32nd Annual Florida Manatee Festival is January 19 – 20 in Downtown Crystal River
The Florida Manatee Festival returns to downtown Crystal River on Saturday and Sunday, January 19 and 20.
The Florida Manatee Festival is consistently rated year after year by attendees as the best outdoor event in Citrus County. Produced by the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Crystal River Rotary, the 2019 festival will certainly continue that tradition with the return of many favorite attractions, along with a host of exciting new ones!
New this year are enhanced dining options. Featuring a wide selection of international and inventive cuisine choices, food trucks have been taking the country by storm over the last few years. The Florida Manatee Festival is pleased to bring a tasty selection of fine food artists as part of the new “Food Truck Alley” that will be set up next to Little Springs Park on the north side of US 19.
Also new this year are roving performers, stilt walker Lizzie Downs, and Skippy the Dragon (yes, a dragon)! Along with Festival favorite America’s Got Talent performer and master illusionist David Ferman who returns to thrill audiences again with his illusions and feats of skill interlaced with hilarious comedy and audience participation, entertainment will be everywhere at the Florida Manatee Festival.
Returning again are the FREE shuttles and entry to Three Sisters Springs from the festival sponsored by the Friends of Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and U.S. Fish & Wildlife. This is a great opportunity to view manatees from the boardwalk surrounding these world-famous springs, as well as wander the restored wetlands area that has become home to hundreds of migrating birds.
Or perhaps you would also like to see manatees and birds from the waters of Kings Bay? For a nominal fee, you may take a half-hour boat ride around the bay that leaves from Waterfront Park at the south end of downtown.
Musical entertainment will be ongoing both days from three stages. The Main Stage at Waterfront Park will feature JoJo Jones Band on Saturday, followed by headliner Ashley Young. A Homosassa native, Ashley Young returns to Citrus County by popular demand following her crowd-pleasing performance at the Chamber’s Mermaids & Margaritas festival in April Sunday’s entertainment will feature Jeff Jarrett and the ever-popular Dan Story Band.
The Gazebo Acoustic Stage at Little Springs Park is the location for mellow listening pleasure. On Saturday, local favorite Sophie Noelle takes the stage in the morning, followed by an afternoon performance by Taking Anderson, a duo of Citrus County educators, Garrett Manning and Eric Tremante. On Sunday, welcome June Tunes, aka Sarah Miller, a 17-year-old Crystal River High School senior.
Behind the large white Victorian house on N. Citrus Ave. that is home to the Heritage House, the festival’s third stage will feature Trinity Ann Martinez, a 14-year-old country singing Citrus County native; 4 the Fun of It, a quartet of ladies who have been together for nine years singing fun barbershop-style tunes; and Sass with Class Cloggers, a fun-loving group that brings cheer everywhere they perform.
Additionally, more than 200 fine art, craft, commercial and non-profit vendors will line the streets on both the north and south sides of downtown. The Fine Arts section along Citrus Ave. has been expanded with many new artists. It is a great place to purchase that original piece of art for your home, business or as a wearable piece of jewelry that will be a treasure of special meaning forever.
For the kiddos, a Kids Zone will dominate the corner of US Hwy 19 and Citrus Ave. with fabulous rides, inflatables, costumed characters, face painting, carnival food and games.
And of course, there will be more food, along with beer and wine gardens near both music stages and throughout the festival. Top it all off with cool cars to drool over, compliments of the Citrus County Vettes & Camaros Club and the Nature Coast Mustangs. With something to please everyone, the 32nd Florida Manatee Festival is the place to go!
What: 32nd Annual Florida Manatee Festival
When: Saturday, Jan. 19, 9 am – 5 pm; and Sunday, Jan. 20, 9 am – 4 pm
Cost: $5 per person, age 12 and under free
Where: Downtown Crystal River, at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and U.S. 19, stretching up through the shops and restaurants of Heritage Village and surrounding areas, down to the waterside area along Kings Bay.
Parking: Free parking at the Crystal River Mall at 1801 NW U.S. 19 (approximately one mile north of the event) with free shuttle buses to the event. There is limited street and handicap parking available.
Boat Tours: Local boat captains will offer boat tours on a first-come basis. Tickets are available for $10 for adults; $5 for children 6 – 12 years old; and children 5 and under free. The tickets are good only on the date purchased and are sold at the boat dock area near northwest Third Street (Kings Bay Park).
Three Sisters Springs: Free shuttles will transport visitors to Three Sisters Springs from the bus stop on northeast Fifth Street.
Chamber phone: 352-795-3149