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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Winter Haven Celebrates 10 Years of Community Fun at 10th Annual CommunityFest

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Winter Haven Celebrates 10 Years of Community Fun at 10th Annual CommunityFest

by James Coulter

Ten years ago, the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce conceived of a community event that would allow residents and visitors an opportunity to connect over free games, food, and other activities. Last Saturday, CommunityFest celebrated a decade of bringing together the Winter Haven Community for fun and camaraderie.

Children could bounce around in inflatable houses and obstacle courses, play lawn games, and meet and greet costumed characters like Cinderella, Moana, and Spider-Man. Older attendees could peruse local vendors, grab a bite to eat from food trucks, and listen to live musical performances.

The annual event celebrated its tenth anniversary at Central Park in Downtown Winter Haven. More than 150 vendors offered attendees free treats, games, and other activities in the largest turnout ever, explained Ana Saavedra, Membership & Sponsorship Development for the Winter Haven Chamber.

“CommunityFest is doing great,” she said. “These are the most vendors that we have had for the event. That is exciting for the Chamber and the community to have this number of people coming out and giving back.”

While expectations are high every year, expectations for this year’s event were even more so due to it being the 10th annual event. Those expectations were more than exceeded through the turnout of both attendees and vendors.

“The expectations are always pretty high for this event,” Saavedra said. “I feel like every year we keep topping it. We have more vendors than we have ever had for this event. We have a very great group of characters over here. We have inflatable games. And it has been a very fun time. I think it keeps getting better and better.”

Ashley Conrad-Scanlan, Marketing Director for Bond Clinic, has been attending the event and representing her company there since the very first year. With Bond Clinic having recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, celebrating another milestone felt especially fitting.

“I think this [CommunityFest] is a crème de le crème event in our community,” Scanlan said. “We have a lot of great things, but this event has a special air about it, and we will keep coming out time and again. It keeps getting better and better every time, and we are grateful for the opportunity and all of the hard work the chamber puts in to make this happen.”

Not only does she love attending the event to help promote and market Bond Clinic, but she also loves being able to connect with other businesses and residents. Scanlan has been living in Winter Haven ever since she was born, and she loves being able to participate in it however she can.

“It is a Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce day,” she said. “It is beautiful weather. Over 150 vendors out here today. These are all the shining stars of Winter Haven. We have participated in all ten years of this event so we are proud to be here.”

Sue Fisher, a volunteer for Theatre Winter Haven, moved to the community five years ago. She began volunteering for Theatre Winter Haven and participating in CommunityFest through it. Her organization was involved in 39 events last month, and they hosted 27 shows in 29 days.

“We like to be involved in the community, and we are always signed up for it, so a lot of people know about the theatre and we encourage them to attend theatre productions,” she said. “With CommunityFest, I love being involved with people, getting to talk with them and spread the word.”

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