By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- With the beautiful Indian River as backdrop, the fifth annual Hooked on Music Festival will take center stage this weekend in downtown Fort Pierce.
The free event, which is organized by The Original Tiki Bar, will offer music for every taste, including local musician Ryan Owens and fan favorite, Moska Project.
"We anticipate at least 5,000 people at this year's event," said Mike Phillips, manager of the Original Tiki. "Last year we had a storm roll through, but people still showed up to listen to the music and enjoy the festival. This year I think we'll double our numbers. We're excited about the bands that are playing and the additions of the huge Jim Beam tent and the things for kids to do."
Two stages, placed next to each other, will provide constant entertainment for guests. Other bands that will take the stage include Aaron Dunn from 1:30-2:15 p.m.; Ryan Owens from 2:15- 3 p.m.; Out on Bail from 3-4:15 p.m.; Resinated from 4:15-5:30 p.m.; Fresh Catch from 5:30-6:45 p.m.; Moska Project from 6:45-8 p.m.; Burnin Smyrnans from 8-9:30 p.m.; Tom Jackson from 9:30-11 p.m.; and closing out the show, Ants Don't Sleep, from 11-2 a.m.
Busch Wildlife will have a booth and will do presentations from 4-8 p.m. Their programs feature live animals including alligators, crocodiles, hawks, owls, snakes, skunks and opossums. The presentations focus on the natural history of the animals, while discussing Florida's ecology, food chains, endangered species, urban wildlife and more. Kids can also enjoy a Home Depot kid's activity area and a K-9 demonstration by the Fort Pierce City Police department. There will also be pony rides, face painting and more.
Besides the main attraction, music, there will be arts and crafts, local business vendors, food booths, the kid's area, and the Jim Beam tent, which will provide covered seating for guests and an area to refill drinks.
For $25, a VIP pass is available that includes complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Pass holders will also be able to meet the bands and will have reserved seating by the stage. This year, the VIP lounge will be held under the Jim Beam tent, which will make the stage and music area accessible.
"This event is huge. Everyone who comes out is going to have a great time," Mr. Phillips said.
For more information, visit www.hookedonmusic.org or www.originaltikibar.com.