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Pinellas Park Beacon
Country in the Park attracts crowd
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Photo by GARY BERKHEIMER
Pinellas Park firefighters set two “houses” ablaze to demonstrate the effectiveness of a sprinkler system to the crowd gathered in front of the fire station near Town Square Plaza Park. The first house, without the benefit of sprinklers, took significant damage as the fire spread unchecked while the second protected home sustained much less damage. Bay Area DKI provided the buildings and Cox Fire Protection provided the sprinkler system. The demonstration took place during Country in the Park March 19.
PINELLAS PARK – The 21st annual Country in the Park began with a burning house (set aflame as a demonstration by Pinellas Park firefighters) and the national anthem sung by Leeann Rimes (via a recording).

The event, punctuated by additional performances from Rodeo Rhythm Kings, Darrell Sikes and the Southern Sons, The Ocean Road Band Mountain, Memories Bluegrass and Off Kilter, ended with a supermoon over the Exile performance to a lawn chair-packed crowd.

In between, crowds found plenty of activities for both children and adults, an array of fair food, booths from their local businesses and vendors displaying a variety of wares.

Estimates of attendance for the 12-hour event varied, but in general were considered in line with that of previous years, city spokesman Tim Caddell said.

“It’s a pretty well-attended event,” he said.

The headliner band, Exile, drew the largest crowd of music enthusiasts, who filled the area in front of the England Brothers Band Shell and stayed throughout the evening to hear the band’s various country and rock hits.

“It’s just been a great family thing,” Caddell said of the event in general. “Everything’s affordable. For a reasonable amount of money you can come out and have a good time. That’s hard to find anymore.”

Along with creating the family-friendly entertainment, the city of Pinellas Park pays for the event’s entertainment every year to allow an opportunity for nonprofits to raise funds as vendors, Caddell explained.

“I think the vendors all did well,” he said.

At a booth that raised money for the Pinellas Park Boys and Girls Club, secretary for the board Shari Phillips reported that the group had sold hundreds of hamburgers to create a substantial take-home profit.

“There were a lot of parent volunteers,” she said. “It was really a good day.”
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