Coconut Fest off to a good start
Young and old turned out Friday night for the sixth annual Coconut Festival kick-off.
The event runs through Sunday at Sun Splash Family Waterpark, at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd., and each day has a theme. Friday was “COCO Birthday,” which marked the city’s 40th birthday with fireworks, music and various kinds of entertainment, including a live performance by Geek Skwad and fire dancers.
At the start of the night’s festivities, Matt and Fiona Finn were eyeing the carnival rides with their daughter, 8-year-old Nieve. Matt Finn said they decided to check out the Cape event for a “nice family night out.” It was the family’s first time attending the festival.
“It’s something different,” Fiona Finn said.
While Nieve voiced excitement about getting on the pirate ride, her parents said they were surprised that there were healthy food selections. They had Greek chicken gyros.
“The food’s excellent,” she said.
Matt Finn pointed out that alcohol also is available, which could be a plus for some.
“More people should come out next year,” Fiona Finn said. “They’re missing out.”
Saturday is themed “COCO Rock” and also will feature live performances and a fireworks show.
The headliner of the night is Foghat, which will take the stage at 9:15 p.m. Other live entertainment includes Back in Black, an AC/DC tribute band, which takes the stage at 8 p.m.
“COCO Country” is Sunday with headliner Josh Thompson on at about 4 p.m.
Margie Levesque and her daughter, 11-year-old Maegan, also dropped by Friday.
“I’m not big for rides, but it’s fun to get out,” Levesque said. “Something to do locally.”
Maegan, who attended the event last year with friends, could not wait to hit the rides.
“It just looked like fun to me,” she said of why she came back for round two.
Though willing to get on the safer rides like the Ferris wheel with her daughter until Maegan’s friends arrived, Levesque said she was looking forward the the fireworks.
“I’m hoping they’re good,” she said.
Admission to the festival is $5 for adults and free for children under 5 years of age.
Attendees can purchase a wrist band for unlimited rides for $25 the day of, or for $20 in advance at any TIB Bank branch location. Tickets also can be purchased at the event.
One ride Ben and Shandi Patel were looking forward to getting Friday with their 17-month-old daughter, Ginger, was the big slide. It is Ginger’s favorite ride, Shandi Patel explained.
“They have a great arrangement,” she said. “I’m not big on rides, but they have a nice selection.”
Asked why the family chose to come out Friday night, Marie Chadbourne answered.
“The weather’s nice,” the grandmother said. “And we thought it would be less crowded.”
According to officials, the Coconut Festival attracted about 35,000 people last year.
For more information, call 573-3125.