Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Blueberry lovers descend on Brooksville for inaugural festival

BROOKSVILLE — By 2 p.m. Saturday, Rachael Vera decided it was time for a break.

After listening to live bands, perusing various arts and crafts booths, and taking in a lot of sun, she and her 4-year-old daughter, Cara, found a shady spot on the steps of the Hernando County Courthouse and dug into fresh blueberry shortcake.

"Unbelievable," Vera said as she slid a plastic spoonful of the creamy concoction into her mouth. "Now this is what I call heaven."

If organizers of the inaugural Florida Blueberry Festival were looking for endorsements, they didn't have to look far in downtown Brooksville, where thousands gathered for what many hope will become a signature event.

From visitors to vendors to downtown merchants and city residents, everyone seemed pleased that the festival had lived up to its hype.

"We really needed this," longtime real estate broker Gary Schraut said as he threaded his way through crowded Main Street. "I think it's the start of something really great for the community."

Shop owners who usually look out onto nearly vacant downtown streets most weekends agreed. While attendance likely won't approach the number organizers had originally hoped for, the three-day street festival drew a strong crowd — many of them out-of-towners — eager to spend money.

"I have no complaints at all," lemonade vendor Don Little said while preparing a tall, icy drink for a customer. "I'm making money and I'm having fun."

Patricia and Lucio Correa, owners of Enchiladas Mexican Restaurant on Broad Street, said business was so brisk that they tripled their staff and opened an outdoor Cinco de Mayo-themed grill to handle the extra traffic.

"All of the customers have been so nice," Patricia Correa said. "They seem to like what they've been experiencing. We hope they'll come back."

Though most seemed to enjoy the event, there were a few complaints.

Joanne Best of Lakeland said she didn't like having to purchase "blueberry bucks" in order to buy most of the vendor food and beverages available.

"It's a hassle and a huge waste of time," she said. "There's nothing wrong with cash."

The festival will continue from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today. Admission to the event is free; however, all parking is off-site and ranges from $10 to $15 per car. For information, visit floridablueberry

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or

Blueberry lovers descend on Brooksville for inaugural festival 05/05/12 [Last modified: Saturday, May 5, 2012 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated


    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person



    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears


    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings