6th Annual Florida Loquat Festival

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Frances Avenue Park

5580 Frances Avenue

New Port Richey, FL 34653

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The sixth annual Florida Loquat Festival will be Saturday March 23, 2019. Mark your calendars and make arrangements now to join loquat fans from around the state at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey.

The 2019 Loquat Festival will be March 23 (9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) at Frances Avenue Park, New Port Richey Florida. The program will be 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The fifth annual Loquat Literary Festival will be from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Volunteers Welcomed If you would like to volunteer to assist in setting up the event or on the day of the festival, please let us know as soon as possible.

Harvesters and Harvest Donors Our greatest desire will be for volunteers to assist with harvesting the fruit – especially the week before the event. Fruiting was early and the festival was late last year, and we have very little fruit for the festival. We are working to have plenty of fruit this year, so we'll look for volunteers to step forward to assist. We also welcome folks who will donate the harvest of their trees. See contact information, below, or email, Marilynn deChant < mdechant@tampabay.rr.com >

Canners Sought We are also looking for folks to prepare and sell preserves. As many of you know, one of the traditions of the Loquat Festival is selling out of all the jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices. That is a tradition we would like to bring to an end in 2019. Every year there are more preserves than the previous year, and every year all are sold before the festival is over – last year nearly 600 jars were sold long before the festival concluded!

Needless to say, this is a great way to supplement one's income. In fact, for those who are diligent, a considerable amount of money can be made.

There are no fees for loquat vendors, canners, or bakers. If you are making food products from loquats, or sharing the fresh fruit, please join us. All income received is yours. We will be very happy to receive a 10% donation from your sales, if you are successful.

If you plan to join us, please contact us as soon as possible to reserve your space.

Poets and Writers Called 2019 will mark the fifth year of the Florida Loquat Literary Festival. Here is the official call:

The Florida Loquat Festival is seeking one-page poetry or prose submissions for a reading held at Frances Avenue Park in New Port Richey, Florida on March 23, 2019. We welcome all styles and forms as long as loquats are the subject or central image. Submissions are open to all writers and not restricted to professional poets.

We encourage and welcome submissions from anyone who wishes to participate. There will be prize packages awarded to first ($100), second ($50), and third place ($25). Awards will also include publication in Leaves of Loquat, and other small complimentary favors.

All authors are invited to read at the event in beautiful Frances Avenue Park and will be published in the annual chapbook, Leaves of Loquat, which will be presented in the winter during a public event. Lastly, any time remaining after the reading will be open to the public for an open mic where all ages and levels of experience are welcomed and encouraged to participate.

Deadline is March 10, 2019.

Writers can submit up to three poems. If making more than one submission, send all in a single document. Include brief bio sharing your writing experience/ publications, if any, to dechant@usf.edu You can also mail submissions to Friendship Farms & Fare, PO Box 596, New Port Richey, FL 34655-0596. Deadline March 10, 2019. Accepted submissions notified upon acceptance.

Literary Festival Sponsors If you are interested in sponsoring the literary festival, contact us at the Ecology Florida web address for details:

http://www.ecologyflorida.org/contact-ecology-florida/

http://www.ecologyflorida.org

Live Music The 2019 festival will include live music. Planners are close to making a decision on the talent. Watch for more information in the next issue of the News.

Three New Features (tentative) We don't want to get anticipation too exaggerated, but it is possible that we will have some unique loquat beverages at this year's festival, and possibility a choral group.

As Always The festival will include lectures on growing, harvesting, and preparing loquats. Known and unknown specialists will present on the ways and wonders of our celebrated fruit. Various types of trees will be available from local groves and nurseries. If weather, our changing climate, our local trees, and The Great Mother are in harmony with our schedule, we will have plenty of fresh loquats. We will certainly have all manner of canned loquats: jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices.

The Mission of Florida Loquat Festival

The Florida Loquat Festival is an annual agrarian event in New Port Richey, Florida, demonstrating food sovereignty in this unique place in the world, celebrating its highest yielding fruit tree, affirming its local food system, and commending the people who have made a commitment to all three.

We are all reminded that the Loquat Festival is a celebration of seasonal fruit grown in and around the Springs Coast Watershed. The quantity of fruit at the festival is based largely on regionally available production.

In this way, the Loquat Festival harmonizes with other seasonal food celebrations in New Port Richey, including the Okra Occasion in late summer, the Sweet Potato Round Up in the fall, and the Winter Harvest Festival in early to mid-winter. We do not aim to make the events bigger and bigger every year (although they all continue to grow in attendance and vendors), we aim to make them better and better very year. Unlike many other festivals in Florida, our aim is not to make these festivals a distraction, a carnival, a concert venue, or a flea market. Rather, through these festivals we seek to rediscover the sources of our existence – our seasons, our local food system, the place we call home, and our neighbors – humans, animals, and plants.

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Frances Avenue Park

5580 Frances Avenue

New Port Richey, FL 34653

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