The seventh annual Hibiscus Festival is set for Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Laishley Park.
Music and a wide variety of food and other vendors will fill the park all weekend. Crowning of the Hibiscus King, John Wright, and Queen, Helen Wrobble, will take place at noon Saturday. Kids will be treated to a free rock climbing wall and two bounce houses throughout the festival.
A highlight of Saturday is the Lil’ Miss Hibiscus pageant at 10 a.m. About 30 girls will vie for titles in three age groups: Precious Miss Hibiscus for ages 4 to 7, Junior Miss Hibiscus for ages 8 to 11, and Miss Hibiscus for ages 12 to 18.
“This year the pageant will be held at Laishley Park, on the stage, so it will be right in the midst of the rest of the Hibiscus Festival,” said Jenny Miller, coordinator of the pageant. “Our theme is Garden Party, and we envision grandmas and aunts dressing up and coming along with their Lil’ Miss Hibiscus entrants.”
The pageant is a “natural” one, with no gowns or makeup allowed. Every girl will receive a flower courtesy of Port Charlotte Florist. Denise Henry of ReMax Realty, Karen Brownell of Ms. Rascals Loony Bin in Port Charlotte, and Betsy Williams, a freelance photographer who does work for the Charlotte Sun, will judge the pageant. The three winners will receive tiaras, trophies, a bouquet of flowers, and gift bags put together by Shawn and Co. Realty. The pageant entry fee is $20, with proceeds benefiting the Charlotte County Historical Center. For an application, contact Miller at 941-661-9741 through Thursday.
This year’s hibiscus, the Star of Punta Gorda, will be for sale at the festival, along with other hibiscus, exotic and native plants from over 15 vendors. Other plants, tropical clothing, jewelry, candles, wooden boxes, arts and crafts and food will also be offered for sale.
Historic Trolley Tours of Punta Gorda will run from 9:30 a.m. to
3 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Secret Garden tours will also be offered for $5 via the Green Hibiscus Trolley from
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Local historians will narrate tours of the city, including lush gardens in private backyards that aren’t visible from the street.
It will all take place on the waterfront, in the sunshine, with the music of the Michael Hibiscus Band, Cheeky Monkey, Still Friends and many more bands playing throughout the festival.
For more information, go to www.thehibiscusfestival.com.