Island Events

by | Jul 1, 2019 | Insider's Guide | 0 comments

The Bradenton Area River Regatta February
The Bradenton Area will host the third annual Formula 2 (F-2) powerboat regatta along the Manatee River. Held on both sides of the River on Bradenton’s Riverwalk and downtown Palmetto, the F-2 tunnel boats explode from 0-100/mph in less than four seconds and hit four-plus G’s. Spectators won’t want to miss the heart-stopping frenzy to the finish! On shore spectators will be holding their breath for what happens next between the Powerboat Superleague, HydroDrag jet skiers, the mind-blowing Extreme Pogo stunts and the 15-minute, nonstop, heart-pounding performance of Zambelli fireworks

Major League Soccer Preseason Tournament February
Watch some of your favorite Major League Soccer teams like New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC, DC United and many international teams go head to head in this preseason tournament at IMG Academy in Bradenton.

Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival February
This annual festival in the Village of Cortez celebrates Florida flavor with a two-day seaside event featuring Florida seafood, nautical arts and crafts, educational and entertaining museum exhibits and live music.

ArtSlam, Beach Bistro St. Patrick’s Day Parade March
Working in teams artists, sculptors, dancers, poets, painters, designers, photographers, musicians, videographers, and other creative individuals will create temporary, one-day, works of public art and performance. Beach Bistro St. Patrick’s Day Paradeusually features cyclists, bag-piers, live animals, and a rowdy bunch of green clad irish folks.

Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training March
Our city exudes a friendly Southern charm, and our surrounding islands welcome baseball fans of all ages at Lecom Field. Every March for more than 40 years, a very popular rite of spring has taken place here. As residents put away their winter sweaters and spring moves into high gear, the Pittsburgh Pirates arrive in Bradenton to play their spring training games. The schedule includes more than 30 games, about 15 of which are home. Season highlights include home games against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.

DeSoto Heritage Seafood Festival March
Held along the Manatee River in Downtown Bradenton, this family-friendly, three-day event puts local chefs and local ingredients on display. A community celebration of heritage along with a shared devotion to good eating and live music.

Spring Fest, Annual Sandbar Easter Egg Hunt March/April

Spring Fest has been hosted by the Anna Maria Island Art League for over 28 years. In addition to arts and crafts, Spring Fest offers live music and fabulous food vendors. This event takes place in the Holmes Beach city field located at 5901 Marina Drive. At the Annual Easter Egg Hunt kids search for eggs on the beach, then everyone joins in on the Easter parade down Pine Avenue for kid games, face painting, and refreshments provided by the Sandbar.

Sarasota Film Festival April

Each year in nearby Sarasota and is a popular 10-day event featuring local films from every genre and widely considered to be the best film festival in the state. Tickets are just $15 for the general public with discounts for students and educational administrators. Children under 12 can attend the Sarasota Film Festival youth event for free. Special screening prices may be required for certain events.

Blues, Brews & BBQs April

Enticing cuisine arrives on Bridge Street to serve up an eclectic blend of outdoor music, drinks and delicious food, catered for the whole family to enjoy. Think finger-licking ribs, pulled pork and barbeque-themed pizzas with a stellar line-up of musicians playing in the background. A full liquor bar will also be on hand, including non-alcoholic options for the kids.

Pickin Picnic May
A fun, family friendly event on downtown Bradenton’s Riverwalk that showcases local music, craft beer and food trucks. Watch as the food trucks go head to head in a food truck war in which a “secret” ingredient is given to all food trucks and they have 15 minutes to develop a featured dish. Local celebrities judge the dishes from these wars.

Annual Firecracker 5K Run July

Dust off your sneakers and head over to Longboat Key where you run a flat 3.1-mile course. There are water stations throughout the course to keep you hydrated.

Fourth of July Festivities July

The festivities kick off on the evening of July 3rd at The BeachHouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach with their Fireworks Extravaganza. Watch the amazing fireworks light up the night sky with beautiful bursts of colors. Enjoy this wonderful show at no cost from the white sandy beaches, a boat or even from the restaurant with their VIP packages available.

The party starts right back off, bright and early in the morning, with the Privateers’ Island Parade on July 4th, starting from Coquina Beach. Canons will fire, beads and candies will be flying and a good time will be had by all at the longest parade on an Island! The parade will go through the entire Island and will move on through to the Bayfront Park on the Northern end of the Island.

On the evening of the 4th, you won’t want to miss the Grand Finale at The Sandbar Restaurant, located on the Northern end of Anna Maria Island. With the weather permitting, the sky will be painted with bright bursts of colors to celebrate the founding of our great nation. Both of the firework events are free of cost, family friendly and open to the public—all you need is a blanket, beach towel or beach chairs to enjoy the show.

Australian Rules football USA FL October
Serving the Australian football community in the U.S., with 40 plus team and over 1200 Athletes, this is a sporting event like no other. Held at Premier Sports Campus, you will not want to miss these athletes going head to head at a high intensity.

Fall Festival, Bayfest October

There’s an annual Fall Festivalduring the last week of October, where kids don their Halloween best and parade, play and enter a costume contest. There’s also a Halloween-inspired Trail of Treats to offer a safe way for children to Trick or Treat throughout the island.

But one of the island’s most renowned and longest-running music, craft and food festivals is Bayfest. This year will see Pine Avenue transform into a magical showcase of the local arts and craft vendors. The best part? It’s completely free! Throw in a Kids Zone and an antique car display, some sweet melodies and even sweeter food – and you’ve found the perfect recipe for a fantastic family day out.

Symphony on the Sand, Sandblast, Artshop, Outdoor Movie and Tree Lighting on Bridge Street November
Three different music styles. Three great days! Symphony on the Sand offers the opportunity to enjoy the award winning Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra (a 45-piece orchestra) while watching the sun set on Anna Maria Island and feasting on delicacies from the top restaurants in the area. Held in conjunction with Symphony on the Sand, for those looking for some friendly competition or just another way to enjoy the beach, Sandblastis annual Sand-sculpting competition that pits teams sponsored by local businesses against each other along the white sand of Coquina Beach. Don’t forget ArtsHop, showcasing all the area’s most creative art work. Arts Hop is an annual three-day event celebrating a diverse selection of local arts, theatre shows, crafts, music and food. Make sure to pin down a trip during one of its two November weekends if art walks and theatre entertainment quench your cultural thirst. Also check out the Outdoor Movie and Tree Lighting on Bridge Street every year!

Bradenton Blues Festival December
There is always a reason to come to the Bradenton area in December. (Hey, it’s warm here.) But the number one reason to visit that time of year is the Bradenton Blues Festival. This annual festival features a lineup of top blues artists from around the county and all the food, drink, art and vendors you can stomach on the beautiful Manatee River.

AMI Privateers Annual Christmas Parade, Pine Avenue Holiday Walk December

Get in the holiday spirit—Island style—with this fantastic family event! Where else can you ring in the holidays with a pirate invasion? The parade will start on the Northern end of Anna Maria Island at the Bay Front Park. The parade will travel South and will trail through all three cities before coming to a stop at the Coquina Beach. More fun awaits here, where you will find Santa and free hot dogs and sodas for the kids as well as more holiday fun! Pine Avenue Holiday Walk offers carolers along with refreshments provided by Pine Avenue businesses.

Christmas on Bridge Street December

Did you know that it snows on Anna Maria Island? For the fun filled day of holiday spirit by attending Christmas on Bridge Street. This historical street will transform into a winter wonderland. Take a picture in front of the Island’s tallest Christmas tree, make your own hot chocolate concoction, enjoy live holiday music from local artists, visit with Santa and even experience snow on the Island!