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LARRY BEHNKE/Alachua County Today

Laser light show during Quartermoon's set at the Farm to Family Festival in Ellisville.

ELLISVILLE – Nearly a year after its last music weekend, the Farm to Family Full Moon Festival was back and better than ever.

Its new location was Ellisville, just off I-75 exit 414. The concert grounds sit behind All Tech Raceway, a half-mile dirt track for car races. Of course, no races are scheduled during concert weekends.

Many weeks of hard work by volunteers turned a once-thick forest into a shady field for the relocated stage, vendor tents and plenty of lounging space for folks to listen to a variety of bands. From Thursday through Sunday evenings, 21 musical acts played folk, reggae, country, bluegrass, rock, Latin and more.

Early bird tickets were $35 and $65 at the gate. Day tickets were also available, and camping was free.

The High Springs Lions Club helped sponsor and had one of the food tents. Other food and drinks were available.

A large Kids’ Tent held games, face painting and art. It became especially popular during Friday night’s downpour. During the rain, Hannah Harbor & the Lionhearts continued their set, while people sought shelter near the stage or under umbrellas.

However, a group of children didn’t mind the rain and had fun playing in the dance floor area, which is white beach sand. They splashed and made sand castles as the music played on.

The next morning volunteers spread out several huge rolls of straw to make roads and paths passable again. The rest of the weekend was perfect: warm, sunny and breezy.

Don Applebaum began the concert series more than a decade ago as a way to pay the mortgage on his organic farm. He delivered produce from his farm to families. Concerts were held Saturday evenings during each month’s full moon, but it grew too big for the farm. It eventually expanded into a three-day event, held three or four times each year.

The next music weekend will happen in the fall, when the weather is cooler.

Finding a permanent location for the festival has been a challenge the past few years, but folks enjoyed the new venue. Applebaum and friends have never given up on continuing this crowd-pleasing event.

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