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Plan Now to attend the 25th Annual Kumquat Festival January 29

By Diane Bedard Posted on December 30, 2021

Have you ever tasted kumquat pie? How about the little orange fruit that is both sweet and sour at the same time?

Whether your answer is yes or no, you will want to make plans to attend the 25th Annual Kumquat Festival in Dade City on January 29, 2022.

Last year’s event was applauded by festivalgoers, as it had a different mix of vendors with more variety and excitement to explore.  2022’s Kumquat Festival will feature approximately 300 vendors, as well as food trucks, a classic car show, a kid’s corral play area, and more.

Festival goers will be able to enjoy perennial favorites like kumquat pie and kumquat beer, of course. 

The 2022 Kumquat Festival will take place on Saturday, January 29, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Downtown Dade City, Florida. Vendors, activities and entertainment will be located around Pasco County’s iconic historic courthouse.  This year’s festival’s headline sponsor is once again Advent Health.  The Festival is also sponsored by Florida’s Sports Coast among other local and regional organizations.

Today, NatureCoaster provides a behind the scenes guide to all things kumquat to help prepare you for the 25th Annual Kumquat Festival.

Read on.

Learn all about kumquats and taste one at the 25th Annual Kumquat Festival. Image courtesy of Richard K. Riley.

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.

The inside is sweet and the skin is sour. Kumquats are eaten whole, so when you bite in, a unique sensation greets your taste buds. They are great to cook with, too.

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 300 vendors and sponsors coming together throughout the streets of a historic, charming Southern town to celebrate the community as well as the little fruit that is both sweet and sour.

This is the family-friendly alternative to the Gasparilla event in Tampa.

Local Pageants are held, and the winners are part of the Kumquat Festival’s fun. Image courtesy of Richard Riley.

“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

Get your tickets to the upcoming Pasco County Fair while you are visiting the Dade City Kumquat Festival. Image by Richard Riley.

Advent Health Dade City is the headlining sponsor for 2022, joining Florida’s Sports Coast and dozens of business and government partners who come together to make the day memorable.  

Stop in one of the Friendly Local Shops and Restaurants

Downtown Dade City merchants decorate their show windows in kumquat themes. There are some great shops to visit. Image by Richard Riley.

Local storefronts are decorated for the festival in kumquat themes, and it can be nice to duck into a shop or restaurant (if you plan to visit one of the restaurants on the day of the Festival, you will likely have to wait for a table and may want to call in advance to see if they take reservations on the day of the Kumquat Festival) and rest during the festivities.

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, 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.

Come out for Kumquat pie, one of the crowd favorites. It’s available at the Festival and it is light, creamy and delicious! 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.

How about kumquat ice cream? Image by Richard Riley.

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, games, face painting, and more.

Come a Day early and Enjoy the Kumquat Growers Open House

Kumquat Growers claims to be the largest producers of kumquats and kumquat products. This year they will hold their traditional Open House at the Kumquat Growers packing house, located at 31647 Gude Rd in St. Joseph from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Thursday, January 27 and on Friday, January 28 (the day before the Kumquat Festival).

Frank Gude, the patriarch of the Kumquat Growers. Image by Richard Riley

There is a talk about the history and origin of the kumquat and how it is used, followed by a packing house tour and a tour of the grove where you can see kumquats in their native habitat.

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.

Things to Keep in Mind for the 2022 Kumquat Festival

A decorated “kumquat tree”. Image by Richard Riley.

As in years before, historic Downtown Dade City will be transformed into an open-air marketplace featuring local businesses, hundreds of specialty vendors, dozens of partner sponsors, and the friendly authentic old Florida experience that the Annual Kumquat Festival has come to represent.  This event is attended by tens of thousands of visitors each year. 

“Last year, we felt it prudent to exercise extreme caution and move the date of the Annual Kumquat Festival to ensure the health and safety of our attendees. This year, we are pleased to be back in our original date on the last Saturday in January.  We remain the family friendly alternative to Gasparilla,” said John Moors, Executive Director of The Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce. 

“Although there will be no shuttle service from remote parking areas, there is ample parking citywide, and festivalgoers seemed to prefer being able to find their own parking space in 2021, providing access to their vehicles whenever they wanted, rather than waiting on a shuttle,” said 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. Entertainment is held on the courthouse steps, usually by local groups. This gorgeous structure 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, kumquat beer, kumquat jam, kumquat artwork, kumquat , and the wonderful sponsors.

The kumquat has become an important part of Florida’s Nature Coast, and the 25th Annual Kumquat Festival on January 29 from 9am to 5pm 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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