A recent tax-free holiday weekend and a plethora of back-to-school sales are specific indicators that summer is drawing to an end.
In Hernando County, another sign of the season is establishing itself; the annual Rock the Block outdoor concert event at Rookies Sports Bar & Grill.
Rock the Block took Spring Hill by storm last August, attracting more than 700 visitors who enjoyed a day of hard rocking in the parking lot of Rookies, located at 3095 Anderson Snow Blvd.
Rookies co-owner Jason Sessa came up with the idea to hold the concert because he wanted to do something for the county that would celebrate the end of summer in a big way.
With the assistance of his longtime friends who are members of Clenchfist, a local, hard-rocking band with widespread recognition, Rookies was able to organize a daytime concert with the quality and caliber of venues seen further south.
The inaugural event showcased three local bands that opened for Clenchfist, along with raffles, vendors and a rocking good time.
The idea, Sessa explained, was to provide something memorable for Hernando County where young people could enjoy quality, live music in their own back yard.
"There was just nothing here," Sessa said.
With the debut Rock the Block being a huge success, the second annual Rock the Block, scheduled for Saturday, will follow a similar pattern, combining quality local talent in the form of three bands, the return of Clenchfist as the headlining band and the addition of several local businesses as sponsors.
Clenchfist Drummer Mike Fiumara said this year's Rock the Block will be even better the second time around.
The band lineup includes Drop Shot, a three-piece band from Tampa; Goodnight Neverland; RumblePak, a local band from Spring Hill, and A(K)new, who performed at last year's Rock the Block.
The local vendor list grew to more than 20 as word got out about the predictions for attendance this year.
Fiumara expects to double the attendance from last year, hoping for as many as 1,500 guests.
"We had to cut off the vendors," Fiumara said. "We were getting too many.
Vendors include John Sapone, Realtor, C21 Alliance Realty; Store Smart; Dr. O'Sullivan & DeLuca; By the Bay Studios; iDroid Repairs & Products; Just Be Tan; Universal Soil Solutions; Anew Dawn; Family Chiropractic; Budweiser; Tropical Rain Sprinklers; Metro PCS; Spring Hill Lock N Key; Enigma Ink; Fan Entertainment; Top Line Tire & Auto; Dina's Bakery; All Web N Mobile; Beer Frog Liquors; and Kno-it-All.
In just under two years, Rookies Sports Bar & Grill has hosted several charitable events and other activities to bring attention to the "pay it forward" mentality of the community.
The establishment is family-owned and operated with creative energy that spills into events like Rock the Block.
Clenchfist, with strong ties to the owners, was more than willing to help coordinate the event to make it a success.
The five-piece band consists of three original members: Mike Fiumara on drums, Steven Bruno on lead vocals, Jerry Bruno on bass, Dee Blume on lead guitar and Eric Park on rhythm guitar. The band is currently spending much of their time in studio recording their second album.
Those who experienced Rock the Block last year are in for an even bigger treat, said Fiumara.
With more time to plan and coordinate and the added benefit of having done this before will ensure an even better experience this year.
For more information about Rock the Block, contact Rookies Sports Bar & Grill at (352) 513-4114. Visit Clenchfist's Facebook fan page at www.facebook /pages/clenchfist.
Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org