Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

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 festival.org.

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

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 10 hours ago
USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

The USF softball team's season ended late Saturday in the Gainesville Regional with a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, its second NCAA Tournament loss to the Buckeyes in as many days.OSU (36-15) must defeat No. 2 overall national seed Florida (52-8) twice Sun...
Updated: 10 hours ago