SEMINOLE – It can be hard for a city that doesn’t have a dedicated downtown district to thrive and bring in revenue dollars.

Luckily for the city of Seminole, that’s not the case. And that’s due in part in recent years to the success of the monthly First Friday events, hosted by the Seminole City Center, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake.

Each event, held the first Friday of each month from February to November, features a musical act, city center merchants, food vendors, raffles, and a wine and beer garden hosted by Rotary Club of Lake Seminole. Kicking off four months ago, attendance for the events have averaged between 2,500 and 3,000, according to event coordinator Gerry Cachia. 

“I think the significance of those figures is that they were both during COVID years,” Cachia said. “Without the support of the Seminole City Center, which has really helped us, we wouldn’t have done any of that.” 

In terms of revenue generated, including money raised for the club’s annual Red Sled Initiative, Cachia said that $45,000 was raised in 2020 and a record-breaking $58,000 last year. With around $16,000 already raised this year, Cachia said this looks to be the best year yet. 

“It has to be,” he said, adding that by the end of the season in November close to $25,000 will be raised. 

The majority of the funds go toward providing Christmas gifts for foster children in Pinellas County.

Upcoming events

The next First Friday event, slated for June 3, will feature a fan-favorite Jimmy Buffet Tribute Show, with the Caribbean Chillers taking the stage from 6 to 9 p.m. 

The action will take place on the center’s main street, in front of Studio Movie Grill.

In July, the First Friday event, which will be held on July 1, will feature Angie Rey, an up-and-coming country artist who attended Seminole High.

“We do our big Tribute to America in July,” Cachia said. “We will have military vehicles out; we’ll have vendors that pay homage to veterans in the military like Heaven Dropt and Honor Flight.”

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Honor Guard will kick off the festivities at 6 p.m.