This is a guest article by John Cherry the author of Better Than Lennon, a book that explores who was the better musician John Lennon or Paul McCartney – Simon

Wind and threatening weather may have hurt the attendance a bit at the event on Saturday, January 30th, but those who made it there were greeted with an excellent of music, food, and prizes. Proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society of Manatee County. The local blood bank was also hand for donations.

“TFoxx”, stage name for Willie Thompson, opened the event as a solo performer with a dazzling display of lead guitar to a recorded backing. “TFoxx” is a skilled performer, and he also introduced his new CD, “Now U Can Feel Me” to the crowd. His music reminds one of a George Benson style, although, perhaps, just a bit lighter. The performance was cut short behind a darkening sky and the wind effect on the tent covering Thompson. After a brief delay, a local group of young gentleman and teenagers, called the “Urban Travelers” played a short time, exhibiting an intriguing knowledge of jazz with their combination of guitar, bass, drums, 2 saxophones and trombones, and a trumpet. Unfortunately, the crowd was denied a longer performance due to rain.

The music then moved indoors to the Lake Osprey Cabaret, a cozy venue with a nightclub ambiance, and continued with the diverse performance of the “Michael Mac Band”. The group mixed in songs of The Beatles and the Stones with a number of superb blues tunes, and some outstanding lead guitar.

Before the music headliner of the day, Todd Hefner did a highly entertaining mime presentation of Michael Jackson, complete with jacket and glove. Todd had the crowd cheering loudly with his Jackson-like dance moves and gestures.

After a short break, the band that many in the crowd had come to hear, “The Glass Onion Band,” came to the stage. This group continues to gain in stature in the Sarasota area, playing to a number of enthusiastic followers on a regular basis with a nearly full calendar of weekend performances scheduled through May. I have seen this band play numerous times since their initial public performance in August of 2008. As a devoted Beatle fan, I have come to greatly appreciate their dedication to the many subtleties that encompass a significant number of Fab Four songs. The group roughly follows a chronological history of Beatle songs, and will often include what would be considered more obscure tunes in their performance. For this show, “I Am the Walrus” and “She Loves You” were two of the highlights. While many Beatle tribute bands will try to copy the groups individual personalities, “Glass Onion” is more just about the music and the listener is the benefactor.

Businesses within the shopping center contributed greatly to the event, such as “Stella’s Tasty Treats,” (snacks for pets) “20 Minute Fitness,” and “The Lucky Pelican” Bistro. Also on hand was Richard Sassone, producer of unique sculptures from mostly recycled material that often uses neon to great effect and exhibits a particular message in the work. Sassone was also on hand with to promote his new child-teenager novel “Galangous” that uses his drawings to promote good character via an interesting narrative.

Winter Fest was on a Noon-6 PM schedule, a number of good people made the event a most pleasurable event for the attendees. The tireless, entertaining, jack of all trades, Jack Kubes worked closely with Al Rhodes and Dawn Fitzgerald of Hembree Real Estate, manager of the shopping center, to make it a most enjoyable time for those who cam to participate in the festival.

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