Lake area festival season is underway

A Ferris wheel lights up the Okeechobee skyline with the return of the American Legion Free Fair, under way now through Sunday, Feb. 3, on the American Legion Hall grounds, 501 S.E. Second St., Okeechobee. The fair (which has no admission fee but does charge for ride armbands), is in its 63rd year. Weeknights, the fair opens at 5 p.m. On weekends, it opens at 1 p.m. For more information, call 863-763-2950.

The Legion fair is just one of the many festivals planned in the Lake Okeechobee area in coming weeks.

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the Ortona Cane Grinding Festival will take place at Ortona Indian Mound Park, on Chiaha Lane off State Road 78, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Festivities include bluegrass music, clogging, arts and crafts booths and cane grinding.

The Top of the Lake Art Festival is planned for Saturday, Feb. 9, in Flagler Park, 55 S.E. Third Ave., Okeechobee, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artists interested in competing should contact the Okeechobee Main Street office at 863-357-6246 for an application. To learn more or apply, go online to

The Hendry County Fair and Livestock Show starts Tuesday, Feb. 12, and runs through Feb. 17 at the Clewiston fairgrounds, 710 S. Francisco St., Clewiston. The fair will be open daily from 6:30 to 11 p.m. weeknights and 5 to 11 p.m. on weekends. For more information, call 863-983-9282 or go online to

Brighton Seminole Field Day and Festival is planned for Feb. 15-17, opening daily at 10 a.m. at the Fred Smith Rodeo Arena, 500 Harney Pond Road off State Road 721 in Glades County. Entertainment includes alligator wrestling, a reptile show, Native American dancers, music, a rodeo, arts and crafts and more. For information, go online to

The last full weekend in February brings the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle, Feb. 22-24. The festival celebrates the state’s official tree, the sabal palm. Festival booths will be open in Barron Park, 1559 De Soto Ave. LaBelle, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival parade is Saturday at 10 a.m. in downtown LaBelle. For more information, visit

The Battle of Okeechobee Re-enactment will be held at the Okeechobee Battlefield State Park off U.S. 441 S.E. in Okeechobee on Feb. 23 and 24. The Okeechobee Battlefield Friends Inc. host the annual re-enactment to heighten public awareness for this historic battle. Federal and Seminole artifacts will be on hand for display. Gates will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days and battle re-enactments will be held at 2 p.m. both days. Bleacher seating is limited; it is recommended to bring your own chair.

The Chalo Nitka Festival, Rodeo & Dance take place Saturday, March 2, in Moore Haven. The festival parade is set for 10 a.m. starting the Moore Haven City Hall. The festival grounds are located in Chalo Nitka Park, the end of the parade route on 10th Street. For more information, visit the website at or call 863-946-0300.

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