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Photo Gallery | 'Music in Park' celebrates new Riverwalk Park

Bradenton, Florida -- Decades in the making, the new Bradenton Riverwalk is finally a reality. The 1.5-mile long park along the beautiful Manatee River recently underwent a $6.2 million renovation adding new amenities including a state-of-the-art skateboard park, fishing pier, volleyball courts, interactive splash fountain, interactive public art, covered pavilions and a kayak launch. 

To celebrate the opening, Realize Bradenton is presenting "Music in the Park," a family friendly, four-concert series on Thursday evenings, Oct. 25 through Nov. 15, from 5 - 7 p.m., at the Riverfront Pavilion and Mosaic Amphitheater located at 452 Third Avenue W. in Bradenton. 

Food and beverages will be available for sale and concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

"We welcome people to come and watch the sun set over the Manatee River while listening to inspired music," says Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. "Bring the kids, friends and family to enjoy Florida's fabulous fall weather."

The series kicks off Oct. 25, 5 - 7 p.m., with the Sarasota Pops Orchestra. Founded in 1975 with just five members, the Sarasota Pops has blossomed into a 60-piece orchestra comprised of talented and dedicated musicians from all walks of life. The program will include a tribute to All Saints Day and All Hallows Eve, as well as previews of its upcoming celebration of "Wedding Season," with vocalist Colton Cason crooning some of the favorites of "Ole Blue Eyes," Frank Sinatra.

As an added attraction, artists and artisans from Bradenton's Village of the Arts will be at the event, showcasing and selling jewelry, fashions, paintings, mosaics, food, quilts and folk art, 4 - 8 p.m.

The concert series continues on Nov. 1, 5 - 7 p.m., with Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones performing in the Mosaic Amphitheater. Deming's swinging jump blues style has earned him great respect in the blues world, where he has backed such notables as Chicago Pete, Cannonball vocalist Alberta Adams, Black Tops Johnnie Dyer, WC Handy award-winner Johnny Yard Dog Jones and the legendary Lazy Lester. Deming will be joined by award-winning blues harmonica player Dennis Gruenling. Both musicians have recently released new CDs.

On Nov. 8, from 5 - 7 p.m., the Jake Castro Band takes the stage of the Mosaic Amphitheater. Eleven-year-old Jake Castro began playing guitar six years ago and is already a sensation. He recently opened for Collective Soul at the Mahaffey Theater, and he and his band will be competing later this fall for a spot on America's Got Talent. The band covers classic rock n' roll, blues and Latin music from the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

The concert series concludes on Nov. 15, 5 - 7 p.m., with Have Gun Will Travel, an alternative folk rock band heard regularly on NPR and national television. They'll be enlivening the Mosaic Amphitheater with their narrative songs drawing on life themes and reflecting their wide-ranging influences of Americana, country music, folk and punk rock. 

Grand opening activities will continue on the Bradenton Riverwalk throughout the months of November and December. The grand finale musical event is the Bradenton Blues Festival on Saturday, Dec. 1. Tickets are available online at www.BradentonBluesFestival.org. For more information about Bradenton Riverwalk and the Grand Opening activities, visit www.realizebradenton.com.

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