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Spring Festival: You Can't Stop The Beat!

Little time left to join competition at festival

February 27, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Spring festival kicks off on Friday night, March 15 and continues to March 23 with lots of fun activities and entertainment.

But if you want to compete for any of the contests at the festival, you better not wait because deadlines to apply are only days away for some of the contests.

If you are interested in becoming the 2013 Lehigh Spring Festival Pageant's queen, you must be registered by 5 p.m. on Feb. 8, just a few days from now.

Article Photos

Andy Reisinger

Contestants must be girls ages 9 through 13 or 14 through 18 as of March 30. Miss spring Festival will be chosen from contestants ages 14 through 18 and Miss Junior Spring Festival will be chosen from contestants ages 9 through 13. There is a $30 entry fee. There are also contests for by and toddlers at the pageant, a popular competition each year.

The form is online at and can be copied. It must be mailed to Judy L. Carter, PO box 464, Lehigh Acres, FL., 33970 or brought in person to Carter at 115 Sebring Circle in Lehigh. Checks and money orders should be made payable to July L. Carter. Call 369- 4003 for more information.

Contestants who want to get into the Junior Spring Festival Idol competition must have a form filled out along with a $10 entry fee and sent in to Vicki Culver at 9 Homestead Rd. North by March 4. That's seven days or less from now.

To join the Spring Festival Idol competition, you must be 17 and over and fill out a competition entry form and send it in with a $10 fee by March 5 to Vicki Z. Culver, who heads the Lehigh Spring Festival Search. Her address is 9 Homestead Rd. ion Lehigh Acres.

She said karaoke music will be available to all contestants and you must sing the vocal. Culver said at the audition will be held at the Majestic Golf club on Tuesday, March 5, and that you will not be singing an entire song because of time constraints. If you bring your own CD, it must be an official karaoke style DC, she said.

Andy Reisinger, the long-time parade chairman is now chairman of the festival. He likes being called "El Presidente'" by his fellow festival board of directors.

The festival this year is dedicated to the memory of Danny Stephenson, who was one of the most active people at the festival each year. A musician and emcee, Stephenson was at the festival every night. He died this past year of a sudden heart attack.

"We all miss him so much," said Debbie Jackson, a member of the board, who finds entertainment for the festival year. In the past, some of the entertainers on the first Saturday night went on to stardom.

Jackson noted that the festival family lost two "very special members" this year with the passing of their dear friend, Danny Stephenson and more recently, Burr Volker.

"Burr a past board member, was the backbone of our festival for many years. He was the man behind the scene that never wanted credit. Even after retiring from the Spring Festival, Burr and his wife, would show up every year during setup and every day of the festival. Burr will be greatly missed.

"Danny served as the emcee for each and every show of this annual event for more than 12 years and his passing has left a hole in all of our hearts. We miss him very much, however you can't stay sad for long when you think of his infectious laugh, his unbelievable talent and his great love of music. These thoughts of Danny will always bring a smile to our faces," Jackson said.

Because of the loss of Stephenson, festival committee members decided to use the them this year as "You Can't Stop the Beat" "because although he may be missing from our stage, the music that Stephenson loved will always carry on. We love you Danny!" is posted on the festival's website.

"We called Danny the voice and Lehigh's Guitar Man. He was something very special to all of us," Jackson said.

Music and entertainment this year will be provided by The Nowhere Band, which is being brought back because of popular demand. It is a tribute band to the Beetles and if you haven't seen the show last year, you shouldn't miss it this year, Jackson said.

The Nowhere Band will perform at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22 following the spring Festival Idol finals.

Also on that Friday night, the winner of the Lehigh Acres Honorary Mayor Contest will be announced. That will take place on the outside stage at 7:15 p.m.

Jackson noted that the festival actually kicks off on at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 15 with the National Anthem sung by popular previous Idol winner Mark Phister.

The nine-day event is filled with something for the whole family.

"Don't forget the chili contest," Jackson said. "That has been a popular event over the years and we want to make it very special this year."

the chili contest is set for judging at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.

New this year is the "Dress Like a Pirate Day. That won't be difficult for at least one member of the Festival board. That Bill Hoppee, just known to everyone as Hoppee. He loves the look of a pirate and most people may think it is a real pirate. He is one of the hard workers at the festival who works in the background to get everything done.

There will be a pet show, and easer egg hunt, a festival BBQ Cook-Off, a baby and toddler pageant and Diaper Derby.

the prince and princess Pageant and the Miss spring Festival pageant with the Junior Festival Idol Contest all take place on Sunday March 17.

There will be the ongoing contests for sewing, needlework and quilt and crafts and woodworking contests. Local schools will be entertaining, too, Jackson said.

The nine-day event comes to an end on Saturday, March 23 with a gala parade down Homestead Rd.

"But don't forget to tell everyone about the Pancake Breakfast which is behind SunTrust Bank. It is at 8 a.m. and what a way to start the day with a big pile of good tasting pancakes," Jackson said.

Saturday afternoon is filled with all types of entertainment on the festival' main outside stage and there will be a rock finale at 8 p.m. on March 23 marking the end of the festival.

"Everything is in honor of Danny Stephenson. We know he is smiling down from Heaven waiting for the festival to begin. It is because of him and many others that the festival has become such a popular event.

"And people should get their places on the last Saturday morning to watch the parade which starts off at 8 a.m. in the Beth Stacey Area and continues as mile down Homestead Rd. and dismantles. Afterwards, awards will be given to the parade winners.

If you want to enter the parade, don't waste time. Go online and fill out the form.

Reisinger, the parade chairman, said the judge's tent and parade narrators will be located in front of the SunTrust Bank on Homestead Rd.

"Look for some exciting things to be in the parade this year," he said.



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