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Enjoy The Blues

Blues Fest among Bradenton's weekend highlights.

This weekend in downtown Bradenton is primarily about the blues, but not in a sad way.

It’s the Bradenton Blues Fest and it kicks off with a teaser on Friday followed by two events on Saturday.

Even though Saturday’s main event is happening on Riverwalk, we still like the idea of closing down Old Main Street on Saturday evening to coincide with the party at the park. That’s because there is easy access and bar-hopping opportunities at places we love like Old Main Pub, McCabe’s Irish Pub, Lost Kangaroo, O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar, Cork’s Cigar Bar and Distillery Tavern.

And Old Main Street is where you’ll find plenty of drinks (The ‘Roo itself has more than 170 varieties of beer), cigars (Cork’s has brands like Cusano, Oliva, Romeo y Julieta) and food (Distlillery serves one of the best brick oven pizzas in town), even though all the music is confined to Riverwalk.

Old Main Street between Manatee and Third avenues closes at 3 p.m. to vehicles and is expected to remain closed until the bars close at around 2:30 a.m. in order to handle the crowds coming from Riverwalk.

More info on what’s happening at Riverwalk in the bullets below.

Around Bradenton this weekend:

· Blues Fest 2012 is happening Saturday, but event organizer Realize Bradenton is offering a teaser event from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday at Riverwalk with live music from Selwyn Birchwood Band and Kettle of Fish. There will be refreshments. That concert is free; Admission to the park on Saturday will be $30 and you can buy those tickets at Friday’s event. The real party is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a lineup of various musicians and bands, food and beverages (that includes adult beverages) and more. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate Saturday. Click here for information and to order tickets online.

· “Fireball Friday” at In Cahoots Pub, 5917 Manatee Ave. W. Suite 509, starts at 8 p.m. with the weekly pool tournament and drink specials including Fireball Cinnamon Whisky shots for $3 and pumpkin martinis for $5. Test your pipes at karaoke from 9:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. with DJ Christina.

Parmalee will perform at Joyland Country Music Nightclub Friday with proceeds going to make this an extra special Christmas for local military spouses and their children. Club owner Rick Lambert decided that Joyland and all of their customers could do something special to show support to local troops’ families. Joyland is partnering with Manasota Operation Troop Support  to make Christmas special for local families whose spouses are on deployment to the Middle East. Together they will work to fill as many military family wishes as possible this year. Last year MOTS served over 50 active military families in our area with meals and gifts.

· Cassie Taylor & The Soul Cavalry Band is performing at Ace’s Lounge, 4343 Palma Sola Blvd., Friday. The show starts at 9 p.m. According to their website, Cassie and her band blend music, theater, fashion and modeling into one amazing, artsy show. She’s the daughter of famous bluesman Otis Taylor and she spent seven years in his band, so music is in her blood. There is a $10 cover for this show.

· The Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on Old Main Street and Cork’s Cigar Bar, 424 Old Main St., opens at 11 a.m. with $5 Bloody Marys and Mimosas and specials on red and white Sangria. There’s college football on the televisions inside along with fine cigars and more than 50 beers. If you’re looking for something in the evening, come back at 10 p.m. for DJ Nite.

· Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill, 6218 Cortez Rd., has NFL Sunday Ticket and plenty of televisions to watch the games. Free Jell-O shots at halftime, spin the big wheel for drinks and other prizes, sign-the-square game for a chance to win Clancy's gift cards and the fourth-quarter grand prize! Mix and match six domestic beers in a $10 bucket. Ask your bartender about this Sunday’s special from the kitchen. Live music on the “Freaky Tiki” from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Sunday.

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