A History of Celebration in America’s Sweetest Town…
The Clewiston Sugar Festival is based on the original end of harvest celebration that was held by the United State Sugar Corporation, dating back to the 1930’s, at the end of each sugarcane harvest season. It was a means of celebration and appreciation for a successful harvest.
In April, when the sugar grinding mill “went down” after the last carload of cane was ground, the mill was cleaned and tabled were placed as a barbecue was held for the workers and their families as hosted by the company. That night at the company-owned Sugarland Auditorium (now known as the John B. Boy Auditorium), a formal dance was held and a King and Queen of Sugar were crowned after being chosen by popular vote of the employees.
In the fall of 1986, members of the Clewiston Merchant Association developed the idea of continuing these celebrations city-wide as a way of showcasing our community and showing our appreciation to the sugar industry that provides our economic base.
Over the years, the Sugar Festival has evolved into an exciting multiple day event where folks can reunite with family, friends and neighbors at the end of another busy season. People come from the Glades and from across the state to gather for a day of good times; great live entertainment, cane-grinding, a car show, a kids’ park and a variety of food booths sponsored by local civic, school and church organizations that offer the best of local cuisine. The events list has expanded to include a rodeo to celebrate our area cowboy heritage; a bass tournament to showcase our natural jewel known as Lake Okeechobee and Seminole Heritage Day at the Clewiston Museum, which focuses on our community neighbors and partners, the Seminoles.
All-in-all, we are indeed a family and are glad to welcome you and yours to our history rich area and our historic, but growing festival!
We Raise Cane!