Great American Cooter Fest Brings Florida Residents Out Of Their Shells

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The 10th Annual Great American Cooter Fest surely left some of the attendees pleasantly shell-shocked last weekend.

The festival, held in Inverness, Fla., honors the Florida Cooter, a species of freshwater turtle native to the southeastern U.S.

Cooter Fest is both "great for economic development" and "small-town awesome," Sharon Skeele-Hogan, Director of Special Events, told Bay News 9. The weekend-long festival of music, food and games is the culmination of a two-week celebration that includes such events as the "Cooter Queen Contest" and the "Cooterlicious Farmers Market."

A photo from Bay News 9 indicates that children also got to touch live cooters.

According to the official Cooter Festival website, legend has it that the Florida Cooter got its name after the turtle impressed some other animals with its feats of bravery. A possum then bestowed the title "Courageous Turtle" upon the reptile, but a baby mouse, who apparently had not yet learned to speak correctly, shortened the moniker to "cooter."

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