Fun in the sun at annual Palm Harbor Citrus Festival
PALM HARBOR - Festival-goers to the historic downtown this weekend were treated to a near-perfect weather to conclude the 5th Annual Palm Harbor Citrus Festival. The four-day event concluded with Sunday’s day long carnival and the finals of a Dancing with the Palm Harbor Stars competition. Packed between Georgia and Michigan avenues were enough fair rides to make visitors’ heads (among other things) spin, while non-thrill seekers enjoyed the patios of Peggy O’Neill’s Irish Pub and Eatery or the Thirsty Marlin Bar and Grill. According to Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Connie Davis, each year’s effort continues to surpass the last.“I’ve been with the festival since we started it five years ago and it’s really evolved,” she said. “This was the best one we’ve had so far and the attendance was wonderful. Every aspect of it continues to improve and it was a wonderful event.” The annual Citrus Festival offered a little something for everyone. Along with the dancing competition were softball tournaments and Sunderman Field, the crowning of a Miss Palm Harbor Citrus Festival Queen and the 5th Annual Palmsbury Bake-off. “That’s what makes it a festival. The original idea of this festival five years ago was to make it like a state-fair atmosphere but to celebrate our heritage.” Winning the Dancing with the Palm Harbor Stars competition was the pairing of Josh Lovetere, a Palm Harbor firefighter, and Mckelette Dowers, an instructor from Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Bake-off winners, along with their category and creation, included: Megan Dillon (Youth Division, sunshine cookies); Beaulah Thomsson (Senior Division, citrus thumbprints); and Jessica Cleveland (Best of Show and Home-Cooked Division, key lime coconut angel food cake). Two young ladies, Sonali Wijesiriwardena and Emily Hillman, shared the tiara in becoming dual Palm Harbor Citrus Festival Queens. The winners shared the overall award and a scholarship sponsored by Progress Energy.