Manatee Heritage Days to be held March 1-31, 2021

Manatee Heritage Days

Manatee Heritage Days to be held March 1-31, 2021
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          This year marks the 42nd year for Manatee Heritage Days, the time when Manatee County’s historical organizations and sites come together to celebrate our community’s heritage by providing opportunities for our area’s residents and visitors to experience the past.  Reenactments, special exhibits, lectures, classes, walking tours, open houses and family programming will highlight the month’s events. 

          Originally a week in length, Heritage Days grew to nine days, and in 1995, Manatee Heritage Days expanded to a month long event.  The activities have been as varied as exhibits and parades.  Events take place this year both virtually, as well as throughout Manatee County communities.  Through these events, participants can experience the pioneer lifestyle and learn how Manatee County has grown and developed.

          Manatee Heritage Days is supported and organized by the Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Court’s Department of Historical Resources, under the auspices of Angelina “Angel” Colonneso, Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller. 

          Following is a schedule for events.  Most are free, though some require a reservation or admission fee.  For specific information about an event, please call the number listed on the schedule.  For more information about the Manatee Heritage Days, in general, please call (941) 741-4070.  Join with us in this countywide celebration of our community's past.

To see a preview of the events, watch this video:

2021 Participating Organizations:
(* = Founding Member)

  • Bradenton Farmers Market
  • Florida Maritime Museum
  • Florida Public Archaeology Network
  • Jigg’s Landing Outpost
  • Manatee County Agricultural Museum
  • *Manatee County Historical Records Library
  • Manatee County Public Library
  • Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources
  • *Manatee Village Historical Park
  • Manatee Genealogical Society
  • Palmetto Historical Park
  • Parrish Civic Association
  • Realize Bradenton
  • Reflections of Manatee


Month Long Events:

Jigg’s Landing Heritage Foods, Jigg’s Landing Outpost 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, Throughout the month of March, Jigg’s Landing Outpost will offer special menu items and local favorites such as sour orange pie, swamp cabbage, and smoked mullet dip. Tickets can be purchased for this limited time menu starting in January 2021. Call 941-727-4181, or visit for more information.

“Medicine in Manatee” Exhibit Opening, Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Avenue East (SR 64), Bradenton, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM, most weekdays. On Monday, March 1, Manatee Village Historical Park will reopen previously closed exhibit space inside the Wiggins Store to feature an exhibit on the history of medicine in the Village of Manatee. The new exhibit, titled “Medicine in Manatee” will be open for visitors on the second floor. Appointments are FREE but required and can be scheduled on the website at For more information call 941-749-7165 or email .

New Exhibits Open at Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th Street West, Cortez. Phase II of the “Re-Imagination” of permanent exhibits at the Florida Maritime Museum (FMM) is complete, unveiling a new look, engaging spaces and exhibits, and a higher level of accessibility with all new exhibits presented in English and Español. The “Caught in the Storm: 100 Years of Florida Hurricanes” exhibit is on display in the temporary exhibit room. Celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the 1921 storm that hit the Tampa Bay coast, the exhibit showcases a full timeline of Florida hurricanes throughout the last century. This exhibit can also be experienced online and outdoors on the museum grounds. All of FMM’s new exhibits are designed to engage the senses as safely as possible with limited touch and enhanced cleaning. Indoor museum visitation is by appointment only, available Tuesday-Saturday at 9 am and 1:30 pm. Visit to schedule your appointment, or call the museum at (941) 708-6120.

Old Manatee A to Z Coloring Contest, Presented by Realize Bradenton and Art Center Manatee, Entries will be accepted March 1 – March 26, 2021. Winners will be announced March 31, 2021. Find contest details at

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Palmetto, Courtesy of Manatee County Agricultural Museum and Palmetto Historical Park, enjoy historic downtown Palmetto with a printed guide. You may reserve a guide for contactless pick-up by emailing Pick-up and the starting point of the tour will be at 515 10th Ave. West, Palmetto. This self-guided tour is FREE! For more information call 941-721-2034 or email .

Agricultural Museum’s Sensory Garden Exhibit Opening, Enjoy the new sensory garden by seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, and hearing all there is in the garden. A bench/table is available to use for a picnic lunch or dinner. Garden is located on the grounds of the Park and Museum, 515 10th Ave. West, Palmetto. Visiting the Park and museum grounds is FREE! For more information call 941-721-2034 or email .


Recurring Events:

February 27, 28 & March 6, 7:
“Spoon River Anthology,” Jigg’s Landing Outpost 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, 4:00 PM. The Players Center for Performing Arts will present the Edgar Lee Masters’ play, which tells the stories of those laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery, located in a fictional small town in central Illinois, circa 1915. In this beautifully haunting play, the former residents of Spoon River examine life and the longing for what might have been. As the citizens reflect on the dreams, secrets, and regrets of their lives, they paint a gritty and honest portrait of the town as all of their pasts are illuminated. The show takes place outdoors, seats provided, and masks required. Tickets are $20 each or $12.50 for students. Concessions available. For more information, call Jigg’s Landing at 941-727-4181 or visit their website: or call Players Theatre at 941-365-2494 or visit their website: .

March 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 15, 16, 17, 18, 19:
Cemetery Tours, Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Avenue East (SR 64), Bradenton, 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM. For Heritage Days, Manatee Village Historical Park is offering guided cemetery tours. Visitors will have the chance to schedule their daytime tour in advance and visit the 1850 Manatee Burying Ground with a member of staff. These tours will be available only on select days: March 1 - March 5 and March 15 - March 19. Tours will be approximately 20 minutes in duration and take place at 9:30am and 10:30am on these dates. There will be four (4) slots per tour and must be scheduled in advance. At staff discretion, tours may be cancelled due to inclement weather. Tours are FREE, but reservations are required. For more information call 941-749-7165 or email

March 5 & 6:
Artwalk at Village of the Arts, 1227 12th St. W, Bradenton Artwalks occur every month on the First Friday weekend. Hours are 6-9pm on First Friday and 11am-4pm on Saturday. The Village is an eclectic mix of early 20th century residential bungalows, Florida Cracker homes, and later additions. A stroll through our color-filled streets offers a little something for everyone, whether you’re a foodie, a vinyl enthusiast or a quilt lover, with services that range from knife sharpening to yoga.

Join us during our popular artwalks the first Friday night and Saturday afternoon of every month, where you’ll be greeted with live music, incredible food and unique indie art spanning every genre. We encourage you to use the parking garage at the corner of 12th St. West and 8th Ave. West. Paid parking Monday-Friday 8-6pm. Friday night ArtWalks and weekends, park free. Limited on-street parking is free throughout the Village of the Arts. For more information visit


Fridays – Sundays, March 5,7,8,12,13,14,19,20,21,26,27,28:

Jigg’s Landing Heritage Boat Tours, 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, 10:00 AM or 2:00 PM. This boat tour takes you back into the past to Marineland, the first subdivision outside the city limits of Bradenton, formed in 1920. The tour duration is one hour and offers photos and views of historic sites and homes that are not available during regular tours. Includes a booklet with information about local history. This unique experience costs $20 per person. A box lunch is available for additional cost. Call 941-727-4181, or visit for more information.

Saturdays, March 6, 13, 20, 27:
Downtown Bradenton Farmer’s Market, Historic Main Street or 12th Street West, Bradenton, 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM.  A place where the community meets each week to enjoy locally grown fresh produce, plants, local arts, crafts, and live music. Parking is free on weekends. FREE!  Visit .  

Jiggs Landing Open House, 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, 9:00 AM –1:00 PM.  The historic Jiggs Landing Fish Camp cabin, a replica of cabins built by Jiggs Metcalf in the 1940s, will be open for visits. Docents from the Old Braden River Historical Society will talk about the history of Jiggs Landing, the Braden River and Evers Reservoir. The historic cabin will be open with a docent outside, social distancing and windows open. Each person will be able to tour the cabin alone or in the same party. FREE! Call 941-727-4181, or visit for more information.


Daily Events:

Tuesday, March 2nd:
Manatee Genealogical Society presentation, The Manatee Genealogical Society will host a virtual program on March 2 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM featuring Angie Bush, who will speak on “DNA: Ask Me Anything." Angie is a sought-after genetic genealogy speaker and an internationally recognized educator in her field with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a master’s degree in biotechnology. Her favorite type of research involves solving decades-old "brick walls" using a combination of traditional records and genetic evidence. Angie will answer all your questions on genetic genealogy.

Members of the public are welcome to attend at no charge. Email: to register in advance. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom technology. For more information, visit our Web site: or Facebook page: Email questions:

Saturday, March 6th:
“Medicine in Manatee” Digital Lecture, Join Dr. Jeffrey N. Brown, Curator at Manatee Village Historical Park, for a digital lecture to supplement the new “Medicine in Manatee” exhibit. This lecture is a pre-recorded digital video. The digital video will be available for one day only. It can be accessed at the start of the day on March 6th and watched any time that day or evening. Access to the digital video ends at 11:59pm on March 6th.To receive an email reminder with the link, members of the public must sign up before 12:00pm on Friday, March 5. This video is free to the public to enjoy in their own homes. For more information visit, call 941-749-7165, or email .

Parrish Heritage Days Parade and Festival - At 10:30 AM the parade kicks off from the Parrish United Methodist Church (corner of 121st Street East and 69th Street East, Parrish). The parade will travel North on 121st Ave East and turn left onto Erie Road, proceeding west to the visitor entrance of the Parrish Community High School (7505 Fort Hamer Road, Parrish), where people are free to park to enjoy festival after the parade, beginning at 11:00 AM. The Parrish Heritage Day Festival promises to be a fun way for families to spend the day outside with vendor booths, kids' games, prizes, arts and crafts, food trucks and entertainment by up and coming band, Ari and the Alibis. This event is FREE to the community! Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout. While masks are strongly encouraged, they are not required.

Thursday March 11th:
Rye Cemetery Preservation and Beautification, Rye Preserve, 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, meet at the pavilion, 9:00 AM -11:00 AM. Volunteer to spruce up the Rye Pioneer Trail and historic burial grounds by removing litter and invasive plants. Then, clean the gravestones with a special solution to help them shine. Program suitable for participants age 6 and older. FREE! Register by calling (941) 742-5923 X6035 or email  

Saturday, March 13th:
Families Flock Together: Cuban Ranchos, Emerson Point Preserve, 5801 17th Street Northwest, Palmetto, meet at the classroom, 10AM -12PM. In the late 1600s, Florida’s shores hosted thriving communities of Cuban fishermen known as Ranchos. Become a Cuban fishermen for a day and explore the lifestyle, obstacles and estuary habitats of old Florida.  FREE! Reservations are required. To register email or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044

Native American Experience at Emerson Point Preserve, 5801 17th St. W., Palmetto. Meet at the pavilion by the classroom, 2PM to 4PM. Discover what life was like for Native Americans who once lived here. Learn about many of the skills practiced by Florida’s early inhabitants and their way of life during a walk through the site of an early settlement. Program suitable for participants ages 6 and older. FREE! Register by calling 941-742-5923 extension 6035 or email

Sunday, March 21st:
Manatee Settlement Walking Tour, Reflections of Manatee Visitors Center 1305 4th Avenue East, Bradenton, 2:30 PM. Reflections of Manatee’s Annual Tour is an outside event, but will begin at the Reflections of Manatee Visitors Center, (1305 4th Ave E, 1 block North of SR64 between 14th and 12th Street). This 2-3-hour tour guides you through the hammock-covered streets of East Bradenton, (Old Manatee). You will visit pioneer home sites and learn the settlement history of 1840-1860. The event is FREE but donations are greatly appreciated and support the educational programs of Reflections.  For more information, contact: Trudy Williams at 941-779-4480.

The Reflections of Manatee website also has videos and virtual exhibits such as “Freedom Seekers at the Manatee,” which recounts the story of the Underground Railroad site of Angola. Visit for more information.

Wednesday, March 24th:
Rye Pioneer History Walking Tour, Rye Preserve, 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish, FL 34219. Meet at the Rye Pavilion 10 am to 11 am.  Get a taste of the wilderness just outside the city on this naturalist-guided walking tour of Rye Preserve.  Learn about the history of the Town of Rye, a booming settlement turned ghost town along the banks of the Manatee River.  Visit the Rye family cemetery and tour the Rye Nature Center on this historical nature walk.  Program suitable for all ages.  The terrain is sandy and uneven, closed-toe shoes are required.  Please visit to make reservations. 

Tuesday, March 25th:
Storytelling and Service Book Club: The Singing River, Emerson Point Preserve: 5801 17th Street Northwest, Palmetto, meet at the Point 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM. Looking for a volunteer opportunity in the cool of the evening at beautiful Emerson Point Preserve? Come out to our book club with a service twist. Every month we will read different book about Florida, and discuss, and follow it with a restoration project in the preserve. This month will be the Singing River by Joe G Warner. Program is suitable for bookworms 14 and up. Free! Please let us know if you would like to attend by emailing or calling 941-742-5923 ext. 6035 to register.

“Taking Flight: A History of Aviation in Manatee County” Exhibit Opening, Downtown Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd, Bradenton. This historical exhibit charts the evolution of aviation in Manatee County, from early landing fields in the 1910s to the establishment of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. On March 25th, join exhibit creators David Breakfield and Katie Fleck to open the exhibit with a special online video tour followed by a live Q&A on Zoom. A series of panels related to the exhibit will be displayed on the second floor of the Downtown Library; they will remain on display for the remainder of 2021. The virtual exhibit will be accessible online at: For more information about the exhibit, please call (941) 748-5555 ext 6317 or email To register for the free virtual event on Thursday, March 25 at 2PM, please email

Friday, March 26th:
Archaeo Paddle, Robinson Preserve, 1704 99th Street Northwest, Bradenton. Meet at the kayak launch, 9AM - 12PM. Journey through the mangrove forests of Robinson Preserve with Archaeologist Jeff Moates and discover the historical uses of the land, ecological restoration, and how to spot the evidence or remains of indigenous people’s past. Program suitable for ages 16 and older who can meet the County's minimum eligibility requirements. Program sponsored by Florida Public Archaeology Network, West Central & Central in partnership with Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources. Participants must have their own canoe or kayak and safety gear. All participants must wear a life jacket and bring a whistle. FREE! Reservations are required. To register please visit For more information please contact or call (941) 742-5923 ext. 6044.

Saturday, March 27th:
Saturday Morning at the NEST, The Mosaic NEST at Robinson, 840 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209. 9AM-12PM. Join us at the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science, and Technology for a morning of exploration. Walk the grounds of the historic Reasoner Tract and observe botanical giants collected from around the world. Explore the canopy boardwalk among the banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views, and make an exciting exit from the building via slide. Learn about upcoming programs and exciting new additions to Robinson Preserve. In celebration of Manatee County Heritage Month, our fossil collection will be on display. Come take an up-close look at the creatures that once roamed Manatee County! Program suitable for all ages. Free! No reservations required.

Families Flock Together: Fantastic Fossils, Emerson Point Preserve, 5801 17th St. W., Palmetto. Meet at the pavilion by the classroom, 2PM to 4PM. Take a step back in time and learn about Florida's Fossils! Through hands-on activities and games, we will discover the ancient animals that inhabited Manatee County millions of years ago. Learn about how fossils are made, and get an up-close look at our unique fossil collection. Program suitable for all ages. Free! Reservations are Required. Register by calling 941-742-5923 extension 6036 or email

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