Three-day Coconut Fest opens
A carnival atmosphere enveloped Sun Splash Family Waterpark Friday night as the annual Coconut Festival got under way.
Visitors were greeted with a kaleidoscope of lights, colors, sights, and sounds as they headed into the grounds. Some went straight to the rides while others made a beeline for the country music concert that headlined the “Coco Country” theme for the festival’s first night. The festival continues today and Sunday begining at noon each day.
About 30,000 people are expected to pass through the festival this year, the fourth year it has been held.
Fort Myers resident Sandra Hernandez said she had a good time during her first time at the festival.
“It’s nice, it’s enjoyable,” she said. Her daughter, 7, and son, 13, hopped from ride to ride.
“They had a good time,” Hernandez said after they departed a helicopter ride.
“Now they’re just waiting to go on the Ferris wheel,” she said.
Affordable family entertainment is crucial during the current harsh economic times, Hernandez said.
“With the economy being bad the admission price is good for the kids to have a great time.”
Admission was $3 per person and free for children 5 and younger. Patrons also can purchase a $20 carnival ride wristband, good for unlimited rides for one day.
Not everything went according to plan the first night, however.
A power outage cut off electricity to some concession stands, the Ferris wheel, and other rides.
The outage came at about 8:15 p.m., then power was restored for about one minute at about 8:30 before being cut off again.
“We had a minor glitch in the generator,” said Special Event Coordinator Todd King.
“We’re going to have all the backups up and running tomorrow,” he added.
Festival workers gave refunds to those that asked for them, while those with wristbands had the option of using them today or Sunday, King said.
The fest’s title sponsor this year is Riverside Bank.