Brooksville resembled, to paraphrase the words of Randi Olsen, President and Artistic Director of Live Oak Theatre Company, a “scene from a Hallmark Channel special” on Thursday evening, December 6. Stores were decked out in bright holiday decorations, delicious smells of food wafted through the air, happy sounds of children could be heard, people wore Christmas attire, vendors displayed and sold gifts and Christmas carols were sung. All that was missing was the snow.
Approximately 5,000 people attended the annual Christmas on Main Street event, surpassing past years’ attendance figures. The evening included forty vendors representing local businesses and non-profit organizations, a showing of classic children’s Christmas movies and Patricia Boutique’s “Patricia’s Windows Come to Life.” The highlight of the evening was a music and dance performance by Live Oak Conservatory students. And, of course, the lighting of the 35′ Christmas tree in front of the courthouse on Main Street.
Mark Reichard designed and built the beautiful tree, along with a smaller 24′ tree that stands beside City Hall. Countless volunteers worked on the project, as well.
Randi Olsen and Terry Edwards, a vocal instructor with the Live Oak Theatre Company were the emcees of the entertainment portion. The talented pair also sang some duets. The young dancers, under the direction of dance instructor Jane Russell Geddings, performed several lively numbers.
Ryan Malloy, Executive Director of Brooksville Main Street introduced local dignitaries that were present at the event. Among them were Hernando County Commissioners Steve Champion, John Allocco, Wayne Dukes, John Mitten and Jeff Holcomb, as well as Deputy County Administrator, Jeff Rogers. Mayor William Kemerer, Vice-Mayor Joe Bernardini, City Council members Betty Erhard, Pat Brayton and Butch Battista represented the city of Brooksville. Sheriff Al Nienhuis, Clerk of the Circuit Court Don Barbee, Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson and several local judges also attended.
Malloy stated, “It brings me great joy to be a part of providing this festive event to our community. I hope the size of our crowd is an indicator for further participation in the many remaining activities for the holiday season and events to come. Our downtown business community is very excited about Brooksville Main Street’s progress towards the revitalization of our amazing Historic Downtown Brooksville.”
Barbara Manuel, Chair of the Promotion Committee for Brooksville Main Street thanked the many businesses that helped make the event possible. The original sponsors three years ago that contributed to the construction of the tree were Withlacoochee River Electric, Lowman Law Firm, Hernando County Tourist Development Council, Attorney Frank Miller and Brooksville Chiropractic. This year fifteen private, public and nonprofit entities funded the effort. These are: Creative Environmental Solutions, Ranch Hand Feed Depot, Rotary Club of Brooksville, American Gun & Pawn, Oak Hill Hospital, Total Care Plus, WWJB/The Boot, ProCivil 360, Hogan Law Firm, A&K Energy Conservation,
Florida’s Adventure Coast (Hernando Tourism), Lowman Law and, Attorney Frank Miller,
Hernando County and the City of Brooksville. The Matthew and Beverly Lowman Family Foundation gave the starter funds for the tree at City Hall.
Mrs. Manuel commented, “The vision of the Brooksville Main Street program is to make downtown Brooksville a Christmas destination for our community and surrounding communities.”
Throughout the holiday season there will be many more activities in the downtown area. These include a Christmas show at the Hernando Park Band Shell Pavilion and Snacks with Santa hosted by Little Lady Café on December 14. Downtown Abbey Christmas Dinner at the Tilted Teacup Tea Room and Boutique will take place on December 15. Live Oak Theatre Company will present a radio play version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on December 18. Classic Reflections Carriages will offer Christmas Carriage Rides on December 19 and December 20. On December 19, D.S. Parrott Middle School Chorus will perform Christmas songs in the courthouse atrium. For details on exact times and fees, if any, call 352-540-6476 or email [email protected].
Brooksville Main Street which is a project of Brooksville Vision Foundation sponsors many events during the year, including concerts and outdoor markets. For more information visit their website at https://www.historicdowntownbrooksville.com/