Blues and Brews at Trolley Market Square

Shade sails provided a bit of relief for festival goers during the warmest part of the day, with some even watching the music from the shade created by the restored vintage trolley parked at the entrance to the park.  

Saturday, November 2 was a hot time at the newly constructed Trolley Market Square, located on the site formerly known as the Tangerine Greenway at Tangerine Avenue and 49th Street South. The daytime temps were high, but the real heat was coming from the stage as the Annual Blues and Brews Festival unfolded over the afternoon and into the night with ten hours of music, food and local vendors. The 49th Street South Business Association, known as SO49, which organizes the event, says that since its debut in 2009, the festival has grown from 500 attendees to thousands, and has emerged as one of the largest free music events in the Tampa Bay region. A portion of the events proceeds go to a variety of charities and organizations from around Pinellas County, including VETSports, the Boca Ciega High School Band, Gulfport Elementary, Gulfport Lions Club, Fallen Heroes Project, Gulfport Teen Council, Lincoln Cemetery and the Michael J. Yakes (MY) Foundation.

Londyn, 6, back, and her sister Chevelle, 4, concoct custom snow cones right from Cathy’s Shaved Ice truck. Cathy’s one one of several local food vendors providing sweet and savory treats at the festival, from barbecue to funnel cakes.

The Strange Brew Band, one of six bands contributing to ten hours of music at this year’s festival, unleashes its distinctive rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s classic “Rosalita.” Bands like Clearwater’s Strange Brew came from all over Florida and included award-winning, national touring acts. 

Gulfport residents Rick and Lisa Crider found a shady spot on the lawn to park their bikes and listen to the music, still with a great view of the Trolley Market Square’s stage. Locals coming to the event found ample parking along Tangerine Avenue, but many were like the Criders and made their way to the Square on foot or on two wheels. 

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