Lakewood Ranch Herald

Music, food, beer planned for My Hometown Fest charity event at Lakewood Ranch

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Take four live bands, add specialities from more than 30 restaurants, and beer from about 60 craft breweries, and set them down on Premier Sports Campus, and what you have is My Hometown Fest.

The fest, set for noon-6 p.m. April 9 at 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, is designed as a good time, but also as a benefit for area charities, organized by The Sertoma Club of Greater Sarasota.

"I think it is a great idea. I am a true believer in our community helping each other," said Twinkle Schascle Yochim, one of the featured performers at the fest. "Music has a way of bringing people together."

Also scheduled to perform are Strangeways, Shore Dogs and Dean Johanesen.

Yochim was among those attending a kickoff finalizing participants and plans for the fest last week.

Initially, Sertoma's concept for the event was a beer fest, said event Chairman Tim Self.

John W. Saputo, owner of Gold Coast Eagle Distribution, suggested it should be a family food and music fest, where beer is also served.

Sertoma liked Saputo's idea, and broadened the scope and concept.

"Everybody is from somewhere that is known for its own food and craft beer," Self said.

Diversity will be reflected in the restaurants ranging from Truman's Tap Room to the Ranch Grill, Fratello's Chicago Pizzeria, Wheat & Water Italian Kitchen and dozens more.

Students from Manatee Technical College will also prepare food.

Craft brewers include local favorites Darwin's, Motorworks and Fat Point, as well as out-of-towners Rivertown, Rochester Mills, Green Flash and more.

Games and activities include a mechanical bull ride, rock-climbing wall, black ops obstacle course and bungee run, said entertainment Chairman Ron Haynes.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay Lightning will also have spaces at the fest, Haynes said.

"We are really excited to have people come to My Hometown Fest. We have 24-plus restaurants and 60-plus craft beers lined up. It's going to be a great time for folks 6 to 96," marketing director Jake Hartvigsen said.

Nonprofits to benefit from the fest include Easter Seals of Southwest Florida, Goodwill Manasota, Miracle League, YMCA Adventure Guides and Suncoast Children Charities.

Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Tickets for anyone younger than 21 are $10. Children 6 and younger will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter@jajones1.