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HomeAt Home & BeyondBrooksville Main Street is Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Brooksville Main Street is Florida Main Street Program of the Month

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Settled atop a hill in 1856, the historic City of Brooksville was formed with its rich history and old-world charm. A spot for incredible outdoor activities and delightful shops and restaurants, Brooksville Main Street has been distinguished as a ‘main’ example of metropolitan excellence. On Dec. 2, Secretary of State Cord Byrd announced that Brooksville Main Street has been designated the December 2022 Florida Main Street Program of the Month. Secretary Byrd stated, “I am delighted to recognize Brooksville Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month. This historic city on a hill is an excellent example of how to create a sense of community that appeals to every generation.”

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Two months ago, Kahler was notified by Kathie Beck, executive director of the Florida Main Street program, regarding her program’s impending honor. Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 59 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul.

“I was happy,” she said. “This honor is special, validating all of our hard work.” Brooksville Main Street claims its origins in 2017, through the establishment of a nonprofit organization “dedicated to making Brooksville the best version of itself for businesses, residents, and all lovers of the small city.”

Kahler shared, “It all started with Barbara Manuel, (original Chair of the Promotion Committee for Brooksville Main Street). It started with decorations, then celebrations.” Indeed, a cornerstone of the Main Street program takes the form of the many holiday celebrations that effectively transform the downtown area into a winter wonderland during the holiday season.

“The Christmas season is one of the signature programs that won us the honor,” said Kahler. The centerpiece of a classic Brooksville Main Street program stands tall in the form of a 30-foot-tall tree at the Hernando County Courthouse; a focal point as residents and guests enjoy a whole host of festive seasonal events, many of which are free and open to the public.

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“Our annual tree lighting draws as many as 10,000 people,” said Kahler. “We have public performances of music and dance, with valued partners like Live Oak Theatre. We have a Family Christmas Festival, this year to take place on Dec. 20, featuring Santa and Mrs. Clause, crafts, games, live entertainment and vendors, and a live DJ. We have a Sensory Santa experience, sleigh rides, photo ops and much more.”

Other holiday Main Street programs include the Festival of Trees, a display and auctioning of trees decorated by local businesses, which this year raised $3,000 for Main Street programs, Holiday Stroll on South Brooksville Avenue, the Christmas Courthouse Live music and dance presentations and the display of a 16-foot-tall ornament. “We receive such amazing feedback for our programs, with people saying that it wouldn’t feel like Christmas in Brooksville without these celebrations,” said Kahler.

As a whole, the Main Street program garners a great deal of positive acclaim, and for a good reason too! Kahler stated, “What Brooksville Main Street has been able to accomplish in a short five years seems magical, but it really is the hard work of hundreds of volunteers deeply committed to our hometown. A donor the other day told me there is a spirit of giving over Brooksville right now. I couldn’t agree more – a spirit of giving of our time, talent and treasure is in the air. It’s beyond rewarding to be involved at this moment in this city – and I believe we will look back at this time in Brooksville as one of pivotal positive placemaking.”

Aside from yuletide happenings, Brooksville Main Street hosts other popular events during the year such as the Brooksville Blueberry Festival, the Florida Mermaid Trail Festival, and Founders’ Week. Brooksville Main Street instituted a pair of popular walking trails, the Florida Mermaid Trail and TourBVL, that have won awards from Florida’s Secretary of State during the annual Preservation on Main Street Conference. Brooksville Main Street also administers a number of artistic programs, such as the Mobile Mural program and Friday Night Live concert performances.

“Since 2017, Brooksville Main Street has reported approximately $9,176,635 in public and private reinvestments and welcomed 30 net new businesses to the district,” read information released through Brooksville Main Street. “Volunteers have served over 16,739 hours to make their success possible.”

For more information regarding Brooksville Main Street, visit WeLoveBVL.org, on Facebook.com/BrooksvilleMainStreet, or Instagram at Instagram.com/BrooksvilleMainStreet. To learn more about the Florida Main Street program, visit FloridaMainStreet.com or Facebook.com/FloridaMainStreet. “In the future, with the help of more volunteers and more committees,” said Kahler. “Brooksville Main Street will only get bigger and better.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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