When Frank Thomas remembers his old friend Bobby Hicks, he talks about their days playing music in the woods, preservation projects and life in old Florida. "Bobby was not into development like condo communities,'' said Thomas, a Lake Wales musician who is a past recipient of the Florida Folk Heritage Award.
And so it's only fitting that Heritage Village, Pinellas County's 21-acre living history museum, will be where folk musicians will gather to pay tribute to Hicks, who died in 2007 of lung cancer. It will take place Saturday during the 17th annual Pinellas Folk Festival.
"Bobby spent time at Heritage Village, so it's a good place to hold this,'' said Thomas, 66. "Heritage Village, with all its historic houses and on the wooded land, shows that Florida is not known just for Disney and the beach resorts, and Bobby was into that.''
Thomas will emcee the tribute to Hicks, who was well-known for his Florida Folk Show on WMNF-FM 88.5. Performers will also include Jim Carrick, the Bullard Brothers, Carl Wade and Susan Boyer Haley.
Along with the Hicks tribute, the folk festival will have 29 folk and gospel singers performing at eight stages throughout the day.
As visitors listen to music they can check out Florida folk art, fleece-to-shawl activities, spinners, the Heritage Village Embroiderers, old-time storytellers, an antique car display and ongoing tours of the historic homes.
In years gone by, the event has been free. However, this year, the Pinellas County Historical Society has decided to ask for $2 donations. Proceeds will be used for future events, according to Fran Johnson, president of the group.
Piper Castillo can be reached at (727) 445-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.