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Florida Opry opens with dance, bluegrass

PLANT CITY – The East Hillsborough Historical Society (EHHS) celebrated bluegrass music at the annual Florida Opry Oct. 12. Hosted at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center, proceeds from the event go toward the historical society, which is a managing partner of the 1914 community center with the city of Plant City.

The event began at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 4:45 p.m. for a pasta dinner. Performances were given by emcee Randy Scott as well as Becky Conn and the Dance Connection Cloggers. Featured entertainers for the evening were local bluegrass band The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes, performing a mix of traditional bluegrass songs as well as acoustic adaptations of classic pop and rock.

President and executive director for the East Hillsborough Historical Society Shelby Bender explained that their organization has hosted the Florida Opry for three years and looks to invite local and regional talent to the musical event.

“We just thought it was a good opportunity to keep the venue in Plant City,” Bender said. “For a number of shows we’ve had solo acts but they’re very talented.”

She added that they look for a diverse range of genres which include country, western, gospel, folk, and Americana. Many of the Florida Opry’s attendees are long time patrons of the show.

“I come to all the ones when I’m around and I enjoy it very much,” said Betty Butcher, a ticket holder for many years.

The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes was the first in a series of six performances that the Florida Opry will host throughout the fall, winter, and spring. Members of the Central Florida Bluegrass Association, The Little Girl and the Dreadful Snakes play throughout the year at local bluegrass festivals, charity events, and weddings.

“Our big thing is to have people come out,” said band member Lucien Tender. “We started a few years ago and we play about two or three times a month.”

The next Florida Opry presentation will be Nov. 9 with a featured performance from Amanda and Scott Anderson and the Stringbreak Band. The event will be held in the same location at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center, with performances beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 per person and $5 per student. A dinner of chicken and rice will be served prior to the show at 4:45 p.m. for $8 per person and $4 per student.

For more information or to reserve tickets contact the East Hillsborough Historical Society at (813) 757-9226 or visit their website at www.thefloridaopry.org.

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