Kumquat Festival offers a slice of Old Florida charm

The Kumquat Festival, which pays homage to a tiny orange fruit with a tangy flavor, carried on in its usual fashion — despite this year’s challenges to the kumquat crop.

MacKenzie Brewer, Miss Pasco County Fair Outstanding Teen, left, and Courtney Graham, Miss Pasco County, pose with local jam and jelly businesswoman Cristi Williams, of Jovita Treats, and her assistant, Faith DiMaria, 9. (Richard K. Riley)

Citrus greening, insects and Florida’s recent hard freezes dealt a blow to the kumquat crop — knocking out sales of fresh kumquats this year.

But, there were kumquats to sample, and plenty of kumquats served up in jams, jellies, pies, salads, sangria and all sorts of other concoctions.

The atmosphere was festive, there were lots of vendors — and there were quilts and cars and entertainers to enjoy.

John Moors, executive director of The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce, put it like this in a news release: “tens of thousands of people came from all over the Tampa Bay region – residents, winter visitors and tourists joined in the fun. Over 400 vendors and sponsors sold and promoted their wares and services. Our entertainment stage at the Historic Courthouse featured free live performances from wonderful local talent all day. Many of the shops and restaurants in Dade City and the surrounding area enjoyed their busiest day of the year.”

Moors also noted that the festival, which offers free admission, free parking and free shuttles, could not happen if it weren’t for the generous support of sponsors.

Published January 31, 2018

Cheryl Howard, of Spring Hill, and Marilyn Prill, of Brooksville, enjoy their first visit to the festival and share their first slice of kumquat pie.

Judy Croucher, of East Pasco Quilters, shows Hugh Embry Library Manager Angel Liranzo one of the quilts on display during the Kumquat Festival.

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