Article and Photography by JESSICA WILLIAMS
Hernando Sun Writer
Photos also courtesy of Sertoma Youth Ranch
Under an old shade tree, there is a small wooden stand, with a soft-spoken greeter who sits and waits to welcome visitors arriving for a music festival. It’s a secluded spot on the outskirts of Hernando County, down a little dirt road. This happens quite often at the uniquely, tucked away oasis called The Sertoma Youth Ranch which sits close to the Pasco County line. The large pavilion provides a well-shaded ambiance to enjoy the energy-filled live performances of artists and musicians that have lined up for the occasion. (The pavilion consists of a 24’ x 40’ feet elevated stage along with an enclosed staging area that is 15’ x 60’ feet)
Grab your comfiest folding chair from home, or park your recreational vehicle at the park. For camping, the facilities include: Primitive Camping Sites (4 persons max / per night - $15.00, additional person is $5.00 each); Water and Electric Sites (4 persons max / 1 night - $30.00, additional person - $13.00 each); walk-in- day use is $5.00.
No matter how you enjoy the entertainment, you are guaranteed a great view. The unique setting isn’t like any other concert performance. The large dance floor, which sits just below the live performers, allows everyone to feel the music up close and personal with the musicians and artists. Performers often love walking through the audience, engaging them and making their fans come alive. This is what you’ll experience at The Sertoma Youth Ranch. A true, down to earth environment with its beautiful Old Florida wooded scenery. The establishment just had a Grammy award-winning musician visit for the first time, who expressed he wanted to return next year for Blues Bash at the Ranch.
On Sunday, April 28, a dedication service was held for their new youth pavilion in loving memory of Linda Peterman and Nicole Langlois.
The Sertoma Youth Ranch has been around since 1973, when three gentlemen, Jim Foster, Ralph Chancey, and Jesse Brown, put the idea together of a Youth Ranch for boys. A suitable 62.5-acre property was attained after some bumps in the road. Since then, it has grown to an 80-acre rustic, outdoor recreational area for Florida children to enjoy a natural environment. All organized youth groups are welcome, including those of mentally and physically challenged, at no charge. Sertoma Youth Ranch is a non-profit organization funded by Sertoma Clubs in the Tampa Bay Area. While its main purpose is to serve Florida’s children, The Sertoma Youth Ranch does host a series of music festivals including The Annual Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival, of which 100% of the proceeds go to The Ranch (main fundraiser for the Ranch and programs, for the children). In addition, The Christmas event at the Ranch have Santa arrive on a tractor at the joy and excitement of children who visit during the December event.
The Celtic Heritage Music Festival is also held at the Ranch. Its purpose is to educate heritage, history, culture, and traditions of the Celtic lands through music and entertainment. Vendors also line up alongside the pavilion with lots of attractive items for visitors.
The newest festival is Spirit of Woodstock, commemorating 50 years since Woodstock made its mark on popular music and defined a generation. The inaugural Spirit of Woodstock festival will take place Aug. 16-19 and will include music of 1969 as well as modern music. There will also be hayrides and other activities for the kids. We’ll be sure to provide additional information on this exciting event as it draws near.
Additional upcoming events include:
Orange Blossom Jamboree - May 15th-19th
Spirit of Woodstock - August 16th-19th
Camping with the Blues - October 18th-20th
Riverhawk - November 7th-10th
39th Annual Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival - November 28th-30th
For more detailed information, please visit:
Location: 85 Myers Road, Brooksville, Florida 34602