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!
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.
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.
Well, it’s time to get back to the Steelers vs. Jets game.
‘Til next time…………………….