More than 100,000 expected at 4th annual Bradenton Area River Regatta

By Angie Angers, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, February 02, 2018, 7:37 AM EST

World-champion fly boarders and the sound of Formula 2 boats speeding by has brought thousands of spectators to the Manatee River for four years in a row.

  • Regatta organizers think they'll top 100,000 attendees
  • Event projected to bring 8 million to county
  • Regatta is one day only, free of charge

With sunny skies project for Saturday's Bradenton Area River Regatta, organizers think they'll top 100,000 spectators.

The event is projected to bring $8 million to the county as people make their way to area restaurants, hotels, and shops. Even though the event is still new, it's already been dubbed Manatee County's largest spectator event.

"It justifies all that we're doing here and why we're doing it," said organizer Michael Dongilli.  

Green Bridge will be closed to traffic, but open to pedestrians for the duration of the event. It's a top location to watch the regatta, and lets spectators get back and forth to both cities safely.

The event is a partnership between the cities of Bradenton and Palmetto. While the Riverwalk is in Bradenton, a new 90-foot high gondola Ferris Wheel is at the base of the Palmetto side of Green Bridge, as well as numerous other family-friend events.

"It was inbalanced at the first and I think we've massaged that each year and improved that," said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant.

The regatta is one day only and free of charge.