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Cape Coconut Fest opens Thursday

By Staff | Nov 2, 2017

The 2017 Cape Coral Coconut Festival will kick off next Thursday for four days of fun. Hosted by the city of Cape Coral, the opening will run from 5 to 10 p.m. at Sun Splash Family Waterpark, with free gate entry for the first night. It will feature a midway with carnival rides for all ages and American carnival foods, including coconut-themed desserts, as well as performances by Polynesian dancers, The Calendar Girls, Cirque acts, a line dance team, Dixie Dancers and more.

“We tend to view it as a citywide celebration. It’s right around when the city was born, our birthday,” Todd King, special events coordinator for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said. “It’s an opportunity for the city to come together and celebrate through a carnival, fireworks and concerts.”

For the first time this year, there will be a craft beer garden. It will feature a variety of craft beer selections, along with a signature beer of created just for the festival – Coconut Cream.

“A lot of our younger generation and adult beverage aficionados are definitely fans of craft beers, and more and more of these little breweries are popping up,” he said. “I thought it was time to create a unique and well-represented craft beer area.”

Known as COCO Country Night, Nov. 10 will jump start two days of concerts. The festival will run from 5 p.m. to midnight, with the headliner – High Valley – taking the main stage at 10 p.m. Prior to that, Grayson Rogers is at 5:30 p.m., Walker Hayes is at 7 p.m. and Russell Dickerson is at 8:30 p.m.

“We’ve brought in four national acts for the first time, so we’re pretty excited about the package,” King said, noting that there is usually one national act scheduled for COCO Country Night. “A lot of them are young country artists. There seems to be a trend toward that new country sound.”

A fireworks show will take place before the final act at 9:30 p.m.

Nov. 11 will mark COCO Rock Night, with the festival running from noon to midnight. Headliner Vince Neil – The Voice of Motley Crue – will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Beforehand, Eagles tribute band On The Border will play at 6 p.m., followed by Tom Petty tribute band Refugee at 7:45 p.m.

“On occasion we get a shot at rock icons. There’s a lot of Motley Crue fans out there,” he said. “We’re pretty much considering this one of the biggest shows we’ve brought on at COCO Rock Night.”

King also pointed to the other groups performing.

“We’re going some really cool tributes,” he said. “A little bit for everybody.”

Again, a fireworks show will be held before the final act at 9:15 p.m.

The festival will wrap up on Nov. 12 with COCO Family Day, which will run from noon to 10 p.m. Inside of the big tent, the city will play the locally-televised NFL games on its giant jumbotron.

“We try to make it a nice afternoon that all the families can share,” King said.

The Achieva Coconut Run 5K & Kids Run will also take place, with the proceeds helping to support grants for local schools. A two-loop course through the festival grounds, the 5K starts at 7:30 a.m.

“They draw about 300 runners to run for the schools,” he said.

The 5K participants will receive two, free festival tickets.

Open to children ages 12 and under, the Kids Run will be held at 8:15 a.m.

Youth participants get a festival ticket and ride wristband.

The cost for the 5K is $25 for adults and $15 for 17 and under in advance; the Kids Run is $10. After the deadline, the 5K cost is $30 for adults and $20 for 17 and under, with the Kids Run to cost $15.

The fee includes a free pancake breakfast, which is also open to U.S. veterans.

To register, visit achievacu.com/cocorun or contact events@achievacu.com or 727-431-7362.

From Nov. 10-12, admission into the festival is $7 or $5 with a valid college ID; children ages 5 and under are free. On Nov. 12, however, ages 13 and under get in free with one paid adult admission.

“Over the weekend, we usually do about 25,000 guests,” King said.

One-day unlimited ride wristbands are $20 advance or $25 day of. Those who purchase advance wristbands do not have to pay the additional admission price at the gate to get into the festival.

“We usually do about 20 rides,” he said. “We try to break that up evenly (for the age groups).”

The deadline to purchase advance ride wristbands is Nov. 8. They can be bought online at tickets.completeticketsolutions.com/CCC1 or by 4 p.m. at the following locations:

* Parks and Recreation Department at Cape Coral City Hall, 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.

* Achieva Credit Union, 1631 Del Prado Blvd.

* Achieva Credit Union, 1616 W. Cape Coral Parkway

King urged the community to come out.

“This is where you live, this is a part of our town, this is how we celebrate,” he said. “We look forward to everybody taking advantage of this great celebration.”

For more information, call 239-573-3128 or visit online at www.cocofest.com.

Sun Splash Family Waterpark is at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.