Watching racing games is fun, car racing, track and field event, swimming races and more. But what’s even better is a race where the participants are something you don’t expect, pigs, turtles, babies (yes that’s an actual thing), beetles, snails, you name it, there’s probably a race on it going on somewhere. This is why the city of LaBelle has something interesting going on during their Swamp Cabbage festival and that’s armadillo racing. Fans cheer as they egg on their favorite shelled buddy as they run (?) across the track to become the fastest armadillo of the year. Absolutely no armadillos are hurt during these races so everything’s good.
Labelle is a nice and cozy city, 20 miles east of Fort Myers. You can find this nice and peaceful city of off Palm Beach Boulevard. The city’s history began back in 1895 where a cattleman named Francis Hendry purchased the landsite where LaBelle sits today. Since then it had shops and establishments that turned it into a legitimate town. Today, several of the old structures from that century had been restored and are still in full operation today such as the café that can be found in its downtown district.
The Swamp Cabbage Festival is something that’s being celebrated by the Fort Myers area for over 50 years; it’s become quite the tradition. In these festivals, people can enjoy parades, dance and music presentations, ranch rodeos, beauty pageants and, of course, the armadillo races. The armadillo races are one of the most sought-after events in the festival where people crowd on the sides of the track and some taking pictures with their phones and cameras, waiting for the race of these armored creatures to begin. And as the signal for the race begins the crowd goes full blast as the armadillos run forward, backward, in circles while some go on the intended straight path ahead. It’s a complete mayhem. Other participants may even get too intimidated by the crowd and the other armadillos that they wrap up into a ball. Nevertheless, whatever happens on the track, the race must go on and in the end, the armadillo who just happened to get to the finish line first wins the race. These armadillo races in Swamp Cabbage Festival are just something else. And they’re unique too as they are not held elsewhere in Florida and possibly in the country. So, you may be witnessing something original if you come by LaBelle City in the Swamp Cabbage Festival.
For more information on other festivals that give life to the region of southwest Florida for the entire year, check out our articles page and read about how fun and unique they all are. There are so many festivals to cover in this awesome region, you won’t be able to attend all of them in a single year. Also, don’t forget to tune in to our podcast, the Divine Naples Daily where Rich and Matt tell you news about the Paradise Coast and all the wonderful things you may encounter in your visit.