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Clewiston Sugar Festival makes triumphant return after hiatus

By Katrina Elsken

Lake Okeechobee News

CLEWISTON — Thousands of people turned out to “raise some cane” in the World’s Sweetest Town on Saturday, March 19, at the 2022 Clewiston Sugar Festival.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, local residents and country music fans from all over the country turned outto fill Civic Park in Clewiston where they enjoyed free concerts and local entertainment.

Hendry County Commission Ramon Iglesias enjoyed sweet treats as one of the judges for the Sweet Taste of Sugar Baking Contest. “The festival is amazing,” Iglesias said.

This year’s top winner was a banana pudding cake, he added.

In the U.S. Sugar tent, festival goers were treated to plenty of free festival souvenirs and information about the sugar industry.

Free samples of rock candy (some made from raw cane sugar, some from processed sugar) and orange juice gave visitors a taste of local agriculture. They could also sign up for a chance to win prizes.

“You can tell people have missed the festival,” said Judy Sanchez of U.S. Sugar. “Now it’s back and bigger and better than ever.

“People have shown back up in large numbers to celebrate sugar, agriculture and our community, bringing the family, seeing old friends and making new friends,” she said, Sanchez said she met festival goers from Texas, Colorado, Canada and from other countries.

Everyone was happy to be outdoors, enjoy the beautiful weather and celebrate with friends and neighbors at the open-air festival, Sanchez said.

“This is the sweetest festival in the country and possibly in the world,” she said.

At the Youth Center, Food Network Kids Baking Champion Keaton Ashton put his skills to work live to create a one-of-a-kind cake display that pays homage to the 2022 Sugar Festival, assisted by Carissa DaSilva, executive pastry chef at Mizner Country Club.

The pair created a cake in the shape of a guitar. The neck of the guitar held train tracks and the Sugar Express train. The sound hole in the guitar was a lake and a fishing boat.

The cake, which would provide about 250 servings, had a base of vanilla chiffon cake. The train was made of Rice Krispies Treats, covered in fondant.

Concerts included performances by Justin Mason & Blue, Alligator Alley, Sawyer Brown, Niko Moon and Cole Swindell.

View the full article in Lake Okeechobee News here.

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