Lawsuit putting Florida Classic Clusters in jeopardy

3:48 PM, Sep 8, 2012   |    comments
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"The housekeepers I have aren't going to get hours .. It's going to be bad." - Jessica Huggins, General Manager of Brooksville's Microtell Inn & Suites



Brooksville, Florida - Event organizers have told 10 News that it is all but a done deal, the annual Florida Classic Clusters show almost certainly will not be held here in Hernando.

That is devastating news for the many local businesses that rely on the event for extra income during one of the slowest times of the year.

It's the Super Bowl of Hernando County.

The Florida Classic Clusters Dog Show, with around 18-thousand entries, is held each January in Brooksville at Florida Classic Park.

The annual event brings in close to a million dollars for the local economy and has participants from around the world.

Jessica Huggins is General Manager of Brooksville's Microtell Inn & Suites, a hotel that would normally be booked solid for two straight weeks during the event.

"I had another hotel manager call me and asked me about the dog show not going to be here, and that's when I started panicking" said Huggins.

Papa Joes' is one of the local restaurants in town.

"Every day for 14 days we have lines out the door and it's great" Papa Joe's owner Joe Giarratana said.

But business owners now worry all that extra business could disappear if the event is relocated to Ocala.

The four kennel clubs that split proceeds from the event are in a bitter dispute over possible missing funds.  

Three of the kennels could relocate their shows to Marion County, leaving Florida Classic Park empty.

"Its going to mean I'm not going to need to hire any extra house keepers. The housekeepers I have aren't going to get hours. I'm going to have to cut back on, it's going to be bad" said Huggins.

Tammy Heon of the Tourism Development of Hernando County told us that "It's incredibly disappointing. The loss economically is going to be incredibly disappointing. I'm really hopeful we will be able to resolve and continue hosting the show."

A judge will help decide what happens next during a court hearing September 18th, but it may not be soon enough to save this year's show.

The Inverness Kennel Club says they still hope to hold their portion of the show here locally possibly at a later date but not at Florida Classic Park.

Those running the park have increased the lease from 1 dollar to 65-hundred dollars a day.

Inverness is considering alternate locations including the Hernando County Fairgrounds.



















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