Sunday, January 23, 2011

Manatee Festival in Crystal River

A busy week culminated with us attending the 24th Annual Manatee Festival here in chilly Crystal River yesterday. The festival was located in the heart of downtown Crystal River. This  location is right off of US Hwy 19, about an hour and a half north of Tampa and two hours west of Orlando.The Florida Manatee Festival was a two-day event, held yesterday and today, was hosted by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Crystal River, and the Rotary Club of Crystal River. The festival included fine arts displays, craft displays, food, music, children’s activities and of course, manatee education. To enter the festival grounds cost $3 per person. The Fine Art show hosted exhibitors from around the United States, featuring items from watercolor artwork to breathtaking photography as well as sculptures, stained glass and unique one of a kind handmade jewelry. These are just a few samples of the variety provided by the Fine Artists. Cash prizes and ribbons were awarded to outstanding artists. Craft displays sponsored and hosted by the Rotary Club of Crystal River, included over 150 craft vendors displaying a tremendous variety of woodwork, jewelry, clothing, collectibles, country craft, crochet, children's toys, knitted work and much more!

manatee_festival[1]

Over 25 food booths included seafood vendors offering a variety of delectable seafood plates, kettle corn, cotton candy, elephant ears, hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, tasty bakery treats and much much more kept festival attendees from going home hungry! A Beer and Wine Garden was there for we patrons 21 and over! Live entertainment was featured at the Garden throughout the day, both days, as well as large screen televisions for the sports lovers. There was alot of fun activities in the special children's area!  Sack races, games, crafts and lots more were available for the kids.  There was also a rock climbing wall, pony rides, bounce house, face painting and much more! I overheard a senior citizen say “I wonder if they thought about having an area for we old folks to play horseshoes, bocci ball, holey board or bean bag baseball.” He must have been an rver huh? Posters of the endangered manatee made by local students were on display throughout the festival grounds. Continuous movies were on display to provide Manatee Education information to all visitors as well as Manatee Education booths designated to enhance the awareness on the endangered manatees.

homosassa springs, fl #2    snap4[1]

Boat tours were available and gave festival visitors the perfect opportunity to view manatees in their natural environment.  A boat ride on the beautiful waters of Kings Bay, the place hundreds of manatees call home during the winter months was available at an additional cost. With parking at a premium a shuttle service from the Crystal River Mall dropped folks off right at the entrance to the festival for $1. It was a great way to spend a bright chilly day. If you enjoy arts and crafts shows and you are in the area next winter at this time, come check it out.

The other noteworthy activity we were involved with this week was a trip to Ocala to visit two rv dealers to look specifically at fifth wheels. We are seriously considering making the move from our diesel pusher motorhome to a more “homelike” fifth. Between the Tampa Supershow and our trip to Ocala we are fond of the following manufacturers and their products: Keystone Alpine, Heartland Bighorn, Forest River Cardinal and Jayco Eagle. If you have one of the above or have opinions, please make a comment at the end of this post. We would appreciate all input. We have been doing a lot of research and looking online. Since we plan on fulltiming or at least 95%-timing as Barbie says, we would like more living space and Barbie wants more kitchen space. Below are some pictures of some of the things we like in the Keystone Alpine.

234[1] Rear entertainment area

91457_7[1] Large kitchen

Alpine 38 in. shower Large shower

Alpine closet Lots of bedroom closet space

Well, it’s time to get back to the Steelers vs. Jets game.

‘Til next time…………………….

3 comments:

Donna aka Froggi said...

Good luck in your search. Stu had a Jayco but it was 8-9 years ago. Nothing major for issues, just the usual frustrations you have with most RVs.

Neither of us are fans of Forest River products but no personal experience.

Heartland seems to have folks on the line, they love them or hate them. LOL!

Keystone is pretty similar to Jayco in reputation I think.

Cruzin2some said...

Holiday Rambler is a great product. Don't count them out without looking at their product. We have a HR Alumascape and love it. We traded our HR Motorhome in for a fifth wheel and love it. We definatley have more living space and tons on interior storage.

Travel Safe
Dawn & Denise

Susan said...

We have a Heartland Big Horn 3600RL and we are very happy with our choice, we have had it now for 2 years.

I'd also suggest you check out KZ Stoneridge at Arrow in Homosassa, Arrow is a great dealer. Our 1st RV was a KZ MXT toyhauler tt we purchased from Arrow in Clearwater.

Next time we are at RCC for a weekend you will have to come tour our 5th wheel. We are at RCC at least two weekends a month when the winter rates drop....anytime you want to take a ride we are in Howey In The Hills so come on over and we'll talk about Heartland.

We went to Michigan to purchase our 5th wheel, we saved $20K vs buying here in Florida!
Susan

Feel free to PM me susanand@gmail.com