BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County residents haven't had a collective way to welcome the new year since the final dropping of a giant 7-foot lighted tangerine at Tangerine Time 2009.
But all of that will change Saturday, when the Brooksville Business Alliance sponsors its second 5th & Blues concert, starting at 5 p.m. in front of the Hernando County Courthouse on Main Street in downtown Brooksville.
The free event, which is scheduled to run until just after midnight, is something of a musical year-end salute that will feature two area blues/rock bands: Tyler Creek Road and Dave Shepard and the Blues Riders, plus a special appearance by Elvis impersonator Kenn "E" Grube.
Lisa Callea, co-owner of the Rising Sun Cafe and Brooksville Business Alliance president, hopes the alcohol-free event will somehow fill the void left by Tangerine Time, which was canceled three years ago after its founder, Wayne Vutech, decided he'd had enough.
"If you look around the county, you can find lots of music events in bars and restaurants on New Year's Eve," Callea said. "But we wanted to have something that everybody could enjoy, where alcohol isn't the main focus."
The 5th and Blues concept was born last summer as an offshoot of the Brooksville Business Alliance's successful Hot Summer Nights monthly concerts. Callea figured that devoting every fifth Saturday (of any month that has one) to blues music would be a great way to draw crowds downtown.
"It's been a big hit," Callea said. "We now have a sponsor, so that means we have the money to bring in talented musicians."
The events feature a vending area, door prizes and raffles, plus other entertainment. In addition, several downtown restaurants offer late-night hours for dining.
All of which means big things for the city's future, Callea said,
"It's another sign that downtown Brooksville is changing for the better," she said. "People are recognizing that it's a fun place to be after dark."
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.