With music, food, contests and more, Ocoee will celebrate its Founders’ Day Festival this weekend—an event so popular that it has withstood the test of time and will be returning for the 22nd year.
“It’s a great opportunity for Ocoee to showcase their city to people within the city and people outside the city,” said Mark Johnson, who has served as chair of the festival since 2008. “We have people coming from Georgia, South Carolina, Wisconsin, South Florida, Alabama … a lot of people from a lot of places coming to our town.”
All activities and concerts will be on the southwest shores of Starke Lake, except the pre-festival golf tournament and poker run and the Saturday morning 5K.
Live music is one of the main attractions. This year’s Friday night headliner is 38 Special, a Southern rock band that has been performing its Gold and Platinum albums since the 1970s. On Saturday night, award-winning country artist Gary Allan will be the final performance before the closing fireworks show.
“I always enjoy playing in Florida,” Allan said. “We have a lot of fans in that area, so it is fun when we can get down there. Their weather is usually pretty good as well, so that is always an added bonus for all of us.”
Allan said he will be playing a few new songs, but the setlist is mostly made up of his greatest hits that diehard fans will love to hear.
New listeners are welcome, too.
“I hope any first-timers leave feeling blown away,” Allan said. “I want them to walk away feeling like they went to one heck of a party.”
While attendees aren’t watching a show, they can browse art, crafts and clothing at the marketplace or grab something to eat. There are plenty of activities for kids, too, such as carnival rides and face painting.
Though many aspects of the festival have remained constant through the years, organizers are making efforts to keep up with technology and trends. Last year, a video screen was added next to the stage so that concertgoers who were sitting farther away could still see the show in close-up detail. There also is now a “tweet wall,” and attendees who tweet to @ocoeeFDfestival during the event might see their message appear on the screen.
Another way to stay connected while attending the festival is to download the Ocoee Founders’ Day mobile app for Android or iPhone. The app allows users to design their own schedule for the weekend, view maps and access other information right at their fingertips.
For more information, go to ocoeefoundersfestival.org.
Friday, Nov. 13
6 p.m.: Spayed Koolie (rock, blues)
7 p.m.: Asleep at the Wheel (country)
8:30 p.m.: 38 Special (rock)
Saturday, Nov. 14
7:30 a.m.: Chick-Fil-A 5K and Kids’ Fun Run
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Historic tours at Ocoee Christian Church, 15 S. Bluford Ave., Ocoee
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Marketplace arts & crafts vendors
10 a.m.: Classic car show
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Museum tours at Withers Maguire House, 16 E. Oakland Ave., Ocoee
10 a.m. to noon: Fab Five Family Fishing Tournament