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Bands in benefit battle

A battle of the bands, topped off by a short concert by Matt LaPorte and the Enablers, will be at the Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership today.

Several bands will compete at the event, which starts at 11 a.m. at Harley-Davidson of Crystal River, 1785 U.S. 19, between Homosassa Springs and Crystal River. The event is also a fundraiser for the Jessica Lunsford Foundation.

LaPorte, a heavy metal guitarist, is also a member of Jon Oliva's heavy metal band, Pain. Oliva founded Savatage, which is now on hiatus, but Pain plays many Savatage songs in concert, LaPorte said.

In other weekend events:

The International Festival will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at Lakeside Park in Beverly Hills. In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled for Monday.

It's a good idea to skip breakfast and be prepared to taste homestyle ethnic dishes found at the food court. Just follow your nose.

Foods such as Cuban style roast pork and other traditional dishes from the Spanish American Club, as well as kielbasa and other sausages from the Polish American Club and pastries from the German American Club, will be found in the food court. Other groups scheduled to have food or traditional clothing displays are the American Irish Club and the Wei Wei Ritzhaupt Chinese Club.

Cracker Days takes place at Rainbow Springs Park, on U.S. 41 about 2 miles north of Dunnellon today and Sunday. The park is the headwaters of the Rainbow River and an overlook provides a view of the spring pond that feeds the entire river.

Cracker Days will feature several authentic camp displays, such as soap makers, cattle camps and weavers.

There will also be live entertainment both Saturday and Sunday. Among the entertainers today will be the Shade Tree Pickers at 10 a.m.; the Lytle Family gospel and bluegrass group at noon; storyteller Duke Stoetzer at 1 p.m.; and storyteller and signer Billy Roberson at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Roberson will perform at noon, followed by Jesse and James, an acoustic duo, at 2 p.m.

Country music star Pam Tillis will perform today at Silver Springs Nature Park, near Ocala in Marion County.

Known for hits such as Maybe it Was Memphis and Shake the Sugar Tree, Tillis, a two-time Grammy winner, is scheduled to take the stage at 3 p.m. Music begins at noon. Bring lawn chairs or rent them from the park. The venue is an outdoors amphitheater. The concert is included in the admission price, which is $32.99 for adults. Guests who bring in any Coca-Cola product will receive $8 off the adult admission price.

Silver Springs is a mile east of Ocala on State Road 40 (Silver Springs Boulevard). Call (352) 236-2121 or visit the Web site at

An audience participation murder mystery Engaged in Murder, continues today and Sunday at Citrus Hills Country Club. The play is performed by Gulf Islands Civic Theatre. Menu choices are prime rib and chicken marsala. Cost $30. Seating at 5:30; dinner at 6:30; show at 7:30 tonight. On Sunday matinee seating at 1; dinner at 2; show at 3 p.m. Call 746-6855 for reservations.

Jorge Sanchez covers arts and entertainment in Citrus County. Call 860-7313 or e-mail