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The sounds of authentic American music will fill the air in Orange City in October, and promoters hope the event will be the first of an annual tradition.

The Orange City Council has approved a nonprofit group’s request to arrange the Country Music and Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Valentine Park.

The concert, 2-6 p.m., will feature local talent.

“We’ve been doing this for the past two decades with different music genres. We have done classical, opera. We have done indoors and outdoors. The country and bluegrass — that’s our baby. We have big crowds,” Francine Lucas, chief operating officer of the Small Business Development Program, told The Beacon.

She predicted the event will draw between 950 and 1,500 fans, many of them in the 35-70 age range. The festival will be free and open to the public.

“All of the funds that are raised from this event will be going to disabled children. We will work through the United Way,” Lucas said.

Auditions for country and bluegrass musicians who would like to perform will be Saturday, Aug. 3. To find out more, call 321-754-3088. Auditions will continue until Aug. 17, to find between 10 and 18 musicians and groups.

Lucas said talent scouts for recording companies have sometimes attended her concerts in search of new acts.

Lucas said her firm, which has an office in Orange City, began organizing music festivals in Jamestown, North Carolina, in 1997. A similar country and bluegrass festival takes place in High Point, North Carolina, each year.

“Orange City has never done anything like this. It’s our hometown. Why not plan to do it in the place where you live and shop?” Lucas asked. “In Orange City, it will definitely grow. There’s definite support.”

Besides the music, there will be other activities, including a baking contest, a pie-eating contest, and giveaways of cash prizes and SeaWorld tickets, Lucas said, as well as bounce houses, a waterslide and food trucks.

“We’re looking for vendors,” she added.

As the Orange City Council voted to approve the festival, Mayor Gary Blair voiced his blessing.

“I have been a bluegrass fan for many years,” Blair said.


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