PLANT CITY — Country music lovers will once again get a little bit of Nashville in Plant City.
The Florida Opry, loosely based on Tennessee’s legendary Grand Ole Opry, will kick off its 2013-14 season Saturday. The show will take place at the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center, which also serves as the home for the East Hillsborough Historical Society.
“It’s going to be a good opportunity to bring in new entertainers, as well as some people we’ve worked with in the past,” said Shelby Bender, president and executive director of the historical society.
This is the third season the opry has been organized by the historical society.
Plant City community leader J. Myrle Henry founded the Florida Opry in 1996, and nearly all of the programs have been staged at the high school community center auditorium.
Randall and Mayda Dallman produced the show in 2008 and 2009, but the 2010 season was cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
In 2011, the historical society stepped in and purchased the opry.
“The idea was to keep the tradition of the opry going, and to help the community have an awareness and appreciation for their musical heritage,” Bender said.
The Florida Opry has long highlighted country, bluegrass and gospel music. Bender said it’s a family friendly event, and no alcohol is served during the program. The show has also expanded to include a wider variety of entertainment, like the Clogging Connection, which will perform during this weekend’s season-opening show.
They will be joined by musical group The Little Girl & the Dreadful Snakes and musician/master of ceremonies Randy Scott.
The 2013-14 season will feature six monthly shows through April. There will not be a show in March because members of the historical society will be manning their shortcake booth at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
Bender is excited to see what the new season has in store.
“A lot of the entertainers have their own following from outside the area, so this event has brought a lot people who are new to Plant City,” Bender said. “It’s also brought people in the community to the 1914 building and given them some great music.”