Gary Allan to headline 30th Annual Sugar Festival

Committee members met Sept. 1 to discuss new attractions they'd like to bring to the 2016 festival and announced the headlining act.

Committee members met Sept. 1 to discuss new attractions they’d like to bring to the 2016 festival and announced the headlining act.

The Sugar Festival Committee met for the second time on Tuesday, Sept. 1 with news that the main headliners have all been booked for the March 19 festival. Gary Allan will be the main act at 5 p.m., with Eric Paslay and Chase Byrant performing beforehand.

Local band and winner of 96K-Rock’s Battle of the Bands, YourDesign, will be the opening act on the main stage playing its own original rock songs. The committee also announced it is in the process of securing a mariachi band to walk around the festival throughout the day and would like to find a cover band to play on the main stage, as well.

New This Festival

Committee members have discussed bringing in more attractions and voted to create a new Attractions Committee headed by U.S. Sugar’s Ashley Sergent. Some attractions the committee would like to bring this year are exhibitions of bass and air boats, swamp buggies and motorcycles. The only problem the committee foresees is a lack of space.

The committee also discussed providing more activities on the Friday night before the main event on Saturday. The annual talent show sponsored by Drug Free Hendry County is not yet confirmed, but it seems it will once again be a feature of the festival. The committee discussed adding some sports tournaments to the festival lineup and holding them on Friday instead of Saturday. The committee discussed bringing back the once-annual tradition of bed races and adding tug of war, arm wrestling and possibly ultimate frisbee to the usual lineup of horse shoes and corn hole.

The committee also discussed the idea of holding a community worship service the Sunday after the Sugar Festival, but stressed the idea was merely a preliminary concept.

U.S. Sugar said it would like to take interested festival goers on guided tours of the lake on the main day of Sugar Festival and the board voted to rent two mobile ATMs from Seacoast National Bank to set up in strategic locations around the festival grounds. The ATMs would be free for Seacoast customers and carry the standard $2 surcharge for non-bank members.

Brand New Logo

The Sugar Festival will boast a brand new logo this year that will carry on in the coming years. The committee has not yet chosen a logo and is opening up to any interested high school student or teacher who would like to submit an original design. The deadline is fast-approaching, with submissions due Sept. 8.

The committee voted to sponsor the Chamber of Commerce’s Yeti Cooler giveaway, which will be raffled off at the annual Chamber Dinner on Sept. 29. The new logo will be imprinted on the cooler to be given away to the lucky winner.

New Pageant Date

The date of the annual Miss Sugar Pageants was changed due to the availability of the John Boy Auditorium. The pageants will now be held three weeks before the festival on Feb. 27.

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