Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Grandkids Leave, Eldo and Sparky Cope....

Sarasota, FL       High:  82      Low:  62

The families left today, their spring break over, their faces and arms peeling from the nice week of sunshine and good weather. They had rain just one day out of six, so that was a great week for them. They loved Sarasota, just as we do, and they managed to cram a lot into their week--Siesta Key Beach, the drum circle, shopping, sampling local restaurants, and soaking up the sun, enjoying Sun 'n' Fun's family activities. Sparky and Eldy decided to stay busy today, so as to not think too much about missing the kids.

Off to the  Florida Wine Fest 2013 in Lakeland Ranch, Sarasota. It's a combination balloon fest and wine celebration to raise money for children's charities. There are multiple venues all over town for the Wine Fest and some very pricey dinners with wine and gourmet foods, but Sparky and Eldo kept it simple. Fifteen dollars for general admission to see both the launch, eat at some food trucks, check out a few vendors and later this evening, attend the balloon glow with about twenty balloons in attendance.

Sparky was up with the help of an alarm. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate, too much wind so the launch was cancelled. Phooey! And there were only half as many balloons there. Not sure why, but perhaps the threat of rain and a little too much wind kept the rest of the balloon pilots away. So we left this morning and headed over to the Bradenton Seafood Festival near the Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton.

Sparky LOVES food festivals! (Naturally, she's ALWAYS thinking about where her next meal is coming from, laughs E.) But not when you have to buy TICKETS for your food. It's really hard to make the tickets come out right, to know exactly how many tickets you need to purchase for food and drink.  It's probably a good bet that many people don't use all their tickets as they have the same problem, so the sponsors of the festival make more money that way. So we didn't purchase tickets, but just walked through the festival, with Sparky's mouth watering at every turn. There was some great entertainment, too, and PLENTY of seafood choices. Sparky rethought purchasing tickets, but kept going. She really wanted to see the Riverwalk.

The Bradenton Riverwalk is very beautiful and well done. There are some AWESOME places for families along the way. An amazing playground! The colors! The activities! Sparky wanted to go play!

A cool skate park for the kids......

Wonderful places to stop and get some shade from the hot Florida sun....

Big, four seater swings along the walk to stop, swing, and enjoy the view of the Manatee River...

Cool things for kids to do...Like place yourself between two big aural bells and hear some awesome echoes....

Or look through the rotational binocular pole that has aural earphones to hear the sounds better out in the channel...no electronics, just naturally amplified sound through the bells at the top of the tower.

There are train tracks right through the river walk and as a train came through, you would have thought this was the event of the century. Moms called their kids to come and watch the train pass by. Guess it was just because the train tracks cross the Riverwalk and it was very close to everyone.
"Da train, da train, boss!"
There was a nice little water park for kids to play in.....

What a great place for kids and adults alike! Bradenton Riverwalk, check it out!

We came back home and waited for the evening balloon glow back at Lakewood Ranch. We'll tell you all about that tomorrow....


  1. So much to do in Sarasota! Seems like you'll never run out :)

  2. Glad to hear the visit went so well. Have you guys been at Sun n fun now for 5 months. Seems lime you gave found your place. You definitely never run out of things to do.

  3. Wine Fesr...count us in!

    Thanks for the great tour. The pictures are great.

  4. Haven't been to Bradenton for a while. I didn't know they had such a nice riverwalk.

  5. The Wine Fest sounds like a lot of fun. Count us in for next year!

  6. Always love it when the Grand kids come and give a sigh of relief when they leave:)