Last January, Coney Island Drive Inn owner John Lee rallied several local businesses to establish The Brooksville Blueberry Festival. Following the departure of the Florida Blueberry Festival, Lee was confident that he and members of the community could build a new festival, that he describes as, “very different (from the previous years), with a more Brooksville feel.” Lee and his crew were able to raise $36,000 from Hernando County donors alone. Lee’s vision for the new festival has taken shape, and its debut will be held on the weekend of April 28 – 29, 2018.
Lee describes the biggest difference as having a more local flavor and a smaller footprint, with less intrusion on the city as a whole. The festival will be located on Ft. Dade between Howell Ave. and Magnolia Ave and within Hernando Park, 205 East Fort Dade Ave. in Brooksville. The following streets will be closed: Ft. Dade Ave., between Howell Ave and Magnolia Ave., Brooksville Ave and the alley running between Magnolia and Brooksville Ave. The Main Library will be closed on Saturday April 28, to accommodate the festival.
Parking is free, admission is free, and the Brooksville Future Farmers of America (FFA) will have locally-grown blueberries for sale. Local artisans and vendors will be onsite, as well as those from out of the area. Six of the eight live bands are local to Hernando County.
Lots of entertainment will be available, such as ponies, a rock climbing wall for the kids and a dunk tank to test your baseball throwing accuracy. “We’ve invited the City Council and County Commissioners to spend time in the dunk tank,” joked Lee. When asked how many RVSPs he has received for the tank, Lee said, “I haven’t received a list of responses yet,” but he has seen some interest expressed on social media. “We’re going to staff that dunk tank with as many people as we can get to commit to it.”
Food from area vendors will be available, but eat the blueberries first.