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If spring is a time for new beginnings and growth A Taste of Spring fits right in.

On Friday, the 17th annual Taste of Spring event kicks off at the brand new Vintage Venue at 620 Court St. in Beatrice. Tickets for the event that features art, live music and craft beer and wine tastings are $30 at the door.

The event—sponsored by Pinnacle Bank—serves as a fundraiser for Main Street Beatrice and something of a cotillion for Vintage Venue.

Vintage Venue has been a work in progress for the past nine months by John and Colleen Schoneweis. Located in what was previously the RadioShack storefront, Vintage Venue has been gutted, reworked, rewired and reimagined.

The wood floors are original to the building, dating back to when it was an automobile dealership in the 1920s and the plaster has been removed from the walls, revealing the brickwork and exposed beam ceiling and the big picture windows let in enormous amounts of daylight.

It’s a far cry from its retail past, but walking through the big, cedar carriage doors and into the 5,000 square foot main room, the space’s history can be seen and smelled. The second floor isn’t open to the public, but there’s an almost nostalgic smell of 80-some-year-old motor oil haunting the upper floor that was at one point home to an auto mechanic.

Main Street Beatrice executive director Michael Sothan said that the Taste of Spring event typically brings in about 150 people, but they’ve already sold close to 200 tickets to Friday’s event. He said a lot of that has to do with people’s curiosity and excitement about the new space.

Taste of Spring will feature live acoustic music from Tecumseh-native Daniel Christian, photography by Shelli Hubke and samples of seven wines, seven local craft beers and one local hard cider. There’s no silent auction or anything else to buy, it’s just a chance to visit with neighbors, Sothan said.

“It's one of our more care-free, more laid-back fundraising events that we put on,” he said. “There's really no strings attached.”

There will also be food provided by Colleen’s Catering—also run by the Schoneweis’—and, for the first time, they’ll be offering the available beers and wines for off-sale, so if you find something you like, you can buy some to take home.

“People can come and go,” Sothan said. “We have people that come for just 15 minutes, 30 minutes. People that stay here the entire evening or they get here for the last hour.”

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