Alice Mary Herden contributed to this report.
There were a number of great events happening locally to commemorate our nation’s Independence Day.
We were very impressed with the turnout at the county’s Red, White and Brews celebration on July 3 at the Lake House, which featured several great bands, food trucks, fireworks and of course brews. Walking through the event it was easy to tell what was most popular with festival goers. The longest lines formed for the brews and the beef jerky. The lawn behind the Lake House was packed with people listening to the bands rocking on stage. Cars were parked at least a quarter mile down Applegate Drive towards Commercial Way. Many people set up their blankets along Applegate near the shopping center parking lot to watch the fireworks.
A parade is an important part of any Independence Day celebration and Hernando County is lucky to have a lovely one hosted by the High Point community in Brooksville.
2018 participants included local candidates and dignitaries, our US Congressman for the 11th District, Dan Webster, our State Representative, Blaise Ingoglia, Sheriff Al Nienhuis and members of the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in squad cars, on bike and on horseback. There were a number of beautiful horse entries, individual and group golf cart entries, motorcycle and vintage car entries. Local community organizations that proudly displayed their patriotism in the parade include the Young Marines, the High Point safety patrol, Sons of Abraham Motorcycle Ministry, Nature Coast English Car Club, Civil Air Patrol, Hernando County Squadron 301, the High Point Quilters, High Point Lions Club and the NYPD Hernando 10-13 Club. One entry that was particularly eye catching was a group of friends: Isabella, Sandy, Ginny, Barbara, Dave and Butch dressed as Flamingos. (We recently learned that flamingos are native to the state of Florida!) The costumes were created by High Point resident Gwen Roy and Guy Peters was their music man.
The parade’s Grand Marshal was WWII veteran Jack Sumerix, 97, whose goal was to live to the age of 100. Now that seems too easy for him and he’s made it his goal to get to 110! Jack has been a High Point resident for 38 years. He is actually a veteran of the Air Force, Army and Navy. He served in General George Patton’s 3rd Armored Division, seeing action in a number of countries including England, France, Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia. After returning home from war, he married his sweetheart Marian and the couple raised 3 children. Jack and Marian had 60 wonderful years together until she passed away.
Jack was a Senior Buyer for Babcock Wilcox Construction, a world leader in energy and environmental technologies for power and industrial markets. Prior to his retirement, he worked on a project for a power plant in Israel. Jack Sumerix is a well deserving Grand Marshal.
Another great hometown event was the Celebrate America! Concert at the Brooksville Bandshell. Entertainers performed throughout the afternoon including Live Oak Theatre Company, Al Chance and Vicki Roush. Following a Salute to Veterans, the Hernando County Symphony Orchestra delivered a moving concert. There was also a meet and greet with the youth orchestra members who had instruments on hand. Organizers were hoping for a 200 person turnout, and it seemed they exceeded that number. The event was sponsored by the Hernando County Fine Arts Council and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
There was also the 4th Annual Firecracker Smash ‘m Up at the Hernando County Fairgrounds- which included fireworks and a demolition derby. The Demolition Derby has been a family-night-out event since 2014 and at this year’s event; drivers came from all over the state of Florida to enter the mud-filled arena to smash, destroy and crush their custom-made cars in hopes to win that awesome derby trophy.
“It’s all about celebrating the fourth of July; we look forward for more people who want to enjoy what we are doing,” Richard Klimas said.
Richard Klimas, promoter for the Demolition Derby started out as a volunteer back in 2009 at the Hernando County Fairgrounds and has been in charge of promotions for the Demolition Derby since 2012.
“We want the community to be a part of what we are doing,” Klimas expressed.
For opportunities for local businesses to become involved in the 2019 Firecracker Smash’m up event check out the Hernando County Fairgrounds website at http://www.hernandofairgrounds.com/
It is great to see all of the activities the community has to offer in celebration of July 4th and especially the large crowds that made it out to those events.