The annual Clewiston Sugar Festival, held March 17, attracted thousands. Some food vendors offered — shall we say — unusual fare. / All photos J.D. Vivian

The annual Clewiston Sugar Festival was held March 17 in the city that bills itself as “America’s Sweetest Town.” The event had a variety of activities, including a kids’ play park; displays, such as vintage cars (and farm equipment — old and new); and vendors.

About 20,000 people attended the free festival, according to estimates.

Sponsors were U.S. Sugar, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and Florida Power & Light.


Then …

A 1919 International Harvester 8-16 Kerosene Tractor. The 251-cubic-inch engine could produce up to 16 horsepower.

… and now

A young attendee checks out a John Deere 9420 R Tractor, powered by an 827-cubic-inch engine that produces 462 horsepower.

Sugar harvesting

Then …

Until the early 1990s, sugar cane was harvested by contract labor flown in from the Caribbean islands, mainly Jamaica. Here, a cutter sharpens his “Collin knife” before resuming work.









… and now

The mechanical sugar-cane harvesters that replaced the manual cutters can harvest at four times the speed a man could. This John Deere CH570 Cane Harvester’s 540-cubic-inch engine cranks out 375 hp and features AutoTrac — that is, hands-free steering.

A tricked-out vintage engine

This 383-cubic-inch, 250-hp supercharged engine belongs to a 1966 Chevelle Malibu SS.

… and here is the car