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Dunedin Orange Festival is July 12
Event includes craft beers, mojo cookoff, pageant, duck derby and more
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Photo courtesy of DAN ZUCKER
Shown is the Broadway Deli’s hat from a previous festival.
DUNEDIN – Planners of the Dunedin Orange Festival continue to find ways to spice it up, this year adding craft beer sales to the July 12 Edgewater Park event.

Locally brewed craft beers from the Dunedin Brewery and Seventh Sun will be sold after 11 a.m. along with wine, and a variety of food.

The craft beer element is a natural pairing with the food that will be sold, Dunedin Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Wargo.

“Everybody is so into the craft beer, we feel very lucky that this is going to be part of our festival this year,” she said.

Festival planners also are bringing back the Miss Dunedin Orange Queen Pageant and have added the Duck Derby to the festival, which begins at 10 a.m.

A mojo cookoff contest, a silent auction for orange hats, entertainment, a fun zone for kids and free orange juice samples also will be part of the festival, which is now in its fifth year.

Between 20 to 25 hats will sold at the auction, and merchants decorate them in any shape and form they want, said Marsha Goins, one of the festival coordinators.

“We have people who come back every year to look at those hats and bid on them,” Goins said. “This is our fifth year doing the hats and it raises close to $500.”

The festival was moved from to Edgewater Park after being held for two years downtown, helping it to grow.

“When it started, when it was in downtown, it was much smaller, and it was really spread out a little bit more,” Wargo said. “We were kind of on the side of the street. Edgewater Park is the perfect location because you got the shelter of the trees and shade. You got the grass and pavilion. You got the breeze. You have the marina; it’s much more picturesque. It feels like a small-town festival down there.”

Wargo calls the mojo contest the “best lunch in town” on the day of event.

For $10 patrons can obtain a card that allows them to sample orange-oriented food from eight or nine restaurants, such as orange-glazed chicken wings. The restaurant that wins the event receives a statue of a pig, the “coveted pig award,” Goins said.

“And they show it with pride in their restaurants,” Wargo said.

Miss Dunedin Orange Queen pageant

With so many activities planned, there wasn’t a Miss Dunedin Orange Queen Pageant last year.

“We didn’t have time to get the girls,” Goins said.

But people kept asking for the event, and it has been revived. Coordinating the event is Diana Blethen, whose daughter, Tiffany, was queen in 2010. The pageant will be held at 11 a.m.

Blethen hopes that that girls who will participate will tell their friends so that in ensuing years it will be “a bigger and bigger event,” she said.

The queen will participate as an ambassador of the city in various activities during the year. The contest is open to all females between 16 and 25 years of age.

The competition will include active wear competition; shore evening wear competition, question and answer competition and involvement in the community

The Dunedin Duck Derby

The Dunedin Duck Derby includes two rubber duck races, at noon and at 5 p.m, at Edgewater Park.

During the derby, 500 ducks will be tossed onto the raceway. The first three to cross the finish line win prizes. The cost is one duck for $5; 3 for $12.

Also included is the Plain Jane Duck Pluck. Ducks will be plucked throughout the day for prizes. The cost is one for $10; 3 for $20.

For the first time, attendees can keep their own duck by participating in the Paint Your Duck Pluck. Winners are plucked throughout the day and participants get to decorate and keep their own duck. The cost is one for $15 or three for $25.

More on the festival

Orange juice samples, sponsored by Indian River Select Orange Juice Company of Ft. Pierce, will be offered. The Dunedin Waterside Rotary will sponsor The Fun Zone with old-fashioned games and activities.

The Orange Festival is held in July so that it won’t conflict with other events.

“We need something in the summer time. We didn’t have anything in the summer besides the Fourth of July,” Goins said.

The festival ends at 10 p.m.

The Dunedin Orange Festival will benefit the Dunedin Historical Museum along with the Dunedin Chamber Cultural & Educational Foundation.

Visit www.d­unedi­noran­gefes­tival­.com or call 330-4888.
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