The Details on the Missing 2018 Florida Blueberry Festival
Explore what led up to this year’s Florida Blueberry Festival being cancelled.
April means blueberries in Florida, and we’d usually be sharing all of the details of the upcoming Florida Blueberry Festival, but this year it is not to be! Operations have been suspended for the 2018 Florida Blueberry Festival, but the good news is that planning is underway for the 2019 festival. Explore what happened to cancel the blueberry festival for this year, and stay up-to-date on details for next year, below.
A Controversial Lease With Brooksville
Since its beginning in 2011, the Florida Blueberry Festival was held in Brooksville, Florida. The festival filled the city’s downtown with blueberry foods, fun, and good times. However, it was felt that the festival was outgrowing the city of Brooksville’s ability to meet all its needs.
So, the city looked for other options, and landed on the Quarry Golf Course Property. They drew up a lease agreement for the festival’s board of directors to lease the site for a $1 a year for 40 years. The lease would also allow organizers of the blueberry festival to develop a year-round venue that could have featured additional attractions, such as a convention center, an arena, a concert hall, a visitor center and other facilities. However, there was a lot of political controversy surrounding how the lease was drawn up, and some Brooksville residents voiced concern over losing the use of the public space.
In light of the controversy and public objections, festival organizers declined to sign the lease in June of 2017, and the city withdrew it. Operations were suspended for the 2018 festival while organizers looked for another venue.
Looking to the 2019 Florida Blueberry Festival
The 2019 Florida Blueberry Festival is being planned at a new Central Florida location that has yet to be announced, but we will share details as soon as they are available. Brooksville is not done with blueberry festivals, however. The city is holding its own blueberry festival—the Brooksville Blueberry Festival—to fill the void. Slated for April 28th and 29th, the event will include live music, attractions, and, of course, blueberries!