Lou enjoys the music so much that now his trips to the festival include arranging time to take finger-picking lessons on a dobro.
Robert and Shirley Williams of Lake City like to get front-row seats and spend their time between performances reading.
"We come for the music and the atmosphere," said Robert. "The nice thing is you can sit in the front row and you can still hear."
The front row is often a preferred seat for another sort of small-town fun. Horse events ranging from trail rides to rodeoing to dressage attract enthusiasts to live, work and play in North Florida.
Horses are big animals that require big spaces to compete in. The owners, trainers and fans who are at the events also need big spaces to accommodate the motor homes, travel trailers, horse trailers and other gear they travel with. North Florida, especially Levy and Marion counties, have plenty of space that has proven ideal for all sorts of horse events.
At the Florida Horse Park in Marion County, an October event drew riders and trainers from across the state. The three-phase competition involved dressage, jumping and running a cross country course.
Paige Ammons, 14, a cross-country rider from Land O'Lakes, arrived confident and excited to show off the skills she has acquired since beginning to ride five years ago.
"Horses are my favorite animal," Paige said. "They really catch my eye. I like jumping. I like flying through the air."
Not every small-town event is structured and organized. A big part of rural life includes time to just enjoy local, everyday activities.
For teens in Dixie County, a favorite way to spend time is to cruise along U.S. 19 after the sun sets while looking for their friends. The teens tend to cluster around their pickup trucks in a business parking lot where they can swap stories, laugh and generally enjoy each other face-to-face without constant texting.
In tiny, coastal Cedar Key on a sunny after-school afternoon, the preference is often walking through town in bare feet just to see what's going on.
Cassie Lozier, 11, and Ciera Beckham, 13, who have been best friends since toddlerhood, routinely leave their shoes behind. "We go bare-footed because it's just like home," said Ciera. "Nobody cares."
Instead of shoes, the girls said they like to carry cast nets when they head out onto a dock or boat in search of mullet, catfish, pinfish and yellow tip.
"You never have to go anywhere," said Ciera. "You can fish right off your own deck with your own cast nets."