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Bradenton – The seventh annual all free Bradenton Area River Regatta returns to action on the Manatee River Feb. 12.

After a year’s absence due to COVID concerns early in the pandemic, the 2021 Regatta was postponed in 2020 out of an abundance of caution and uncertainty at the time. The 2022 Regatta is sure to break its standing record of being the largest signature spectator event in the history of Manatee County.

Drawing an average of 100,000 spectators from across Florida, the United States and abroad, this year’s Regatta will feature some brand new entertainment, as well as all the family favorites.

Entertainment will be featured on both sides of the Manatee River in the city of Palmetto and along Bradenton’s Riverwalk.

This year’s featured musical headliners are generating a lot of excitement with the world’s premier ABBA tribute band, “Almost Abba,” headlining the big stage in Bradenton at 5:30 p.m.

Opening for Almost ABBA will be the American Made Band at 3 p.m. followed by an entertaining Blues Brothers Tribute you don’t want to miss at 4:15 p.m.

Across the Manatee River in Palmetto, the Soul Circus Cowboys take the big stage at 3:30 p.m. followed by headliner Andy Pursell Band at 5:30 p.m. to put on a wild country concert with a rock twist.

Music and entertainment will be ongoing throughout the day with the premier Powerboat Super League’s Formula-2 racing series taking to the Manatee River around 10:30 a.m. for preliminary test runs.

Qualifications and racing will continue throughout the day with the Formula-2 finals set for 4 p.m.

But the racing action doesn’t end there. This year’s Regatta features the premier of the SST-45 boats, referred to as “Formula lights,” with a final scheduled for 5 p.m.

Plenty of food trucks will be on hand and land activities on both sides of the river kick off at 10 a.m. Don’t forget to get the little ones in on some fishing action with the annual DeSoto Little Anglers Fishing Tourney at 8:30 a.m. at the Palmetto Pier.

Zambelli Fireworks returns to end the annual Regatta in style with their signature and always powerful fireworks conclusion.

“The Bradenton Area River Regatta is returning to our beautiful shorelines in 2022, and we cannot be more excited,” said Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant. “The postponement of the event earlier this year left a definite void and the anticipation is already building for the 2022 event.”

The cities gave swift approval for the Regatta’s return earlier this year and after the pandemic closed local businesses early on, millions of dollars of economic impact infused into the downtown areas will be a welcome relief.

“We are so happy for the return of the fabulous Bradenton Area River Regatta,” said Bradenton Mayor Gene Brown. “It has been a long, difficult year and the return of this prestigious event has everyone looking forward to the February 2022 event.”

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said the economic impact of the Regatta is close to $10 million.

“Our seventh Regatta is shaping up to be our best event to date, and we cannot wait to begin welcoming visitors back for all the action,” Falcione said.

The annual Regatta, founded and organized by ISM USA first launched in 2015.

“It is with deep appreciation to the overall leadership of Manatee County and the cities of Palmetto and Bradenton that we enthusiastically look forward to the ‘Return of the Regatta,'” said Mike Fetchko, ISM USA president.

Visit bradentonarearegatta.com for a full schedule and more information.

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By Manatee Herald

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