ORANGE PARK – On Saturday, The Town of Orange Park kicked off the celebration for its 41st annual Fall Festival in style with a big-ticket Opening Ceremony that set the stage for a day filled with …
ORANGE PARK – On Saturday, The Town of Orange Park kicked off the celebration for its 41st annual Fall Festival in style with a big-ticket Opening Ceremony that set the stage for a day filled with world-class entertainment, delicious food, artisan vendors and activities for all ages.
Mayor Randy Anderson gave a heartfelt opening speech that was capped off with a riveting rendition of the National Anthem by LeeAnn Purvis. With hundreds looking on, the patriotic fervor was bolstered by a proud presentation of the colors from the decorated Ridgeview High Navy JROTC.
Purvis is a star already exploding on the local music scene at just 17 years old. She has released multiple albums and is in the process of recording new songs. Purvis’s performance was followed by an energetic opening act from All Starz Dance Studio, with girls from several age groups performing in front of families and the community.
With crisp weather and clear skies on the beautiful fall morning, the big moment was the perfect way for the Fall Festival to commence. This regionally acclaimed affair was ranked in the Top 20 events by the Southeastern Tourism Society in 2020.
The Opening Ceremony was followed by music, food, crafts, vendors, children’s activities and even more live entertainment. The Wehner School of the Arts, Showtime USA, Miss Marie’s Kids, Asbury Arts Center and others took to the stage to rock thousands of community members and visitors for the Fall Festival spectacle.
The festival’s perimeter was lined with food vendors offering cuisine from Southern to Italian to Filipino to Tex-Mex. Festivalgoers walked down “streets” lined with tents on either side, where vendors sold anything from handcrafted gifts, maple syrup, local honey, pillows, bonsai trees, firewood and wooden artwork that depicted the U.S. flag and the many flags of football teams. Visitors and residents flocking to tents were eager to financially support the small-business culture of Orange Park and Clay County.
Attendees said they enjoyed the beautiful, sunny weather and everything the event had to offer, which has a growing buzz so strong that the Fall Festival may need to find a new home to accommodate more patrons in the future.
“Every year, it’s growing. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I was talking to someone I know at the event, and I (believe) that (the Town) will have to move (the Fall Festival) because they’re just running out of space. They’re going to need more vendors,” said resident Darren Johns.
Kristin Smith enjoyed the event alongside her 12-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, who shared their love for shopping at the festival, which has become an iconic staple of Orange Park. “I always love (the Fall Festival). It’s our favorite event to kick off the fall. We like to come out and watch all of the dancers. It’s a beautiful, sunny day,” Smith said.