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Festival to highlight islands life

The Islands' Fest 2002 will honor community police Officer Richard "R.D.'' Pemberton, who was wounded on the job.

By AMY SCHERZER, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 15, 2002


Davis Islands residents relish their little oasis.

Once a year, they like to share, and that day is nearing.

Islands' Fest 2002, planned for April 14, will convert the eastern link of Davis Boulevard into a neighborhood block party.

"It's an afternoon for the family to explore the islands' world," said Elaine Adams, vice president of events for the Davis Islands Chamber of Commerce. She's organizing an art exhibition, pet parade, kids zone and classic car show.

"Davis Islands is like one big family: Everyone knows their neighbor," Adams said.

They know her, that's for sure. The coordinator for University of South Florida graduate medical education does not own a car. She rides her bike from her Como Street home to work at Tampa General Hospital, to the grocery store and to Gorrie Elementary, where her son is in third grade.

"Everyone honks and waves at me," she said.

The chamber will use the day to promote the businesses and merchants of Davis Islands and to honor one of their community police officers, Richard "R.D." Pemberton.

Pemberton was wounded during a traffic arrest in Sulphur Springs on Jan. 15.

The chamber decided to give all the money raised at Islands' Fest to the Davis Islands police and fire departments.

"It all boils down to a sense of community," Adams said.

Joann Torretta, owner of First Impressions, will do her part for the islands' image by hosting the Mr. and Ms. Davis Islands competition.

"It's open to anyone in Hillsborough County who loves Davis Islands," said Torretta.

One question to be asked of entrants: Why is living on Davis Islands like living in paradise?

Torretta has more than $1,000 worth of prizes, including a professional photo shoot. Contestants can enter in three categories: juniors (ages 6-10), teens (ages 11-16) and young adults (18-30).

And what's a street festival without food? Adams has asked the six Davis Islands restaurants to participate.

"We're hoping for something like an Epcot food and wine festival," she said.

T-shirts and caps should be big sellers. Vintage Davis Islands postcards cover the back of the shirts. The letters "D I" on the front let everyone know where the wearer's loyalty lies.

"We have a wonderful place here, and people don't realize it," said Adams. "We have history beyond belief."

To get involved in Islands Fest, call 254-5746 or e-mail to difest2002@hotmail.com.

-- Reporter Amy Scherzer can be reached at 226-3332 or scherzer@sptimes.com.

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