Wonderful weather added to a perfect day for families to enjoy live music, food, shows, and each other.
If you asked each of the estimated 2,000 people at the 6th annual Hot n' Spicy Festival at the Florida Agricultural Museum, why they had come out to the event on Saturday, “the music” would probably have been the answer.
The gates opened at 10 a.m.,for an 11 a.m. start time, and by 12:15 p.m. the overflow lot was full and people were being told to park where they could find a space.
Attending the event for the third year, Karen and Ted Turowski of Palm Coast decided to introduce new Palm Coast resident, Carol Hart, to the music festival, and the museum. Hart moved to Palm Coast from Massachusetts two months ago.
“The main thing we come for is the music,” Karen Turowski said. “Also, we like to support local events and businesses and these restaurants are local”
For first time vendor, Ruth Hart, the crowd was a welcome site. Hart's booth, St. Augustine Brewing Solutions, decided to participate after learning about it at a Marineland event.
“We are so glad we decided to come out here today and advertise our business,” Hart said. “It was a last minute decision but this is a great crowd.”
The afternoon was a time for barbecue, hot sauce, families, and animal acts.
The return of the Banana Derby, brought packed crowds to each race, where jockey capuchin monkeys raced atop dogs around a short track.
Emcee Phillip Hendricks, told the crowd the races began after, as he was looking out his kitchen window one day, he saw the monkeys riding the dogs. Now they dress up, and ham up, for the crowds.
Debbie and Mark Obarka of Vegas Birds are no strangers to Palm Coast. They lived here in the 1990s when their birds performed at Marineland. Now the couple and their eight birds are Kissimmee-based.
Six-month old Taylor Bozman attended her first Hot n' Spicy festival with mom and dad, Dacia and Roy Bozman, and grandparents Donna and Dave Turco.
“We come because we love this kind of music,” said Dave Turco. “We really enjoyed the Sauce Boss last year.”
The Sauce Boss, who prepares spicy gumbo during his musical set, didn't perform at this year's event, but the two featured groups, Johnny Matanzas & the Hombres, and the Wild Shiners, kept feet tapping throughout the day.
It was a BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair) event and lines of canvas chairs stretched across the field, facing the stage. After a damp and dreary January it was obvious being outside on a beautiful day was what everyone wanted.
In between musical sets, 4-year-old Aiden Dempsey caught up on some coloring.
“It's just a chance to kick back in the sun and listen to the music,” his mom, Jenny Gray said.