Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thousands Hit LaBelle Street For Annual Parade

Swamp Cabbage Festival Parade - One-Hour Long Annual Funfest

LABELLE, FL. -- Hendry county's largest parade and festival brings thousands of visitors each February, the big- time weekend in LaBelle, Florida. Held the last full weekend of February each year, the Swamp Cabbage Festival and parade attracts crowds of thousands each year to the city's downtown area, and in the riverside Barron Park.

The Festival Parade traveled down Bridge Street (State Road 29) to Barron Park on the Caloosahatchee River at 10 a.m. Saturday. Festivities at the park included music, dancers, and vendors packing the park, while thousands milled the streets of LaBelle taking in a classic car show on Fort Thompson Avenue and lots of Harleys and other chromed motorcycles neatly parked for visitor's enjoyment.

After the parade, Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden hosted his annual BBQ for law enforcement agencies, the division of forestry, court employees, and other Hendry/Glades public service agencies at the Sheriff's office on Bridge Street.

The cabbage palm, the state tree of Florida, is cut down for making decorations from the palm fronds for parade floats and booths at the park,while the fleshy heart of the palm is cut out and boiled to make "swamp cabbage."

(Click on video above to see scenes from the parade and festival. Click here or on YouTube logo to see full size and in HD)


  1. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Don, Does the swamp cabbage committee, pay for all the labor from the City workers, the electric bill the water bill etc($15,000 plus) from it's fee's or is this just passed on to the taxpayers of LaBelle?? .

  2. The city pays for everything basically.

    The city budgets $5,000 a year for the festival, not including extra city employee labor costs which have not been calculated. They use jail inmate labor for some tasks. The palm fronds are cut by the inmates.

    The Swamp Cabbage Festival pays for "improvements" to the park, whatever that may mean.

    The city at this time has never asked for an accounting of what the Festival Committee earns each year, but may do so this year. As a non-profit the committee would be required to file an income tax form which would be public record.

  3. Update on expenses for Swamp Cabbage Festival: The city's extra costs are about $20 for water (about 3000 gallons more in February) at the park, and $100 for electric at the park. (Many vendors are using their own gas for cooking.)

    The Swamp Cabbage Festival Committee does reimburse the Sheriff for security for off duty officers, and reimburses the city for it's workers' extra time.