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WELLINGTON JANUARY 2021

Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

Jeff Hall

At The Top Of His Game

FACES OF

POLO Plus

Polo A Way Of Life For Escobar Family World Polo League Ready For New Season Treats Made To Order At Factory Donuts Wellington Spotlights Student Leaders


INTERNATIONAL

POLO CLUB

2021

JOE BARRY MEMORIAL CUP Sunday, January 3, 10, 17 YLVISAKER CUP Sunday, January 24, 31, February 7 2020 USPA GOLD CUP® FINAL Sunday, February 14

GAUNTLET OF POLO® C.V. WHITNEY CUP Sunday, February 21, 28, March 7 USPA GOLD CUP® Sunday, March 14, 21, 28

U.S. OPEN WOMEN’S POLO CHAMPIONSHIP™ Saturday, March 20 U.S. OPEN POLO CHAMPIONSHIP® Sunday, April 4, 11, 18

International Polo Club Palm Beach • 3667 120th Ave S, Wellington, FL 33414 • internationalpoloclub.com


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MARTHA W. JOLICOEUR, PA BROKER ASSOCIATE 561 797 8040 www.marthasproperties.com 1111 LINCOLN RD, MIAMI BEACH, FL 33139. 305.695.6300 © 2020 DOUGLAS ELLIMAN REAL ESTATE. ALL MATERIAL PRESENTED HEREIN IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. WHILE, THIS INFORMATION IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT, IT IS REPRESENTED SUBJECT TO ERRORS, OMISSIONS, CHANGES OR WITHDRAWAL WITHOUT NOTICE. ALL PROPERTY INFORMATION, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO SQUARE FOOTAGE, ROOM COUNT, NUMBER OF BEDROOMS AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT IN PROPERTY LISTINGS ARE DEEMED RELIABLE, BUT SHOULD BE VERIFIED BY YOUR OWN ATTORNEY, ARCHITECT OR ZONING EXPERT. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY.


discover an outdoor oasis of fashion, food and pure fun.

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Something fantastic at every turn.

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featuring office space, community events and exceptional amenities.


Where the Exceptional Comes Home We are proud to present two exceptional estate homes in Palm Beach Polo Golf & Country Club, brought to you by STOCK Custom Homes, the award-winning luxury homebuilder.

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January 2021

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ROYAL POINCIANA PLAZA IN PALM BEACH IS A SHOPPING AND LIFESTYLE DESTINATION If you are looking for some amazing high-end boutique shopping, it’s time to plan a visit to the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach.The Royal Poinciana Plaza is an iconic destination that serves as a jewel box oasis in the heart of Palm Beach.

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AFTER MORE THAN 20 YEARS COMPETING, JEFF HALL REMAINS AT THE TOP OF HIS GAME Polo has always been a family affair, and that’s clearly in evidence for Jeff Hall, one of the top American players whose talent has been on display in Wellington for more than two decades. Hall’s father, John, a well-regarded polo patron of the Old Pueblo team, introduced his second-oldest son to riding before he was in kindergarten. BY Y.A. TEITELBAUM

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FAMILY POLO LEGACY CONTINUES WITH LUIS ESCOBAR AND HIS SONS NICO AND LUCAS After a serious polo accident six years ago, Luis Escobar is lucky to be alive — and loves his polo-playing life at home here in Wellington. Escobar’s father, Francisco, founded the Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington in 1984, and Luis expanded it. Today, Luis’ sons Lucas and Nico are part of the Escobar polo legacy. BY Y.A. TEITELBAUM

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on the cover

WORLD POLO LEAGUE HEADS INTO 2021 WITH GASTON DORIGNAC AS HEAD UMPIRE The World Polo League recently announced that the worldrenowned Gaston Dorignac has accepted the position of head umpire, beginning with the 2021 Florida season. Dorignac, who lives in Madrid, is qualified to officiate at a maximum handicap level of 40 goals. BY REBECCA BALDRIDGE

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FACES OF POLO 2021: A LOOK AT SOME OF THE AMAZING PLAYERS COMPETING HERE The 2021 polo season is now underway, and while it will certainly be different than in years past due to new safety protocols, one thing that will not change is the amazing athleticism, drive and awe-inspiring skill on display in each and every game. The world’s best polo players have once again made their annual return to Wellington. Meet just some of the amazing players on the field this season in Faces of Polo 2021.

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Standout polo player Jeff Hall in action. Hall is profiled in this issue. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA PHOTOGRAPHY

ENJOY TASTY, WARM TREATS MADE TO ORDER AT NEW FACTORY DONUTS It’s the little things in life that are so sweet, and the new Factory Donuts in the Pointe at Wellington Green is mixing it all up any way you like, made-to-order, fresh and hot. It’s not just a donut — it’s an experience. BY MELEANIE KOPACZ

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WELLINGTON YOUTH COUNCIL HELPING TO CREATE THE NEXT GENERATION OF LEADERS In 2019, the Wellington Youth Council was born, and it’s already winning awards and creating success. Part of a Florida League of Cities initiative for engaging youth, the idea is to get high schoolers involved in local government. BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

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WELLINGTON SOCIAL SCENE Chamber’s Wellington Winterfest Features Evening Of Drive-In Fun Rotary Installs Buddy Bench At New Horizons Elementary School Children’s Holiday Fishing Classic Held At Wellington Promenade Expanded Boat Parade Brings Holiday Spirit To Lake Wellington wellington the magazine | january 2021

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from the

publisher ANNUAL FACES OF POLO ISSUE: WE WELCOME BACK ALL OF OUR EQUESTRIAN FRIENDS! Picking right back up where we left off, the new equestrian season returns to Wellington with much anticipation for completing competitions interrupted by the pandemic.We are always happy to see horse trailers and riding boots throughout the community, but this year it means so much more. With all the uncertainty of what the season would bring, Wellington The Magazine continues to partner up with all of the major venues throughout Wellington to highlight the best of what we are known for all across the world — equestrian sports! Featured on this month’s cover is longtime polo star Jeff Hall, who remains at the top of his game after more than 20 years of competing in Wellington.Yet so much has also changed. In 2005, Hall made People magazine’s list of “50 Hottest Bachelors.” Now he and wife Michelle have settled down and are raising sons Luke and Eli. Also with deep ties to Wellington, we sit down with the Escobar family, a force in the local polo community since the 1980s when patriarch Francisco founded the Santa Clara Polo Club. Today, his son Luis Escobar can still be found competing, now alongside his sons Nico and Lucas. Also in this month’s issue, we visit with the World Polo League, which begins 2021 with Gaston Dorignac as the new head umpire for this growing high-goal polo organization. Moving away from polo, we stop by the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach to explore this legendary shopping destination. When looking for sweet treats here in Wellington, we stopped by the new Factory Donuts store, which is serving them up any way you like, made-to-order, fresh and hot. Finally, we profile the new Wellington Youth Council, which aims to get high school students interested in local government while also providing village leaders with an important teen perspective. As we move into 2021, we take a moment to look back over the past 17 years of publishing Wellington The Magazine and feel so much gratitude for a village that really got behind having its own community magazine and continues to give us the inspiration, motivation and advertising support to be able to bring you interesting features from school awards to the equestrian fields and everything in between. Thank you, Wellington, and may everyone have a very happy and healthy new year.

volume 18, number 1 JANUARY 2021

executive editor Joshua I. Manning

publisher

Dawn Rivera

senior graphic designer Stephanie Rodriguez

graphic designers Nancy Pobiak Yolanda Cernicky

account managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Joetta Palumbo

bookkeeping

Jill Kaskel Carol Lieberman

photography Abner Pedraza

contributors

Matthew Auerbach Rebecca Baldridge Meredith Burow Denise Fleischman Melanie Kopacz Mike May Callie Sharkey M. Dennis Taylor Y.A. Teitelbaum Deborah Welky

WELLINGTON Bringing You The Best Of Wellington Since 2004

THE MAGAZINE

12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 33 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 www.wellingtonthemagazine.com

published by

Dawn Rivera

Dawn Rivera, Publisher

Wellington The Magazine. LLC

chairman/ceo

Barry S. Manning Wellington The Magazine is published monthly in Wellington, Florida. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved by Wellington The Magazine, LLC. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.

10 january 2021 | wellington the magazine


T R I A L AT T OR N E YS T R I A L AT TOR N E YS

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wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY DENISE FLEISCHMAN

Chamber’s Wellington Winterfest Features Evening Of Drive-In Fun The Wellington Chamber of Commerce welcomed the holiday season with Wellington Winterfest “Live from your Ride” on Saturday, Dec. 5 featuring Vanilla Ice, along with School of Rock,Alex Shaw and DJ Johnny Quest.

(Left to right) Headliner Vanilla Ice takes the stage; Alan and Mayor Anne Gerwig; sponsor Schumacher Automotive’s Marlo Massey, Michael Doyle, Miranda Grace Massey, Hercules and Daris Marshall; and Emilia and Councilman John McGovern with Village Manager Paul Schofield.

(Left to right) School of Rock entertains the crowd; Stuart and Diann Hack with Hollis and Heshie Pernick; Alex Shaw performs on the stage; and Michella Levy with Vice Mayor Tanya Siskind.

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C.V. WHITNEY CUP

18-22 Goal February 17 – March 7, 2021

USPA GOLD CUP® 18-22 Goal March 10-28, 2021

U.S. OPEN POLO CHAMPIONSHIP® 18-22 Goal March 31 – April 18, 2021

THREE TOP TOURNAMENTS ONE CHAMPION

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wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY CALLIE SHARKEY

Rotary Installs Buddy Bench At New Horizons Elementary School New Horizons Elementary School, with support from the Rotary Club of Wellington, is the most recent addition to the growing Buddy Ambassadors program including a new Buddy Bench. The school held a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 9, during which 69 students were presented with patches and certificates, signifying their appointments as Buddy Ambassadors. The event also recalled Skyler and Tristan Prestano, two students lost in a tragic accident last year.

(Left to right) Principal Dana Pallaria presents a plaque in memory of students Tristan and Skyler Prestano to Mary and David Peat; the Rotary Club of Wellington’s Larry Kemp, Caroline Pena and Don Gross with author Loverly Sheridan at the Buddy Bench; Author Loverly Sheridan shares with students how to “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully;” and Larry Kemp and Loverly Sheridan act out a scenario utilizing the new Buddy Bench.

(Left to right) Rotarian Larry Kemp places a Buddy Ambassador pin on New Horizons student Velmando Williams; students Cosmo Thomas and Atticus Collins show off their leadership certificates; and the new Buddy Bench will be placed in a high-traffic area near the school’s playground.

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14 january 2021 | wellington the magazine


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY MEREDITH BUROW

Children’s Holiday Fishing Classic Held At Wellington Promenade Partnering with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and Building Up Sports Academy, the Village of Wellington hosted the 30th annual Children’s Holiday Fishing Classic on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Wellington’s Town Center Promenade. Casting their lines into Lake Wellington, approximately 40 children competed to catch and release fish.Young angler Tanner Gilchrist won the competition after reeling in a 14-inch largemouth bass.

(Left to right) Competition winner Tanner Gilchrist with his father, James Gilchrist; friends Victoria Jarvis and Sofia Uribe; Charlie Saltalamacchia with her father Jarrod Saltalamacchia; and competitors Chloe Norwood and Sara Sparber.

(Left to right) Siblings Olivia and Liam Oliveira with their mother, Laura Cherepy; 10-year-old Eva Sparber; siblings Sofia and Valentino Uribe; and event emcee David Aagaard hands out fossilized tiger shark teeth.

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WELLINGTON Nancy Jennings, Broker Michael Menchise, Team Leader

12008 S. Shore Blvd. Suite 201 | Wellington, FL 33414 (561) 472-1236 | (561) 472-1233 (fax) www.kwwellington.com Each Keller Williams office is independently owned and operated.


wellington | social scene

PHOTOS BY MEREDITH BUROW

Expanded Boat Parade Brings Holiday Spirit To Lake Wellington Families and friends gathered at Wellington’s Town Center Promenade on Saturday, Dec. 12 to enjoy brightly lit boats decked out for the festive season in the annual Holiday Boat Parade on Lake Wellington. Captivating an enthralled audience, the marine crafts sported Christmas lights and jolly passengers as they circled the lake. Approximately 30 decorated boats cruised in the parade, which was organized by Jack Brownson.

(Left to right) Olaf the snowman and enormous Christmas presents adorn this multi-colored craft; one-year-old Ezra VanWeelden plays in Christmas lights; Wellington Aquatics Complex lifeguards and event workers Lexie Tipmore and Nolan Sanchez; and Santa’s sleigh glides along the lake atop this boat.

(Left to right) Dustin and Diane Vogt with daughter Delilah; Ashley Grimes with Brody and Chris Halks; siblings Mathias and Anabella Gonzalez; and mother and daughter Melanie and Macey Leiba watch the parade.

18 january 2021 | wellington the magazine


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The Royal Poinciana Plaza In Palm Beach Is A Shopping And Lifestyle Destination If you are looking for some amazing high-end boutique shopping, it’s time to plan a visit to the Royal Poinciana Plaza in Palm Beach. The Royal Poinciana Plaza is an iconic destination that serves as a jewel box oasis in the heart of Palm Beach. Built in the late 1950s, it stands today as a landmarked property and one of Palm Beach’s most treasured architectural gems. With 180,000 square feet of retail space and lush, sprawling gardens, the shopping mecca offers a unique outdoor international shopping and entertainment destination for indulgence, inspiration and retreat. Designed by world-renowned architect John Volk, The Royal echoes some of Europe’s legendary retail destinations like the Palais Royal in Paris. The property has been carefully restored to its original mid-century glamour while remaining true to its retail roots. Its offerings include a unique mix of luxury retail, fashion, dining and entertainment, along with exceptional amenities for both local and international visitors. Arranged around two beautiful 20 january 2021 | wellington the magazine

courtyards with outdoor furniture, palm trees and gardens,The Royal provides a destination for guests to enjoy outdoor events, read the paper, sip a coffee, gather with family and friends, shop or dine. This season, The Royal will debut nine new tenants for guests to enjoy. Acquavella Galleries, Pace Gallery, Lévy Gorvy and Sotheby’s join existing art gallery Gavlak, making Palm Beach a bubble for art this season. The plaza also added luxury bou-

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BRAND NEW LISTING JUST HIT THE MARKET!!

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12008 S. Shore Blvd. Suite 201 Wellington, Fl 33414 Nancy Jennings, Broker We are proud to be part of Keller Williams Luxury International Team, providing unmatched personalized service for our clients.


INTERNATIONAL POL

INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB

INTERNATIONAL POLO

PHOTO © DAVID LOMINSKA PHOTOGRAPHY

INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB

22 january 2021 | wellington the magazine


LO CLUB

INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB

INTERNATION

After More Than 20 Years Competing In Wellington, Jeff Hall Remains At The Top Of His Game BY Y.A. TEITELBAUM

Polo has always been a family affair, and that’s clearly in evidence for Jeff Hall, one of the top American players whose talent has been on display in Wellington for more than two decades. Hall’s father, John, a well-regarded polo patron of the Old Pueblo team, introduced his second-oldest son to riding before he was in kindergarten. He played his first professional game when he was 12 and has been doing it at a high level ever since. “Honestly, I owe my success to my dad. He started me, but I played because I loved it,” said Hall, who turned 41 last September. Family also plays a significant role in some of Jeff’s most cherished memories of his exceptional career. He has won most of the major high-goal tournaments in the United States. Among his favorite memories are winning the Silver Cup with his father and brother J.W. in 1999, and again with his father in 2000, and once with his stepmother, Leigh-Anne, in 2004, all in Santa Barbara. Hall also included winning his record ninth Silver Cup this summer and the 2003 U.S. Open, the most prestigious tournament in North America.

O CLUB

Jeff Hall (second from left) with his sons Luke and Eli, along with his La Indiana teammates. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA PHOTOGRAPHY

It was with Tommy Boyle’s C Spear that Hall reached the pinnacle of U.S. polo in 2003, and his mount, Harrah, won the coveted Best Playing Pony award. He also reached the 2002 and 2006 finals, both with Orchard Hill. Hall’s wish list includes another U.S. Open title, especially since it has been so long in between trips to the last Sunday of that tournament. “It’s insanely hard to win,” said Hall, who grew up in Santa Barbara and Houston. But perhaps his biggest goal is to win

the USPA Gold Cup, the second most important tournament in the United States, and the one major championship that Hall has never won. He will be among the favorites to reach the podium this season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington. Hall anchors a strong La Indiana foursome, led by 10-goaler Polito Pieres, 4-goaler Nico Escobar and patron Michael Bickford in the upcoming 2021 Gauntlet of Polo series.

INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB

INTERNATIO wellington the magazine | january 2021 23


Jeff Hall has been a force on the field for more than two decades. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA PHOTOGRAPHY

Last season, La Indiana reached the C.V. Whitney Cup final and the semifinals of the USPA Gold Cup, which was postponed to February because of the pandemic. “It’s a really good team,� said Hall, an under-rated 6-goaler whose handi-

cap will be raised to 7 goals in June. “I expect to be winning some tournaments.� Hall said each player will have at least 15 horses for the grueling threemonth season. To prepare for a game, Hall believes in putting in the work be-

forehand and not relying on superstitions. “Over the years, I’ve learned that if I do everything in preparation, I am happy with the results,� said Hall, who usually does a light workout the day before a match. “You just have to do your part and be super focused. Of course, I ride and stick-and-ball, but I think I’m in better shape now than I was in my 20s.� In his 20s, Hall was living the good life. In 2005, he made People magazine’s “50 Hottest Bachelors� list and was driving a turbo Porsche. Now, he has been married 13 years to wife Michelle, a Realtor with Equestrian Sotheby’s International in Wellington, and they have two sons, Luke, who turns 10 this month, and Eli, who turns seven in May. “They can both ride. I’m not training or pushing them to be polo players,� Hall said. “I give them an opportunity, and I want them to learn how to play.�

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Instead, look out for the Hall boys to excel on the golf course. Relaxing on off days includes spending time with his kids or golfing. Hall is a member at the Banyan Golf Club. He got his pilot’s license on fixedwing planes but doesn’t fly anymore. He even started learning to fly a helicopter and had six hours soloing but gave it up as he realized it was something that needed his undivided attention. “I love to fly,” Hall said. “Maybe it’s something I’ll pick up later.”

“Over the years, I’ve learned that if I do everything in preparation, I am happy with the results. You just have to do your part and be super focused. Of course, I ride and stick-and-ball, but I think I’m in better shape now than I was in my 20s.” — Jeff Hall He has always enjoyed the speed, whether it’s aboard his ponies or cars. Hall has a 2016 Shelby GT 350 with 1,000 horsepower that is at Estancia

Jeff Hall with his wife Michelle and sons Luke and Eli. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA PHOTOGRAPHY

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Pueblo Viejo, his 330-acre ranch on the Brazos River in Sealy,Texas. In Wellington, he drives a truck. “It’s practical, and I can stay out of trouble. I had all my fun when I was young and dumb,” he said, laughing. Former 9-goaler Julio Arellano has known Hall for some 20 years, having been both an opponent and a teammate. “Jeff has always been extremely competitive and very well mounted,” said Arellano, who was a teammate with Hall on the Orchard Hill team that reached the 2002 U.S. Open final. “He is tough physically on the field and a great teammate. He is a good dad and friend.” Hall, who has represented the U.S. in numerous international matches, including the prestigious Westchester Cup in 2018, noted that he is 100 percent competitive in everything. “I have no idea [where it came from]. I have always been this way,” he said. The importance of family was clear when Hall and his father played in the 100th U.S. Open at IPC in 2004, the only time they did so. It was the elder Hall’s first appearance after a 17-year hiatus and fourth overall.They also played and won the 100th Silver Cup in 2000. Hall said he has learned a lot from his father. “Treat everyone with respect until they show you that they don’t deserve it, and treat everyone the same, whether it’s the team sponsor or the groom,” Hall said.“The old school ways.” It’s also the Hall family way. Learn more about polo player Jeff Hall at www.jeffhallpolo.com.


Lucas Escobar in action this past summer in Santa Barbara. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA

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Polo is a way of life for the Escobar family. Shown above are (L-R) Nico, Luis, Georgette and Lucas Escobar. PHOTO BY ALEX PACHECO

Longstanding Family Polo Legacy Continues With Luis Escobar And His Sons Nico And Lucas BY Y.A. TEITELBAUM

Almost six years ago, longtime Wellington resident and polo player Luis Escobar was seriously injured after a collision during a high-goal competition at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. It was determined that Escobar had sustained a blood clot on his brain, and the recovery process was going to be ar-

duous. But he was determined to return to the game he loved. “Well, I don’t think I really knew how bad it was,” recalled Escobar, who was born in Costa Rica and started playing at the age of 7 under the tutelage of his father. “My friend Diana Palmer, who is an amazing therapist in California, told me how long before I would feel

normal again. I was hoping she would say a year or two. Her answer was five years. Obviously, it was very depressing not only to hear that, but knowing if I came back in five years, I would be 48, almost 49.” Escobar is still dealing with issues from the collision, but he is happy with the progress he has made.

wellington the magazine | january 2021 29


“The most I have learned from my father is to play a classical type of polo, making me a classical player. I hear a lot of people say I play like my father; I’m not sure who I take after. I would like to create my own style one day.” — Nico Escobar Nico Escobar rides on the Pilot team during the Ylvisaker Cup in Wellington.

“To this day, I work on many little things that are left over from the accident. But I can tell you that all the hard work has [paid off], and the five years came up to the day, when I played a final against Adolfo Cambiaso at the Grand Champions Polo Club,” he said. Even though he lost that final last January, many things came together for Escobar. “Five years after my accident, it reassured me that everything is possible if you put 100 percent effort in it,” Escobar said. “My dad always told me keep on trying and never give up. Consistency and determination are real.” Escobar’s father, Francisco, founded the Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington in 1984, and Luis expanded it, so it now encompasses more than 40 acres.While growing up, he and his family would travel back and forth from Costa Rica to Wellington to play polo during the winter before settling here permanently. Today, Luis’ sons Lucas and Nico are part of the Escobar polo legacy, both making their mark as up-and-coming players. Nico will be playing in the highgoal Gauntlet of Polo series with La Indiana at IPC. Lucas is still trying to get on a high-goal team this season, but he is 30

january 2021 | wellington the magazine

PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA

expected to play the medium-goal with his father,Alejandro Poma and Diego Cavanaugh. Lucas and Nico both started polo when they were about five years old. Luis made it fun, and that made it easier for them to join in. “I’ve played polo all my life, so it was natural for them to get into it,” said Luis, who attended Florida Atlantic University. “Wellington is where we live and where they were born. Georgette [Luis’ wife] is a huge supporter of them, and, of course, living in Wellington it is easy to be involved with polo. A lot of kids play in Wellington, so it’s easy to play when you have friends playing polo at a younger age.” A lot of Luis’ classic style can be seen when watching his sons play. “Ever since growing up, my father has taught me to hit the ball the first time,” said Lucas, who is a 2-goaler.“As kids, we would play little 3-on-3 games with a rule that we could only hit the ball once in a row. It has shaped me in the player I am today. I honestly don’t know who I take after in my playing style. I like to go forward and score goals; I prefer playing the 1 or 2 positions. I also can play back, but I love going forward.”

Nico, a 4-goaler, sees himself as playing a more traditional polo game. “The most I have learned from my father is to play a classical type of polo, making me a classical player,” he said.“I hear a lot of people say I play like my father; I’m not sure who I take after. I would like to create my own style one day.” Off the field, the Escobars participate in several charity events and support the local community. After all, Luis met Georgette while enjoying Wellington’s social scene. Lucas and Nico like the casual lifestyle that makes Wellington special. “To unwind, it’s always fun to hang out with friends and have a good laugh,” Lucas said.“I like going to the beach and playing other sports, like golf, football and soccer.” “Lucas and I like to go to the beach with friends, play football and play Rollerblade polo,” Nico added. Luis also has his favorite spots in Wellington and beyond. “In a regular year, with no pandemic, I like to disconnect and try to go to the theater,” Luis said.“Even better, if we can get away, I love snow skiing. When in Wellington, we like to hang out quietly, go to the movies and go to some local classic restaurants like Short Stacks for a late breakfast or Park Avenue for some good ribs.”


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Santiago Toccalino, Lucas Escobar, Federico Escobar and Luis Escobar of the Santa Clara polo team are named the 2020 America Cup Champions. PHOTO BY DAVID LOMINSKA

Both Nico and Lucas have big goals for their future. In addition to playing in Wellington and Santa Barbara, they spent December in Argentina playing at La Aguada under the tutelage of former 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada. “My goal is to become 10 goals,” said

20-year-old Nico, who attends Palm Beach Atlantic University. “In the next five years, I plan to get to 8 goals and be playing the Argentine Open.” “In the next five years, I plan to be around 7 or 8 goals,” said 18-year-old Lucas, a senior at the Palm Beach Interna-

tional Academy. “I hope by that time to be playing the Argentine Open with my brother Nico.” While the brothers are dreaming and planning their future, Luis has had plenty of victories and memories. “I have played with my dad and both my sons in different tournaments,” Luis said. “Even my brother Federico has played on the same team.That’s always fun. A recent memory that I will never forget was with my dad’s team. He sat down, and my brother Federico played for him. That day we won the America Cup final in California — my brother Federico, Santi Toccalino, Lucas — and Lucas won Most Valuable Player, and I won Best Playing Pony. Later that day, Nico won the final of the Silver Cup with Lucchese and also won Most Valuable Player. It was an amazing day for me and my family.” Learn more about the Escobar family at www.santaclarapoloclub.com.

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POLO The 2021 polo season is now underway, and while it will certainly be different than in years past due to new safety protocols, one thing that will not change is the amazing athleticism, drive and awe-inspiring skill on display in each and every game. The world’s best polo players have once again made their annual return to Wellington to play in the most prestigious high-goal tournaments in North America. At the International Polo Club Palm Beach, the season gets underway with the 18-goal Joe Barry Memorial Cup, followed by the Ylvisaker Cup and the Iglehart Cup, both played at the 18-goal level. Then the height of the season arrives with the 22-goal Gauntlet of Polo series. It will start with the final games of the 2020 USPA Gold Cup, which was cut short due to the pandemic. This will be followed by the 2021 C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and U.S. Open Polo Championship. The U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship will also be featured. Can’t make it to the game? You can catch them livestreamed and on-demand at Global Polo TV. Meanwhile, we invite you to meet just some of the amazing players on the field this season in Faces of Polo 2021.

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HILARIO ULLOA Hilario Ulloa grew up in Argentina, watching his father and expert horse breeder Carlos “Polito” Ulloa train and breed polo horses. He was always surrounded by horses and polo players and dreamed of one day playing in the prestigious Argentine Open. He got that wish in 2013, and in 2014, he won the U.S. Open with Alegria at IPC. Ulloa, who earned his 10-goal ranking from the USPA in 2017, has been visiting Wellington to play at IPC since 2010. He returns to Wellington after a strong season competing on the Ellerstina team during the Triple Crown in Argentina. Playing alongside Facundo, Gonzalo and Nicolás Pieres, the team won the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open, falling just short in the final of the Argentine Open at Palermo. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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Safe. Trusted. Ready. At Wellington Regional Medical Center, patient safety is our top priority. Whether providing advanced, life-saving treatment to an individual suffering from a heart attack or stroke, bringing a beautiful baby into the world, or treating a patient recovering from COVID-19, physicians, nurses and staff are delivering trusted, quality patient care every hour, every day. Our ongoing commitment to care for the community we serve during this unprecedented time has only strengthened our resolve. Please know that we have taken extraordinary measures to help ensure the health and safety of patients, physicians, staff and our community. As always, we’re here for you — safe, trusted and ready to deliver a superior healthcare experience.

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JARED ZENNI Jared Zenni has come a long way in a short time. In his first attempt, 6-goaler Zenni helped his Daily Racing Form team capture the U.S. Open Polo Championship in 2018. The surprise win over favorite Valiente catapulted Zenni’s team into the top tier of high-goal organizations competing in Wellington. However, Zenni and his father Jim are not strangers to the circuit. They have also played under the name Villa del Lago, the family’s equestrian facility. Last season, the Daily Racing Form roster included Zenni with Tommy Collingwood, Costi Caset and Agustin Obregon, and the team made it to the semifinals in the USPA Gold Cup before play was suspended. When the Gauntlet of Polo resumes with the finals of that tournament, Daily Racing Form will still be very much in the hunt. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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POROTO CAMBIASO Adolfo “Poroto” Cambiaso is the 14-year-old son of legendary 10-goaler Adolfo Cambiaso. Now rated at 6 goals, Poroto is quickly following in his father’s footsteps. His older sister Mia is also a skilled polo player, currently rated at 2 goals. In fact, polo history was made here in Wellington back in 2018 when all three Cambiaso players competed together to win a high-goal tournament at Valiente Farm. Already viewed by the polo community as an up-and-coming talent, Poroto Cambiaso closed out 2020 playing on La Dolfina Saudi during the Tortugas Open, part of the Argentine Triple Crown, alongside his father, Rodrigo Andrade and Iñaki Laprida, making it to the final match before falling to Ellerstina. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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GONZALITO PIERES Argentine 10-goaler Gonzalo “Gonzalito” Pieres was born into a family of polo players. He is the eldest son of polo legend Gonzalo Pieres Sr. and older brother to Facundo and Nicolás Pieres. A classic-style player, he is known to provide leadership and direction on the field. A regular on the Wellington circuit, he spent several years steering Audi to wins in the U.S. Open Polo Championship, the USPA Gold Cup and the C.V. Whitney Cup. In more recent years, he has anchored Pilot Polo, working in concert with his brother Facundo. Pieres returns to Wellington after a winning season in Argentina, competing with Hilario Ulloa alongside brothers Facundo and Nicolás on Ellerstina to win the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open, falling just short in the final of the Argentine Open. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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MACKENZIE WEISZ Born in Wellington, Mackenzie Weisz grew up around horses alongside his polo-playing father Andres Weisz. Now rated as a 4-goaler, he has grown from a young child riding horses to one of the biggest rising stars of American polo. Most recently, the teenager has been a key player on Camilo Bautista’s Las Monjitas team playing with 9-goaler Francisco Elizalde the 10-goaler Pelon Stirling. The team was off to a great start in 2020, winning the prestigious C.V. Whitney Cup. Las Monjitas made it to the semifinals of the USPA Gold Cup before the 2020 season came to an abrupt end. That means Weisz will be back in action with his team when the 2020 Gold Cup resumes in February where it left off. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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SAPO CASET Polo runs in the family for Argentine 10-goaler Guillermo “Sapo” Caset Jr., who was in the saddle by age five, hitting a ball around the field. As a teen, he quickly soared from a 1-goal handicap to a 6-goal handicap. By 2011, Caset had established himself as one of the best players in the world, reaching the coveted 10-goal rating, which he maintains to this day. Last season at IPC, Caset played on the Tonkawa team with Jeff Hildebrand, Ignacio “Cubi” Toccalino, Matias “Colo” Gonzalez and Matt Coppola. He returns to Wellington after a strong season in Argentina, where his team RS Murus Sanctus made it to the final of the Hurlingham Open before falling to undefeated Ellerstina. The team also made it to the semifinals of the Tortugas Open and the 127th Argentine Open. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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PHOTO BY ALEX AND LINDA PACHECO

MICHAEL BICKFORD Michael Bickford is highly regarded as one of the sport’s top patrons. His La Indiana team regularly competes in the most prestigious tournaments, often challenging for the title. Bickford grew up in Connecticut playing polo with his father in Vermont. This year will be his fifth leading La Indiana into competition in Wellington. In 2020, 2-goaler Bickford was joined by Santiago Gomez Romero, Polito Pieres, Jeff Hall and Esteban Panelo on the La Indiana roster. The team was competitive, making it to the finals of the Ylvisaker Cup and the C.V. Whitney Cup, and advancing to the semifinals of USPA Gold Cup before the season ended early. That means La Indiana is still in the hunt when the tournament resumes where it left off just before the 2021 Gauntlet of Polo gets underway. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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NICO ESCOBAR Nicolas “Nico� Escobar is a member of the latest generation of the Escobar polo-playing family. Rated as a 4-goaler, he is the son of Luis Escobar and brother to Lucas Escobar. His grandfather, Francisco, founded the Santa Clara Polo Club in Wellington in 1984, which was expanded by his father. Back then, the family traveled back and forth from Costa Rica to Wellington to play polo. However, the current generation of Escobars is Wellington born and raised. When not on the polo field, Nico Escobar, 20, attends Palm Beach Atlantic University. He will be playing in the Gauntlet of Polo series this season with La Indiana. Always working to up his game, he spent December in Argentina playing at La Aguada under the tutelage of former 10-goaler Miguel Novillo Astrada. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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Not just horse friendly, we’re family friendly. Great Neighborhoods Great Schools – All “A” Rated! Great Parks and Recreation Great Business Community (Left to right): Michael J. Napoleone, John T. McGovern, Tanya Siskin,Vice Mayor, Anne Gerwig, Mayor, and Michael Drahos

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PHOTO BY ALEX AND LINDA PACHECO

GILLIAN JOHNSTON Polo patron Gillian Johnston, sporting a 1.5-goal handicap, will once again be leading her Coca-Cola team in action at IPC this season. Heir to a Coca-Cola bottling fortune, Johnston is carrying on a long family polo tradition. Her grandfather played polo, and her father is a former high-goal player. When not in Wellington, she can often be found at Bendabout Farm, outside of Chattanooga, Tenn., where she grew up and the family has long hosted polo events. Through the years, her team has won just about every U.S. title available, including the U.S. Open in 2002. Johnston is one of a growing handful of women playing on high-goal teams, and she is also active in promoting the sport to the rising generation as vice president of the Polo Training Foundation. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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PHOTO BY ALEX AND LINDA PACHECO

CHIP CAMPBELL The former chairman of the United States Polo Association, Chip Campbell is a polo patron and leader of the Cessna polo team at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Married to Kim Campbell, he has two children, Camille and Camp Campbell. Both Chip and his son Camp sport 2-goal handicaps. Both have been playing polo for about a decade. When not on the polo field, Campbell splits his time between Point Clear, Alabama; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Big Horn, Wyoming, as well as working with his newly expanded company, Clearwater Land & Minerals. Joining Campbell on the Cessna team last year were Felipe Marquez, Ezequiel “Gellego” Martinez Ferrario and Nicolas “Nico” Saenz. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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WORLD POLO LEAGUE

WORLD POLO LEAGUE

Gaston Dorignac is now the head umpire of the World Polo League. PHOTO BY CANDACE FERREIRA/CHUKKERTV

WORLD POLO LEAGUE 56 january 2021 | wellington the magazine

WORLD POLO LEAGUE


WORLD POLO LEAGUE

WORLD POLO LEAGU

The World Polo League Heads Into 2021 Season With Gaston Dorignac As Head Umpire BY REBECCA BALDRIDGE

The World Polo League recently announced that the world-renowned Gaston Dorignac has accepted the position of head umpire, beginning with the 2021 Florida season. Dorignac, who lives in Madrid, is president of the Spanish Polo Referees Association, holds a category A designation from the Asociación Argentina de Polo and is qualified to officiate at a maximum handicap level of 40 goals. A native of Argentina, Dorignac comes from a family with a rich polo tradition, being the son of legendary 10-goaler and Argentine Open winner Gaston Dorignac. Prior to becoming an umpire, Dorignac played polo professionally for 20 years, reaching a handicap of 6 goals. Dorignac’s umpiring began in 1996, officiating at up to 28 goals, and by 1999, he was umpiring in Argentina’s Triple Crown of Polo at Tortugas, Hurlingham and Palermo. By the end of 1999, he had officiated at seven of the eight games played in the Argentine Open in Palermo, including the final. Today, Dorignac has umpired more than 20 finals in the Triple Crown, including six in Palermo, as well as eight King’s Cup finals in Madrid, eight finals in the Puerta de Hierro, five Sotogrande

Gaston Dorignac is qualified to officiate at a maximum handicap level of 40 goals. PHOTO BY CANDACE FERREIRA/CHUKKERTV

Gold Cups and numerous international tournaments, including matches in St. Tropez, Barcelona, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. “We are thrilled to have an umpire of Gaston’s standing joining us as head umpire for the World Polo League,”WPL founder Melissa Ganzi said. “Our aim is to offer the very best in high goal polo outside of Argentina, and Gaston brings tremendous experience to the table. With his involvement, we can continue to enhance an already incredible level of play in the league.”

WORLD POLO LEAGUE

Dorignac is excited to begin this new opportunity. “After Argentina, the WPL offers the highest handicap matches in the world. Play at the 26-goal handicap is very challenging, and if you take into account players like Cambiaso, Nero, McDonough, Andrade, Ulloa and the Castognola brothers, we’re talking about an epic level,” he said.“This wouldn’t be possible without the organization and effort from the WPL.” Dorignac has enjoyed his previous work with the league.

WORLD

POLO LEA wellington the magazine | january 2021 57


Polo player Alejandro Novillo Astrada with Gaston Dorignac. PHOTO BY CANDACE FERREIRA/CHUKKERTV

“I am very proud to be a part of this. It was a great feeling to participate in the WPL in 2019 and 2020, and I am honored to have been appointed chief umpire.” — Gaston Dorignac

“I am very proud to be a part of this,” he said.“It was a great feeling to participate in the WPL in 2019 and 2020, and I am honored to have been appointed chief umpire.” Co-founded by Grand Champions and Aspen Valley Polo Club owner and president Melissa Ganzi and Valiente Polo Farm owner Bob Jornayvaz, the successful World Polo League is the only league offering 26-goal polo in the world outside of Argentina. The WPL attracts a large international field of players from all corners of the world, including Australia, Chile, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, South Africa, Nigeria and England. For more information about the WPL’s 2021 season, and to watch games from previous seasons, visit www.worldpolo.org.

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wellington the magazine | january 2021 59


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BUENA VIDA: Professionally decorated Toscana model w/ 3 ensuite BRs on quiet lot w/ expansive private view. Family room & Living room have French doors to screened covered lanai w/ tranquil pond. Features: granite kitchen, 42” maple cabinets, breakfast bar, dual A/C, accordion shutters, solar tinted windows, water filtration, & built-ins. Located in a gated resort community close to show grounds, WEF, Polo, shopping & dining. Minutes from PBIA & area beaches. Offered at $599,000.

While details about the 2021 WPL season are still being finalized, with special precautions due to the pandemic, Ganzi’s Grand Champions Polo Club is also planning a full slate of 2021 winter tournaments. Grand Champions is located at 13444 Southfields Road in Wellington. Events include world-class umpires, 12 championship fields, a polo school, livestreamed games and polo on demand. The club will offer polo at a wide array of levels this season: High Goal — The Sterling Cup runs from Jan. 19 through Jan. 31; the $100,000 World Cup by Audi will be held Jan. 29 through Feb. 13; and the Santa Rita Abierto is set for March 2 through March 14. 16 Goal — The Grand Champions Cup runs from Feb. 15 through March 6; the Power Horse Invitational is set for March 9 to March 27; and the Pedro Morrison Memorial will be held March 30 through April 17. 12 Goal — The Limited Edition 12

Goal Series runs from Jan. 26 through Feb. 13. It will be followed by the Sieber Memorial Trophy from Feb. 16 through March 6; the $50,000 National 12 Goal held Feb. 17 through Feb. 28; and the Top Pony 12 Goal from March 9 through March 27. 8 Goal — The Aspen Valley Cup runs from Jan. 15 through Jan. 31; the Top Pony 8 Goal will be held Feb. 16 through March 6; and the Limited Edition 8 Goal is set for March 9 through March 27. 6 Goal — The Metropolitan Cup runs from Jan. 26 through Feb. 13; the Halo Polo Trophy will follow from Feb. 16 through March 6; and the Madelon Bourdieu Memorial will be held March 9 through March 27. Also at Grand Champions, the Polo School Women’s League is held every Wednesday from Jan. 13 through April 14, and the WCT Finals run March 31 through April 4. For more information, about the upcoming season at Grand Champions, visit www.gcpolo.com.

LAKEFIELD WEST: Perfectly maintained pool home w/ lake and golf views in sought after gated community of Lakefield West. This home will provide the Wellington lifestyle you’ve been looking for with over 3400 sqft of living space & spectacular views on a private 1/3-acre lot. 5 BD/3.5BA/3 Car garage. Minutes from The Wanderer’s Club for golf and tennis, equestrian venues and highly rated schools. For information: CONTACT MARY MILLER 561-324-6175 Offered at $635,000.

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Enjoy Tasty,Warm Treats Made To Order At New Factory Donuts STORY AND PHOTOS BY MELANIE KOPACZ

French toast, banana nut, maple bacon, s’mores and more — all in donut form. It’s the little things in life that are so sweet, and the new Factory Donuts in the Pointe at Wellington Green is mixing it all up any way you like, made-toorder, fresh and hot. It’s not just a donut — it’s an experience. “There’s 24 signature flavors, like bananas foster and chocolate covered strawberry, or you can create your own with any kind of icing or drizzle,” coowner David Spector explained. The flavors are up to your imagination and sweet tooth, or you can order from the eatery’s vast selection. Some of the most popular are s’mores, which is made with special icing, chocolate chips and graham cracker crumble, and blueberry bake with blueberry icing, glaze drizzle and powdered sugar. “First of all, we never run out. We make them hot, fresh and ready to order. So, that concept of a fresh, hot donut is unique. Nothing beats it. It’s not sitting on a shelf. It’s not baked in a commissary. It’s made in front of you. You can see it, and it’s hot, and fully customizable.” The vanilla cake-based donuts may be customizable, but they’re made quick and down to a science. “We really pay attention to the baking side of it, so the inside is nice and fluffy, and the outside has a nice golden crisp to it,” Spector said.“We weigh the donuts to be sure that they come out the right weight and right size.” Once the donut robot creates the exact shape and weight, it then drops and carries the delicacies through the pro-

(Clockwise from top left) Factory Nugget party trays are custom made and designed for any occasion; the Factory Donuts sign is shaped like a gear wheel; a hand-crafted dozen donuts including Cookies N’ Cream, Banana Nut, Blueberry Bake, Boston Cream and more; a variety of breakfast sandwiches are offered all day, made-to-order, like this egg and cheese on a croissant; customers can watch the donut-making and icing process; Factory Donuts features more than two dozen signature flavors; and each donut is the exact shape and weight before being iced and topped.

cess. It takes 110 seconds for the donut to go from dropping to coming out to being ready to be finished and topped by hand. “People love the French toast. They also love the maple bacon, because the

bacon we use is a super high quality,” Spector said.“It’s delicious. I love bananas foster and mint chocolate chip.We all have our favorites.” Aside from the signatures are the special cream-filled donuts. wellington the magazine | january 2021 63


An array of icings, drizzles and toppings await the next donut.

“There’s a Boston cream and the Nutella cream-filled French toast donut, so really great options with custard on top,” he said. Signatures are two donuts for $2.99. The cream-filled run $2.99 each. A dozen of either kind runs from $17.99 to $24.99. Customers have been lining up to get a taste, and some mornings are out the door. After construction delays due to the pandemic, Spector, along with his part-

ners Paulie Fox and Adam Hodges, officially began serving the sweet treats in mid-September. “We looked everywhere,” Spector said. “We wanted to be in Wellington. We have great neighbors. Being near the mall and schools, it’s a great location for us.” The three are attorneys who also have ventured into various other businesses. The Factory Donuts location is the first in Florida for the Philadelphiabased franchise, and the trio plan to

eventually expand to other areas in Palm Beach County. “I fell in love with them, their recipes, the whole factory feel,” Spector said.“It’s a little hip, it’s a little fun, and we thought it would be a fantastic fit because there was nothing like it nearby.” The father of four children, Spector also loves the family appeal. His two teenage sons can be seen greeting customers, as well as working behind the scenes. “It’s wonderful. My 13-year-old son loves to greet the customers and tell them about the product,” he said. “My oldest is learning the business from the ground up. He’s working the register, making the donuts, he’s preparing the recipes in the back. So, it’s really a wonderful thing to be able to share that with your children.” It’s the family appeal of the donut shop that also tugged on Spector’s heart strings.A place to gather for a treat, kids

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can also draw on the gigantic chalkboard. There’s also phone charging cords at the tables.There’s outdoor seating, too. While donuts are the centerpiece, the coffee is also just as unique. “It’s a proprietary Factory Donut brand,” he said. “It took the founders a long time to find and perfect it. It’s ground and made just for our stores.” From their signature iced coffee to their classic hot, all can come flavored with a shot. There’s also sweet or hot tea, and fresh-made lemonade. Also on the menu are made-to-order breakfast sandwiches that are served all day. “Our bread products are fantastic. We have bagels, English muffins and the croissants are phenomenal,” Spector said. “We offer Canadian bacon, regular bacon, egg and cheese.” Recipes are always evolving with the seasons, as are their party trays and catering, suited and decorated for any

Factory Nugget cups filled with bite-sized donuts to go.

occasion, with specially designed donut nugget trays to fit any celebration, as well as coffee to go.“We do catering, nuggets, you can customize the nuggets any color, you can do school colors, holiday colors. We do gender reveals with pink and blue. If you can think of it, we can create it,” Spector said. Whether it’s a quick sugar fix, or a special event, Factory Donuts is ready to create some of that sugar and spice, and everything nice.

Store hours are Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Delivery is available from Uber Eats and DoorDash. Factory Donuts is located in the Pointe at Wellington Green at 10120 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 160. For additional information, call (561) 3603922, e-mail store06@factorydonuts. net or visit www.factorydonuts.com.

www.pbaquatics.com wellington the magazine | january 2021 65


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january 2021 | wellington the magazine


The Wellington Youth Council won a statewide award for this photo of the Wellington Patriot Memorial.

Wellington Youth Council Helping To Create The Next Generation Of Community Leaders BY M. DENNIS TAYLOR

The Wellington Village Council goes to great effort in seeking input from the community on a wide array of topics. Until recently, those efforts were concentrated primarily on the adults in the community. Then, in 2019, the Wellington Youth Council was born, and it is already winning awards and creating success. “It was part of the Florida League of Cities initiative for engaging youth,” Wellington Mayor Anne Gerwig explained. “I’d been trying to get one started in Wellington for several years.” The idea is to get high schoolers involved in local government, and one of

the challenges is that the students get busy with school and other activities and then, of course, the seniors graduate. “You have to make sure you keep ninth and tenth graders involved, otherwise everyone graduates, and you lose your leadership,” Gerwig said. The Wellington Youth Council program got underway in 2019 and was still in its infancy when COVID-19 arrived. Nevertheless, it has already accomplished some great things. “What we really want to do is get ideas from the youth of the community, ideas about what they want for activi-

ties and learn the best ways to engage them in the village,” Gerwig said. The program is run through Wellington’s Community Services Department. “It is very important to get kids involved and working to lead their peers in active youth programs and initiatives, and the youth council is a great way to hear from our student population,” Community Services Department Assistant Director Michelle Garvey said. The Wellington Youth Council is made up of 16 students, eight from Wellington High School and eight from Palm Beach Central High School. wellington the magazine | january 2021

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Dailany Echeverria of the Wellington Youth Council was recently featured in a village-produced video with Ian Williams of the Community Services Department to encourage high school students to register to vote.

The students are chosen by the student government associations and the leaders of each of the schools based upon an essay competition describing each nominees’ goals and ideas for the council. The council has a mayor and vice mayor, and before COVID-19, the group held meetings in the Wellington council chambers. Over the past year, the meetings have been held remotely. “Ian Williams works with the youth

council,” Garvey said. “He’s such a dynamic individual, bringing energy to the team and our community, working with the kids to get involved.” Williams is proud of what the group has accomplished in its first year, despite the difficulties created by the pandemic. “The objective of the group is to give a voice to our youth in the community,” he said. “Wellington does an awesome job of hearing the voices of

the adults, but we didn’t have a way of hearing the voices from the youth of our community. We need to hear from them about the things we can provide in the village that they are seeking. It was truly the mayor’s idea to bring a youth council to Wellington in 2019.” While he is the program coordinator, Williams credits the students for its success. “The council members are truly amazing,” he said.“There are some brilliant, talented individuals on it.Their efforts are why they earned the Municipal Youth Council Community Service Contest award.” Hosted annually, this League of Cities competition showcases community service projects performed by youth councils that successfully address specific needs in their local communities. The Wellington Youth Council won for its youth center project that was the group’s brainchild.

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“They positively impacted the students in Wellington with this center, which provided a place in the Wellington Community Center where the kids can go and do homework, or gaming or just hang out with friends in a location that is comfortable and that they know is safe,”Williams said. The youth center is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19, but there are plans for it to return once the emergency has passed. Additionally, the group earned further recognition in the League of Cities’ Youth Council Photography Competition for an image of Wellington’s Patriot Memorial with the theme,“Why I Love Wellington.” Both the community service award and the photography award will be presented to youth council members at an upcoming meeting of the Wellington Village Council. “Since the inception of the youth council, we found they were truly concerned with mental health awareness,” Williams said.“The first-year group embarked on a mental health awareness program, and the second-year group set the objective of implementing it.” They even held a dodgeball tournament, before COVID-19, as part of the program to promote mental health awareness. “They have such creative ideas and are so up-to-date,” Williams said. “Some ideas seem out of this world, and yet are so realistic. Like using a dodgeball tournament to bring awareness to the topic of mental health. It was an amazing project with creativity and intelligence at such a relatively young age.” Williams stressed the importance of the perspective offered by the youth council. “This year, we’ve been doing all the meetings virtually. It has been interesting, but it’s still working,” he said. McKenzie Henry is a senior at Wellington High School. She got involved 72 january 2021 | wellington the magazine

in the Wellington Youth Council after moving to the community from Broward County four years ago. In high school, she still knew few people and enjoyed the interaction and making new friends. “When I first moved here, I didn’t have any friends, and interacting with everyone was the way of finding friends and not feeling lonely,” Henry said. Her own experience led her to know how students can feel isolated.“I know that students can be depressed, especially now,” she said, adding that mental health awareness is all the more important during the pandemic. “Mental health is important for our generation, especially now with the quarantine and isolation, being home. Students feel less lonely with activities.” Henry particularly enjoyed it when the group participated in a virtual murder mystery event with the youth council members playing many of the parts. A junior at Palm Beach Central High School, Dailany Echeverria explained that she also feels that mental health awareness is of paramount importance. “I absolutely love what I do on the council. I’m really passionate about it. I get so much from the community, and it feels so good to give back and be a part of it,” she said.“I want all students to be aware that the community cares about them and they are accepted, they belong here.” Details and progress of the mental health awareness project will be presented at an upcoming meeting of the Wellington Village Council. “We have a project that is targeted to the mental health awareness for our youth. This is a stressful time, and it helps them feel better,” said Echeverria, explaining that the program will give youth tips to feel better and teach them how to handle stressful situations.


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WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – January 2021  

January 2021 | ON THE COVER Standout polo player Jeff Hall in action. Hall is profiled in this issue. photo by David Lominska Photography |R...

WELLINGTON THE MAGAZINE – January 2021  

January 2021 | ON THE COVER Standout polo player Jeff Hall in action. Hall is profiled in this issue. photo by David Lominska Photography |R...