LaBelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival
& Bike Show
by Ron Cox

     The last Saturday and Sunday in February has traditionally been the time for LaBelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival.  At least its been that way since 1965 when it was founded.
     The Festival is a local celebration (parade, music, car show, lawnmower races, food and entertainment) to honor the official state tree, the Sabal Palm. The heart of the tree is what’s turned into the delicacy known as swamp cabbage, which can also be made into fritters among other recipes. In addition to swamp cabbage there were plenty of other choices to eat from the myriad of food vendors on hand, everything from gator tail to corn on a stick.
     Among those in the parade were the American Legion Riders, an independent group of veterans who call the American Legion Post 130 in LaBelle home. The Riders are proud to tell you the Post is the only American Legion Post in Florida that is custodian to a Medal of Honor.
     In 2007 new wrinkles were added to the Festival, bike games on Saturday and bike show, tattoo and best/longest beard contests on Sunday. Awards for bikes were presented in 17 categories including Big Twin Stock and Custom, Sportser Stock and Custom, Rat, Trike, Antique and Best of Show. And what bike show wouldn’t be complete without an assortment of vendors selling the usual biker paraphernalia like T-shirts, neon lighting, sunglasses, doo-rags and of course, leathers. One enterprising vendor had 2009 Daytona Bike Week shirts and the event was still a month away! The bike show was also a benefit for the Pete Renner Foundation for Children.

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Overall the Swamp Cabbage Festival & Bike Show is two days of good old fashioned country fun and well worth the ride from anywhere.

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