I went to the Pittsburgh Pirates VS Atlanta Braves Game this past Friday!

Last Friday, March 16th, my buddy, Ron Martini, and I went to see the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Atlanta Braves.  Ron’s a diehard Braves fan and I was rooting for the Pirates.  Had a great time,  Pirates won 12 to 9.  What was amazing about this game was there were 11 home runs!  I have never been to a game with that many home runs.

Lecom Park, formally known as McKechnie Field has been the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates training facility and is celebrating its 50-year relationship with Bradenton, Florida.  The stadium has had several renovations over the years including major updating in 2013.  The new renovations include expanding seating capacity to 6500 people and a new boardwalk completely surrounding the outfield.  It’s the third oldest stadium being used in spring training in the United States.

Follow this link to the article “Five Reason’s to Watch Pirate’s Spring Training at Lecom Field”, by Jason Dill with the Bradenton Herald newspaper.  I think you will enjoy!








Brian Heavrin & Ron Martini

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Calling All Kids, Day Out With Thomas The Tank Engine, Parrish Florida

Ask almost any kid between 3 and 10 who Thomas the railroad engine is and they will probably know.  Thomas the Train Engine is a fictional character in a series of books, movies and television shows.  There has been a replica of Thomas the train built and tours the country to the trill of boys and girls everywhere.  Now is a chance to take your children or grandchildren to see Thomas March 16th through the 18th at the Florida Railroad Museum in Parrish, Florida.  Tickets costs $19 each or $15 for groups of twenty or more.

Included is a 25 minute ride on Thomas the Train,  a  meet and greet with Sir Topham Hatt, who is the fictional controller of the railway, and a passport to Adventures’ booklet for the kids to track there journey at the event.  In addition there are Thomas and Friends themed activities including photo ops and crafts along with storytelling, video viewing and music.   In addition there are Thomas and Friends themed activities including photo ops and crafts along with storytelling, video viewing and music.

The Florida Railroad Museum is located at 12210 83rd Ave E, Parrish, Florida 34219.  You can call 941.776.0906.

Click the link below to follow one families’ adventure to see Thomas the Train Engine in Parrish, Florida.
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February 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report

The National Housing Market has a huge effect on the economy in general.  Shouldn’t you keep up with the National Housing Market?  Check out this quick summary for February 2018.  Your home is normally one of your most expensive investments, if you would like a personal Market Analysis of your home,  please email us at House@mindspring.com.

Don’t live in Bradenton, Florida, no problem, just shoot us an email and we will have a RE/MAX agent in your area contact you.

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Robinson’s Nature Preserve, one of Bradenton, Florida’s best kept secrets

Feel like you need to get back to nature?  Visit Robinson’s Nature Preserve in Bradenton, Florida.  With over 600 acres of untouched beauty, there are easy to navigate walking trails with bridges, kayaking, paddle boarding, and even a lookout tower.  Enjoy the wildlife including Manatees, Dolphins, Egrets, and a huge variety of birds and other aquatic animals.  Great for all ages and is free to the public.  There are two entrances, the main entrance is 1704 99th Street NW, Bradenton, FL and the and the aquatic entrance to launch or rent a kyack, canoe or paddle board is 9800 Manatee Ave W, Bradenton, Florida on the Palma Sola Causeway.  To rent a kyack you need to make reservations at https://surferbus.webconnex.com/reserve.

Here’s a video depicting a typical day at Robinson’s Preserve.

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Music In The Park, Riverwalk, Bradenton, Florida

With spring upon us, it’s a great time for outside activities and one of the best free things to do is go to the Music In The Park at the Mosaic Amphatheather on the Riverwalk, downtown at 606 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, Florida  34205  Proformances will be every Friday evening from 6:00 ti 8:00 pm March 9th through April 27th.  It’s free to the public and seats approximately 400 people.  There’s something for everyone with music choices from country to pop to jazz.  It’s a pet friendly event and snacks, drinks, craft beer and wine will be available for purchase or bring a blanket and your own picnic.  For a complete list of performances just follow this link.  For more information http://www.realizebradenton.com/music_in_the_park_2018

Enjoy this video of Michael Weiss and Jessie Rojas from a previous concert at the Mosaic Amphitheater.

Please be sure to like our page and follow our Bradenton, Florida Blog at http://www.yourfloridawinterhome.com/

Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida

The Florida Strawberry Festival is held each year in Plant City, Florida and has become an attraction that thousands attend from far and near.  Here’s some of the fun things to do.

Headline Entertainment with Reba McEntire to the Oak Ridge Boys

There’s lot’s of free shows from gospel to country music

Lumberjack, Magic and Dog Stunts Shows

The Kids will love meeting Transformer’s Maximus G and Royale

Eating contests from Strawberry Mashed Potato to Amish Donuts for both Adults and Children

Livestock Shows from Lambs to Steers

Belle City Midway with rides for the young and old

Meet the Strawberry Queen and her Court

The Strawberry Festival ranks in the top 40 Fairs in the United States.  If you’ve never been before, you really should put it on your bucket list.  For more information here’s the link to everything you need to know.  http://flstrawberryfestival.com

Check out this video from 2016.


Wonderful Video of the History and Travel Tips of Anna Maria Island Florida

Tired of the cold weather, maybe this video will warm you up.  Take a tour of Anna Maria Island.  Anna Maria Island is located on the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico just south of St Petersburg, in Bradenton Florida.  An incredible place to visit and an even more incredible place to live!  So, pour yourself a margarita, sit back and take a ten-minute vacation.  Hope you enjoy looking at our little piece of paradise.

For more videos and pictures, visit our website, http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

Looking for something fun to do in Bradenton, Sarasota that’s Free?

Ever have an afternoon and looking for something to do that’s cheap?  The Bradenton Sarasota area offers a wide variety of things to do that’s free.  Great way to spend some time with your children or grandchildren and not break the bank.

The following article has been compiled by Wade Tagangelo with the Herald Tribune.

Activities that are fun and cost nothing

Southwest Florida has a long list of awesome attractions, but many of them can be expensive, which is why we are offering our second annual list of free things to do in Sarasota-Manatee. Simply put, these are activities that are fun, and cost nothing (well, except probably some gas money.)

  1. Spend an afternoon at Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota

Relax in the shade while enjoying the views and breeze of Sarasota Bay; bring the children to the playground and splash park.

  1. Bang the drum on the beach:  Drum circles regularly form around 6 p.m. on Sundays at Siesta Key Beach, and Nokomis Beach on Wednesday and Saturdays. Even if you’re not a percussionist, you can groove to the rhythms along with a crowd that will usually include at least a few belly dancers and hula hoopers.
  1. Observe the manatees at Portosueno Park

This yacht basin off Palma Sola Bay in northwest Bradenton is a popular hangout for sea cows during summer mating months.

  1. Test your skateboard, bike or inline skate skills

The North Port Skate Park features concrete bowls, ramps, jumps and rails with restrooms, two small shelters and vending machines.

  1. Kiss under the Kissing Statue

The 26-foot-tall statue officially titled “Unconditional Surrender” on Sarasota’s bayfront is the perfect place for a kissing selfie, especially when there’s lots of traffic cruising by on U.S. 41.

  1. Learn about the Cortezians at Florida Maritime Museum

Inside this renovated 1912 schoolhouse you’ll learn about the tough, amazing lives of the people who inhabit Cortez, one of the last remaining commercial fishing villages in Florida. The museum is surrounded by the Cortez Nature Preserve in this neighborhood nestled along Sarasota Bay off Cortez Road in Bradenton.

  1. Picnic on Coquina Beach

The beach on the southern tip of Anna Maria Island backs up to hundreds of Australian pines providing ample shade for the extensive picnic area and parking lot. Plus, there are nice, new restrooms and private, stand-alone changing stalls. If you do want to spend money, there’s also the Coquina Beach Cafe.

  1. Discover something new at the Village of the Arts

Bradenton’s funky live-work community filled with colorful historic cottages hosts its Artwalk the first Friday evening and Saturday afternoon of every month. You’ll find live music, food and galleries of indie and folk art and other fun stuff.

  1. Try to catch a big one at Venice Fishing Pier

The 700-foot long pier is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can fish there without a fishing license. Of course, if you do feel like spending money on food or drinks, Sharky’s is at the base of the pier.

  1. Bring your pooch to Paw Park

Venice’s South Brohard is the only beach in the county where canines are allowed. Trust us, your doggy will thank you after a day at Paw Park.

  1. Window shopping on St. Armands Circle

Gaze inside at the many high-fashion destinations and then go in and try on the most outrageously priced outfit.

  1. Unearth sharks’ teeth on Caspersen Beach

Locals and tourists have been coming to this beach for years to collect prehistoric sharks’ teeth, which make for totally rad jewelry.

  1. Music on Main at Lakewood Ranch

The first Friday of every month, from 6 to 9 p.m., Lakewood Ranch hosts a concert on its Main Street. Dogs are welcome.

  1. See something beautiful at The Ringling

Every Monday, the Museum of Art, including special exhibition galleries, is free to the public. (Fees remain on Mondays, though, for the Circus Museum or Ca’ d’Zan.)

  1. Ride the Anna Maria Island Trolley

Travel via trolley from the Anna Maria City Pier to Coquina Beach with plenty of stops in between on the 7-mile key.

  1. Take an art walk through Towles Court

Creative arts community in downtown Sarasota hosts its art walks third Friday of every month from 5 to 9 p.m.

  1. Walk, ride, skate and play on the riverside

Bring your skateboard, bicycle, running shoes, volleyball, dog and/or child and spend the day at Bradenton Riverwalk, which also includes a splash park and playground.

  1. Bike the length of the Legacy Trail

It starts just south of the city of Sarasota and continues about 10 miles to Venice.

  1. Climb the tower at Robinson Preserve

Admire the views of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

  1. Get to the beach, especially for a sunset

Enjoy as many of these gems as possible before tourist season traffic makes even seeing a sunset at your favorite beach more stressful than relaxing.

Two Headed Alligator Statue is Turning Heads

By:  Sherri Lonon, Bradenton Patch

TAMPA, FL — An unusual sight along North Nebraska Avenue is making folks who pass by question their eyes. After all, a two-headed alligator isn’t exactly something people see every day.

Seminole Heights Patch reader Charlie Williams reached out after spotting the unique statue outside of Southern Brewing & Winemaking.

“A huge 6-foot, two-headed alligator statue just popped up in Seminole Heights,” Williams wrote.

Williams sent in some shots of the colorful critter in response to our call for photos taken in and around town.

“How can you not stop when you see a giant two-headed alligator statute,” Williams explained. “It’s gotta be one of the strangest roadside attractions I’ve ever seen.”

After taking some shots, Williams went inside to find out more about the statue. The bartender pointed him to a fable hanging on the wall, “Bite of Smite.” The old story, a cautionary tale, dates to the 1920s and involves a rabbit, a turtle and a two-headed alligator along the Hillsborough River.

Suspecting there was more to the story, Patch reached out to Southern Brewing. The folks there connected us with artist Justin Arnold, who confirmed the old folktale was the inspiration for his piece.

“It deals with two common characters in Florida folklore, the trickster rabbit and the alligator,” Arnold said. “The exception with this alligator is that it has a second head. Like many folktales, there’s a lesson to be learned from it, but the unusual imagery of a two-headed alligator is what attracted me.”

Wanting to bring that two-headed alligator to life, so to say, Arnold set out about three weeks ago to install the steel inner structure outside the Seminole Heights business. The rest was sculpted with concrete right on the site. It was finished only a few days ago.

To create the welded steel rebar that serves as the piece’s inner structure, Justin worked with his father, Alan Arnold. The elder Arnold once worked on the Ferrari Formula One racing crew building race car bodies, so he knows his way around working with steel, his son explained.

The whole process, including filling it with solid concrete and carving out the final details took about 60 hours, Justin said.

“My friends Eric and Andy helped with the concrete and my father, sister, her husband and my friends Erin and Roxanne helped tile and grout,” he said.

The whole project came about through Urban Art Attack, a community arts program. It seems Justin has some paintings in places like Ella’s Folk Art Café and was approached about doing something bigger. The statue was recommended and the rest is history, so to say.

As for Southern Brewing, it was their idea to put the statute right out front. That move, Williams can attest to, has turned out to be a hit with passersby.

Justin seems pleased with the buzz his work is creating.

“I guess you don’t see too many giant, colorful, concrete two-headed alligators in a friendly, anthropomorphic pose on the side of the road,” he said.

Justin also noted the process of creating the statue also stirred up a lot of enthusiasm and encounters with area residents who stopped by to ask questions and take pictures.

“There was one older man who was a poet in an Ybor art collective in the 60s who would stop by every night to talk,” Justin recalled. “Another guy told me he was going to build a two-headed alligator statue in another part of the neighborhood, but was going to scratch his plans since I did one first. I told him that was absurd! I don’t think there could be too many two-headed alligator statues. I feel like the two-headed alligator is something that belongs to all of us.”

To see the two-headed gator in person, visit Southern Brewing & Winemaking at 4500 N. Nebraska Ave. To find out more about Urban Art Attack, visit it online.