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Founders Day Picnic at Chinsegut Hill

The founding of the City of Brooksville can, in many ways, be traced to the timeless history of the Chinsegut Hill Historic Site. So it seems fitting that Chinsegut, 22495 Chinsegut Hill Road, will host a Founder’s Day Picnic from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. This event is being planned in conjunction with Main Street Brooksville. “The first owners of Chinsegut had 11 children. Eight of their daughters married founders of the city of Brooksville. The history of Chinsegut is the history of Brooksville,” explained Natalie Kahler, Executive Director of Brooksville Main Street.

Billy Somerville, Director of Marketing & Communications of Tampa Bay History Center, agrees. He states, “Located atop one of the highest points in Florida, Chinsegut Hill’s historic home is situated in a 114-acre preserve. From prehistoric people to pioneer settlers, from an agricultural plantation before the Civil War to the emancipation of enslaved people, Chinsegut Hill has witnessed thousands of years of Florida’s history.”

Known at various times as a frontier outpost, an Antebellum plantation, a progressive-era gathering spot, and a conservation site, Chinsegut is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. And on Oct. 16, Hernando County’s Chinsegut Hill Historic Site will be the site of a Founder’s Day picnic, thus beginning a new tradition in the place that is known for them. “We are hoping that this will be the first of many annual Founder’s Day picnic events,” said Somerville.

This event marks the return of the classic hometown picnic. “Bring your picnic basket, relax under a shady tree, and listen to live music on the north lawn by Eddie McConnell,” Somerville invited. “Plus, you can purchase Southern-style BBQ from The Cook Shed food trailer. The whole family will enjoy Founder’s Day at Chinsegut Hill Historic Site with lawn games popular centuries ago and reenactors roaming the grounds. Look for interpretive signs telling the stories of the people who once lived on the hill.”

McConnell plays country and southern rock ‘n’ roll and has performed since 1970. His home-spun melodies should make a pleasant backdrop for a picnic dinner that could, according to Cook Shed owner Tim Thompson, include: pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken leg quarters, smoked sausage, and sides. All prepared by the award-winning barbecue cooks at The Cook Shed. 

Then, people can play classic lawn games. “Games will include 19th-century lawn games including the Game of Graces, a popular children’s game that originated in France. Additionally, baseball, checkers, and an assortment of historically accurate toys will be available on the lawn,”  said Somerville. 

Chinsegut home tours also will be available during the picnic. Tickets ($10) are on sale now for docent-led house tours. This is an in-depth look at the historic home, the three-story, 5,100 square feet ivory-hued manse that boasts broad porches, classically designed windows and structure, and brims within with classic furniture, photographs, and documents. The tour lasts 45 minutes and begins every half hour. 

For more information about the Founder’s Day Picnic or for house tour tickets at Chinsegut Hill, visit their Facebook event page.

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