Bradenton commission greenlights powerboat regatta

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MANATEE COUNTY-- A powerboat regatta is one step closer to coming to the Manatee River early next year.

On Wednesday night, Bradenton City Commissioners voted unanimously on a conceptual agreement to bring the marquee event to the area.

"This may be the biggest signature event the urban core has ever seen," said Elliott Falcione, with the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The event will bring some of the top tunnel hull racers to Manatee County from January 30-31, 2015.

"Tunnel hull boats ride on top of the water, so there is a thin layer of air that they are skimming as they go by. They will hit 100mph in less than six seconds," said race organizer, Michael Dongilli.

The regatta is expected to bring 75,000 spectators to the area, and should generate $8-10 million for the local economy. Spectators will get to view the race from Palmetto, and across the Manatee, along the Bradenton Riverwalk. 

"We knew that once that Riverwalk opened, there would be many opportunities," said Falcione. 

Organizers still need the approval from Palmetto Commissioners, and will need to go through a permitting process before the event becomes official.

The regatta will also feature concerts, fireworks, a BMX event and more.