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Insider’s Guide to the 2021 Kumquat Festival

By Diane Bedard Posted on March 4, 2021

Kumquats are fun to eat and the word kumquat is fun to say, so it stands to reason that the Kumquat Festival March 27 in Dade City is going to be a fantastically fun event for all!

Today, NatureCoaster provides a behind the scenes guide to all things kumquat to help prepare you for the 24th Annual Kumquat Festival.

Read on.

What is a Kumquat?

The kumquat is native to China and was given as a traditional gift on New Year’s Day. Translating to “golden coins,” the kumquat represents prosperity, according to information from TV horticulturist Roger Swain.

Learn all about kumquats at the 24th Annual Kumquat Festival. Image courtesy of Richard K. Riley.

Why a Kumquat Festival?

More than twenty years ago, the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce began holding a festival to celebrate the golden kumquat and all it has contributed to the area. Today, this wholesome, fun, and delicious event features over 200 vendors and 30 sponsors coming together throughout the streets of an historic, charming Southern town to celebrate the community as well as the little fruit that is both sweet and sour.

“Once again, Dade City and Eastern Pasco County are preparing to welcome thousands of residents and visitors to our area.  It is our pleasure to produce this quality event, and we invite everyone to enjoy the Festival and come back and visit us again” says John Moors, Executive Director of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce.

Kumquat Festival Car Show

Pops 54 by Mike Groseclose at the Kumquat Festival Car Show. Ronnie Setser’s Car & Truck Shows puts on the annual event, drawing great vehicles from around Florida and the southeast U.S. Image courtesy of Ronnie Setser’s Car & Truck Shows.

The Annual Kumquat Festival Car Show is hosted by Ronnie Setser’s Car & Truck Shows this year and features an amazing variety of classic cars and trucks in the large parking lot of the downtown Judicial Courthouse. Organized by Trophies, dash plaques and a well-organized show attracts some of the nicest vehicles to be seen in the Southeast U.S. Show runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sponsors Make the Kumquat Festival Happen

Advent Health Dade City is the headlining sponsor for 2021, joining Florida’s Sports Coast and dozens of business and government partners who come together to make the day memorable.  In fact, NatureCoaster has donated a media package to help promote this year’s festival.

If you get lucky, you might find Fairy Cake when you visit Dade City.
If you get lucky, you might find Fairy Cake when you visit Dade City. Image courtesy of Robin Draper.

Stop in one of the Friendly Local Shops and Restaurants

Local storefronts are decorated for the festival in kumquat themes and it can be nice to duck into a shop or restaurant and rest during the festivities. Dade City Tap House & Spirits, at the corner of 7th Street and Pasco Avenue offers Kumquat beer for the connoisseur.

Yes, Kumquat beer is available at the Festival. Image courtesy of Greater Dade City Chamber.

Dade City is a great town to visit any day and the unique shops and restaurants that make up this vibrant downtown are another great way to spend part of your day. Antiques, toys, books, jewelry, quilting, and pet supplies are some of the types of shops you will find.

Restaurants vary from an authentic tea house to sandwich shops, coffee shops, Mexican, Italian, craft beer and fine dining.

Although Dade City is a pet-friendly city, please allow your pets to stay at home during the festival.

Kumquat pie is one of the crowd favorites, available at the Festival and it is delectable. Image courtesy of Richard K. Riley.

Hundreds of Vendors provide Unique & Kumquat Items

Unique arts and crafts are fun to discover in many of the vendor booths lining the streets of this quaint city in eastern Pasco County. Many of these artisans return year after year to sell their wares.

Delicious kumquat foods, as well as many ethnic offerings are available to festivalgoers. There is a myriad of opportunities to sample the tasty little fruit, whether it be as marmalade, cookies, salsa, ice cream, refrigerator pie, or a sip of kumquat beer.

Kumquat Kids Corral

The Kumquat Kids Corral provides entertainment for the youngest visitors.
Image by Digwen from Pixabay

A Kumquat Kids Corral offers families the opportunity to let off some steam with bounce houses, pony rides, games, face painting, rock climbing wall, a euro-bungee and more.

Places to Stay

There is a nice Hampton Inn just south of downtown Dade City, and several hotels in Wesley Chapel along the I-75 and SR 56-SR54 corridor. Camping and RV hookups can be had at the Travelers Rest Resort.

Changes to the Kumquat Festival for 2021

Traditionally the Annual Kumquat Festival is held the last Saturday in January, but due to COVID concerns, the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce chose to move the Festival’s date back to March 27, 2021.

“We felt it prudent to exercise extreme caution and move the date of the Festival to ensure the health and safety of our attendees, our vendors, and the hundreds of people it takes to make this annual signature event a success,” said John Moors, Executive Director.

“Unfortunately, a few operational changes will also have to be made, including the cancellation of shuttle services to remote parking lots, and entertainment at the Courthouse – but we will have hundreds of vendors spread out over downtown and our ever-popular Classic Car Show,” continued Moors.

The 1909 historic Pasco County courthouse is a Dade City icon and is registered on the the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The 1909 historic Pasco County courthouse is in the center of the Festival. It is registered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Image by Diane Bedard.

Free Admission and Parking

Admission is FREE, city owned public parking downtown is free and the experience of a unique, authentic, and fun-filled festival is unforgettable.

Visitors can look at antique cars, shop for arts and crafts so they can find that perfect item and enjoy delicious food.

Fun Activities to see and do at the festival include arts and crafts, delicious food from local restaurants, food vendors and food trucks, an amazing car & truck show, Farmer’s Market vendors, Kumquat Kids Corral, kumquats, kumquat pie and products, and the wonderful sponsors.

Maintain a social distance of 6 feet, wear a face covering, wash hands or use hand sanitizer often while you enjoy the festival to help insure everyone’s safety.

The kumquat has become an important part of Florida’s Nature Coast, and the 24th Annual Kumquat Festival on March 27 in downtown Dade City promises to be one not to miss. For more information, click here.

Featured image from previous Kumquat Festival by Richard K. Riley.

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