Saturday, April 21, 2018
Business

Second Florida Blueberry Festival deemed a success

BROOKSVILLE — This past weekend's second annual Florida Blueberry Festival in Brooksville had a lot riding on it. Not only was it a calling card to potential visitors from all over Central Florida, but also it had to make a profit to return in the future.

It turns out, the event was a winner on both counts, said Michael Heard, chairwoman of Florida Blueberry Festival Inc.

A preliminary tally of gate receipts showed that festival pulled in between 45,000 and 50,000 visitors during its two days, she said. That should ensure a profit that will be divided between chosen charities.

"We're feeling very positive about how we did," Heard said Monday. "The vendors I talked to were pleased and told us they want to come back again next year."

Despite the threat of showers Saturday morning, the festival gates opened to a crowd eager to enter downtown Brooksville and munch on baked blueberry goods and shop at the booths of about 140 vendors.

Brooksville Mayor Lara Bradburn said many of the visitors commented on the city's attractiveness.

"I don't care who you are, when someone from out of town tells you they love your city, it makes you feel proud," Bradburn said.

Heard said she heard only a few complaints about the festival's new $5 adult admission charge and that most visitors seemed to feel it was in line with what other events of its type.

"People who don't understand probably don't know that it costs a lot of money to put this together," Heard said. "We couldn't continue to do this if we went broke every year."

Heard said that many of the people who attended complimented her volunteer staff on this year's changes. Most people seemed glad they could park closer to the downtown Brooksville. And the elimination of last year's "Blueberry Bucks," which patrons needed to buy food and beverages, probably accounted for an increase in sales, Heard said.

Heard said she and the festival have already looked at implementing more improvements next year, including re-routing the festival grounds to a more level area in order to better accommodate handicapped patrons.

"We're only in our second year, so there's always room for improvement," Heard said. "We're committed to make the blueberry festival the best we can make it."

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18