ORTONA – While locals and returning snowbirds are likely familiar with Ortona Indian Mound Park, State Road 78 East, Ortona, a state historical site that was once home to extinct Caloosahatchee Indian tribes, it is also the location of the annual Ortona Cane Grinding Festival that is held on the first Saturday of February each year. The park is pretty interesting to visit on its own, filled with wildlife and history of the village that once thrived there, but the Cane Grinding festival is a truly unique and interesting old Florida tradition that makes visiting this park even more dynamic. With various booths filled with foods and fun souvenirs and gifts, the Ortona Cane Grinding Festival allows visitors to peer into how Florida’s earliest pioneers began to process sugar cane.
The Ortona Cane Grinding Festival has been a tradition for 42 years and was started by Marvin Williams, Vance Storter and a few other members of the Ortona Community. It was originally held on the Williams Family Farm. The festival started in order to raise money for the Ortona Volunteer Fire Department, but the needs of the community have changed over the years and this traditional event may have faded away if it weren’t for the Williams Family. They, with the support of Ortona Community Association, have taken on the task of carrying on the timeless tradition of the Ortona Cane Grinding Festival, and all proceeds will be used to help support the community.
This year the Ortona Cane Grinding Festival 42nd Ortona Cane Grinding Festival will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Admission and parking are free, donations would be appreciated. Dinner tickets are Adult $10 Child (10 and Under) $7. Serving will tarts at 11:00 a.m. A Dinner Ticket includes a chance to win a door
Entertainment through the day will be provided by the Buckshot Band, Country RHYTHM Cloggers, and the William’s Family.
There will also be contests and tournaments:
• Cake Baking - $5 per entry, cakes must be at the Sugar Shack by 11 a.m., all cakes will
• Pet Costume $5 per entry; winner receives a prize.
• 50/50 Drawing $1 per ticket or 6 for $ the drawing will be around 2 p.m.
Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club will also be at the event.
Free vendor booths available. Please call Amanda McRoy at 863-612-6951. Bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy some family fun, vendor booths, a flea market area, great food and awesome entertainment.