Events to Check Out: Tampa Bay Comic Con

We have said it before, but it holds true enough to repeat. There is always something to do in the Tampa Bay area. This video we found on YouTube is from the annual Tampa Bay Comic Con. In one of the bigger annual events in the area, fans come from all over to see the panels with their favorite stars, directors, writers, etc., from TV, movies, comics and more. There are all sorts of other booths with various attractions and items for sale. Some people go just to admire the creativity of the cosplayers (that’s costumed play, or dressing up like your favorite superhero or TV character for those unfamiliar with the term). It is truly one of the more anticipated events in the area each year. For more information about the event, go to: http://www.tampabaycomiccon.com/

Historic Pasco County: Joy-Lan Drive-In

In 1950, one of Pasco County’s most enduring attractions opened to the public. The Joy-Lan Drive-In Theater in Dade City is one of the oldest enduring drive-in theaters in the country. The date given by the theater’s website lists the opening as being on Halloween of that year, while other histories cite a Dade City Banner article putting the opening date at March 9 of that same year. That same source also quotes the theater as having an occupational license dated October 25, 1950, so Halloween may have been the “official” opening, with limited runs before the license was obtained, although that is merely speculation on our part. We do not know for certain which of these of accurate, but not knowing does not affect the legacy of entertainment and fond memories patrons of the theater have received over the years.

The first film shown at the new drive-in theater was Challenge to Lassie, a 1949 film based on the classic Lassie television and movie franchise. Also shown at the premier was Down Dakota Wayand Good Sam. Back then, children under 12 got in free and adults paid only 35 cents for a movie, a cartoon, and a newsreel. If you think the original 35 cent admission was a deal, today they are listed as having the lowest price of admission for any drive-in theater in the entire United States of America.

The theater was closed back in 1995 after their parent company was sold. However, not content to let the theater he had spent so long running simply fade away, Harold Spears, president of Floyd Theaters, the company that originally owned Joy-Lan, formed his own company, Sun South Theaters, Inc. in order to buy Joy-Lan back and reopen it. Spears opened the theater back up, having it double as a flea market/swap shop to pull in extra revenue to help keep it running. The reopening took place on Oct.11, 1996, with the Will Smith blockbuster Independence Day as the feature.

The time since then has had its share of difficulties. A fire wrecked the snack bar in 2000. In 2011, significant investment went into the transition to digital format films, an expense some area theaters still struggle to cope with years later. In 2013, a storm destroyed a large portion of the screen right before the new digital equipment was to be installed. However, Joy-Lan has weathered it all and has back strong. They now boast the largest digital movie screen in Pasco County and can accommodate up to 400 cars with technology that lets vehicles tune into to the film’s audio through the car radio.

Joy-Lan Drive-In still runs strong today. If you are ever in Dade City and want a unique movie-going experience, drive on up and check it out. Of course, check their website for movie listings and times.

Historic Pasco County: Johnny Cash and Port Richey

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Many famous figures from all across the media landscape have either called the Tampa Bay area home, or at least spent a great deal of time here. In other articles, we have detailed the area’s connections to such stars as Hulk Hogan, Derek Jeter, Gallagher, and many more. Now we present the area’s connection to The Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash.

Johnny Cash married June Carter in 1968. June’s parents, Ezra J. and Maybelle Carter had moved to Port Richey, Florida in 1962. Port Richey, for those unfamiliar with the area, is a short drive north from Tampa and St. Petersburg, and a little south of our office in neighboring Hernando County. In recent years, it has become a fairly thriving area, as those who want the amenities offered by the city without the headaches that come with it have flocked there.

Johnny Cash used to spend time periodically with his in-laws at their home when not on tour. When they passed away, June inherited the home, and it became one of several homes the Cash family split time between. Mr. Cash said it best in his autobiography:

I’m part gypsy, part homebody, so I live according to a rhythm alien to most people but natural to me, splitting my time on a semi-predictable basis between my big house on Old Hickory Lake just outside Nashville; my farm at Bon Aqua, farther outside Nashville; the house in Port Richey, Florida, that June inherited from her parents; an endless succession of hotels all over the world; my bus; and my house in Jamaica, Cinnamon Hill.”

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They came to be very attached to the area. Cash took up fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The family made friends in the area, such as Des Little, who Cash visited on his forty-first wedding anniversary, an event that would find its way onto the pages of the Pasco Times. Cash thought highly of the area, though, as this passage from his autobiography shows, he did not think highly of the heat of a Florida summer:

“Here you have the tide, the meeting of freshwater with salt, the seabirds and marsh birds and land birds. The weather cooks up its sudden subtropical tempests out over the horizon or, on the landward side, takes the whole afternoon to build one of those immense, imposing fortresses of thunderheads, and then, as afternoon begins its long transition to evening, turns the whole towering edifice purple-gray and brings it all tumbling and crashing down on you, transforming everything into wind and water. Mostly that’s a summer treat, so I don’t experience it very often, for like other nonnatives with enough money and sense, we go elsewhere during Florida’s months of eighty percent humidity. Whenever I see it, though, it always makes me marvel: at the sheer scale, power, beauty, and complexity of God’s creation, at the simplicity and strength of my human root in nature.”

The Cash family would sell the Port Richey home, after years of creating memories and deep connections with people all around the area, in May of 2002, just months before Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71. Cash, along with his wife June, left a legacy of fond memories and lives they touched through their actions. There are few celebrities as universally loved as Johnny Cash, and if you asked they residents of Port Richey, Florida, they could give you special insight as to why that is.

 

Photo by The Art of York Berlin

Photo by Daquella manera

Historic Hernando County: 1885 Railroad Depot Museum

historic Hernando

We have covered a bit of the history of Hernando County here on the site. We have produced brief reviews of materials about the area’s history. Today, we would like to tell you about a place where you can see some of that history up close and personal. The 1885 Railroad Depot Museum on Russell Street in Brooksville boasts an impressive collection of historical artifacts and records from the county’s past and is a fantastic resource for people looking to learn more about the county’s history.

Trains and the railroads they ran on were a vital element of Florida’s history. Many early settlements in the state were fairly isolated, trading within a small radius of nearby towns, transporting goods by carriage, until trains connected the area to larger population centers. This led to struggling communities becoming flourishing ones. This museum, housed inside a renovated train depot, is a testament to that history.

The museum boasts plenty of historical records, including listings of burials in every cemetery in the county. They also sport marriage records from the late 1800’s up to 1992. As for historic artifacts, they have a train car from the 1800’s, a 1925 fire truck, as well as various artifacts from early settlements Hope Hill and the Centralia logging community (which we covered here). They also have all sorts of items that paint a vivid picture of life in the 1800’s in Hernando County.

Admission to the museum is $3 for adults while children get in for free. They are open Noon to 3PM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well as the first three Saturdays of each month, excluding August, when they are closed the entire month for maintenance. The museum is located at 70 Russell Street in Brooksville, a few blocks south of the Hernando County Courthouse.

For more information about the museum, as well as historical information about the train depot it is housed in, check out the 1885 Railroad Depot Museum website.

More Credit Advice

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As we have pointed out previously, properly managing your credit rating can have a large impact on your ability to afford a home. We covered how to monitor your credit in our previous work on the subject, so now let us take a look at some extra ways to build your credit. This could mean building it up just to improve it, or to recover from some financial hardship that may be harming your credit.

1. Secured Credit Cards – Sadly, as much as one may want to live without them, credit cards have become a fairly necessary tool for building credit. Whether you believe such a practice is fair or not, it is the established norm. It would seem counter-productive, as it is very easy to in over one’s head with credit cards, but when properly managed, they are a useful tool. Get a secured credit card, as they provide the most benefit, and pay off your balance each month. Do not let recurring balances start to build interest. Also, stick with just one card. multiple accounts can have an adverse impact on your credit score. This takes restraint and self-control, but then again, any aspect of building credit will.

2. Be Better With Banking – Bank accounts may only show up on your credit report when you end up with negative balances, but maintaining a strong bank account will help you get better deals on the aforementioned credit card. This will, in turn, help make building your credit that much easier. Plus, you will have money in the bank. Having some form of savings is always a bonus.

3. Pay Those Bills – Of course, paying your bills on time is vital. This is true for any kind of debt, loans, credit cards, etc. This should go without saying, so we will just move on.

4. Work Hard for the Money – Staying with a decent employer for a solid length of time (generally longer than two years) is essential for some types of loans, especially mortgages. If you get a decent paying job, stick with it if you plan on buying a home or car or any similar purchases anytime soon.

We hope these tips help you with your efforts to improve your credit rating. If you stick with them, there is a good chance they will. Of course, there are always pitfalls to avoid if at all possible. Evictions, criminal convictions, and bankruptcy can all destroy a person’s credit rating. be careful, and with some luck, you can avoid the pitfalls and climb the ladder to a better credit score and the improved financial security that comes with it.

Photo by Philip Taylor PT

Pinellas County Travel Resources

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We recently put together a list of places to look for upcoming events in Spring Hill and the greater Hernando County area. If we were to extend the list to include resources for events across the entire Tampa Bay area, the list could quite possibly be rather huge. Instead of going into minimal detail on a bunch of different resources, here is a bit more detail about one of our preferred sources for information about attractions and events across the Tampa Bay area.

The resource is the website provided by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. There you will find plenty of resources to help you plan your time in the Tampa Bay area. For those merely visiting, there are plenty of listings for hotels and travel accommodations. For both visitors and residents alike, there is plenty more offered.

There are maps to help you get around and plan your route to and from any venue you may wish to check out. There are video profiles on many of the towns and cities in Pinellas County. There is information about beaches as well as restaurants, shopping, museums, entertainment venues and a great deal more.

They also highlight many of the events in the area. They also provide a wealth of information about area sports franchises, including information like the best places to eat near the stadium on gameday. The also cover transportation options and the aforementioned maps to help you get around.

They even help you work around the elements. Temperamental weather patterns can be a concern with storms popping up unexpectedly. That is, of course, unless you can plan ahead. The site provides a radar map as well as webcam footage of the beaches and information about normal weather trends in the area.

There is a wealth of other information here as well, and this article could easily stretch to twice the current size. However, for the sake of brevity, let us wrap up by adding that all of the wealth of information available on that site is also translated into Spanish, German, and French. If you have friends or family overseas who would like plan a trip here, this could be a great resource for them as well.

Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida

Fishing Tips for Florida’s Gulf Coast


Fishing is an incredibly popular passtime in Florida. Whether it is just casting a line off the Sunshine Skyway Pier or going out on a boat to fish out in the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of opportunities to catch some prize fish in the Tampa Bay area. This video, produced by SaltyScales.com, discusses some tips for fishing in the area that has proven quite successful for the video’s producers. If you are into fishing on the Gulf Coast of Florida, or want to be, this is certainly worth checking out.

Where to Find Things to Do In Spring Hill, Florida

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If you are ever looking for something to do in Hernando County, we have you covered. Whatever you are into, from family friendly fare to political activism to motorcycle clubs, there is always something going on worth checking out. Here are the top places to look to find out what is going on in the area.

Spring Hill Now Event Calendar

http://springhillnow.com/calendar

This is our usual go-to for event listings. They do a pretty good job of staying on top of what is going on in Spring Hill. If you want a quick, easy access method of finding out what is happening in the area, this is the place to check.

Hernando Tourism Event Calendar

http://www.hernandotourism.com/calendar/hernando-community-events-calendar/

Here is a very convenient calendar of events. They make it very easy find and print out a listing of events. This is great for tourists who want to have all the information in front of them as they travel around town.

Hula Frog Spring Hill

http://hulafrog.com/spring-hill-fl/

Not to be confused with ice cream store Sweet Frog, Hula Frog is a service that lists family friendly events for parents. This is helpful for planning events around children. They provide a fantastic service for parents as they filter out any events that are not child friendly. This way, you only get fun places and events to bring the kids to.

Meetup.com’s Spring Hill Page

http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/fl/spring_hill/

MeetUp.com has become a major player in connecting people with like-minded individuals for the purpose of creating events around any reasonable interest possible. Motorcycle enthusiasts, ukulele players, yoga fans and many more interests are represented on the site at the time of this writing. There truly is always something to do and this is the place to find it.

Photo by Richard Elzey

Profile: The Hernando Sportsman’s Club

In the past we have covered locations and facilities catering to a variety of interests in Hernando County. From dirt biking to kayaking, nature lovers to history buffs, we have found something for all of them to do in town. Here we have something for the sportsmen in our community. The Hernando Sportsman’s Club at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area boasts a large variety of ranges to practice on and events for people to check out. Founded in 1980 under the original name Hernando County Rifle & Pistol Club, they provide local sportsmen with training and practice facilities.

According to their website, the public is welcome from Tuesday through Sunday to use the ranges and compete in competitions. There are also memberships available for those who plan on attending more frequently. The facilities are on an eighty acre tract of land with several types of ranges available.

The club offers several courses ranging from basic firearm safety to hunters education, to self-defense and crime prevention. The firearm safety course is applicable to qualify for the application for a carry permit. There is also a military museum on site.

The club also hosts a variety of events, ranging from swap meets to shooting competitions. There is always another event upcoming, so anyone interested should check back with them often.

The club is located off of U.S. 19 (Commercial Way) between Thrasher Ave. and The Dunes Golf Club on the South side of the highway. For more information, including event dates and times, club hours, visitor and membership rates as well as general information about the club, go to http://www.hernandosportsmansclub.com/

Live It Up In Ybor City

This video, from the Ybor City Development Corporation, highlights the advantages and perks to living in Ybor City. If you are the type that enjoys all of the amenities that only city life can offer, as well as doing so in a trendy and popular region, then Ybor City is a great place to consider.

Of course, if you are only looking at Ybor for the nightlife, moving north into Hernando or Pasco Counties could be a better option.  Cheaper housing, less congestion, and quieter living are all perks of living a little outside the city. Then, of course, it is a short drive to the clubs if that is what you are looking to do. If you are interested in finding out more about homes available in the area, contact Bonnie Barbieri by email: SOLD@bonniebarbieri.com or call 352-263-3599.