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Phyllis Day, Times Staff Writer

Phyllis Day

Phyllis Day started working at the Times in February 2000. She works for the Hernando Times regional edition, writing entertainment stories for the Hernando Things to Do page, and puts together various listings for clubs, events, government meetings and other happenings in Hernando County.

Phone: (352) 754-6101


  1. Fourth of July fireworks return to Hernando County Fairgrounds with community support


    BROOKSVILLE — Eighteen years. That's how long it has been since the Hernando County Fairgrounds played host to Freedom Fest, a Fourth of July celebration that included a fireworks display. Due to dry spells, both meteorological and financial, the event fizzled out.

    There have been a few other local celebrations with fireworks, but those, too, did not last.

    "It's just been too long," said Shari Klimas, president of the Hernando County Fair Association. "This event is something we've been wanting to bring back for a while."...

  2. Hernando Symphony will salute America and its veterans

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING HILL — It has not been uncommon for the Hernando Symphony Orchestra to offer patriotic tunes, as well as selections from American composers. In fact, during the 30-plus years the orchestra has been performing, audiences have enjoyed pieces such as The Armed Forces Salute and God Bless the USA.

    And while both selections will be performed when the orchestra presents its "Salute to America" concerts this weekend at Stage West Community Playhouse, the concerts will feature more than a few patriotic tunes. There will be a full tribute to America and its veterans....

  3. Scheduling delay works for Live Oak Theatre's 'The Music Man'


    BROOKSVILLE — Harold Hill. Theater buffs know the name well. He is the charming con man who aims to dupe the naive townsfolk of River City, Iowa — the classic and stereotypical sleazy traveling salesman devoid of any scruples.

    The role requires a talented actor, and for Live Oak Theatre's production of The Music Man, it will be filled by two.

    With colorful characters and some of Broadway's biggest hit songs, Live Oak's presentation of Meredith Willson's Tony Award-winning musical opens this weekend at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church....

  4. Fine art, and plenty of fun, in store at annual Art in the Park festival


    BROOKSVILLE — It is a festival celebrating the arts, a juried show that draws a plethora of artists in various mediums and thousands of visitors who admire and purchase works.

    For many years, it was a springtime staple in Masaryktown, but eventually outgrew that location, moving to Brooksville nearly 15 years ago.

    The 31st annual Art in the Park, the signature event of the Hernando County Arts Council, takes place this weekend at Tom Varn Park. With scores of artists, continuous entertainment, food and a huge kids zone, visitors are bound to have a good time. There will also be a student art pavilion, featuring more than 300 works by local students from elementary school through college....

  5. Rebuilt Papa Joe's opens to big crowds with familiar food, new look



    Her wails were loud. So loud that it hurt. But the roar of the fire consumed Donna Giarratana's cries as she and her husband watched in disbelief as the restaurant they called home for more than 30 years burned to the ground in January 2014.

    While they watched as flames consumed Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant, God calmed her, Giarratana said. Nobody was inside. She looked at her husband, "Papa Joe" Giarratana, who stood stoically with his hands firmly in his pockets. They both agreed: They would rebuild from the ashes....

    The Giarratanas were back in action at Papa Joe’s east of Brooksville on Tuesday as longtime patrons filled the tables.
  6. Hernando Symphony Orchestra will take audiences to the movies

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING HILL — When the Hernando Symphony Orchestra kicked off its 2014-15 season in December, it not only began with a new conductor, but also set a record. For the first time in the orchestra's history, all three of its concerts sold out.

    Still running on steam from the success of the holiday concerts, conductor Michele DiLuzio has worked diligently to pull together a repertoire for this weekend's concerts that she hopes will delight audiences — a program of music from movies....

  7. Young entertainment troupe brings musical show to Brooksville

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — It is not unusual for singers, revues and other performing arts troupes to make stops in Hernando County. But it isn't often when an acclaimed entertainment troupe, dedicated to performing for sick and injured veterans, makes Brooksville one of its stops.

    That pleasure arrives this weekend when the Hernando Performing Arts Guild presents Re-Creation, which will perform its "40 Years of Entertainment" show Saturday evening at the Hernando High School Performing Arts Center....

    Re-Creation will perform at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at Hernando High School Performing Arts Center, 700 Bell Ave., Brooksville.
  8. Expanded Greek Festival will include plenty of food, and a lot more


    BROOKSVILLE — "Opa!"

    The Greek exclamation is used with feeling and emotion. People say it when they are happy or excited. Or when tasting a delicious dish. Or just when they are feeling free and glad to be alive.

    Combine "Opa!" with the smashing of a few plates, and you have a Greek celebration.

    The expression, no doubt, will be used a few times this weekend, starting today, when the fifth annual Greek Festival returns to the Hernando County Fairgrounds, featuring plenty of laughter, singing, dancing and Greek delicacies....

    Festivalgoers hold hands while dancing to the music of Demetri and the Islanders during the 2013 Greek Festival.
  9. Hernando offers inexpensive, convenient Halloween events


    Throughout October, droves of visitors converge on popular theme parks for famed Halloween events — events that not only can cost families hundreds of dollars, but also require hours of travel time.

    As many Hernando County residents already know, however, several local events offer scare-filled Halloween fun at a fraction of the cost and time.

    Although Halloween is two weeks away, the thrills begin this weekend with two of the county's most popular Halloween staples — Wild n' Wicked Nights at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and the Halloween Harvest Festival at the Hernando County Fairgrounds....

    The Weeki Wachee Mermaids will perform “Tail of Darkness” at Wild n’ Wicked Nights. The event kicks off this weekend.
  10. Hernando community events


    Markets and sales


    American Legion Auxiliary Unit 186 Yard Sale: Proceeds benefit veterans and their families. Sales will continue on the third Friday of each month. Rain date is Oct. 24. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. American Legion Post 186, 12091 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill. Vendor spaces are $10, bring your own table. (352) 799-1545, 686-1820.


  11. Hernando County entertainment calendar



    Aqua Bar and Lounge: 1365 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. DJ, 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Thursday. Karaoke, 9 p.m. Wednesday. No cover. (352) 600-2802.

    Bamboo's Bar & Eatery: 4564 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. DJ, 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. No cover. (352) 596-5008.

    Bayport Inn: 4835 Cortez Blvd., Bayport. Peter Cannon, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Live entertainment, 2-6 p.m. Sunday. No cover. (352) 596-1088....

  12. Hernando County events for Sept. 26-Oct. 2



    Markets and sales


    Rummage to Treasures Sale: Sponsored by the Ladies Guild. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. St. Mary Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 18810 Broad St., Masaryktown. (352) 796-2792.


    Springstead High School Flea Market: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Springstead Theater, 3300 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill. Vendor spaces available for $10. (352) 683-3528....

    Red wine being poured into glass;
  13. Hernando Youth Orchestra set to open 2014-15 season

    Music & Concerts

    BROOKSVILLE — When conductor and musician Roland Hanneman watched an episode of 60 Minutes that showed how the lives of inmates in a Venezuelan prison had been changed for the better after they began to perform classical music, it inspired him.

    Studies, he says, have shown that children who play instruments are less likely to be involved with smoking cigarettes, drinking and drug use. That's when he decided to shift the focus of his musical efforts to young people....

    First violinist John Boyle, left, and his brother, Joseph, also on violin, practice during a recent rehearsal with the Hernando Youth Orchestra. Now in its seventh year, the 40-member orchestra will kick off its season of classical music concerts on Sunday at the Brooksville Woman’s Club. Conductor Roland Hanneman says the orchestra performs at least four concerts a year.
  14. Hernando County Nightlife



    Aqua Bar and Lounge: 1365 Kass Circle, Spring Hill. DJ, 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Thursday. Karaoke, 9 p.m. Wednesday. No cover. (352) 600-2802.

    Bamboo's Bar & Eatery: 4564 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. DJ, 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. No cover. (352) 596-5008.

    Bayport Inn: 4835 Cortez Blvd., Bayport. Peter Cannon, 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Live entertainment, 2-6 p.m. Sunday. No cover. (352) 596-1088....

  15. Conductor passes baton

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING HILL — Back in 1995, the Hernando Symphony Orchestra found itself in a difficult position when its conductor, the late Marvin Rosenberg, had to step down due to health concerns.

    Finding another conductor was not a problem; finding the right one was.

    After three conductors over the next four years, orchestra leaders turned to Wayne Raymond.

    Proficient on both the piano and the trumpet, Raymond has a degree in music education from the University of Massachusetts, taught within the public school system for more than 30 years in Massachusetts and Spring Hill, has played with and guest conducted several orchestras, and has participated in a variety of community theater projects....

    Wayne Raymond became conductor at the Hernando Symphony Orchestra in 2000 and is its longest-tenured in the position.