Riverwalk Regatta Set To Make Waves



City officials, sponsors and festival organizers and participants assembled at Pier 22 in Bradenton yesterday morning to celebrate the upcoming Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta, uniting Bradenton and Palmetto with a series of events on the Bradenton Riverwalk, through the water and across Green Bridge. Featuring plans for F-2 powerboat racing and jet-ski racing from HydroCross, fireworks from Zambelli International and a concert with headliner Jefferson Starship, the prevailing feeling was one of anticipation, and relief at the approaching finish line.

“Being a Manatee County resident, it makes me hometown proud,” said Michael Young of HydroCross, which will bring over 35 racers to the event, many local, along with several stunt riders. Performing similar aquatic acrobatics will be flyboarders, matched on land by the leaps and flips of the Xpogo extreme pogo stickers.

For the hungry, twelve restaurants will be providing refreshments, including Pier 22 and Anna Maria Oyster Bar, whose president, John Horne, assured the crowd the festival is “keeping it local.”

With a whole host of other events planned for both the engaged and spectator alike, including a BMX stunt show, a 5k fun run and a FunZone for kids, festival organizers hope to mobilize the entire area into one mass of revelry, and according to some they’ve already begun.

“I look around and I’m just shocked at the vision – where it started and where it ended up,” said Dave Gustafson, executive director of the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority. “The amount of energy that the community has put into this event just boggles the mind.”

The Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta hits shores Saturday, Feb. 7.

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