GT Bray's Family Fun Night

Family Fun Night to Celebrate GT Bray Park Enhancements
Posted on 07/01/2024
GT Bray Family FunMANATEE COUNTY, FL (July 1, 2024) – All aspiring athletes and fans of fun are cordially invited to celebrate the G.T. Bray Park Rededication and Family Fun Night Friday, July 26, beginning at 6 p.m.

A ceremony at the Recreation Center (5502 33rd Avenue Drive West in Bradenton) will start the festivities with local leaders and members of the Bray family on hand to commemorate what has become Manatee County's recreational hub and the centerpiece of Sports and Leisure Services.

George "G.T." Bray moved to Manatee County in 1942 and dedicated much of his time to improving recreational access for the adults and children of the community. A former president and director of the Manatee River Fair Association, Bray received the Manatee County Distinguished Citizen Award in 1983. He was instrumental in developing several parks, including Blackstone Park in Palmetto and the park that bears his name today.

On March 26, 1985, the Manatee Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted to authorize the first phase of a new community park on 59th Street and unanimously agreed to name it G.T. Bray Park. Now, nearly four decades later, the park has undergone $15 million in improvements and enhancements with upgraded facilities, including athletic fields, fitness center, Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool and splash pad, teen center, clay tennis courts, pickleball, new playgrounds and gym for basketball and volleyball.

“It’s the heart and soul of West Bradenton,” said District 3 Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge, who remembers playing youth sports at the park growing up. “Thanks to your Board of County Commissioners, this will be set to welcome families and athletes for another 40 years.”

Following the ceremonial rededication of the park, Family Fun Night will run through 9 p.m. with inflatables, a foam play area, face painting, crafts, backpack giveaway (while supplies last) and food trucks. Live music will be provided by One Night Rodeo, starting at 6:30 p.m. The pool, Walton Racquet Center, fitness center and recreation facility will be open until 9 p.m.