BY: NICOLE MISKOVIC
As the holiday season quickly approaches, everyone in Bradenton is gearing up in
anticipation of the festivities. Whether they’re at-home traditions for the family, or
community-wide events that celebrate our city, this is the time of year that brings
us all together.
Not only is this part of Realize Bradenton’s mission, it’s also this community non-profit’s vision for what they have in store as 2021 comes to a close. From the return of
the Saturday Market, which started in October, to its culminating event of the year
in December, the Bradenton Blues Festival, this community-oriented organization
has planned countless opportunities to engage all walks of life this coming season
Loving Our City
Kicking off November with a flavorful start, Realize Bradenton will be releasing its
second book on November 1. Titled “Tales from the Table: Flavor, Family, and Friends,”
the story highlights 10 local families and friend groups and tells the stories about recipes
that were passed down to them. Born from the recognition that food brings people
together and that there is something universal about food, recipes and cooking, the
initiative aims to build bridges in the community during the holiday season and beyond.
The book will contain interactive elements as well, with learning activities that go with each recipe throughout. Designed by a local fourth grade teacher, these activities will bring engagement and learning into the kitchen for our community’s youth. The book will be available on Realize Bradenton’s website (www.realizebradenton.com) as well as at the
Downtown Bradenton Public Market on Saturdays.
Though this Public Market might sound new, it’s actually the rebranded name for the former Farmer’s Market which launched at the first market of the season on October 2. The change came from the fact that a big part of the market has evolved into promoting local entrepreneurs in addition to our local farmers. The goal of this rebrand is to expand its perception so the community appreciates the value it brings to local entrepreneurs as well.
Finally, the organization’s “Love This City” campaign kicks off November 13 at the Public Market. Lasting the rest of the year until May 2022, this will be the time to celebrate, reimagine and rediscover downtown Bradenton. The initiative consists of countless activities, like free family-friendly scavenger hunts and Bradenton-themed Art Walks, that bring together the many districts of downtown, including the Village of the Arts. Learn more about this initiative on the organization’s website (www.realizebradenton.com/LovethisCity)
A Blues Fest to Remember
Though it’s a community favorite every year, this year’s Blues Fest from Dec. 3-5 will be one for the books, as 2021 marks the 10-year anniversary of this soulful event. It starts with a stellar lineup of incredible musicians like Dawn Tyler Watson, James Armstrong, Jimmy Carpenter and Bernard Allison.
Next, the weekend-long event will showcase local arts vendors like Alfredo Garcia, this year’s Blues Fest artist, who will be selling their work at the venue. So not only will guests have music, they’ll also be able to shop and support the Bradenton arts community.
Making this exciting event more than just a festival, Cottonmouth Soul Kitchen will be hosting after parties on Friday and Saturday evening for those who want to keep the party going. Realize Bradenton is also partnering with Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille to coordinate the Bradenton Blues Brunch, a ticketed event on Sunday Dec. 5 at 11am. Hosted at LECOM Park for the second year, the festival will follow whatever the CDC guidelines are in place at the time of the event. The venue will offer plenty of room to spread out too, with seats available on the field and in the stands.
Even those who can’t make the event can still purchase commemorative tumblers and t-shirts with Alfredo Garcia’s unique design online. Tickets for this weekend of music and fun, as well as the Blues Brunch, are currently on sale on the Blues Fest website