Heritage Fest offers second helping of fun

Barbara Tatten performs with the Silver Rockettes in the square during the Heritage Festival at Lake Sumter Landing.

An abundance of color met those entering Friday’s  Heritage Festival as the hues of flags from different nations waved over the square.  The second festival was a celebration of cultures through food, music and entertainment and followed last Friday’s Heritage Festival at Spanish Springs Town Square. Chalsi Cox, special events manager for The Villages Entertainment, said she was looking forward to “all of the entertainment we have lined up throughout the event,” and that the festival included new strolling entertainment, clubs and vendors participating this year. Visitors enjoyed serenades from the Wonder World Band with Clark Barrios on the main stage. Songs such as “Under the Boardwalk,” “Black Velvet” and “Brown Eyed Girl” inspired attendees like Linda Bedard, of the Village of Sunset Pointe, to get up and dance.

“It’s great. Nobody does that song, and we like that type of music – smooth jazz,” Bedard said after a rendition of “Smooth Operator.”

The line dance performance troupe Sweet and Sassy Dancers performed the Charleston all the way to hip-hop with its routine “Music Through the Decades.”

“We have a really fun, upbeat, energetic show we’re sure the audience is going to enjoy and have fun with,” said Carol Carlyon, Sweet and Sassy co-director . “We chose (this routine) because we decided to do the heritage of music through the decades of North America. . .  and people from all the other countries listen to American music.”

The group impressed onlookers like David Herron.

“It’s a wonderful heritage we have in our music. It’s what makes us a culture,” said Herron, of the Village of Silver Lake.

Visitors perused various food trucks like Grandma’s German Kitchen, vendors like Celticness and clubs like Vintage Productions while roaming stilt-walkers adorned in vibrant purple, orange and gold greeted visitors from great heights. Visitors who “traveled” to four vendors received a commemorative pin.

Frank Tatten said he looked forward to seeing his wife perform with The Silver Rockettes. While there, they planned to eat, drink and people-watch.

“Here in The Villages, you meet so many people with different nationalities,” said Tatten, of the Village of Calumet Grove. “It’s good to have a day to celebrate all of them.”

Staff Writer Liz Coughlin can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5304, or liz.coughlin@thevillagesmedia.com.