CommunityFest 2020 Brings Winter Haven Together For Sixth Year
by James Coulter
Whether you’re a caped crusader, patriotic super solider, or an ice princess, CommunityFest 2020 brought together people from all over Winter Haven, and even drew in plenty of colorful fictional characters as well.
Nearly five to six thousand local residents visited the sixth annual event in Downtown Winter Haven last Saturday to enjoy free food, games, music, and other fun activities.
Aside from locals, the event also drew in plenty of costumed characters from the pages of comic books and from off the big screen, including Batman, Captain America, and Princess Anna and Elsa from Frozen.
More than 100 local businesses, from eateries such as the Smoothie Squad to stores such as Your CBD Store Winter Haven, set up booths to not only promote their wares and services, but also provide freebies such as cotton candy and water bottles.
Public schools from across the city and county visited the event to host student song and dance performances, as well as promote their schools with various activities. Their participation helped make this year’s event one of the biggest, said Katie Worthington, President of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Ever since the Chamber started the event six years ago, CommunityFest has only grown by leaps and bounds, drawing in more and more attendees and vendors to enjoy the local camraderie.
“It helps that the weather is absolutley gorgeous,” Worthington said. “I love getting to see all the families come out and get to enjoy something for free…We are going to keep doing this event as many years as people will be coming to it.”
Local area churches from Heartland Church to Garden Grove Assembly also participated in the event, offering various fun activities, as well as using the opportunity to spread the “Good News.”
Pastor Frank Hawley of Garden Grove Assembly attended with his church, who offered face painting and balloon animals. He had participated previously through his son-in-law’s food truck, but was inspired by one of his congregation members to participate as a church.
“We are excited to touch the lives of people within the community today,” Pastor Hawley said. “It is good to be part of the community. This is a wonderful community to be a part of, and we are excited to be a part of it with other churches here, too. We have great churches represented here, and we are excited to be a part of that.”
Ashely Conrad Scanlan was the church member who inspired Pastor Hawley to participate with his church this year. She also serves as the marketing director for Bond Clinic, one of the main sponsors of the event, alongside Citizens Bank and Trust.
Scanlan has been participating with her company at the event ever since it first started. She considers it a direct investment in the community, as it helps bring people together to enjoy quality time. She especially appreciates how much the Chamber helps promote and invest in the event to host successfully each year.
“The Chamber does an incredible job of investing in the community,” Scanlan said. “If you look around, all the people who are here and set up are coming to have businesses here in the area, so we have a great opportunity to connect with lots and lots of people.”