Downtown Dade City soon will be transformed into a marketplace and center of activity for the 27th annual Kumquat Festival.
The event celebrates all things kumquat.
The festival draws its name from a tiny, sweet and tangy citrus fruit.
The annual gathering began nearly three decades ago, when Phyllis Smith, Roxanne Barthle and Carlene Ellberg were trying to find a way to inject new life into downtown Dade City.
They decided to have an event to celebrate the kumquat because the Kumquat Growers, based in Dade City, are the nation’s largest producers of the fruit, sometimes described as “the little gold gems of the citrus family.”
The festival began small, on the lawn of the historic Pasco County Courthouse.
Over the years, the event spread through the city’s historic downtown core, and it routinely attracts thousands of visitors from the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
Besides giving people a chance to sample the distinctive flavor of kumquats, the festival also offers them a chance to experience Dade City’s hospitality, at a family friendly event.
This year’s event is being presented by AdventHealth Dade City, the City of Dade City, and dozens of other valued sponsors, according to Vicki Wiggins, CEO of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce.
About 20,000 are expected to attend, including residents from the Tampa Bay area and surrounding counties, winter residents, tourists and “day-trippers,” according to Wiggins.
The event presents opportunities for fun, shopping, eating and entertainment.
Admission is free; parking is available in the downtown area.
The event will feature art displays, a “Health and Wellness” section, a children’s activity area, a classic car show, a quilt show, vendors selling food and unique craft items, kumquat items in myriad varieties and, of course, kumquat beer and wine.
Kumquats have been called the ‘little gold gems’ of the citrus family. They are believed to be native to China and have a very distinctive taste. Kumquats, like grapes, can be eaten whole.
The peel is the sweetest part and can be eaten separately. The pulp, which contains seeds and juice, is sour. Together, the peel and pulp taste sweet and sour. The seeds contain pectin, which can be removed by boiling for use in jams and jellies.
Source: The Kumquat Growers Association
27th annual Kumquat Festival
When: Jan. 27, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Downtown Dade City
Cost: Free admission and free parking
Info: Visit DadeCityChamber.org.
Published January 24, 20234