DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - An estimated 200,000 NASCAR fans commuted Sunday to Daytona International Speedway, but one Jacksonville man packed his saxophone to go and work.
Benjamin Purdy, 54, has been playing the saxophone for 30 years and has been a street performer for the last 20 years.
"I am from Jacksonville, born and raised, I've never been anywhere. I've been in Jacksonville all my life; the longest I've been out of Jacksonville now is 5 days is the record. In Houston Texas, one day I'm going to break my record and stay 6 (days)."
This is Purdy's first time performing in Daytona. He played saxophone collecting tips from NASCAR fans as they traveled across the walkway, which spans International Speedway Boulevard.
"I'm just feeling the place (Daytona) out, if I do alright I'll be coming here every year," he said. "But I'm looking for somewhere else I can play if there's nothing going on in Jacksonville."
Purdy said he tries to play outside The Florida Times-Union Center, Jaguar games the Florida Theatre and The Jacksonville Landing whenever large event are going on in Jacksonville's urban core.
Purdy taught himself how to play the saxophone after growing up listening to jazz on the radio. His inspiration to learn came from Grover Washington Jr. and other jazz greats.
"I decided I wanted to play it, I went to the pawnshop bought it (the saxophone), took it home, learned how to put my hands on it," he said. "I asked around for some people to help me, nobody seemed to have time for it."
"Anywhere there's excitement, anywhere there's anything going on. I'm trying to create some fun and some excitement," Purdy added.
First Coast News