With its historic courthouse and local shops, downtown Dade City emanates a feeling of Southern Charm.
And, once a year, its streets are transformed when hundreds of vendors and thousands of visitors descend on the East Pasco community to pay homage to a tiny, tart citrus fruit called a kumquat.
Now in its 23rd year, the annual Kumquat Festival was held on Jan. 25 and, as usual, people were enjoying themselves as they tasted kumquat pie, sampled kumquat ice cream, listened to music or did a little shopping from vendors, or local shops.
There was entertainment, too, with performances by such acts like the Pasco County Community Choir, Strawberry Express Cloggers, Pasco High School Jazz Band, Saint Leo University Theatre Department, Frank Savers with Influence of Music, and Nashville recording artist Kris Pierce.
This year, there were more than 400 vendors lining downtown streets, selling everything from handcrafted items, to produce and clothes.
It was an event for all ages. Kids could scale a rock climbing wall, take a pony ride, jump around in a bounce house or play games in the Kid’s Corral.
There was a quilt show, a car and truck show, and live entertainment, too.
And, those who came looking for kumquats?
Well, the little gold gem of the citrus industry was in great supply.
Kumquats could be purchased in the form of trees, in fresh bags of the fruit, in kumquat-infused ice cream, cookies, beer, marmalades, salsa — and, of course, the famous kumquat pie.
Published January 29, 2020