Spring Fiesta in the Park brings opportunities for many artists

Neda Hamdan

Frank C. Riley suffered from a stroke, paralyzing half of his body a little over two years ago. Through two years of hard physical therapy, Riley used the hobby of creating soaps as a way to exercise his creative side, the part of his brain that was affected.

“That was the day I quit smoking,” Riley said. “I just knew there was something else out there for me.”

Along with his wife Debbie, they are now running a successful business, Falling Leaf Soap Company. Consisted of handcrafted cold process soaps, body butters, and salt scrubs.

They sold their soaps at the 32rd Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park, located at Lake Eola this past Sunday. Over 200 other foodie, craft, and original artist booths, admission was free allowing you to browse where you chose.

“This festival was a great way to bring families together,” Justin Reuben said. “It also gives people the opportunity to showcase their talent.”

Spring Fiesta in the Park had a variety of booths, from jewelry to food to furniture. With the occasional dog water bowl to satisfy both dogs and their owners.

Lining both Robinson Street and Eola Drive, from a distance the booths looked a cluster of clouds. As a family event, there was a play place for children at the intersection of Robinson and Eola, the booths surrounding it.

“Out of all the things I make, this one is my favorite.” Frank Riley said. “I created the ingredients and the entire thing myself.”

Riley’s most prized product is the Bugs-B-Gone, which is an all natural botanical insect repellent and biopesticide. Recommended by the CDC, organic ingredients such as coconut oil and sunflower oil were used to make the product.

Sponsored by Your Southern Ford Dealer, the Spring Fiesta in the Park was a two-day event that provided a variety of reasons to visit such as food, music, and even stress tests.