Off since March 2020 due to the pandemic, Lakewood Ranch's Music on Main makes triumphant return
David Fink, the president of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, was ecstatic Main Street at Lakewood Ranch had chosen his group to be the benefitting nonprofit at Music on Main's return in November.
Fink said being selected can mean as much as $5,000 to a nonprofit, which has its volunteers man the beer taps during the event, which draws thousands of people each month when it is held.
Music on Main hadn't been held since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Nov. 5 return appeared to be a windfall for the community fund.
"We were asked if we would be willing to move back a month (to Dec. 3)," Fink said.
Of course, Fink said no problem.
The Nov. 5 return had a problem. It rained. The event was cancelled.
Lakewood Ranch Community Activities would have been the benefitting nonprofit, but its financial boost was washed out.
Meanwhile, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund enjoyed tremendous weather and a huge crowd for the Dec. 3 return.
"Someone was shining a light on the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund," Fink said.
Besides the financial importance, Fink said Music on Main also is priceless in terms of name recognition.
"This is a meaningful fundraiser," he said. "And this is community. It is what Lakewood Ranch is all about, building community."
Name recognition has been huge for the Grace Community Church of Lakewood Ranch at Music on Main. Connor Morehart, the outreach director at Grace Community Church, said the church has hosted a children's area, with activities and inflatables (by Let's Jump of Sarasota) for the past six years.
"It's about having fun in a community setting," Morehart said. "Our purpose has been to show the community that there is someone next door who cares about you."
Morehart and his Grace Community Church volunteers were disappointed the return was delayed until December, but they were thrilled to see a huge crowd during the return.
"It's been a long time (missing Music on Main)," Morehart said. "I know our volunteers want to be involved."
Music on Main always has been important for the businesses at Main Street at Lakewood Ranch. Main Street Trattoria owner Sergio Di Sarro was busy slicing ribeyes about an hour before Music on Main's 6 p.m. start to prepare for the rush of patrons.
"Finally," Di Sarro said about Music on Main's return. "We are ready."
Di Sarro just bought Main Street Trattoria, so he wanted to experience the Music on Main event to see how he best could serve those who attend. This time, he was serving pizza on the street, but he said he might tweak his offerings after he gets feedback from the public.
Bradley and Rebecca Gustafson, who have started the Manatee Ball Hockey League, were experiencing their first Music on Main as vendors. They decided to have a booth during the event because they had seen first-hand what it could mean to small businesses.
"We live in Lakewood Ranch and Music on Main always has been the place to go," Rebecca Gustafson said.
Her husband said they were bummed when the return in November was cancelled. They couldn't wait to get exposure from the event.
Del Tierra's Joe Riggio stopped to get some information about their new league.
"Music on Main is just about networking and talking to people," Riggio said. "I love meeting new people."
Riggio also said he was anxious to see if Music on Main would add anything to its lineup now that it is back.
Mike and Debbie Dyer of Fairfield would be happy with the same lineup.
"We come to almost every one," Mike Dyer said of Music on Main. "We were disappointed when it rained out the first one. We always meet friends here."
They had come early to set up chairs so they could sit in the street and watch the band, Midnight Mamas.
"The biggest thing is getting a parking place," Mike Dyer said.
Debbie Dyer added it doesn't matter what band is playing, the camaraderie always is there.
"It's just nice being outside and talking to people," she said.
Country Meadows' Jackie and Jeff McLanahan were sitting nearby. They echoed the previous comments that it was great getting out and seeing people at the event.
"It's a community thing," Jeff McLanahan said. "And the music always is great."
Cool Today's Terrill Carlson said it is always a pleasure to work in a booth at Music on Main.
"Everyone's in good spirits," he said. "I wish they had more of them."
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