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Holiday festivities filled with fun

The city of Brooksville will be decking its halls Saturday with doings that will not only capture the yule spirit, but a sense of the city's history as well. From the festooned splendor of marching bands and floats to the sophistication of symphonic music, organizers have put together a day's worth of activities aimed at any age.

Things kick off at 10 a.m. with the 32nd annual Hernando County Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Brooksville Kiwanis Club, in association with the city.

This year's event theme, 150 Years of Christmas Celebrations in Brooksville, plays off of the city's ongoing sesquicentennial celebration, and will no doubt offer parade participants plenty of creative possibilities, says Brooksville City Clerk Karen Phillips.

"Traditionally, we've had good response to our parade themes," Phillips said . "I imagine you'll see everything from 1800s costumes to poodle skirts. People like to have fun with it."

Phillips said that about 140 entries are expected for the parade, which will start at Oakwood Street behind Hernando High School and proceed south down Howell Avenue to City Hall.

Publisher and historian Bob Martinez will serve as grand marshal of the parade. Longtime Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jerry Perdue will be honored as this year's Hometown Hero.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL: The celebration will continue from noon to 3 p.m. in the City Hall parking lot with the Brooksville Christmas Festival. The free event will include music and entertainment, hay rides, kids activities and games, plus a host of vendors selling homemade crafts, candies, dolls, jewelry, ornaments and more. Children will have an opportunity to visit with Santa.

BAND SHELL BASH: At 4 p.m., the focus will shift to the Hernando park band shell for a special community concert by the Hernando Symphony Orchestra. The program will feature the ensemble performing a number of holiday classics. In addition, there will be a guest appearance by tenors Joe Lamparelli, Ray Boling and Carlton Burgess, the Spring Hill Bible Church Choir and a bell choir. Also on the schedule are the Brooksville Cruise-In classic car show, food and vendors, plus a gift raffle.

CHRISTMAS TOUR: Those looking to see how Christmas was once celebrated in Brooksville should consider a visit Saturday to the May-Stringer Heritage Museum, 601 Museum Court. From 6 to 10 p.m., the 12-room house will celebrate its annual Christmas Tour of Yesteryear by being fully illuminated inside by candlelight. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children. For information, call the museum at 799-0129.

Logan Neill can be reached at 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

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