A festival of craft, song and food offers a chance to be a Cracker for a day.
By MAUREEN BYRNE AHERN
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 23, 2002
LARGO -- Betty Heath remembers the humble beginnings of the first Country Jubilee at Heritage Village. There were a few craft booths, a couple of entertainers and someone selling hot dogs.
"And then it just grew, grew, grew," said Mrs. Heath, a member of the Pinellas County Historical Society, which raises money for Heritage Village, the county's historical museum.
Twenty-five years later, Saturday's annual festival is expected to draw 12,000 people. It will feature 125 craft vendors and a variety of contemporary folk and bluegrass musicians. There will be plenty of steak hoagies and key lime pie to go around.
The jubilee, the group's biggest fundraiser of the year, will offer demonstrations on quilting, basket weaving, spinning, woodworking, meat smoking and sugar cane grinding. Entertainment will include music by contemporary folk artist Mike Pinherio, songwriter Jak Kelly and the Crabgrass Cowboys.
The event started in 1978 as a way to buy artifacts and furnishings for Heritage Village's structures. At that time, Heritage Village had five historical buildings on its 10 acres. Today, there are 27 historic structures on 21 acres, one dating to the early 1850s.
The village gives visitors an idea of what life was like in Pinellas County in the early 1900s. Docents dressed in period costumes will greet people as they tour the historical buildings. They include the Seven Gables house, a 1907 Victorian home; the Boyer Cottage, an 1878 one-room fisherman's cottage; and the McMullen-Coachman Loghouse, built in 1852, the county's oldest existing structure.
The 25th annual Country Jubilee is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Heritage Village, 11909 125th St. N, Largo. Admission is free. Remote parking will be off 119th Street, south of Ulmerton Road. Free shuttle pickups will begin at 9:15 a.m.; the last pickup from Heritage Village will be at 5 p.m. Call 582-2123.