The 9th annual Cape Coral Coconut Festival will kick off Thursday for four days of fun.
First up, Coco Idol Night will offer the public a sneak peek at the festivities ahead from 5 to 10 p.m. The singing competition will highlight some of Southwest Florida’s best local talent. The top finishers will advance to the finals round on Saturday with the grand prize winner receiving a $100 cash prize.
“We’ve got some talented young singers that are going to try and win the Coconut Idol prize money,” Todd King, special events coordinator at the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department, said.
“They’ll sing a song, and we’ll have a judge,” he said.
Thursday is followed by Coco Country Night, Coco Rock Night and then Coco Family Day.
The cost of admission is $7 on any of the four days; children 5 and under are free.
The festival takes place on the grounds of Sun Splash Family Waterpark.
All of the regular carnival rides and games, along with the vendors, will be open Thursday.
All-day carnival ride wristbands can be purchased in advance for $20 each. Those with advance wristbands do not have to pay the additional admission price at the door to get into the event.
They are available for purchase through Nov. 6.
They are located at Cape Coral City Hall, Fuccillo Kia of Cape Coral and Achieva Credit Unions.
All-day carnival wristbands can also be purchased at the event for $25.
Friday marks Coco Country Night, and the festival will run from 5 p.m. to midnight.
The headliners are Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin, who take the stage at 9:20 p.m. The other acts include Friday Night Cadillac Blue and Canaan Smith, as well as a fireworks show at 9 p.m.
“We like to theme each night a little bit, so people get a feel for the type of music,” King said.
Nov. 8 is designated as Coco Rock Night, and the event will run from noon to midnight.
Headliner Loverboy, known for such songs as “Working for the Weekend” and “Turn Me Loose,” will take the stage at 9:20 p.m., after a fireworks show at 9 p.m. Lazy Bonez, a rock ‘n’ roll tribute band out of Miami, will also perform.
“It’s a throwback to the 1980s,” he said.
On Saturday, the Coco Cheerfest will start at noon in the LCEC Cheerfest Arena.
“It’s a dancing and cheering competition,” King said.
Coco Rock Night also features the crowning of the Coconut Festival Queen at 9 p.m. The winner will win a $2,500 scholarship, with gift certificates awarded to the junior queens, baronesses and princesses.
Sunday is called Coco Family Day for a good reason.
“Sunday is typically more family-orientated,” he said. “It’s more kid-friendly.”
A mix of community groups will perform, including local schools, dance teams and gymnastic programs. There will be Polynesian dance shows, along with Cirque du Soleil entertainers.
“We have the community stages with a lot of local performances,” King said.
Football fans can enjoy watching the games in the big tent.
Coco Family Day will run from noon to 9 p.m.
Last year, more than approximately 30,000 people turned out over the four days.
“The concert nights were amazing,” he said. “We look forward to breaking that record.”
For more information about the Cape Coral Coconut Festival, visit: cocofest.com.
Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.
Cape Coral City Hall is at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.
Fuccillo Kia of Cape Coral is at 404 N.E. Pine Island Road.