In what has become a spring tradition, the Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department is ready once again to treat folks to a day of music and laid-back fun.
Four years ago, Reggae Sunfest made headlines because it was the first county-sponsored event to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol in a county park. The event at Linda Pedersen Park quickly silenced any doubters by attracting more than 1,200 people and, perhaps just as important, proved to be a good money-maker for the county's Recreation Department.
Parks and Recreation events coordinator Christie Williams said the event, which takes place from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, has an everyman quality to it that attracts a wide range of music fans.
"People seem to naturally like all kinds of music with a Caribbean feel to it," Williams said. "Whether it's Jimmy Buffett, calypso or reggae, it all sounds good when you're parked in a lawn chair with a cool beverage."
Williams, who also oversees the annual fall Bluezapalooza festival, is hoping attendance at the family-friendly event will top 2,000 this year.
Three groups will entertain, each adding its own brand of Caribbean spice to the proceedings.
For Buffett fans, there's the Barefoot Children, a tribute group that re-creates the island troubadour's biggest hits.
The Dickies (Dickie and Melvin Dickenson), who have performed at all of the Reggae Sunfests, are returning to delight the audience with a potpourri of reggae, calypso and steel drum music.
Headlining the event will be Trinity 7. Led by singer Ras Meishak and hailing from the hills of Jamaica, the Tampa group has been around for several years and delivers authentic, roots reggae in the style of Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh.
In addition to music, the festival will feature food and craft vendors, plus plenty of kids activities.
Patrons wishing to purchase alcohol will have to show proper photo ID to obtain a wristband signifying that they're of legal drinking age. While patrons cannot bring alcohol into the park, they are encouraged to bring pop-up chairs, sunscreen and insect repellent.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]