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Coconut Festival sees record attendance

By Staff | Nov 16, 2009

The 5th annual Coconut Festival attracted a record number of people Saturday night during the CoCo Rock Night celebration, making the night a great success.
Special Events Coordinator Todd King said that Saturday night was a phenomenal celebration with the best fireworks Cape Coral has ever seen. The event attracted an estimated 18,000 people between 3 and 11 p.m.
He said the attendance for the Coconut Festival will probably hit 32,000 people when the gates close at 8 p.m. Sunday night.
The Saturday night CoCO Rock Night featured Retro Light, New Kings, Guns 4 Roses, a cover band, and headliner Molly Hatchet as the entertainment line up. The Taco Bell Volcano Stage also included fire dancers throughout the evening and a performance by the Hot Flashes Dance Team.
King said all four parking lots were filled on Saturday night.
“That was our best turnout ever,” he said. “Molly Hatchet and the guitar army took over and rocked our socks off.”
Friday’s CoCo Country Night entertainment included Casey Weston, The Bomshel and James Otto on the main stage.
Hank O’Neill, a member of the Cape Coral Irish American Club, volunteered for the second year this year during the CoCo Country Night.
O’Neill said he expected at least 5,000 people to attend the event Friday night, but did not expect the crowd to pick up until about 7 p.m. when the entertainment began for the night.
He added that families usually come with their children when the doors first open to enjoy the rides and the young adults and older crowd will come later when the singers take the stage.
The Coconut Festival wrapped up on Sunday with CoCo Family. The entertainment was provided by Kellyn Celtic Arts, Dance Dimensions, Kobayashi Dojo, Robyn Dawn Academy, Tropical Twisters, Lisa Lynn Studio, Pop Warner Cheerleaders and the Edge Dance Group on the main stage.
Carnival rides and carnival food filled the parking lot of Sun Splash Family Water Park all weekend long. Rides like Scooter, Haunted Mansion, Starship 2000, Dizzy Dragons, a ferris wheel and the Sizzler were among some of the rides for everyone to enjoy.
Lauren Adema, a Fort Myers resident said she attended the event to have something to do with her son for the night.
“We love carnival season,” she said. “My son enjoys the rides.”
Chris Kohler of Cape Coral said she brought the kids to Coconut Festival because they enjoy the carnival rides as well.
“The kids love the rides,” she said. “That is why we are here.”
Kohler said they originally attended the event for the music when Coconut Festival first started a couple of years ago, but now her family enjoys the rides more.
“The more things they (the city of Cape Coral) do, the better,” Kohler said. “We like getting involved.”
The Coconut Festival “is the city’s signature event to celebrate going coconuts and the birth of Cape Coral,” King said, which next year will be “our 40th birthday, so look out we have great plans.”
“The new mayor (John Sullivan) was in attendance and thought the celebration was well done,” King said.
King explained that the money collected from the $5 admission “support all the Parks and Recreation programs and the special events that don’t make any money like the Veterans Day parade and the Memorial Day celebration.”
The festival was sponsored by Cape Coral Parks & Recreation and TIB Bank.