The juicy trend locally: blueberries. True, they can't touch the amount of citrus and strawberries grown here, but the area of blueberries harvested in Florida has roughly tripled in the past 10 years. And wouldn't you know the berries are ripening just in time for the Florida Blueberry Festival this weekend in Brooksville. It features blueberries in anything you can think of and beyond, including a juried art show, putting challenge, live music (may we request Blueberry Hill?), kids zone, zip line and something called Blueberry Theater. There's also a car show with antique, custom and classic cars from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday ($15 car registration), and a Mud Truck Show, with a display of "mudders" and a pit stop challenge for kids from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday (free). The blueberry fest runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday along Main Street in downtown Brooksville. $5, $3 ages 6-17, 5 and younger free. (352) 754-4173. floridablueberryfestival.org
* * *
MIX IT UP: TAMPA BAY BLUES FESTIVAL
Once again, the Tampa Bay Blues Festival is playing a little loosey-goosey with the word "blues," packing plenty of funk and soul into this year's lineup - and that's not a bad thing. Sure, blues greats Buddy Guy (right), Shemekia Copeland and Coco Montoya lead Friday's lineup, but Saturday brings the smooth and soulful Michael McDonald (left) and the Blind Boys of Alabama, while Sunday features N'awlins royalty Irma Thomas and British soulman James Hunter. It's a spicy sonic gumbo that should go well with all the grub in St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park. The fest is $40-$50 per day ($175-$200 VIP), $110 for the weekend ($375 VIP). For a tighter, more clublike experience, check out one of the annual after-shows at the Palladium, with Montoya, Selwyn Birchwood and Matt Schofield taking the stage on Friday, and Nikki Hill, Tommy Castro and the Painkillers and Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials on Saturday. Tickets to both after shows are $20. tampabaybluesfest.com.
Jay Cridlin, Times staff writer
* * *
SONS OF SUN RECORDS: MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET
This story is set on Dec. 4, 1956, when Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley got together at the Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for one of the best jam sessions ever. And that's why they call it the Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony-winning musical that comes to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater at 8 tonight, 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Songs include Blue Suede Shoes, Ring of Fire, Hound Dog and Great Balls of Fire. $35-$75. (727) 791-7400. rutheckerdhall.com.
Stephanie Hayes, Times performing arts critic
* * *
LEARN, LISTEN: FLORIDA ORCHESTRA
This weekend at the Florida Orchestra, you get two shows. It's worth it to arrive an hour early for the preconcert talk by guest conductor Gerard Schwarz, who will chat about the Mozart, Diamond and Brahms program. Not only does the music sound better when understand what you're listening to, but we have it on good authority that Schwarz is an entertaining guy all on his own. He's also an advocate and friend of David Diamond, whose Symphony No. 4 is on the program, along with Mozart's Symphony No. 28 and Arnold Schoenberg's orchestral version of Brahms' Piano Quartet in G minor. You'll feel so smart afterward. Concerts are 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. $15-$45. Onstage seating is offered this week at the Straz and Mahaffey concerts ($75). Toll-free 1-800-662-7286. Schwarz will give the talk at all three venues.
Kelly Smith, Times staff writer