By ANDREA SHAY
Realize Bradenton brought people from all walks of life together last weekend for its 5th annual Pickin’ Picnic on the Riverwalk, a celebration of food, live music, craft beer and local merchants. Among the events featured were a craft beer tasting, a food truck battle and live music performances. Local vendors were also showcasing their work throughout the event.
Attendees could choose from a variety of local brews including Motorworks Brewing’s award-winning V-Twin Lager on tap and a variety of Darwin Brewing Company’s canned craft beer. Food trucks were also in abundance and had no shortage of customers throughout the event. The Traveling Kitchen, founded in 2012 and owned by Jimmey and Gretta Shelton, won the Pickin’ Picnic’s 2016 Food Truck Battle.
On the stage, performers entertained the crowd all day with live music. This year’s lineup included Sam Robertson, Michael Snayd Band, Lady and Gentleman, The Western Sons, Dropin Pickup and Good Graeff. Some audience members danced and cheered, getting wholeheartedly into the music, while others preferred to relax in the unusually balmy April weather.
Local entrepreneur Austin Kowal, owner of Clothesline Creative screen printing and apparel as well as Solid boutique in Sarasota, was informed about the event through the relative of a friend. “It’s been a great event so far, great people, great weather,” he said.
Kowal offered live screen printing at the event along with a selection of custom-designed shirts from his shop. Graffiti artist Richie Brasil, who paints local murals throughout the area, was also in attendance and created a custom banner for the event.
According to Johnette Isham, the executive director of Realize Bradenton, the Pickin’ Picnic aims to highlight the food, art, music and history of the area while remaining financially accessible to the public. Realize Bradenton puts on “about 75 events per year,” said Isham, “and the only one we charge for is the Blues Festival.” The Pickin’ Picnic “is one of our signature events,” she added, saying that the event “attracts about 3,000 people to the Bradenton Riverwalk.”