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Annual nine-day Spring Festival starts this weekend

March 20, 2019
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Grab your family and friends and head to the annual Lehigh Spring Festival, a nine-day affair packed with fun for the entire family.

Treasurer Vicki Culver said in 1975 when the land incorporation was still instrumental in building Lehigh, they started the first festival to say goodbye to all the snowbirds for supporting Lehigh.

Fast-forward to now, an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 attend the annual Lehigh Spring Festival.

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The Lehigh Spring Festival, "We the People," will be held from March 22 through March 30. Although admission to the festival is free, they ask for a parking donation.

The festival will kick off with opening ceremonies on Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m., on the main stage at Veteran's Park, 55 Homestead Road South.

"We introduce the dignitaries and major sponsors," Culver said.

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The ceremony will also include the introduction of board members, raising of the flag, the National Anthem and Pastor Michael Porzio conducting the festival blessing.

"It would be nice to have a good turnout for that, too. It would be nice to see more people in the audience," she said.

The following day, at 11 a.m., March 23, the Grand Parade will take place. Culver said they moved it to the beginning of the festival as a way to kick off the nine-day event.

During the parade, $5 off coupons for the carnival, and all day wristbands will be available.

This year a new carnival will be featured, Megerle Shows Carnival, due to the community asking for bigger rides for the older kids.

"This new carnival coming in, they promised us we should have a lot of big rides and everyone should be happy," Culver said.

On Sunday, March 24, starting at 11:30 a.m. the Spring Festival Pageants will be held.

"It starts off with a little diaper derby and toddlers to princes and princesses and queens and kings," she said. "It's all day long. It's pretty good. It's been a tradition forever."

The Lehigh Spring Festival will feature live music on the stage every day. The full line-up is listed at

In addition, local schools will also take the stage, as well as local dance studios.

Nick's Kids Shows will have multiple shows on the Midway Stage every day. The Megerle Shows Carnival will have games and rides every day, as well as entertainment by Commodore Cutter, a Southwest Florida Pirate.

Sandy's Saloon will open daily until 9:30 p.m.

The final day of the festival will feature the Car, Truck & Bike Cruise-In. Check-in and registration begins at 3:30 p.m. with the show time being held from 4:30 to 8 p.m. There is a $20 donation with proceeds going to the American Legion Post 323.

A craft fair, featuring handmade crafts, will be held both weekends.

There will also be a BBQ contest, Chili Cook Off and Baked Goods contest.

"Every day we have a different contest in the contest tent. The participation over the last quite a few years has really dwindled. We would like to continue it. The contest has been apart of the festival since day one. As a board we are looking at continuing the contest, or phasing it out. We will give it one more year," Culver said.

Another long standing part of the festival is the Honorary Mayor Race.

"It started back in the '80s because I was a mayor in '90-91," Culver said. "It started out as a fundraiser for Lehigh Community Services in connection to the Spring Festival. The candidates to run for mayor have to raise money. I raised $8,000 when I ran myself."

She recalls one of the events she got to participate in as the Honorary Mayor was being one of the first people to ride on the highway when they opened Lee Boulevard and the Colonial extension."I was in the first car with my sash on. It was a lot of fun," Culver said.

Jackie Palmer and Patrick Jackson are running in the race. All monies raised are split between the charity of their choice and the Lehigh Spring Festival. The winner is expected to attend ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and other community activities requested by the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce.

The Lehigh Spring Festival is a fundraising arm for many groups in the community. For example, the local group that helps with parking receives half of the proceeds. The ticketing booths are also manned by local groups, who also receive a percentage of the sales.

"It's another way to give back to the community," Culver said. "Everybody that gets up on stage, whether it's a school group, or dance group, we give them money. They all get something."

There will be constant updates at the website regarding all the activities taking place.



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