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Thousands attend annual festival

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Clear skies and warm temperatures greeted Coconut Festival-goers Saturday as one of Southwest Florida’s biggest events continued through the weekend after kicking off Friday.

Kids raced from ride to ride while vendors and purveyors of games beckoned customers.

Maria Brito, a three-year Cape Coral resident, appreciated the cheap, wholesome entertainment venue for children.

“I think it’s great, it’s a good thing for kids. The good thing is it’s not expensive,” she said.

Admission for the event was $3, but free for children ages 5 and under. Roller coaster enthusiasts also had the option of purchasing a $20 bracelet for unlimited rides.

It was Brito’s first time at the Coconut Festival, which has been in existence for four years. Her nine year-old daughter, Yanesa, left a smaller helicopter ride and headed for some of the larger, higher-velocity rides.

Brito was pleased the lack of long lines Saturday afternoon meant more fun and less waiting for Yanesa.

“She’s been on a bunch, it’s been quick,” Brito said.

The crowd started to thicken, however, as the sun went down and people packed the Sun Splash Waterpark.

Sound checks and other early preparations ensured a smooth concert Saturday as part of the festival’s “Coco Rock” theme.

Although a partial power outage caused a hiccup in Friday’s concert that was part of that night’s “Coco Country” theme, city event planners never stopped believing Escape, a Journey tribute band, would put on a good opening set.

The band Survivor closed the night and no further outages were reported.

BMX bikers featured in the X Games on ESPN performed stunts and tricks as part of Sunday’s featured event.

About 30,000 people were expected to attend the festival.