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Coming Friday: Folks gather for bluegrass, country and Christian at The Farm USA




Once a month, in a cavernous barn at The Farm USA in Lithia, the aroma of sizzling meat mixes with barnyard smells. Horses snuffle in their stalls, part of the gathered faithful. Humans shuffle their feet across a sawdust covered floor, and yell, "Amen!" when they hear something they like.

Presiding over the unlikely concert hall is self-described "preacher kid" Mike Holmes, who fell away from his faith a quarter-century ago and then fell for it again — hard. About three years ago, the longtime horse trader and his wife, Denise, began hosting a monthly cookout-concert combo at their 11-acre spread near Lithia-Pinecrest Road and County Road 39.

Everyone's invited for burgers and hot dogs. Attendees come from Gibsonton, Zephyrhills, Lakeland and Lutz. Singers, from polished professionals with CDs on display to amateurs who don't read music or play an instrument, come from across the country.

Holmes welcomes them all, with only one stipulation: "If it offends you that we sing about God and the U.S.A., then don't come."

This week's event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, will feature the music of Patsy Dollins. It's at 7818 Lithia-Pinecrest Road, Lithia, and it's free, though donations are accepted. Click here for details.

And click here for Susan Green's full story on The Farm USA.

[Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011 6:59pm]


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