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Annual Spring Festival Parade comes to an end

Festival planners say less people attending

December 31, 2015
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

There will be no "grand parade" during the Lehigh Acres Spring Festival, which is scheduled from March 11-19 with opening ceremonies and continues all week.

Judy Carter, a festival spokeswoman, said the parade has been canceled for a couple of reasons.

"Andy Reisinger, our committee chairman who is also ahead of the parade and its entries and formation says he has noticed fewer and fewer people along Homestead Road. Also, the cost from the Sheriff's Office which provides deputies in the closure of streets and makes a presence along the parade route has become cost prohibitive," Carter said.

Article Photos

Judy Carter

The rest of the festival will go on as usual. The crafts competition will be expanded to the first and the second weekend of the festival. It will still be held in Veterans Park on Homestead and there will be the carnival and all the rides and plenty of vendors with food.

The festival and parade began over 30 years ago as a way for year-round residents to bid farewell to their seasonal neighbors.

But many have noticed a real lack of participation in the parade over the years. While in the past there have been floats, the number had dwindled and it is difficult to get a marching band sometimes.

Parade watchers also have noticed the increase of automobiles and trucks riding in the parade.

Carter said even though the parade down Homestead has been called off, there will be some type of mini-parade in Veterans Park without motorized vehicles.

Carter said the seven-member committee meets again in January to finalize plans.

In years past, the parade drew large numbers and up until a few years ago, more children who participated in local sports, marched in the parade.

Downtown traffic came to a standstill for the hour or two that it took for the parade to wind its way down Homestead to Veterans Park. The rest of the day was devoted to competitions and carnival type rides and entertainment.

Entertainment is being planned for the week. A Led Zeppelin tribute rock band will perform the first weekend in the park. Another band is also scheduled later.

Carter will provide details as the festival gets closer. She will also provide a schedule of events.

Carter said the ever-popular Car Show will still be held, along with the talent shows and the pageants for the Little Miss and Mr. Lehigh and for the teenage pageant queens.

"We're still going to have a great festival," Carter said. "We just are not going to have the parade anymore."

Veterans Park will still feature local talent shows on the giant outside stage and the guest bands will also perform there, too. There is no cost to attend any of the shows. There is a small fee for parking.

The beer tent and other features of the show are still being planned as are several other events. The final Saturday always finds the park packed with visitors.

"It shouldn't be any different this year. There will be lots to do," Carter said.



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