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Hopes are high for Saturday's first Downtown Country Jam in Brooksville

BROOKSVILLE — The air in Brooksville will have something of a twang to it Saturday with the inaugural Downtown Country Jam in Hernando Park.

For Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department special events coordinator Christie Williams, the event is one whose time has finally come.

"People have been asking us to do some sort of country festival for a long time," said Williams. "When we had our first music event in the park downtown and saw how much people loved going there, we thought it would be a perfect fit."

Since staging the first daylong Reggae Sunfest in 2009 at Linda Pedersen Park near Hernando Beach, Williams and her boss, recreation director Harry Johnson, have enjoyed a number of successes. Last year's fifth Bluesapalooza packed Hernando Park, and earned a profit between $5,500 and $6,000 from ticket sales, beer and wine sales and sponsorships.

Williams said she doesn't believe she has to spend a lot of money on high-priced stars to fill the venue. Rather, the Downtown Country Jam roster is decidedly budget-minded with well-known regional acts such as Tennessee's Whiskey Rose, south Georgia's Justin Phillips, the Tampa band Soul Circus Cowboys and other acts that are quite capable of delivering what fans want: a rocking good time.

Saturday's show, which will run from noon until 9:30 p.m., is being billed as a family-syle festival with a variety of food and beverage vendors, and craft booths. Williams said she expects much of the venture's profit will likely come from beer and wine sales, all of which are served at booths by county employee volunteers to comply with liability restrictions.

"Having county employees working our festivals is great because they really put their heart and soul into it," Williams said.

She said that after five years of well-received events, there are plans for others. Next year will see the return of Reggae Sunfest, which will move to downtown Brooksville. Also in the works is a one-day Cajun and zydeco music festival that will be in March, and an Italian culture and food festival that the county will host along with the Sons of Italy Nature Coast Lodge.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

>>if you go

Downtown Country Jam

The Downtown Country Jam will be from noon to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Hernando Park, 205 E Fort Dade Ave., in downtown Brooksville. Admission is $5 for adults and $1 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and younger are free. Patrons are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for comfort. Coolers, pets and outside food and drinks will not be permitted. For information, call (352) 754-4031.

Hopes are high for Saturday's first Downtown Country Jam in Brooksville 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:11pm]
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