The Clewiston News

Committee plans to change Sugar Festival layout

Committee members discuss the new stage location for the 2016 event.

“Change is hard for people to get around. This is a big change,” said Bianca Ross at the last Sugar Festival Committee meeting, as members discussed layout of the upcoming event.

The Logistics Committee presented a preliminary map of the festival at the Oct. 6 meeting which members approved after much discussion.

The map shows the anticipated locations of the main stage, food vendors, car show, arts and crafts show and restrooms, among other things. This year’s festival could look drastically different than festivals in years past.

The preliminary map shows the main stage, which normally sits on Sugar Festival Field in front of Deane Duff Avenue, moved to the tennis courts on the corner of Pasadena and Royal Palm.

According to the committee, the move would allow more people to see the main acts. With the committee anticipating up to a three-fold increase in attendance at this year’s festival, the committee said the move was necessary. They also said it would be easier to get the tour buses to the stage.

The audience would be arranged as standing room only in front of the stage out to Osceola Avenue; chairs would be allowed on Sugar Festival Field with tents lining the perimeter on Deane Duff.

In order to make the move, however, part of the fence surrounding the tennis courts as well as a concrete wall located near the courts would need to come down — an expense for which the city would pay.
At this time, it is unclear how much those changes would cost taxpayers.

Apart from the change in stage location, the preliminary map shows about twice as many food booths as last year lining both Royal Palm and Osceola avenues. The car show would be located on both Ponce de Leon and North W.C. Owen and the arts and crafts show would be located in Civic Park. The location of the information booths is yet to be determined.

The map also shows a bus drop off at First United Methodist Church to bring festival goers in who are parked far from the event.

The map was approved by the Sugar Festival Committee as a working map and changes will be made as the committee continues to meet on the first Tuesday of each month.