First Chinsegut Hill Celebration is drawing broad community support
Community support is building for the Friends of Chinsegut Hill’s efforts to restore and reopen historic Chinsegut Hill Manor and grounds to the public. Regional businesses and organizations are rallying to support the first major fund-raising event on Nov. 15-16. Among the major sponsors of the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration are the Tampa Bay Times, Republic Services, Center State Bank, Coastal Engineering and the Hernando County Tourism Office. Those organizations are at the front of a grass-roots contingent of individuals who share the vision of returning this 154-year-old landmark to its splendor, making it a resource in our community and a destination for visitors from all over Florida.
Honorary Chair of the celebration is Emilio “Sonny” Vergara, longtime Hernando County resident, former Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and a founding member of Friends of Weeki Wachee. Vegara also is a prolific writer about Florida’s natural resources, a professional photographer specializing in wildlife and member of the Spring Hill Art League. “I’m happy to see there are so many folks who value Chinsegut Hill as I do, and are willing to get involved in reopening this important historical and cultural landmark,” he said. “I believe we’re going to have a great crowd at the Celebration.”
The First Chinsegut Hill Celebration begins Friday, Nov. 15 from 6-9 p.m. with a reception and silent auction under the stars at Chinsegut Hill. Attendees will experience a taste of restaurants such as Pearl in the Grove and Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant, and appetizers prepared by student chefs from Hernando High School. Guitarist Bob Webb will perform. Among the special guests will be Gary Mormino, retired professor of Florida History at the University of South Florida. Also, friends of Chinsegut Hill’s Executive Director Christie Anderberg and President Jan Knowles will elaborate on plans for Chinsegut Hill. Auction items, which are still being collected, include adventures such as an airboat fishing trip for two, a two-day stay at the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, artwork such as “No Boundaries” a framed limited edition giclee painting by Leslie Neumann, “Tri-colored Heron, 2012.04.05 (416)” a limited edition giclee photograph by Sonny Vergara of Skyshadow Photography, Myrna Bradshaw’s print of Chinsegut Manor, and a spalted Brooksville-pecan wooden bowl by Craig Quirolo. Other items include a personally autographed book “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams” by Gary Mormino, a floral arrangement from Westover’s Flowers & Gifts; a spa facial, manicure and pedicure from White Daisy Salon & Spa, a $50 dinner certificate from Papa Joe’s Restaurant, and a book/CD combo from author and storyteller Jerry Cowling. The reception is free to members of Friends of Chinsegut and nonmembers may join at the door for $20.
The celebration continues Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with a juried arts and crafts show featuring artists such as the Highwaymen, Myrna Bradshaw, Peter Gerbert and Tony Moore. Families can participate in pioneer games and a commemorative photo shoot with period costumes and a horse-drawn carriage. Jerry Cowling will entertain with story-telling. Hernando High School students will prepare and sell healthy local food and beverages. Local musicians will perform. A student art tent will feature local art and community organizations will provide information about the environment, plants and local history of Chinsegut. Celebration activities are possible in part through the generous support of Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, House of Passage, Beef O’ Brady’s, Kohl’s, Coffee Barn, Georgie’s Flooring Outlet, Monster Transmission, Great Stuff Resale and Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories. Visit www.chinseguthillcelebration.org or call (352) 799-5400.