No matter the kind of music you like, you will find it all at the Lehigh Acres Spring Festival which begins Friday night and continues to March 24. That's the word from Debbie Jackson, who has been handling publicity.
Several bands will play including J.T. Hodges, a Nashville country music star, Crossfire, a southern rock and country band, The Golden Road Quartet, southern gospel music, The Nowhere Band, a Beatles tribute, Grupo Espali, a salsa band and more, she said.
The festival opens Friday with an official ceremony at 6 p.m. followed by Footnote Dace and music.
The popular Bubble Blowing Contest gets under way at 7:15 p.m. with Vicki Culver overseeing the contest with plenty of bubble gum in her pockets. The bubble blowing contest is an annual tradition and plenty of children love to enter the contest on the outside stage.
Also on the first night of the festival, there will be the first of several nights of the Junior and Senior Spring Festival Idol Contests.
Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Lehigh Spring Festival Committee, which is putting on the annual event, said without local sponsors, it would not be possible to have such a large event in Lehigh.
The festival attracts thousands of locals and others from all over Lee County. The nine-day event ends with a large parade down Homestead Rd. and plenty of activities at Veterans Park at 55 Homestead Rd. Admittance to the festival is free but there is a small donation for parking.
If you've got a special pet you want to show off, bring it on the first Saturday morning. Judges will be on hand to hand out ribbons to the best looking and best behaved pet. It is a festival favorite every year.
There will be pageants for Little Miss Spring Festival and others for the youngsters.
And to show off your hobbies and the possibility of winning a blue ribbon, be sure to enter the contests for needlework and quilts, crafts and woodworking, cakes and chili contests, flowers, fruit and vegetable contests.
The Spring Festival began more than three decades ago as a way to bid farewell to snowbirds who spent parts of their winter in Lehigh Acres. It has always been a favorite for local residents and visitors.
If you are a recent new parent, you may want to bring your little one to participate in the Diaper Derby, where babies race (crawl) across a stage to win ribbons. Parents and well-wishers cheer them on. There's also a baby and toddler pageant.
The four people who have been competing for money to become Lehigh's next honorary mayor will be honored on the last Friday night of the pageant. The one who raised the most money will become honorary mayor for 2012. Runner-up will be the deputy mayor and the third highest money raiser will be the honorary town clerk. The honorary mayor contest is sponsored by the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce.
For years, it was a major fundraiser for Lehigh Community Services.
The winner of the honorary mayor contest will get a sash and flowers and will ride in the grand parade on the final Saturday, March 24.
You can start Parade Day on a full stomach by enjoying all the pancakes you can eat at the Masonic Temple.
Bring the children, the young at heart and yourself to the festival for the midway.
There are numerous rides and special prices for tickets if you buy them in advance. The midway also has several vendors with all kinds of good carnival foods, like cotton candy, popcorn, hotdogs and more.
One big surprise this year is an actual wedding atop one of the floats in the Saturday parade.
If you want a fun week, activities usually start each night at around 6 p.m., Debbie Jackson said.
She says you need to listen to the weather forecasts each day and night.
"If it is going to be cool at night, you may want to bring a blanket or wear a jacket," she said.
"And don't forget to bring your lawn chairs because the bleachers are often filled up with spectators in front of the giant outside stage with a huge American flag as a backdrop.
"It takes a lot of volunteers to put something like this on and it takes a lot of money to bring in good talent. We are very fortunate to have great sponsors who help us each year," Jackson said.
They are honored with their names on a sign at the entrance to the festival.
To learn about all the activities, take a schedule of events which is published elsewhere in The Citizen this week. You can also take a look at the Festival and all that is planned by going online at lehighspringfestival.com.