The Great American Cooterfest is an institution in Citrus County and draws up to an estimated 15,000 attendees each year. The City of Inverness has taken an idea to celebrate the indigenous water turtle, know as the Cooter and added a healthy dash of humor and double entendre to create a national festival that is popular among locals and drawing visitors from near and far. The Cooter Festival falls on the 4th weekend of October, is known for it’s excellent music, food and unique merchant vendors as well as amusement rides, live turtle races, impressive costume contest and so much more.
The City still manages to raise a few eyebrows among out-of-towners who’ve never heard of a cooter, but among residents the water turtle is adored. Festival goers clamor to get pictures with mascot “Sunny Cooter”, purchase from the latest Cooter Festival t-shirts and flock to the turtle’s Facebook page.
In 2004, The Daily Show segment “Cooters!” created buzz about the Cooter Festival that continues to this day.