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The Villages
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Villagers brace for changes at longtime favorite Katie Belle’s

Villagers brace for changes at longtime favorite Katie Belle's
Changes are coming to the beloved Katie Belle’s.

A loud buzz among Villagers about the announced changes to Katie Belle’s on Spanish Springs Town Square is all one hears, especially north of County Road 466, as residents contemplate what the rapidly changing area will be like without their familiar “private club for Villagers.”

While the Developer promises Katie Belle’s will still be there — no doubt bigger and better — it will soon be an expanded second floor establishment — and people are having a difficult time envisioning what the new construction will look like.

It took folks a while to get used to the changes some years ago, when Katie Belle’s street level quaint billiard room closed down to make way for retail stores.

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Veteran Villagers, who have lived here for a decade or more, have certainly gotten used to changes in the community which, except for increased traffic, have mostly been good. The planned glass-enclosed balcony overlooking the square will surely be classy and beautiful.

But so many older people, and some younger ones too, would like things to stay just as they are. They are happy with the vintage look of Katie Belle’s dance floor, with its rustic dark wood walls, the old-fashioned staircase up to the Cattle Baron’s restaurant — and the rustic stained-glass and mirrored trim behind the bars. Although it was hot dining on the second-floor balcony in February watching the Mardi Gras festivities, people loved the New Orleans feel of the open air venue — tossing beads to visitors below.

Those who frequented Katie Belle’s will miss the raucous Mamma Mia ladies’ breakfasts, with their mimosa cocktails; and the many fashion shows held on a runway there. Some wonder where they can now see resident, Joe Beddia, as The Villagesown Godfather  and his naughty George Carlin impersonations. Fans loved the rocking sounds of Kathleen Kane, Joey D ., Rocky and the Rollers and other great performers on the unique Katie Belle’s stage — but others will be glad some shady late night saloon shenanigans on the square will be a thing of the past.

Change is inevitable, and nearly all changes in The Villages have been good — so, we can soon look back at “the old Katie Belle’s” and Cattle Baron’s with nostalgia, recalling good memories of events and celebrations there.

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