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Annual Palm Harbor festival is fun for the whole family

(ran in PS edition)

Doodles, Sparky and Appleman will be there.

These mascots and other entertainment will be featured at the 20th annual Palm Harbor Day Arts, Crafts & Music Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Pop Stansell Park.

The festival, which is sponsored by the Greater Palm Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce, promises to be a fun-filled day for the whole family. More than 1,500 people went to last year's festival.

"After church on Sunday, it's a great day out in the park with the family," said Vicky Zagorski, the event's chairwoman.

The event kicks off with a boccie ball contest and a Pinellas County sheriff canine unit demonstration. Arts and crafts by local artists will also be available.

But the highlight of the festival will be the Little Palm Harbor Bathing Beauties Contest. Participants will be judged on appearance, personality and attire.

The contest, which is for boys and girls, will have two divisions. Newborns to 24-month-olds will be judged from 10 to 11 a.m., and 25-month-olds to 48-month-olds will be judged from 1 to 2 p.m.

The contest currently has about 35 entries but can handle up to 100, Zagorski said. More than 25 babies participated in last year's event.

Registration will be an hour before the contest, and there is a $15 registration fee. Trophies will be given for first, second and third place.

"It's just kind of a fun thing," Zagorski said.

Festivalgoers may get their blood pressure and glucose levels checked at the health and wellness fair sponsored by Morton Plant Mease East Lake Outpatient Center.

There will also be face-painting, games, prizes and a car wash courtesy of students from Palm Harbor University High School.

Music will be provided by Molton Mike Blues and country folk band Crooks and Nannies.

"It's a nice day to sit and have a hot dog or pack a lunch and listen to the music," Zagorski said.

Pop Stansell Park is at the western end of Florida Avenue overlooking Sutherland Bayou.

The following roads will be closed Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the festival: Florida Avenue from Pop Stansell Park to just west of U.S. 19; the south end of Eighth Street at Georgia Avenue; the north end of Eighth Street at the park's northern boundary; and Ninth Street at Georgia Avenue.

Today will be a day for people who like a little more physical activity. The chamber will sponsor 10K and 5K road races, a 1-mile fun walk and a 50-yard dash for 9-year-olds and younger. Entry fees are $14 for the 10K run, $12 for the 5K run and $7 for the walk. The 50-yard dash is free.

The 10K and 5K runs begin at 7:30 a.m., the walk begins at 7:45 a.m., and the 50-yard dash begins at 8:30 a.m. The runs and the walk will start on Florida Avenue in old downtown Palm Harbor.

About 300 runners and walkers participated last year, and race officials say they expect about 400 this year.

Anyone interested may register at 6:30 a.m. the day of the race or at the pre-race celebration Friday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Pop Stansell Park.

The pre-race celebration, which is free to runners and walkers, is sponsored by Carrabba's Italian Grill.

"It's a really nice spread," said David Lewis, race chairman.