By Eugenio Torrens
These two weeks are some of the most hectic for Cindy Fleming.
The chairwoman of the Wesley Chapel Fall Festival said it takes about six months of planning to get the festival ready, but she said the two weeks prior to the actual event are the most stressful just making sure everything comes together.
Finally, Fleming can relax with the start of the Wesley Chapel Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 15 and Sunday, Oct. 16. The festival will take place at the Grove mall at Interstate 75 and SR 54. It will go from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. both days.
Fleming said she expects about 10,000-15,000 people to show up each day, weather permitting.
“It’s been growing every year,” Fleming said. “Every year we’ve added something new, and we’ve expanded the area, and there’s more for people to do every year.”
It’s a setting primed for kids and adults, families and friends.
“Families really like it because we have this huge kid’s area — kids can come and basically stay for hours. It gives parents a chance to relax while kids are playing.”
There will be live bands, arts and crafts, an obstacle course, Ronnie Setser’s car show, a Battle of the Wings contest, a pumpkin patch and — for the first time — a beer garden sponsored by Miller Lite.
“Last year with the heat and the wings, people asked why we didn’t have beer,” Fleming said. “So we talked to the leasing people, security and got permission to do that.”
Money raised from the festival is divvied among the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and select charities or nonprofit causes, such as high school scholarships. Fleming cited the bands as the biggest draw of the event, with the car show also attracting a heavy number of visitors.
“Other than Wiregrass, we don’t have much out here for people to just go sit and listen to music free,” Fleming said.
The other highlighted festival of the weekend is the Rattlesnake Festival in San Antonio. The rattlesnake event, entering its 45th year, has grown from a local happening to a nationally renowned festival. It takes place at the San Antonio City Park, 32810 Pennsylvania Ave. On Saturday, the festival goes from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.
As with the Wesley Chapel Fall Festival, this event caters to both children and adults. Some of the most notable spectacles are the races involving wooden tortoises.
And then of course, there are the rattlesnakes.
A professional snake handler offers educational tips and information about snakes, including snakes native to the area as well as those from abroad.
Amy Greif, chairwoman of the souvenir committee, said San Antonio and the Rattlesnake Festival are synonymous.
“You can mention one and people will say the other,” said Greif, who was raised in San Antonio. “We offer much more than we did in the past. It takes up the entire main part of town up north.”
She was quick to point out one possible misconception.
“No, we don’t have rattlesnakes crawling all over the place,” she said. “It just happens to be that we had found something that was unique.”
Money raised from the rattlesnake festival goes to nonprofit groups, including local baseball teams, churches and Boy and Girl Scouts.
For more information about the Wesley Chapel Fall Festival, including sponsorships and vendor opportunities, visit www.WesleyChapelChamber.com or call Christine Hope at (813) 994-8534.
For more information about the Rattlesnake Festival, visit rattlesnakefestival.com or call Rattlesnake and Gopher Enthusiasts Inc. at (352) 588-4444.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.