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Business big part of Wesley Chapel fest

Organizers say this will be the best year yet for the community festival, which serves as a fundraiser.

By EBONY WINDOM
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 21, 2003


List of things needed for the Wesley Chapel Community Festival: Sunscreen, check. Comfortable shoes, check. Business cards.

Business cards?

While this year's festival will feature midway rides, funnel cakes and other entertainment, organizers say they have received an overwhelming response from businesses interested in participating in the expo.

"We're putting on a darn good festival this year," said Jennifer Seney, member of the board of directors for the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber is hosting the event, which organizers say is the biggest in its four-year history.

More than 50 businesses will operate booths inside the expo Saturday and Sunday.

"We're really highlighting our businesses," said Allison Morano, festival co-chairwoman. "We want to bring businesses to the forefront. People can come out, meet the businesses, network and have fun with the kids," Morano said.

The festival serves as a fundraising opportunity for the chamber as well as for charities and service organizations.

"We help charities raise funds. It's a partnership." Seney said.

A new feature is the hot air balloon. RE/MAX will offer tethered balloon rides from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Rides will cost $10 per person, with proceeds benefiting Pasco's Children's Miracle Network.

Honorary Mayor Susan Frimmel will pass the key to Wesley Chapel to a new winner as this year's honorary mayor is inaugurated at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Eight candidates have been raising money since December.

Each dollar counts as one vote, and the candidate with the most votes will become the honorary mayor. This year, the first runnerup will be named honorary deputy mayor.

The public will have another opportunity to make their votes count Saturday as seven local restaurants vie for the coveted title, "Best Wings in Wesley Chapel." There's the judge's award for best wings, and the public can sample the wings and determine the winner of the popular vote. Wingfest winners will be announced at 5 p.m.

Folks can watch the dance exhibition, tae kwon do demonstrations, and local bands battle it out on stage Saturday.

In tune with the theme of "In Focus," organizers say they are reaching their goal of making Wesley Chapel more visible.

"I think we have a wonderful community," board member Kirsten Joyer said. "The event will unify the community and pull everyone together. I think that's exciting."

Admission is free to the festival, parking is $4 and armband bracelets are $15 for unlimited midway rides.

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