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FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


tAbLe oF CoNteNts 8

Volume 7 Issue 3 • April 2011



oN the CoVer JuLie toWNseND Executive Director of the Downtown Lakeland Partnership Photographer: Tony Cartagena



Lakeland and the surrounding areas are such great communities where the residents there seem to understand what is important in life - it is all about community. Find out about some things and local people and events that continue to make Lakeland an amazing place to live.



ALL NeW FoCusLAKeLAND.Com Online Features Include:

• Full digital version of the current and past magazines • Extended features, interviews, dining profiles and business profiles with extra content • Community news updates • New home of FOCUSTV

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the Annie Leibovitz: Women photography exhibit on display now through June 26th at the Polk Museum of Art. While you’re there you can register the children for the fantastic Summer Art Camps for available classes in virtually every art form.



Downtown Lakeland is the place to be - for business, for dining, for exercise, and family fun. The Downtown Lakeland Partnership members work together to promote the community’s best assets and to present exciting opportunities for citizens to enjoy. Learn more about why our Downtown shines.



Fred’s Southern Kitchen Restaurant has it all - for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the bountiful buffet is now a local favorite and the place to take your visiting friends and family. Catering is also a specialty for this multi-generational family operation.






Licensed territories are available. We are looking to expand the family and are looking for motivated individuals to join our award winning team. If you are interested in owning your own Focus Magazine contact Mike Floyd at 813.707.8783 ext 26.


april 2011

Sat. 10-5



1114 1114 Havendale Havendale Boulevard Boulevard NW NW Spring Spring Lake Lake Square Square Winter (863)299-8800 299-8800 Winter Haven Haven • (863) U.S. U.S. 98 98 North North (Next (Next to to Circuit Circuit City) City) Lakeland 816-2800 Lakeland • 816-2800

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


Letter From The Publisher I encourage you to begin reading this issue by starting on page 12 with our adventure story before reading the rest of my letter. Sophia wrote that article from her perspective of our experience deep sea fishing. I cannot explain to you the adrenaline rush I was feeling for all that time I was holding on to that line, using all my strength to battle a very strong shark. During that moment, I didn’t know how much longer I would have the strength to make it. Mentally I just kept fighting through it, knowing the battle would be well worth it. The word disappointed is not sufficient enough to describe what it felt like when I ended up with an empty line. It felt as if all my fighting had been in vain. I had no epic story to bring back home to my sons. I lost. It was a feeling of defeat after he got away. But then I recently attended a local Relay for Life event. You read the stories of these men and women who have fought cancer and all the pain that comes with it. We celebrate the survivors and we grieve for the others. But for the ones who fought hard and lost, was their fighting in vain? No. Of course not. I can only imagine that the devastation of that defeat is the anticlimactic feeling I felt multiplied times a thousand. The beauty about fighting the battle is that it is not fought alone. When I was holding the line with all my strength, I had six people behind me feeling every emotion I was for nearly an hour. Though I was the only one exerting physical strength, my defeat was as much theirs. And had we successfully worn out the shark and reeled him in, my celebration would have been no greater than theirs. We were a team. I needed their support. And when we celebrate a cancer survivor, it is not a battle they won alone. In fact, it can’t be done. Every cancer victim needs a team behind them feeling the emotional fight with them. And while they may be the only one feeling the physical pain, the pain for the friends and family is no less significant. So when the battle ends in victory, it’s a celebration for all. The Lakeland Relays for Life are coming up on April 16 at Lakeland High School and April 29 at Sleepy Hill Middle School. If you’ve ever been to one of these events then you know how powerful the experience is, especially if you’ve ever walked through life on a cancer team literally. The teams on that track represent the millions of teams that have fought and are currently fighting. We celebrate the survivors because their victory is ours to rejoice in as well. Mike Floyd - Publisher Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information.

Publisher Mike Floyd

Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd. Plant City, FL 33563

Office Manager Dede Floyd

Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990

Copy Editor Cheryl Johnston

www.focusplantcity Credit Manager Angel Carter Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.


april 2011

Sales Sophia Hyde | Holly Farmer Julie Hasting | Erik Butler | Linda Simmons Brent Simmons Production Anthony Sassano Tony Cartagena FOCUS TV Shana Johnson Distribution Byron Spradlin Belva DeVane Photographers Billy Friend Lori Blaser | Stephanie Humphrey Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston Brian West | Joe Bowles Derek Maul | Kelleigh Klein Heather Davis | Laura Estes | Dan Conrod | Kristi Linbaugh | Heather Davis Megan Braglin | Brittany Cerny Contributors Al Ruechel | Gil Gott Bruce Rodwell | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis


APRIL 26 ★ 7:30 PM JOHN R. TRINKLE CENTER HILLSBOROUGH COMMUNIT Y COLLEGE [ P L A NT CI T Y CA M P U S ] Sponsored by Arts Council of Plant City ★ Hillsborough Community College ★ Plant City Photo Archives and History Center ★ Sunshine State Federal Savings and Loan Association


Miss Saigon . . . . . . . . .Schön berg/Maltby Dam Busters Ma rch . . . . . . . . . . . . .Coates Highlights from “South Pacific” ............ ............ . arr. Chase American Civi l War Fantasy . . . . . .Bilik Sea to Shining Sea . . . . . . . ar r. Whitney


Victory at Sea . . . . . . . .Rodge rs/Bennett A Salute to the Big Bands . . . .arr. Custer Armed Forces Sa lute . . . . . . . .a rr. Custer Stars & Stripe s Forever . . . . . . . . . Sousa

For tickets and information contact the Imperial Symphony Orchestra at 863-688-3743, or visit or call Plant City Photo Archives at (813) 754-1578 Adults $20 / Children, Students and HCC Faculty FREE Ticket includes pre-concert reception at 6:30pm

coming soon!

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


Local » Focus

Orange Bowl was packed with participants for the bowling tournament. Photo courtesy of Angel Newell

The man himself Ray Lewis poses with DJ Chris Boswell.

Sports legend Bo Jackson takes a beak from bowling to mingle with the press. Photo courtesy of Angel Newell

Photo courtesy of Angel Newell

RAY LEWIS FOUNDATION O n April 1 Ray Lewis brought his foundation as well as a slew of celebrities to Orange Bowl Lanes in Lakeland. They hosted an event to help raise money for the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation, which lends money to disadvantaged youth in Lakeland.

This nation knows Ray Lewis as the hard-hitting linebacker behemoth of the Baltimore Ravens and Superbowl XXXV MVP. He has been honored by the NFL by being named Defensive Player of the Year in both 2000 and 2003, and holds the record for All-Pro selections for a linebacker. But, Lakeland is proud to call him a son. Lewis was born in Bartow and attended Kathleen High School. Growing up, Lewis struggled like many poor kids in the area, and now that he has the resources, he feels a calling to give back to the community that helped raised him.


april 2011

In a March 31 press conference March 31 Lewis said, “I had to come back. After all these years, I had to establish what I have always envisioned. Riding through these streets reminded me of the challenges I faced growing up. So now I have the chance to come back and help a kid that has the same struggles I did.” The Ray Lewis 52 Foundation focuses on supporting school-run events to keep children going to school, as well as organizing food and toy drives to give back to those less fortunate on the holidays. The Lakeland chapter of the charity kicked off its inauguration in true Superbowl MVP style by hosting a celebrity bowling tournament at Orange Bowl. Lewis brought along many of his proathlete friends to make this event truly a spectacle. Celebrities included MLB and


NFL legend Bo Jackson, the first athlete to be given the All-Star distinction in two different professional leagues; former Buc’s quarterback and Superbowl XXII MVP Doug Williams; Heavyweight champion boxer Roy Jones; Miss Lakeland Courtney Sturgill; former Lakeland High School football phenoms Ahmad Black and Mike and Maurkice Pouncey; and Team USA bowler Ashley Gallante. Celebs bowled to a full alley. To enter the tournament, the Ray Lewis Foundation asked for a $250 donation while spectator passes ran $25. 180 tickets were sold to participants totaling to over $45,000 raised from the event. All proceeds went back to benefit the community. Celebrities and citizens mingled and competed against one another in a lively atmosphere of merriment. Food and drink were plentiful. Sunshine Celebrations was

enlisted to help host the event and featured their DJ, Chris Boswell spinning tunes while pins crashed all around. Along with the tournament, there were several opportunities to win raffled gifts away such as autographed NFL gear as well as packages donated by local Lakeland businesses. After the event, Lewis moved the party to Louie Mack’s Steakhouse where celebs got their fill of their world-class, mouthwatering prime cuts of steak. To learn more about the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation and what they have done for the community, visit their website at The community is grateful to Mr. Lewis for using his influence and talent to help others in need. Thousands of citizens will benefit from this generosity. We hope that Mr. Lewis will continue to help make a difference in Lakeland.

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Local » Focus Photo by Sam Mooty

Photo by Sam Mooty

Photo by Sam Mooty

Theatrical Dance Showcase Presented by Southeastern University at Polk State Theater P Written By: Cheryl Johnston

lan now to attend a great evening of entertainment at Southeastern University’s annual Theatrical Dance Showcase.

The performance, which includes music videos, group dance numbers, live vocals, solos and duets will be held April 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Polk Theater in Downtown Lakeland. Last year’s event on campus was such a success, the decision was made to move it to the Polk for an opportunity to present the showcase at a venue that “would do it justice” this year, said John Pierce, Southeastern’s Department of Communication chair. This event will be the 4th showcase and the


april 2011

first time in the university’s history that a dance production has been presented off campus.

Pierce credits the assistant professor of communication/theater responsible for the production, for a job well done. “Nickolas Dixon has really made dance front and center here at SEU and we are so pleased to share this work right in the heart of Polk County,” Pierce said. “Our dance courses are fairly new, and moving the showcase to the Polk will enable us to accommodate a larger crowd- hopefully one that includes lots of members of the community,” said Dixon. “We plan to show how dance can touch lives, tell a story and even be used in ministry. As the creative

director, it is my goal to create an experience that will explore many elements of the human condition. There are very intense moments in the show with deep emotional value, but there are also hilarious pieces that will bring a smile and warm the heart. Our hope is to touch the hearts and minds of the audience, and that they will not leave the same as they entered.”

Southeastern University is a four-year, coeducational, Christian liberal arts university located in Lakeland. The school offers 46 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs. The Theatrical Dance Showcase began in 2006 as “Movement for the Stage.” It is actually a production course. Students sign up for the course, and they become the cast.

The April 29th production involves over 40 student performers including dancers, actors, and vocalists. Dixon creates, choreographs, styles and directs the showcases. He calls the experience “an incredible journey” noting, “The students involved include not only our Theatre and Communication majors, but majors from almost every degree that we offer at SEU.” Tickets to the Theatrical Dance Showcase are $15 for general admission, $10 for students, seniors and alumni, and $10 for groups of 10 or more. For more information and to buy tickets, call the Southeastern University Box Office at 863-669-4010 or visit the Arts and Events Calendar at www.

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


Adventure three Offshore Fishing

Story and Photos by Sophia Hyde

Julie landed the first catch.

In January, the Focus Magazine staff started a Meanwhile, the rest of us were experienc commitment to take on 11 Adventures ing a in 2011. rang e of emotions. We were anxious, excit The goal was to challenge ourselves to ed, take on new nervous, scared. We didn ’t know what to imagine! opportunities we may otherwise neve r experience, I mean, we had jaws on the hook down there and and in the process build a stronger team . we were going to attempt to reel him into the boat! Adventure #3 was to go off shore fishin g. We woke up before the sun was out and head ed to Time continued to fly by and 30 minu the gulf to set sail with Mark Lyons of tes later Lyons Mik e was still wrestling with this big boy. Charters. By now the shark had been on every side of the boat and under it, but never close enough to the We drove off the cost for about half an surface for hour us to see this creature. Every time we thou before anchoring. Sure enough, not long ght we after were getting closer, the shark would chan dropping her line down, Julie had caug ge its ht the mind, and we would hear the line start first fish of the day, and Mike was only spinning about one away out of control. minute behind her. We were soon on a spree of catching lots of grunt for the cooler, and many Another 20 minutes went by and ever grouper that we had to put back since yone’s eyes they were had been glued to the action without any out of season. rest. Mike was using all his strength to hang in there. Mark said we were just going to have Our fishing trip had been underway to wear him for several out until he gave up. He said he had neve hours when Mark, our captain, noticed r seen the bent a fighter like this and estimated this coul pole at the back of the boat. d be the largest shark he’d ever caught.

Tony and I were relaxing in the ocean water. We had been in the gulf for several hours, caught an ice chest full of fish, and were cooling off from the sun. The rest of the staff lounged in the boat, and Holly had climbed the ladder to the top to sunbathe.

Heading out for adventure number 3.

Holly and her catch.

sophia fishing for Grunts

Tony wishing it was Grouper season


april 2011

There are no words to describe the inten sity of the antic limactic emotion that filled the air. Sudd Two fishing poles hooked with large en bait had been disappointment doesn’t do justice to describe how readied for hours waiting for somethin g to take we all felt. Mike reeled it in only to fi notice underwater. Mark shouted for nd a broken us to get out hook. After almost an hour of struggle, the shark of the water immediately as he briskly grabbed the had broken our hook, stole n the fish, and went on pole and started reeling. his merry way.

Earlier in the day Holly reeled in a four -foot sandbar shark , which took about 10 or 15 minutes. However, this time around, Mark wasn’t reacting the same. He quickly handed the pole off to Mike and went to get the belt. Mike was struggling to hold the line. We just kept hearing it reel away, not in. Then Mark started clearing everything off the dock and making lots of room. He didn’t do this when Holly had a shar k, so this was obviously a different scenario all together. As Mike was using all of his strength to hang onto the pole and try to reel it in inch -by-inch, Mark went over to the wheel and start ed revving the motor. This sucker was heavy and he was not moving. Mark estimated that he had to be around 300 pounds and was just sitting on the bottom of the bay rocking his head back and forth in an attempt to steal away the bait. He gues sed it was probably an 8-10 foot shark.

Mike’s agony of defeat.

anthony was awarded smallest catch of the day.

As we were all watching the line close ly, it just fell. Suddenly Mike’s arms were at rest and there was nothing fighting back. He had gotten away. He was gone.

However, all hope had not been lost. We left home before dawn that morning and headed straight for the marina with one goal in mind: to have an adventure. And by golly, we certainly did. Many of those on our staff had neve r been offshore fishing, and I had never been fishing at all. We had more fish in our cooler than we could possibly eat, photo ops with giant grou per and a small shark, and an amazing experienc e we shared as a staff. We can’t wait to hear what stories com e out of our next adventure. Hopefully they don’t include Tony and me swimming in 30-ft deep wate r with giant sharks circling beneath our feet. [The offshore fishing charter was provided by Lyons Charters. Visit www.tampabay-fishing or call 727-776-7719 to arrange a chart er for your group]

Go Online To Check Out THe ful

l Video at

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011



april 2011

The Premier Showplace for Talent in Florida


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room


A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J.Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.



Bill Haley’s Comets. They were regulars on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, their music was featured in the film “American Graffiti” and the TV hit “Happy Days.” PJ Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds will also perform before and after the show.


Bobby Palermo brings you a night full of humor, impersonations and high energy audience interaction. Bobby has received numerous National Awards and has been selected Tampa Bay’s Entertainer of the Year – 2 years in row! Destiny will open and close the show.



Car lovers, you will be in Heaven when you see the array of cars on display! Classsic, Collectable, New, Old and Special Interest Vehicles will be shown from 12 Noon until 4 p.m. on the property.



Take mom out for this special occasion. It’s a grand buffet fit for any queen! A grand buffet fit for Anybunny! Freshly prepared salads, seafood, beef, ham, vegetables and desserts (including chocolate fountains) and much more! Serving times: 12 Noon, 2:30 p.m. & 5:00 p.m. For your musical entertainment, Destiny performs. Call to reserve your table in the Ballroom.


Richie Merritt, formally of the Marcels, will be performing in the Red Rose Dining Room.



MAY 7, 13, 20 & 28 RALPH ALLOCCO



Doo Wop At Its Best! Relive the 50s & 60s as though it was yesterday. “Forever in Love,” “Just Over the Brooklyn Bridge.” Plus, PJ Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds.


The trio covers the top hits from yesterday to today! Also, P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room


Performing in the Red Rose Dining Room



The Mystics will perform their hits, including the number one “Hushabye.” P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.

A dynamite crowd pleaser! P.J. Leary’s Las Vegas Sounds perform before and after the show.

A 2-day event that will “Rock Around the Clock” & “Shake, Rattle & Roll” in the Red Rose Ballroom with

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FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


FEaTuRE» LEIBovITz aNd suMMER aRT caMp

LEIBovITz aNd suMMER aRT caMp



april 2011

Feature» Leibovitz and Summer Art Camp


he Polk Museum of Art has so much to offer for everyone. They always have great exhibits and educational programs, and today is no different. They’ve just opened their latest exhibition – Annie Leibovitz: Women and they’re preparing for their Summer Art Camp which is an educational art camp for children between the ages of 5-13. Annie Leibovitz: Women, the exhibit, is made possible by the Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future in Dallas, TX. The exhibition consists of nearly 60 photographs and emphasizes the broad scope in which she observed her subjects. The collection helps to construct a comprehensive visual documentation of femininity as framed within the conclusion of the 20th century. These photographs may be defined as portraits, but work quite convincingly in unison to expose deeper, more encompassing connections between femininity, identity, photography and exhibition.

advertising campaign. She’s taken photos of hundreds of celebrities wearing their famous milk mustache; everyone from Muhammad Ali to Susan Sarandon to the cast of Modern Family. Again, if you’re not familiar with her, you’re probably familiar with her work. Leibovitz began producing photographs for the Women portfolio in the 1990s. The complete portfolio, originally conceived as a comprehensive catalog, includes nearly 300 portraits of women of various ages, races, creeds, classes and appearances. Women was published by Random House in 1999, and it quickly evolved into a national traveling exhibition. It opened at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The book is on display in the exhibit and is available for purchase in the museum gift shop. Once you see the exhibit, the book may be a nice way to bring the exhibit home. Adam Justice, Curator of the exhibit,

Leibovitz is easily one of the most famous photographers of our time. She began taking photographs as a teenager living in Vietnam during the time her father, a lieutenant colonel was stationed there. In 1970, she landed a job as a staff photographer with Rolling Stone Magazine and just three years later was named Chief Photographer. She worked with the magazine until 1983 and is credited with creating its iconic look. Although she’s taken hundreds of recognizable photographs during her career, one of Leibovitz’s most significant is the photo of John and Yoko Lennon taken December 8, 1980. The photo shows a naked John Lennon, positioned in a fetal position, lying beside a clothed Yoko. The photo was meant to capture the relationship between the two of them – which was quite controversial through the years because people just couldn’t understand it. The photo is most significant, however, because Lennon was shot to death just a few hours after it was taken. Leibovitz also shot the photo of a nude and pregnant Demi Moore for the cover of Vanity Fair Magazine in 1991. At the time, it was quite controversial because Moore was nude. Although there is a lot of skin showing, the photo is quite tasteful. It’s a beautiful photo that captures the beginnings of motherhood. And for many years now, Lebovitz has been the photographer for the “Got milk?”

said, “Leibovitz is one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary photographers. Her ability to reinterpret an already recognizable subject by means of her creative approach to lighting, stage setting and pose has set a photography standard for nearly 40 years. The photographs in this exhibition represent a survey of images from Leibovitz’s Women portfolio, which she completed during the late 1990s. Annie Leibovitz: Women is made possible by The Women’s Museum: Institute for the Future, Dallas, Texas.” The Leibovitz exhibit will run April 2 – June 26, 2011, and contains some 60 photos the famed photographer has taken over the years. In the Women exhibit, Leibovitz focuses on the American woman at the turn of the millennium with portraits from a broad spectrum of society. A large portion of those on display are of women you likely don’t know; coal miners, a young baseball

player, cheerleaders, even bystanders and Leibovitz’s mother. However, some of the most recognizable faces include: Hillary Rodham Clinton (in probably one of the best photos ever taken of her), Betty Ford, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Jerry Jagger (Mick Jagger’s wife from 1976-1990). One of the great things about the exhibit is its size. These are not standard prints. Most are at least 3 to 4 foot square. It really brings life to the images and allows you to see the detail captured in the photo. It allows for a deeper appreciation of her talents behind the lens. The entire collection proves once again that Leibovitz’s expertise is showing people as to who they are rather than what they do or what they may be known for. She effectively captures the essence of each of her subjects - something that’s earned her a great reputation throughout her career. She has a practice of questioning her subjects prior to each photo to understand their likes and dislikes. She takes time to get to know them as people, which is why she’s one of the most sought after photographers of our time. If you like photography at all, this is an exhibit you won’t want to miss. It isn’t just a collection of photos; it’s a display of women, some who made a name for themselves and others who aren’t known to the world, only to those they know. It’s also a collection of photos that show the ability of a great photographer, and each photo offers lesson after lesson in photography. Who knows, you may not be interested in photography today, but you may leave the exhibit ready to start with a new hobby, or maybe even a new career. In addition to the Leibovitz exhibit, the Polk Museum of Art is also preparing for its Summer Art Camp. Sure, there are options for your children each summer, but there aren’t many that offer something as diverse as a great art experience at the Polk Museum of Art. The Summer Art Camp is a great opportunity for children to learn various art forms including: digital photography, drawing, fashion design, graphic art, mixed media, movie making, painting, performance, sculpture and textile.

Children and parents can pick and choose the classes they’re interested in. Each class takes up a two hour time slot at the same time each day for two weeks, which makes up one session. There are 4 sessions total: session one is June 13-24, session two is June 27-July 8, session three is July 11- 22 and session four is July 25 – August 5. Each session is also themed. The theme for session one is “Through the Looking Glass.” Children will dive into the great adventures of authors Lewis Caroll – Alice in Wonderland, and Maurice Sendak – Where the Wild Things Are. Session two’s theme is “Wizardry and Wonder.” Your child will explore their own land with magical creatures, whimsical wands and potion pots inspired by J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter, and C.S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia. Session three uses the theme of Dr. Seuss – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” They ask, “What would the world look like if YOU designed EVERYTHING like Dr. Seuss?” Now that’s an interesting thought for a child. Finally, session four’s theme is “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” Children are encouraged to let the peculiar poetry of Shel Silverstein – The Giving Tree and A Giraffe and a Half, and revolting rhymes of Roald Dahl – James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, inspire their art. Participants are divided into two groups, 5 to 8-year-olds and 9 to 13-year-olds. Each age group has two class choices in each time slot. However, class size is very limited and the classes fill up quick, so you’re strongly encouraged to register early. Ellen Chastain, Education Coordinator, said, “One thing to point out is that each of our teachers and museum staff is background checked as per the Jessica Lundsford Act.” This should help parents feel better about their children’s safety while they attend Summer Art Camp or just visit the museum. Classes start at $100 each for museum members and $115 each for non-members, with varying discounts if you sign up for multiple classes. If you’re not a member, individual memberships are $40 and family/household memberships are $60 – both very affordable when you consider what’s included. Your membership is also reciprocal and/or offers discounts with other museums in the area. If you’re interested in Summer Art Camp, you can mail your registration form to the museum, drop it off at the Education Department, or register online at www. or by calling the office at 863-688-5423. For more details, of course, the website has all the information.

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


A Partnership to make downtown vibrant

Julie Townsend Leads Efforts to Make Downtown Lakeland its Best



very town needs a strong downtown core – their own main street usA if you will, and the City of lakeland isn’t any different. Just like any other area, businesses come and go, but the downtown core must survive or there are many different things that can take place to the detriment of the town. the downtown lakeland Partnership is a consolidated effort to ensure the core of downtown survives. the partnership is made up of the businesses in the area to help promote their own and keep the core vibrant.


april 2011

spoTLIGHT » JuLIE ToWNsENd Focus: Can you explain the Downtown Lakeland Partnership? Townsend: We are a member-based marketing cooperative. We leverage membership dollars and money raised through events and promotions to promote Downtown Lakeland as a destination for shopping, dining, nightlife, the arts, and events making our Downtown “a little mecca of cool.” We work in concert with the City of Lakeland and the Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) to accomplish the greater mission of revitalizing this historic Downtown. Focus: How did the partnership begin? Townsend: It started in 1998 primarily as a merger between the merchants’ organization and the antiques organization in Downtown. They decided to work together and emerged as the Downtown Lakeland Partnership. They incorporated in 1998, established a Board of Directors and became a 501c6 organization. For almost a decade it remained a small membership organization that did a few events, a map and had monthly meetings. But in 2004, things began to change. First Fridays began – Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s signature monthly event – and we take advantage of advances in technology with an interactive web site and email system that engaged the public. The Downtown Lakeland Partnership has also become a voice for the business owners in Downtown, much like the LDDA represents property owners.

diseases or saving puppies, but creating an atmosphere where people feel a part of a community is incredibly important. Many other cities lack a Downtown core due to urban sprawl or neglect. I see the Downtown Lakeland Partnership as one of the organizations acting to help maintain this healthy city core, which translates into better property values and more jobs in Downtown, which in turn provides a safe and prosperous environment for the neighborhoods that surround Downtown. The Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s First Fridays and other events bring that sense of community out. Because the Downtown Lakeland Partnership provides promotional support to other organizations hosting events in Downtown, it has become a very busy place! Out efforts bring residents, visitors, and new businesses to Downtown. Working on new events for the Downtown Lakeland Partnership or helping other organizations develop and promote their events is a lot of fun, too. Every time there’s a major event in Downtown, people who have never been Downtown before come here and fall in love. However they’ve been introduced to Downtown, it’s gratifying to hear visitors talk about what a great Downtown we have. Focus: What is the overall benefit of the organization to the Downtown area? Townsend: The Downtown Lakeland Partnership believes that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” That simply means that by working together, Downtown businesses can gain greater

Focus: When did you become involved? Townsend: I joined the partnership as a volunteer on the marketing committee back in 2003. At the time, I was the Downtown marketing representative for The Ledger. As their marketing rep it was important for me to be engaged with the merchants and understand their needs, so engaging in the Downtown Lakeland Partnership and its committees was a natural fit. Soon after that I joined the Board of Directors. I left The Ledger in 2005, but remained an active Downtown Lakeland Partnership Board member. I was hired as the part-time administrative assistant at the end of 2006, which quickly morphed into an Executive Director position in October of 2007 as we added events and marketing opportunities. Focus: What do you like most about your work? Townsend: I really feel that what we do is “good work.” I know we are not curing

exposure in the marketplace than they can alone. We provide the tools for the businesses to do just that. The Downtown Lakeland Partnership provides a marketing platform that would be priced out of reach of most small business owners. Through our events, website, Twitter, Facebook, email blasts, quarterly magazine, and now smart phone app the individual businesses have the ability to communicate with a huge customer base. If we can show that downtown is its own destination for shopping, dining, entertainment, nightlife, cultural events and

more, then we’ll be successful. When folks have out-of-town guests they don’t take them to strip malls and say, “This is my town.” They bring them to the Downtown area. They stroll through Hollis Garden, Munn Park, and the Frances Langford Promenade. The shops, restaurants, bars, galleries and museums mixed in with the banks and other offices create a vibrant, authentic community. On a larger scale, the city as a whole benefits from a vibrant downtown. For example, when large employers are courting their management teams, they often include Downtown as a huge selling point. Plus, with Downtown being so centrally located in Lakeland, it would be a crime to fail to keep the rich traditions and vibrant history alive and well. Focus: If someone wants to be involved with the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, what do they have to do? Townsend: First, move your business to Downtown Lakeland. Though we do not have dedicated staff to recruit businesses to Downtown, we do want business owners to know that the Downtown Lakeland Partnership is an asset to being in Downtown. Our mission is focused on Downtown Lakeland and the businesses here. We want every office space and store front filled, and if the Downtown Lakeland Partnership’s mission can help be a selling tool for brokers, then all the better. I am happy to give tours and merchants are happy to share their experiences with businesses owners thinking of moving here. There are always opportunities to volunteer with the Downtown Lakeland Partnership. It takes a lot of manpower to host events and we can use all the help we can get! We have a wonderful cadre of volunteers but are always looking for more. First Fridays are available for sponsorships as well. Focus: What are your biggest challenges? Townsend: Downtown suffers from a couple of major misperceptions. Not a week goes by that I do not hear from someone who lives in Lakeland who says they are surprised and impressed at our clean, beautiful, and vibrant Downtown. And the reason for their surprise is that they have not been here in many, many years because they thought Downtown was boarded up and dead. So if

you haven’t been Downtown in a while, come visit! The other huge erroneous belief is that Downtown has no parking. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have almost 3,000 city sponsored spaces. Again, once

folks take the time to visit, they find that there is abundant parking, shopping, dining, cultural arts and nightlife. So we keep the positive information about Downtown circulating. Downtown wasn’t immune from the difficult economic times. But, we’ve recently seen a promising increase in new businesses – both restaurants and retail establishments – in Downtown. We don’t look at empty storefronts as problems. We see them as opportunities to locate the next great retail shop or restaurant that will add to the fabric of Downtown. So we have to work on changing those perceptions daily, sometimes one person at a time. Focus: Where do you get your funding? Townsend: The majority of our funds come from our membership dues and fundraising efforts. We also have developed some advertising ventures that theoretically pay for themselves. Many of our events, such as First Friday and the Holiday Walkabout are sponsored in whole or in part by members or supporters who recognize the success that our events have become. We do receive about 20% ($30,000) of our funding through our contract with the City of Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Agency to provide public events in a very successful public/private partnership. We are working to provide value to the City so that partnership may continue after this year. As you can see, there’s a lot going on in downtown Lakeland, and a lot of work being accomplished through the downtown partnership. If you’re not already a member, you should contact Townsend and discuss membership with her. This may be just the thing your business needs to survive, or the thing your business has needed to thrive.

FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011






J’s Cuban Cafe fills empty bellies with a menu’s worth of Cuban cuisine, classic Cuban sandwiches, and desserts. Traditional pressed sandwiches include the predictably titled Cuban, a porcine delight with sliced ham, shredded pork, and salami on Cuban bread. Obsessive-compulsive taste buds can embark on the delicious mission of sampling each of the daily specials, and belliger-ent sweet teeth are pacified by an ample roster of authentic desserts and pastries, including flan and Cuban-style bread pudding. Beer, wine, Cuban Coffee and milkshakes also available. “Real Cuban-Real Close”




he motto at the Main Street Creamery ice cream shop should be the oft-used “Life is short - eat dessert first.” Main Street Creamery features a full selection of Ice Cream Specialties including Floats, Shakes, Cones and Dishes as well as a complete menu of Delicious Fine Food. You can count on the Highest Quality Ingredients in our shop, as we feature Hershey’s Ice Cream in all our menu items - the best! Main Street Creamery gives you and your family an old-time experience - today!

128 E. MAIN STREET LAKELAND, FL 33801 (863) 683-0105



envenuti!! We would like to invite you to a real Pizzeria in Lakeside Village, next to Cobb Theater. Many claim to be the best, but only we have been voted as The Best for the past 6 years. You will be impressed by the quality and service our family brings to your dining experience, offering a great family atmosphere. Stop by and see us to taste the Pizza that won the Orlando Sentinal’s “Best Pizza Award” for six consecutive years




ew location on South Florida Ave. Winners is the home of 3 time “King of the Wing” Champi-onships. Relax and enjoy in our friendly atmosphere with the some of the best drink specials around. Central Floridaís hometown hotspot for the best wings in the world Weekly events such as Cornhole, Hermit Crab Racing, and Comedy Shows every Friday night.



Save Money, Support your school APRIL 2011

Mobility Is Everything Arthritis, Joints and the Aging Body Scott E. Goldsmith, MD Orthopedic Surgeon

Thursday, April 21, 6pm

Courtyard Tampa Brandon, 10152 Palm River Road, Tampa

Join orthopedic surgeon Scott Goldsmith, MD, at an informative seminar to find out about new treatments and surgical techniques for arthritis and knee/hip joint surgical repairs. Dr. Goldsmith will provide valuable information about these subjects including: • Symptoms and development of arthritis • Screening guidelines • Diagnosis and treatment • Treatment and surgical options A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Light refreshments will be served.

To reserve your space: (813) 402-2334 or

Free Seminar • Convenient Parking • Light Refreshments


FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011


entertainment » dining review Photo by Tony Cartagena

applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, lettuce and tomato.” The thing about this sandwich is that it’s simply impossible to fit into your mouth without pressing it together first. With the buttered toast and fresh turkey breast, it made a distinct mark on the Southern way of making a club. It was a great sandwich, but would we choose it over eating from the buffet? Of course not- there was no carrot soufflé in it.

fred’s southern kitchen 2120 Harden Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33803 863-603-7080 Monday – Saturday: 7 A.M. - 8:30 P.M. Sunday: 8:00 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

Alright, Lakeland, you know what to do. Bring your family. Show up hungry.

Fred’s Southern Homestyle Southern Cookin’ Kitchen L

Photo by Tony Cartagena

written By: John Ross

ove you some good ole’ Southern Cooking? The kind that makes you excited to get to grandma’s house for a family get together? Welcome to Fred’s Southern Kitchen, where the buffet would bring out the excited Southerner in even the most steadfast Yankee. We at FOCUS Magazine visited the Lakeland location this month and met the friendly staff, who welcomed us to partake in the oldfashioned cooking.

For the taste test, first on the menu wasn’t even on the menu. If you’re like us, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of the buffet once you sit down. We grabbed a plate and loaded up with a tiny bit of everything to get a feel for the style. The fried chicken was very hot and moist. The spinach was flavorful and soaking in its own juices for tenderness and flavor. The deli-style macaroni and cheese was loaded with cheese, giving it that awesome stringy quality that for some reason is literally impossible to make at home. The ribs are served bare and the BBQ sauce waits next to them for patrons to decide whether they want their ribs to be drizzled or drowned (this sauce, by the way, has a whole back story. When you taste it you’ll see how it was developed over a period of decades and that it’s not messing around!) The buffet doesn’t lack anything you might expect from a Southern buffet: cornbread, extra large dinner rolls topped with melted butter, mashed potatoes with thick brown


april 2011

gravy, catfish, etc.

I don’t want to simply say that everything was equally great, though. If someone paid me to pick out the one or two best items from the buffet, it wouldn’t take long for me to say the carrot soufflé. Oh, jeez! I’m glad I tried it last, because otherwise I probably would never left room for anything else. If you’ve never had carrot soufflé before, it tastes kind of like sweet potato pie, except a ton better. Topped with powdered sugar, it was thick, sweet, (not too sweet, not rich,) and laden with desertlike flavor. The bread pudding, loaded with sugar diced pecans, would come second and goes along with the complexity. Fred’s isn’t all about the buffet, though. We tried two of the most popular items on the menu, beginning with the Plant City Strawberry Salad - Grilled chicken breast over fancy greens with pecans, strawberries, mango salsa, blue cheese crumbles and balsamic vinaigrette. I was first surprised at the size of the salad (it comes on a foot-long, oval plate) and it widely covered a spectrum of tastes. Who would know that grilled chicken, bleu cheese, and strawberries mixed with balsamic vinaigrette would go so well together. The other popular menu item we tried was the Turkey Club Sandwich. The menu describes it as, “Our own smoked turkey breast on grilled toast topped with

Photo by Tony Cartagena



caLENdaR oF EvENTs

If you have an upcoming event and would like us to add it to our calendar of events, please email the information to:

SATURDAY, APRIL 16, 2011 » Relay For Life of South Lakeland 726 Hollingsworth Road Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 2:00 PM TO 8:00 AM Phone: 863-688-2326 ext. 5505 » The Lakeland Rotary Club Child of the Sun Jazz Festival Lake Mirror Auditorium 121 S Lake Avenue Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 12:00 PM TO 10:30 PM » 30th Annual Children’s Festival Explorations V Children’s Museum 109 N Kentucky Ave Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 10:00 AM TO 3:00 PM Phone: (863) 687-3869

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2011 » Relay For Life of South Lakeland 726 Hollingsworth Road Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 2:00 PM TO 8:00 AM Phone: 863-688-2326 ext. 5505

ThURSDAY, APRIL 21, 2011 » Business After Hours 12th Annual Luau Downtown and 9th Annual “King of the Wing” Contest Citizens Bank and Trust 402 S Kentucky Ave Ste 100 Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 5:30 PM TO 7:30 PM Phone: (863) 688-8551

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2011 » LAKELAND’S LARGEST EGG HUNT! 6000 Lakeland Highlands Rd

Lakeland, FL 33813 Time: 10:00 AM Phone: 863-688-8100

TUESDAY, APRIL 26, 2011 » Poetry Readings And Awards Branscomb Auditorium, Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 7:00 PM Phone: (863) 853-6152

FRIDAY, APRIL 29, 2011 » Lakeland Derby 121 South Lake Ave Lakeland , FL 33815 Time: 5:30 PM TO 9:30 PM Phone: 863 683 3905

» Seminar on Hurricanes and Boats Old Salt Marine 1922 Hwy 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805, FL 33805 Time: 7:00 PM TO 9:00 PM Phone: 863-667-9047

SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2011 » Kentucky Derby Party 926 Lake Hollingsworth Drive Lakeland, Fl 33803 Time: 4:30 PM Phone: 863-688-5491 » MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake 100 Lake Morton Drive Lakeland, FL 33802 Time: 9:00 AM TO 4:00 PM Phone: (863) 688- 7743 X237

SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2011 » MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake 100 Lake Morton Drive Lakeland, FL 33802 Time: 9:00 AM TO 4:00 PM Phone: (863) 688- 7743 X237

SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2011 » EMERGE Lake Bonny Shoreline Cleanup 1600 E. Main St. Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 9:00 AM TO 10:30 AM Phone: 863.688.8551 ext. 228

You see them in T.V. commercials and in magazines!

» Southeastern University Presents Theatrical Dance Showcase 121 South Florida Avenue Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 7:30 PM Phone: 863-669-4010

SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2011 » March for Babies The Lawn of First Presbyterian Church 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive Lakeland, FL 33801 Time: 7:00 AM TO 12:00 PM Phone: 863-687-8909

BRIAN McDONOUGH Publix Supermarkets Print Ad ($225 for 1 Day) CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

TERRY O’NEIL Winn Dixie Print Ad & Video ($250 for 1 Day)

JARROD SCHIFF Bealls Dept. Store Easter Fashion Show Principal Role


All ages & types needed • No experience necessary • Free training

863-688-9939 1037 SOUTH FLORIDA AVENUE, SUITE 115 • LAKELAND, FL 33803 LIC#1290000013

TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2011 » EMERGE Networking Event - DC’s Sports Bar 1015 South Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33803 Time: 5:30 PM TO 7:30 PM Phone: 863.688.8551 ext. 228

KENDALL GLOWNER Publix Supermarkets Print Ad ($225 for 1 Day)

OCTAVIO REYES Publix Supermarkets Print Ad ($450 for 2 Days)

VANESSA HUGHES Winn Dixie Print Ad & Video ($250 for 1 Day) FOCUS Magazine lakeland april 2011 23 take 2 index pg MAY11.indd 1 4/11/2011 6:03:23 AM 24

Eat Better. Love Life. Live Longer.

april 2011

FOCUS Lakeland 07-03  

FOCUS Magazine Lakeland Edition Issue 07-03

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