isham said. “I can’t wait to see what the Manatee Players show up with.”
The Manatee Players join teams from the DeSoto Historical Society, Village of the Arts, Bright House and Fawley Bryant Architects as just some of the eclectic playing field.
“I’ve heard there are going to be a few pool sharks playing, too,” Isham said.
There will be a $10 donation at the door, with proceeds going toward a cooperative ad to draw visitors downtown for more cultural events, she said.
“People want to come and some have never been to Council’s before,” Isham said.
The proprietor is looking forward to it.
“We’ve had parties before, but this is going to be fun,” Smith said.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.