m o o R y r Eve fective Feb. 28 - Mar. 13, 2017. offers ef s and e c i r P
SALE *see store for details
900 600 off! off!
EVERY DEPARTMENT ON SALE! EVERY DEPARTMENT ON SALE! EVERY DEPARTMENT ON SALE! EVERY
MATTRESS SETS & ELECTRONICS
on flat sets • save up to $1700 on power sets • while supplies last • excludes iComfort • discount is off regular retail only
SOFAS, 5-PC BEDROOMS & DINING ROOMS 5 piece bedrooms include headboard, footboard, rails, dresser & mirror • sofa discount is applied with purchase of the matching loveseat at regular retail - 5 piece dinettes include table & four chairs • discount is off regular retail only
Twelve convenient locations to serve you Lakeland-Lk. Gibson 6625 US 98 North (863) 858-3866
Lakeland Combee 1225 N. Combee Rd. (863) 665-3111
Lakeland North 1409 N. Florida Ave. (863) 682-8107
Lakeland Christina 6100 S. Florida Ave. (863) 646-2921
Haines City 35495 Hwy. 27 (863) 422-3144
Plant City 703 South Evers (813) 754-3547
Lake Wales 126 Hwy. 60 W. (863) 676-6515
Frostproof 500 N. Scenic Hwy. (863) 635-2645
Ft. Meade 1401 Hwy. 17 N. (863) 285-9757
Auburndale 521 Hughes Rd. (863) 967-6602
Eagle Lake 1515 Hwy. 17 S. (863) 294-7749
1350 N. Broadway (US 98) Bartow (863) 533-1611
DELICIOUS DESSERTS!! ? ?U ml bcpds jj qcjcargml lmdd A_i cq**Ngcq** _l bbAmmi gcqq
Jqwtu<<Uwp/Vj wtuu33co /: r o Htkk( (Ucvv33co /: <52r o
Shopping around for car insurance? Donâ€™t. Let your local independent agent shop for you, and find the coverage you need.
Poppell Insurance, Inc 503 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Plant City, FL 33563 813-752-4155 | www.poppellinsurance.com
Save $2.00 on Adult & $1.00 on Youth General Admission Tickets at Publix
Artists Appearing on the
Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra
for KING & COUNTRY
Drifters, Platters & Cornell Gunter’s Coasters
Thu. Mar. 2, 7:30 $25
Thu. Mar. 2, 3:30 $15 & $20
Thu. Mar. 2, 10:30 FREE
Fri. Mar. 3, 7:30 $35
March 2 –12, 2017 • Plant City, FL
The Bellamy Brothers Mon. Mar. 6, 3:30 $15 & $20
Clare Bowen/Charles Esten
3 Doors Down
Sat. Mar. 4, 3:30 $25
Jennifer Nettles Mon. Mar. 6, 7:30 $35
Little Big Town
Sun. Mar. 5, 3:30 $25
Sat. Mar. 4, 7:30 $35
Tues. Mar. 7, 3:30 $15 & $20
NEEDTOBREATHE Tues. Mar. 7, 7:30 $25 & $30
Willie Nelson and Family
Fri. Mar. 3, 3:30 $40
Sun. Mar. 5, 7:30 $45
Wed. Mar. 8, 3:30 $15 & $20
Scotty McCreery Wed. Mar. 8, 7:30 $25 & $30
Cab Calloway Orchestra Thu. Mar. 9, 10:30 FREE
The Oak Ridge Boys Thu. Mar. 9, 3:30 $15 & $20
The Blues Brothers Thu. Mar. 9, 7:30 $35
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Fri. Mar. 10, 3:30 $15 & $20
Fri. Mar. 10, 7:30 $20
Maddie & Tae
Sat. Mar. 11, 3:30 $25
Sat. Mar. 11, 7:30 $40
Sun. Mar. 12, 3:30 $20
Rascal Flatts “RHYTHM & ROOTS” Tour Sun. Mar. 12, 7:30 $50
Visit FLstrawberryfestival.com or call 813-754-1996 and get your tickets today! While online, check out the Free Entertainment and Special Days for Discounts and full Schedule of Festival Events.
3:30 & 7:30 pm Seating is on a first come, first seated basis. Concert dates and times are subject to change
•Candyland Warehouse•Stingray Chevrolet•Mosaic•Alessi Bakery•AMSCOT•Astin Farms•DIRECTV•Verizon Wireless•Florida Blue• Wyndham Vacation Resorts •Netterfield’s Concessions•Local Ford Dealers•Global Frequency Technology•Images Everywhere!•Good Health Saunas•truwhip•Florida Dairy Farmers ZTE USA•O’Reilly Auto Parts•metroPCS•Vision Auto Glass•TECO•Nathan’s Famous•Uncommon USA•General RV Center•Smithfield •99.5 QYK
Plant Cityâ€™s Hometown Plumber You Can Depend On
FREDDIE MULLIS PLUMBING, INC. (Not F.C. Mullis Plumbing)
Repipe Experts Family Owned & Operated Since 1984
WE GUARANTEE ALL OUR WORK Lic. # RF0066444
BONDED & INSURED Lifetime Plant City Resident
Only Plumber Recommended By The
Contents Table of
focusplantcity.com / Issue 16-02 / February 2017
54 Each February our art director, Anthony Sassano, looks for new ways to focus the camera lens on our newest Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court. This cover is always one of our favorites. Please enjoy and get to know the 2017 industry ambassadors - Queen Drew Knotts, First Maid Marlee Arn and Court members Caroline Brummer, Courtney Coton, and Ariel Navarrete. While the pageant may be over, the tasks and responsibilities for five ambassadors are just beginning. PAGE
Our local coverage this month revolves around the MLK Festival and the Black Heritage Festival, as well as fun events like the Fresh Grounded Faith women’s conference, the 40th annual Strawberry Festival Fashion Luncheon, the Chamber Chair’s Passing the Gavel Banquet, and the Cork Elementary School’s first Color Run. There’s always plenty to do in Plant City!
The sweetest month of the year is also the one in which we present our guide to the Florida Strawberry Festival, one of Plant City’s treasured traditions. Save this issue to be in the know on all the news and scheduled events for the March 2-12 “We’re Playing Your Song” happening!
Snyder Investments and Financial Services has been a Plant City institution since it was started in 1992 by Dean Snyder. Since his death from esophageal cancer in 2013, his son Brandon Snyder has been managing partner. He learned firsthand the value of preparation in case of tragedy and realized his work has a great purpose. The company sells all types of insurance–life, disability and others—and manage 401Ks, with a main focus on retirement planning.
Alexander’s Cafe at South Florida Baptist Hospital may just be one of the best kept dining secrets in town. Delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees and sides are available daily for prices you won’t believe. Trust us, if you haven’t tried Alexander’s yet, make haste, and take your appetite. This is too good not | to share.
From The Publisher It never fails. Publisher Mike Floyd email@example.com Office Manager Candy Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Sales Samantha Black email@example.com
Each February as we create our annual Strawberry Festival focused issue, we’re reminded of the roots that run deep in Plant City and the friendships that last for lifetimes.
Sales Taylor Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
Perhaps this is one of the best things about life in a town that’s grown up around fields full of the fruit virtually everyone loves.
Managing Editor Cheryl Johnston email@example.com
People definitely do make the difference.
Art Director Anthony Sassano firstname.lastname@example.org Distribution Tony DeVane Staff Writers Cheryl Johnston | Heather Davis | Sherrie Mueller Barbara Routen Contributors Gil Gott | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis | Candy Owens Natalie Sweet | Mike Goodwine | Wanda Anderson | Katie Loudermilk Anthony Bolesta
Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information. Floyd Publications, Inc. 702 W. Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd.Plant City, FL 33563 Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990 www.focusplantcity.com 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 email@example.com. 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.
In this issue, you’ll discover how the dots have connected through family recipes passed down from one generation to the next, through pageants and parades… to…FFA and the FSGA; through Festival volunteers and through camping-forconcert-ticket friendships…to…cultural celebrations and industry encouragement to our young up-and-comers. This village has become a family. If you follow the trail through our history by noticing dot after dot after dot, one truth emerges. We need each other. For the smiles in similarities and the diversity in differences, for the wisdom of the older and the daring of the younger, for the weak and the strong – let us each remember: We’re only as strong as our weakest link. And you may just be the dot that lends a helping hand. As you prepare and plan for your Festival visits, we hope you can carve out some time to simply enjoy people…your family, friends, and co-workers. This next month is our time to shine, to smile, and to share unbeatable hospitality with more than half-a-million visitors. Let’s all make a difference.
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.
Warmest Regards, Mike Floyd PAGE
ALWAYS GROWING WITH YOU Rural America has trusted Farm Credit for over a century. No other lender has the clear understanding of agriculture or the passion and commitment to serve like Farm Credit. You owe it to yourself to work with a lender who understands your business. Give us a call today to find out more about how we can help you keep growing.
Town Talk of the
Plant City Chamber of Commerce members Jim & Carolyn Young, ITEX Trade Franchise Brokers in the local area for over 15 years, exceeded over $2,000,000 worth of trade transactions in December 2016 with their local franchise clients. Only the much larger New York Franchise has accomplished this in the company’s history. Jim said, “We owe it all to the Lord for opening some good trade deals that pushed us over the top.” Jim is also a Chamber ambassador. For info on trades, visit http://tampa.itex.com
Submit your good news to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call it in 813.707.8783
Pastor Scott Lawry and Randy Larson, an original member and signer on the church’s mortgage, lit the flame to burn the GracePoint Plant City church mortgage on January 22, 2017. Larson organized the campaign a little over a year ago “to put this debt to bed. “Many folks stepped up,” he shared. “This frees up funds and gives us a clean slate to continue the work of the church.”
First Baptist Church of Dover celebrated paying the debt for the Worship Center on January 22, 2017, too! Following the State of the Union: Vision for the Future service presented by Senior Pastor Rob Jackson, the congregation enjoyed special music by Veritas, testimonies, history video, God’s Word and dinner on the grounds.
Found on Facebook - Rick and Di Lott attend Trump’s Inauguration in Washington, DC.
Jenna Rae Keely (right) organized the effort by Durant High School to provide 2016 Christmas for four families. Needless to say, (L-R) Semaj Gorham (7), James Gorham (9), Dajaleigh White (11) and Ilyanna White (3) were thrilled when Santa visited, too. PAGE
100 graduating Plant City High School seniors connected to local job opportunities at five major employers on January 27 during an all-day field trip around the city. They spent one hour each at Star Distribution, Evergreen Packaging, Stingray Chevrolet and Hardie Manufacturing and witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for QGS Development, a site-development contractor relocating to Lakeside Station Logistics Park. An initiative of the Plant City High School Business Advisory Board, comprised of 30-plus business leaders, and in partnership with the Plant City Economic Development Corporation and Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, students learned of products, working conditions, average wages and how to prepare for employment.
2017 MLK Parade Grand Marshal Stanley Glover is surrounded by members of the Gentlemen’s Quest club he sponsors at Marshall Middle School.
Discounts offered to military and ďŹ rst responders All inclusive and a la carte packages
4302 Pippin Road, Plant City, FL 33567 email: email@example.com instagram: @wishingwellbarn
Celebrity Chef Benefits United Food Bank Let’s End Hunger BY BARBARA ROUTEN
Chef Emily Ellyn, with assistant Paul LaGrone of ABC Action News, demonstrates how to make Ellyn’s triple-shot-of-coffee cupcake.
hef Emily Ellyn, the Food Network’s Retro Rad Diva, shared three things Feb. 4 at the ninth annual United Food Bank of Plant City’s (UFBPC) Celebrity Chef Dinner. She traced her culinary journey “from farmhouse to schoolhouse to your house,” revealed how to make homemade-tasting cupcakes from a store-bought mix and shared her belief in the spirituality of dining. “Sift all dry ingredients, warm liquids and use yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese in the recipe,” she said. “Something magical happens when you sit around the table and break bread together, slow down with each other and have serious conversations,” she said. “It’s mindblowing that we’re talking about hunger, yet we’re sitting here eating. But it’s a moment to take pause and come together as a community to
really take on this issue together.” Emcee Paul LaGrone, ABC Action News anchor and Plant City High School graduate, introduced the “Cupcake Wars” chef and assisted her demonstration. Beth Tancredo, event committee chairwoman, said Chef Michael Ambrosino of 911 Catering, used Ellyn’s recipes to create the charity dinner topped off by her cupcakes: triple-shot-of-coffee and spiced strawberry-shortcake. The committee included UFBPC Executive Director Mary Heysek, UFBPC Board President George Banning, Brian West, Carole Wright, Darcy Stottlemyer, Dodie White, Gail Lyons, Jon Poppell, Kendelle Jimenez, Leigh Scott, Marsha Passmore and Tara Smith. “Our volunteers are awesome,” said Heysek. “The food bank, with only three-and-a-half paid employees, distributed more than
Spinach salad, roasted-sage chicken, seared pork tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, green beans with almonds and cupcakes were prepared by 911 Catering per Chef Emily Ellyn’s instructions for the Celebrity Chef Dinner.”
a million pounds of food in 2016 to more than 35,000 people, including over 6300 kids’ bags with kidfriendly food during non-school times.” UFBPC’s goal is to help people regain self-sufficiency, so they have grown into a major social services agency and offer nutrition education, money-smart classes, haircuts and flu shots. Banning achieved his objectives this year, including purchasing a building for the food bank and acquiring a refrigerated truck. The food bank needs volunteers, particularly for daytime, weekday shifts. Always needed are canned goods, non-perishables and especially peanut butter and jelly. “Let’s feed people’s hearts, minds and stomachs and let’s end hunger and food insecurity in our community,” said Ellyn.
The Retro Rad Diva, Chef Emily Ellyn, takes a moment to visit with event chairwoman Beth Tancredo.
FSF 2017 Queen’s Scholarship Pageant BY JENNIFER JORDAN
As soon as Ms. Drew Knotts was crowned Queen, the crowd screamed in excitement and cameras started snapping to capture the surprise on her face. Congratulations to Queen Drew and the 2017 Court members: First Maid Marlee Arn, Caroline Brummer, Courtney Coton, and Ariel Navarrete. While the pageant may be over, the tasks and responsibilities for five ambassadors are just beginning. Since 1930, a Florida Strawberry Festival Queen and Court have
represented the agricultural industry and our eastern Hillsborough County communities with poise and class. Through the Lion’s Club dedication and the people of Plant City’s enthusiasm for the annual Strawberry Festival, the Queen’s Scholarship Pageant is a tradition that will continue for many years to come. Welcome and Best Wishes for a successful year for our 2017 Queen and Court.
The pageantry includes children and newly-crowned Queen Drew Knotts with her Court,
he 82nd annual Strawberry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant, held on January 21, presented 22 bright and beautiful young ladies competing for the title of Strawberry Queen. Hosted by the Lion’s Club, the pageant was emceed this year by Kellie Morrow, the 2001 Strawberry Queen, and ABC Action News Anchor, Paul LaGrone. The pageant began with the 22 contestants introducing themselves and presenting their own 30-second commercial for the sponsors that supported them. The Grimes Family Agricultural Center was filled with excitement and suspense through the casual and evening gown competition, which was followed by an impromptu question asked and answered by the final 10 contestants. Prior to the pageant, the 22 contestants also had a sevenminute interview with the judges to determine which young women had the best knowledge of Plant City.
Throughout the pageant, LaGrone used his charm and sense of humor to keep the crowd on their toes, even stopping for a moment to take a selfie with the entire audience. Prior to the announcement of the final 10 contestants, the award for Miss Congeniality was presented to Ms. Bentley Roberts for her positive attitude and uplifting spirit throughout the pageant process. After the final 10 contestants were announced and the impromptu question was answered, the 2016 Strawberry Queen and Court appeared to say their final goodbyes. Queen Haley Riley gave her farewell message to the people of Plant City and her Court members. Once the 2016 Court, Train Bearers, Crown Bearer, and Flower Girls entered the stage, the top 5 of the final 10 contestants were announced. The crowd cheered continuously to encourage the girls throughout the pageant, but the screams and cheers intensified as the 2017 court was announced.
The five finalists (await the announcement of First Maid and Queen. Shown L-R are Ariel Navarrete, Courtney Coton, Caroline Brummer, First Maid Marlee Arn, and Queen Drew Knotts
All 22 contestants applaud Bentley Roberts as she receives the “Miss Congeniality 2017” award given by 2016 Queen Haley Riley.
40th Annual FSF Fashion Show Luncheon We’re Playing Your Song with Fashion BY KATIE LOUDERMILK
ore than 600 guests at the 40th Annual Florida Strawberry Festival Fashion Show Luncheon admired the 85 locals who modeled apparel and accessories at the Grimes Family Agriculture Center on January 26, 2017. Wendy Ryan, Anchor and Reporter for ABC Action News in Tampa, emceed the highlyanticipated harvest season highlight, engaging the audience with her creative descriptions and humor. For the past 26 years, General Chairwoman Linda Walden has cochaired the event with her daughter, Suzanne Cribbs, the newest associate director with the Florida Strawberry Festival. Cribbs offered, “The Fashion Show is an annual community event to kick off the Strawberry Festival. It is a day to showcase our local stores. Festival families and community members are our models. It’s a just a day for everyone to gather and enjoy great fun and friendship.” She added, “Some ladies look forward to it all year!” The confident young ladies of
NRG Extreme and NRG Uprising opened the Alessi Bakeries sponsored event with uplifting entertainment. This year’s fashions were provided by Fringe Boutique, Denise Young’s Boutique, RAOK Boutique, and Southside Western and Outdoor Wear, which made shopping right here in the Plant City community easy for those interested in specific ensembles. The delicious food, served by Simply Southern Catering, included scrumptious strawberry-flavored cupcakes as a grand finale. Attendees admired the lovely ladies, smiling children, and brave men who strolled the elevated runway. They also the 2017 Strawberry Queen & Court and Junior Royalty Court showcase their princess-like dresses from past pageants. For many attendees, this event is a reunion. Pec McGinnes commented, “This is the most fun event. Everybody in Plant City gets excited about the Fashion Show. It has been going on for 40 years and the committee does an awesome job!”
The MLK Festival Opening Ceremony BY JENNIFER JORDAN
The audience at the Opening Ceremony, including Mayor Rick Lott and newest City Commissioner Nate Kilton, listening to Reverend Wilson speak about community.
et Freedom Ring! The MLK Festival Opening Ceremony is the kick-off to the many events in Plant City that surround the MLK Festival. Hosted by the non-profit Improvement League of Plant City, the annual festival is now celebrating its 31st year here, with the continuous goal of teaching individuals about diversity and history of African culture. While the festival with its parade, carnival rides and live music on Saturday, January 14th was the main event, the Opening Ceremony on the 13th specifically catered to senior citizens. It also hosted school performances by Lincoln Elementary and Marshall Middle. Rev. Wilson of Crossroads by Faith church in Valrico spoke on the importance of change and helping the community. Plant City Mayor Rick Lott was also in attendance. William Thomas, the hosting organization’s President, stated: “The Improvement League is all
about helping the community. We try to help our local schools by funding their programs with money raised during the festival, such as the Gentlemen’s Club at Marshall Middle School. We provide food and entertainment for the Opening Ceremony, and we try to get as many people as possible to be involved in the community. One thing we’re doing this year is to get teens involved in a ‘selfie tour,’ in which they try to locate certain people in
Lincoln Elementary School violinists, led by instructor Lagretta Snowden, perform for the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Martin Luther King Festival in Plant City.
town and take selfies with them, with the goal to learn how these people helped change Plant City.” In its attempts to make folks aware of the African culture ingrained in Plant City, the Improvement League has also worked to renovate and maintain the historic Bing Rooming House Museum, located on Allen Street. Serving as a hotel for Blacks during the segregation era, the Bing Rooming House Museum educates
people by displaying furniture, artifacts, and photos from that time period. With powerful speakers and amazing performances by Lincoln Elementary and Marshall Middle, the opening ceremony was a great start to the popular MLK Festival, and an encouragement for attendees to learn even more about community, diversity, equality, and history.
Lincoln Elementary School students recite the Emancipation Proclamation for attendees at the Martin Luther King Festival Opening Ceremony on January 13, 2017.
Leadership Breakfast Fit For A King Honoring the MLK, Jr. Legacy BY ANTHONY BOLESTA
Principal Susan Sullivan of Plant City High School presented four seniors with scholarships from the John Dicks Family Foundation for higher education, for their outstanding academic efforts. Pictured L-R are: Korey Jackson, Milik Bennett, Kierra Davis, and Ciara Brown
William Thomas, president of the Improvement League of Plant City, encouraged guests at the annual MLK Leadership Breakfast.
lthough the Civil Rights Movement marked American history decades ago, the hard work and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is still honored for its class and moral: That truly, with determination, we can better the world. This sentiment was evidenced on January 15, 2017 at the annual MLK Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Improvement League of Plant City. Award-winning journalist Tammie Fields of 10 News WTSP emceed the event held at the Trinkle Center on the Hillsborough Community College campus. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools for Hillsborough County, presented the keynote address. He announced men and women of all ages who have won awards and scholarships for their hard work and brought honor to their heritage. Some of these individuals were Attorney Theodore Taylor, who received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award and Patricia Porter who, PAGE
posthumously, received the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Service Award. On the academic side of the awards ceremony, the more than 100 in attendance witnessed Keith Jackson receiving the E. L. Bing Education award. Additionally, the audience saw four Plant City High School seniors receive scholarships from the John Dicks Family Foundation for higher education, thus reflecting the positive characteristics of Dr. King in the current generation. As guests enjoyed the awards, scholarship recipients, and remembrance of Dr. King’s legacy, they were treated to a delicious breakfast, catered by Steph’s Southern Soul Restaurant. They also enjoyed the elegant choreography presented by the Kali Kali Dance Company. This event was a rewarding experience for everyone, as those from all age groups were honored and awarded. It’s most fitting that
a man who fought for equality in matters such as education would be honored at a college. The late Dr. King was an activist, scholar, and a dreamer, and he once stated that, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ “ These men and women who received honors answer that honest question on a consistent basis by working with their communities and neighbors.
By becoming leaders with their peers, they themselves have developed traits fit for a King. For additional information on the Improvement League or the 2018 MLK Festival, contact staff members at the historic Bing House, Tuesday thru Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., with extended hours on Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Performers with the Kali Kali Dance Company from St. Petersburg impressed MLK Leadership Breakfast attendees with their grace and agility.
Dr. Brenda Dukes Chiropractic Physician
OLYMPIC MEDALIST PHILLIP DUTTON CREDITS CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND ENHANCED PERFORMANCE
Olympic Medalist Phillip Dutton credits chiropractic care for his body’s enhanced flexibility and functionality during and after competition. The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP), the leading voice of the chiropractic profession, asserts that Dutton’s experience with chiropractic care exemplifies the improved balance, performance and overall wellness that athletes can achieve.
“With the aging process, I find that the care provided by my chiropractor is essential in continuing to compete successfully in my sport,” shares Dutton, who won his first individual Olympic Medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. “For those individuals who strive to stay healthy and active, I wholeheartedly recommend regular visits to their chiropractor.”
“Due to the nature of the sport, equestrian riders commonly experience repetitive movement and imbalanced weight distribution, resulting in added stress being placed on the spine,” states Dutton’s Chiropractor, Dr. Charlette Fletcher. “Chiropractic care helps to relax the muscles, align the pelvis and spinal column with the goal of restoring proper function to the joints – ultimately contributing to the good health and competitive edge displayed by athletes, including Phillip Dutton.
Call today for your appointment, why delay possible better health.
Pray for a Successful and Safe 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Blessings, Dr. Dukes & Staff
Dr. Dukes encourages you to write her with any questions concerning chiropractic care.
Women’s Conference @FBCPC
BY CHERYL JOHNSTON PHOTO BY STEPHANIE HUMPHREY [COURTESY OF FRESH GROUNDED FAITH]
Special Note: Happy Valentine’s to everyone- As I Cor.13:13 shares “And now abideth Faith, Hope and Love these three: but the greatest of these Love.”
Dr. Brenda Dukes • Chiropractic Physician 752-2524 • 2401 Walden Woods Dr. • Plant City, FL 33566
Fresh Grounded Faith
At least 218 volunteers from 11 co-host churches welcomed and served attendees at the Fresh Grounded Faith women’s conference at First Baptist Church of Plant City.
ords cannot adequately describe how God’s gentle grace filled the First Baptist Church of Plant City’s sanctuary during the recent “Fresh Grounded Faith” women’s conference on January 20-21, 2017. Eleven churches with 219 volunteers assisted local conference coordinator Kay Morris, Director of Women’s Ministries for FBCPC, along with her daughter Lauren Morris, in welcoming the 1,067 women (plus a few good men). Attendees from as far away as Jacksonville and Naples packed the sanctuary’s pews on both levels to hear practical, Scripture-based encouragement from Bible teachers Jennifer Rothschild and Angela Thomas-Pharr. They worshipped musically as well with Dove Award winning singer/songwriter Meredith Andrews, accompanied on keyboards by her husband Jacob Sooter. Relevant, relational stories peppered the teachings. At least 41 women responded to begin a relationship with Christ and 33 women each sponsored a child through the FGF ministry partner, Compassion International. In the fellowship hall, guests connected with coffee, tea, and opportunities for photos, to purchase resources, or sign up for local Bible study groups. Rothschild was also thrilled
her mother, sister-in-law and niece could attend. She praised the local hospitality in an event blog post. “This weekend at Fresh Ground Faith, we had strawberry everything — soap, cookies, afghans, rain boots, toboggans, shirts, earrings, bracelets, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry shortcake… it was so well-organized, and you could practically feel how open to the Lord’s moving the entire audience was. So thankful.” While several studies are already underway at First Baptist Plant City, Countryside Baptist, New City Church, and Shiloh Baptist, ladies can still join those that begin soon: Women’s Life Journal City Pointe Church Begins 2-13 @6PM or 2-16 @6PM www.citypointechurch.com Breathe by Priscilla Shirer Begins 2-21 @7PM Countryside Baptist Church 813-571-8200 Divine Design by Chip Ingram Begins 3-16 @9AM or 3-19 @4:30PM Turkey Creek First Baptist Church 813-752-7890 Nehemiah by Kelly Minter Begins 3-1 @6:30PM Kathleen Baptist Church 863-858-3836
ADVANCE SHORTCAKE TICKET SOLD AT THESE PUBLIX LOCATIONS No Waiting in Lines “Make-YOUR-OWN” Get Your Tickets Early! • Plant City Crossing Advance Tickets • Publix at Walden Woods $ .50 • Zephyr Commons • Valrico Commons • Mango Square • Town and Country Square • Publix at Lake Gibson • Kingsway Crossing • Publix at Temple Terrace • Collier Commons • Shoppes of Lithia • Publix at Lake Brandon • Publix at Summertree Plaza • Publix Terrace Ridge • Publix at Plantation Square
at the FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL Booth 15
Loetscher Auto Parts, LLC SELL YOUR USED or JUNK CAR TODAY
813.752.3770 3302 SYDNEY ROAD PLANT CITY, FL BRING THIS AD IN AND RECEIVE
10% OFF Expires 3/28/2017
Chamber Chair’s Banquet Passing the Gavel to Yvonne Fry
BY JENNIFER JORDAN
New Chamber Chair Yvonne Fry shared her B.O.L.D. goals for 2017 for Plant City.
he 35th annual “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony held by the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce at the Trinkle Center on January 26th, 2017 recognized the many people, who through their hard work and dedication, make this town such a great place to live. In addition to many Chamber members, the Chamber staff and board members were all in attendance, along with Mayor Rick Lott and former state attorney Mark Ober. The event focused mainly on thanking Brian West- the 2016 Chair
of the Board- for his service and commitment to making Plant City a better place to live, as well as on the welcoming of Yvonee Fry, 2017 Chair of the Board. Awards were also distributed, including one to Jason Jones- the 2018 Chair-Elect- who received the Chairman’s Award. Excited to take on the role as the new Chair of the Board, Yvonne Fry stated, “This is the year of being B.O.L.D. We need to be brave, to take on opportunities, to be leaders, and to be dreamers. We can’t dream
Plant City Chamber Staff (pictured L-R): Samantha Bryant, Christine Miller, Breanna Wilson, Laura Leslie, and Ashton Houston
enough, and we are in control of our own destiny.” Giving a special thanks to Mike Herr- the City Manager of Plant Cityand former state attorney Mark Ober, Fry couldn’t say enough about how happy and grateful she is for this opportunity. She expressed that her goals as the new Chair are vast and reachable, so long as she has the help she’s asking for. “I really want everyone in this room to meet Chamber members; to get out there and say ‘hello’ to them and to buy local. I also have
Mayor Rick Lott administering the Oath of Office as the Plant City Chamber’s gavel is passed from Brian West to Yvonne Fry PAGE
a goal of adding 52 new members to the Chamber (1 for every week). I know we can achieve this goal if we all work together and communicate with one another.” In a room filled with people who dedicate their time and energy to Plant City, a powerful realization comes into strong focus; the realization that while Plant City is growing and changing for the better, it still has that small-town vibe that will hopefully last forever.
ACE Heating & Cooling is a full service heating and air conditioning contractor.
RESIDENTIAL / COMMERCIAL
Cork Elementary Color Run
You see them in Movies, T.V. Commercials and in Magazines!
BY KATIE LOUDERMILK
TRISTAN BARTHEL Disney World, Magic Kingdom TV Commercial. Polk Life Magazine Easter Fashion Shoot. CALL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!
LAUREN KING Paul Mitchell Beauty Fashion Hair Show Presentation Model. $300.00 A Day.
DUTCH SALAZ Publix Training Film and Print Ad. Principal Role. $375.00 A Day.
They’re the JESS ANDERSON MODELS!
All ages & types needed • No experience necessary • Free training
SOUTH FLORIDA AVENUE, SUITE 115 • LAKELAND, FL 33813 863-688-9939 1037Established For 36 Years LIC#1290000013
Such a colorful day it was at Cork Elementary!
he beloved Cork Elementary School Color Run on the morning of February 4, 2017 was organized by the PTA. The lively event involved outstanding coordination by teachers and parents to set times, set up booths, and locate food trucks. According to PTA President Shannon Scott, the goal was to make this a special event for their young students. “We are so excited about the support for our school from the community and this opportunity to have a blast together.” Many took advantage of the $30 pre-registration versus the $35 fee on the day of the race at the official Cork Baptist Church starting point. Dressed in white, the boys and girls, along with some of the teachers, ran, jogged and walked the 5k with determination to finish the race. A few girls wore white tutus that bounced with their every step. Throughout the course, runners would stop at different booths to be doused with colored powder. The racers started in clean white clothing and finished the race with splashes of rainbow colors covering them from head to toe. Everyone enjoyed their time together as they supported the school spirit of Cork Elementary.
Cork Elementary teacher Michele Abraham shared, “This event gave our teachers and families the opportunity to share social time in a fun experience. Together we enjoyed a special day while raising money for our fabulous school. Go Cork Cougars!” Monies raised from the Color Run will help fund extra activities and field trips not covered by the PTA budget. This provides teachers with more opportunities to enhance the children’s education and create a more memorable childhood for them. At the end of the race, students, teachers and parents gathered together for pictures, dancing, and a few games of “Tag, You’re It.” The racers’ faces showed no signs of exhaustion. Rather, they were joyfilled from the excitement. To add to the grand finale, several teachers and students dumped some leftover colorful powder onto Principal Sherri-Lyn Black’s head. This event was one students will remember as a highlight of their elementary years. You can bet they’ll be looking forward to next year’s Cork Color Run, too.
JESSICA SQUITIERI Pureology Featured Presentation Model for the Orlando Hair Show $400.00.
SEAN HARTER Publix Training Film and Print Ad. Principal Role. $375.00 A Day.
CARLA JOHNSON Publix Training Film and Print Ad. Principal Role. $375.00 A Day.
Jess Anderson index pg MAR17.indd 1
1/22/2017 10:20:04 AM
From Pumping to Major Repairs WE DO IT ALL. With QUALITY SERVICE Since 1964 • 3rd Generation Family Business
SEWERS - PORTABLES- PRECAST
Servicing SPECIAL EVENTS • FARMERS • CONSTRUCTION Portable w/Sinks • Holding Tanks
Are You Being Charged Fuel Service Charges? Is Your Company Making Sure You’re GAP & Food Safety Compliant?
NOW HIRING CDL Drivers Please Call!!
“Bingham’s Onsite Precast” Manufacturing Precast Tanks ATU Systems
Cleaning • Sludge Management Installation • Drain Field Repair Grease Trap Repair Member of the FLORIDA ON SITE WASTEWATER ASSOCIATION Licensed, Bonded & Insured We Comply With New State Laws State Certiied Numbers SA0900466 & 29-QH00007 Company Certiied Number 1442 • Master Contractor SM0890840
Plant City Dover / Brandon www.binghamonsite.com
First Food Truck Rally of 2017
Plant City Main Street Community Dining Efforts a Success
BY ANTHONY BOLESTA
The first Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally of 2017 was well attended.
he start of 2017 opened with many new chapters. Most people likely charged into January with a resolution or two, and hopefully a positive outlook on the next eleven months to come. For those whose resolutions involved improving their diet and spicing up their cuisine, Plant City Main Street’s first food truck rally of the New Year on January 27 was the best venue in town. The premier location at the corner of Palmer and Drane in the historic downtown’s McCall Park was filled with hungry folks and meals-on-wheels vendors from all walks of life who wanted to wow the locals with their signature brand of food. Brands such as the Empanada Mama, Kaixo, and Aloha to Go sported their exotic qualities in culinary art. Some more Americanstyled trucks were also present, such as the Philly-themed Cheesesteak Truck, Mister C’s Grilled Cheese, and Bobby Daddy’s BBQ. This month there were a few wild cards that grabbed the attention of regulars to the monthly outreach.
One such was Plant City resident Katlyn Snow, who shared, “I was drawn in by Willy T’s Crab Shack and Kebabilicious for the charisma in appearance.” True foodies will acknowledge that “When it comes to food, it should be easy on the eyes as well.” As usual, various organizations enjoyed entertaining and educating the hungry crowd. The Mobile DJ Truck played danceable tunes that appealed to both adults and children, while the Plant City Lion’s Club offered free face painting for anyone wanting a fun makeover. The Plant City Commons Community Garden representatives were also there to showcase their love for nature and the growing of plants, especially the edible variety. The group’s president, Karen Elizabeth, explained they used this community event to “Bring people together and do things with the planet.” Between music, education, face painting, and of course, the great dining variety; the first food truck rally of 2017 was a real winner. PAGE
Camping for Concert Tickets BY KATIE LOUDERMILK
he annual Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City is renowned for its numerous concerts presented by famous artists and bands. By design, reasonably priced tickets draw large crowds to experience a beloved singer or group performing on the Wish Farms Soundstage. Four years ago, three friends— Janese Barbon, Jessica Bice, and Kayla Reece—established their own tradition of camping overnight in line for best seats at their favorite artists’ shows. Being well-aware of many performers’ popularity, the young women arrive the night before concert pre-sales begin. To enhance their overnight adventure outside the sales center, they bring a canopy, comfy chairs, sleeping bags, food, and games. Although tickets can be purchased online or by phone, these methods don’t always guarantee views from the first five rows. To accomplish their “front row” goal, waiting in line physically allows them a better chance. Because of their dedication, Janese, Jessica and Kayla have enjoyed up-close performances by famous country artists like Reba, Luke Bryan, Colt Ford, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, Martina McBride and Sara Evans. This past December, the three camped to buy tickets for Jennifer Nettles, Little Big Town, Three Doors Down, and Joe Nichols. Janese explained, “Sitting front row is more promising because you get a more intimate view of the artist and band. Camping for those tickets is so worth the wait.” In this tradition-formed community of concert-loving fans, “Everyone knows each other very well. There are no arguments over cutting in line or stepping out of line. It’s small town camaraderie and
The concert-loving friends in 2016: Surrounding Kayla Reece in center are Linsey Thompson (left forefront), Melissa McCorkle, Katie McCorkle, Janese Barbon and Jessica Bice (far right).
respect that holds your place - we’d do it for others,” she continued. Even some of the Festival Staff encourage this tradition by bringing doughnuts and coffee for the overnighters. One police officer also brings McDonald’s for breakfast. To keep the time moving, the group of friends uses this “extra” time together to catch up on each other’s lives, play fun games, and make crafts. They’ve also come to greet and reconnect with others who have the same “best seats” passion. For Janese, Jessica and Kayla, this is always a relaxing and memorable “Girls Night Out.”
WE WANT YOU TO BE OUR VALENTINE! PLEASE VISIT US AT UNCLE G’S FOR ONE SWEET DEAL!
We offer pet boarding in a state of the art facility with television for the pets to watch. We are located on 5 acres of land.
Full grooming and boarding services available for dogs and cats by our groomer, Terri Pardo Call For Pricing on Boarding Or Grooming.
UNCLE G’S BED & BISCUIT 1821 Stephens Ln, Dover, FL 33527 Phone: (813) 689-6725 unclegsbedandbiscuit.com
Legendary service for over 20 years
Residential, Commercial Sales SVC and Repair
Congratulations Ariel Navarrete Member of the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court
Prompt Reliable Service
• Air quality control • Duct cleaning • Preventative maintenances • Insulation • Security cages • Mobile home units
Free estimates on new system installation free second opinions *with written estimates
Brian Lewis - License #CAC1815368
After hours and weekend svcs available Military and senior discounts
Up to $400 TECO rebate on New high efficient Equipment
Call us today! (813) 752-0821 PAGE
Strawberry Legacies Photo Archives Unveils New Oral History Program BY GIL GOTT
This photo of the Gallery Video Center displays an oral history running of Mac Smith, who gave the first recording in this Strawberry Legacies program.
Ask me about Accident Forgiveness. With other insurance companies, having an accident can mean your rates rise as much as 40%. But with Allstate’s Accident Forgiveness, your rates won’t go up at all just because of an accident. Don’t wait! Call me today.
Feola Insurance Agency 813-752-2556
Feature is optional and subject to terms and conditions. Safe Driving Bonus® won’t apply after an accident. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Co. Northbrook, IL © 2010 Allstate Insurance Co.
1003 S. Collins St. Plant City firstname.lastname@example.org
he Plant City Photo Archives and History Center has recently completed setting up its new program, Strawberry Legacies: Field to Festival, which includes oral history recordings of area residents who have participated in the many Florida Strawberry Festivals over the years. With funding from the Florida Humanities Council, the program focuses on the Florida strawberry production history regarding the festival, and the people who have been part of the festival through growing the product, to organizing, and volunteering at the renowned community fair. The Photo Archives erected a recording studio on-site and constructed a new wall containing a touchscreen monitor, a 65” TV display, and computerized programming devices. The first oral history interview and recording took place recently with B. M. Mac Smith, who was involved with the festival since 1964 as Associate Director, Director, Vice President, President, and Director Emeritus. Smith told of his early interest in the festival, its growth, and changes over the years, and what it has meant to the community. Also recorded was an interview with Al Berry, who gave his memories going back to following his father to the festival and later serving
more than 43 years in numerous capacities including President in 1992 and 1993. Two additional oral history recordings have taken place and videos of Sandee Parke Sytsma and J. Myrle Henry have been added to the growing collection of stories in the Strawberry Legacies program. Photo Archives Executive Director Gil Gott said both businessman and civic leader Mac Smith, and Al Berry, former owner of Plant City’s radio station, WPLA, gave outstanding oral memories of Plant City and the famous Strawberry Festival. Sandee Sytsma, daughter of Roy and Helen Parke, told of her many years of association with the festival, and Myrle Henry related how the Lions Club started the entertainment portion of the festival, with Dale Evans as their first celebrity. More interviews with strawberry growers and festival organizers are planned. “Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this (publication) (program) (exhibition) (website) do not necessarily represent those of the Florida Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.”
14th Annual Black Heritage Banquet Youth are a Community Priority BY KELLI THARRINGTON
Nine LEAD award recipients were recognized for the excellence in the fields of Literature, Performance, and Visual Arts. LEAD stands for learn, empower, advocate, and dream
he Plant City Black Heritage Celebration Inc. hosted its 14th Annual Black Heritage Banquet at the Trinkle Center on February 10, 2017. The event focused on partnership and leadership in the community, acknowledging that youth leadership was priority. “When we speak of the kids, we are talking about my passion,” said Sharon Moody, the organization’s founder. Members of the Gentleman’s Quest empowerment club at Marshall Middle School added a special touch by escorting ladies to their seats. Stanley Glover, the group’s advisor since 2011, shared, “I want to show them the difference between the boy and the man. I want to teach them how to leave behind something positive.” Plant City Commissioner Mary Mathis, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies, had the pleasure of introducing the youth of the community and their accomplishments. Jordin Vance opened the evening with an impressive rendition of the
National Anthem. The 2017 Plant City High School Calendar Cover Girl, said, ”Plant City High School will always be near and dear to my heart.” Vance has a tough decision to make in choosing from among five colleges. Karlea Lynne, a Plant City vocalist, was recognized for her acceptance by Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The nine LEAD award recipients were also recognized. LEAD stands for learn, empower, advocate, and dream. “These are all qualities we want to instill in our youth so they can go on to be leaders of the community,” said Moody. Black Heritage Celebration Inc. raised enough money to award each recipient a $500 scholarship.
Performace: • Alexander Wynn III - Cahoon Elementary • James LaFayete Jr. - Orange Grove Middle • Alexis Esparza - Durant High School Visual Arts: • Izzy Carpenter - Kingswood Elementary • Kevin Huang - Wilson Elementary School • Odette Del Valle - Middleton High School Local actor and singer Alkoya Brunson was a speaker at the event.
Those students are as follows: Literature: • Kaleb Smith - Hammond Elementary • Emily Vershay - Tinker Middle • Kitan Adeniji - Sickles High School
Major Kyle Robinson accepted the Humanitarian Award at the Black Heritage Banquet on behalf of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Commissioner Mathis awarded Brunson an honorary citizenship for Plant City. Former NFL and Buccaneers player Frank D. Murphy presented the keynote address. He spoke of perseverance through adversity. “They told me I wouldn’t graduate high school, that I wouldn’t go to college, that I wouldn’t play in the NFL. But I did.” He challenged the young attendees to decide what their “but I did” statement was and to achieve their goals. The night rounded out with an emphasis on partnership within the community. The Cornerstone Award was presented to St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church, under the leadership of Reverend Shafter E Scott. Constance Ingram Mitchell received the Community Service Award. The Plant City Humanitarian Award was given to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, for which Major Kyle Robinson accepted at the banquet. “Everyone in this room deserves this award,” he said. “We give of ourselves for the betterment of our community.” Robinson went on to show appreciation for the many organizations that came together for community improvement. “The Sheriff’s Department could not do what it does without each, and every one, of your efforts.” That remark summed up the theme of the evening -- bringing the community together for its betterment. And surely, the 14th annual Black Heritage Banquet showcased the best and brightest.
SERVING FAMILIES IN CENTRAL FLORIDA SINCE 1971
ISCOUNT CREENING Marty Johnson
Specializing in ReScReening & RepaiR Since 1983
Pool Enclosures Screen Rooms Lanais
Screen Entryways New Doors & Hardware Pet Screen & Pet Doors
Window Screens Vinyl Window Repairs Aluminum Repairs
5 Year Warranty on rescreening 10 Year Warranty on super-screening
We Will Meet or Beat Any Advertised Price! Free tes a estim PAGE
1406 W Knights Griffin Rd Plant City, FL 33565
lice & in nsed sure d
AN JE NN IF ER JO RD IN TE RV IE WS BY
support system helps. Having a family to support you helps a lot, but if you don’t have family where you live, having a group of friends or even other moms to lend a helping hand makes a difference. You should be proud as a single mom and be strong, and even though it’s challenging, it’s so rewarding. You have to be confident in yourself. I always tell Peyton that he and I are a team and we have to stick together.”
s the new manager of Smokin’ Aces Steakhouse and single mom to two-year-old Peyton, Ashley is a hard-working young woman with a bright future. Born in Lakeland, Florida, Ashley grew up on Charlie Taylor Road in Plant City, and has lived here more than half of her life. After moving back to Plant City two years ago from North Carolina to be close to her family, Ashley puts all her effort into her son and her job, hoping to go back to school to major in restaurant management this year. Is there anything you would like to change about Plant City? “Besides having a Target and Chick Fil A in Plant City, I think there needs to be park by downtown Plant City with a big playground and picnic area for kids and families of the community to go to. There also needs to be more of a focus on the historic district, with more events and possibly live music every so often to keep that small town atmosphere alive.” As a single mom, do have any advice you would give to other single moms or moms in general? “Being a single mom is definitely challenging, but I think having a good PAGE
Is there something you’ve done that might surprise people? “I love traveling; I’ve been to at least 30 different states. I also went on a cruise to Mexico, which was a blast. I eventually want to see all 50 states. I’ve also been to the Ponce de Leon Springs in Northern Florida to see the Fountain of Youth, which was a really cool experience.” Do you have a favorite place you like to go to? “I love going to Lithia Springs with Peyton. I grew up going to Crystal Springs, and although they’re not open anymore, it’s nice to be able to go to Lithia and give my son the same experiences I had while growing up.” Any goals for 2017? “This year I would like to focus on myself and go back to school and major in restaurant management. I would eventually like to use that degree to own my own restaurant, which would serve southern style food. I would also like to get my son into a VPK program to jump start his education. I want to continue to have faith in myself and stay strong to be the best role model I possibly can be for my son and myself.”
orn on February 19, 1988 in Brandon, Florida, David Shamblin has been in Plant City for most of his life. Growing up on a 14-acre plant nursery on Thonotosassa Rd., he has worked and been around plants for as long as he can remember. His upbringing eventually led him to owning and operating his own foliage brokering service, which specializes in interior plant material and tropical palms. A father to a four-year-old son, David is a laid-back young man with a multitude of interests, including music, fishing, and outer space. Currently recovering from a hand injury, David is still determined to work towards his goals and keep his business growing. Is there anything you think people should know about the plant nursery industry? “I would say that people take plant nurseries for granted. A lot of people, when they hear Plant City, immediately think of strawberries, and while strawberries are a very important part of Plant City, plant nurseries have also kept the economy thriving. In the last decade there has been a decline in nurseries, but the nurseries are becoming smaller and focus on specific plants, which allows for these smaller nurseries to survive.” What is your favorite aspect about Plant City? “I would say it’s that Plant City still has that small-town feeling. Although
it’s growing very quickly, there’s still that whole ‘everybody knows everybody’ vibe here. The fact that I run into people almost daily who I went to high school with says how much people love Plant City and want to stay here for a long time.” What hobbies or interests do you have? “I’ve always loved fishing, but once I became a teenager I picked up playing the drums and playing guitar. I started playing the guitar when I was 13. I even joined a few bands in high school, and I’ve always wanted to have my own country rock band. I also enjoy searching for constellations in the sky and watching meteor showers; for a while, I wanted to be an astronomer.” Any specific goals for the future? “I want to continue building up my foliage business in the hopes I can retire at 45. I would also like to travel all over the world, and continue to be able to provide for my son, River.”
Find more People of Plant City on Facebook. Connecting the community one story at a time. facebook.com/peopleofplantcity Find more People of Plant City on Facebook. Connecting the community one story at a time. facebook.com/peopleofplantcity
Did You Know? The Florida Strawberry Festival; A Brief History BY GIL GOTT, PLANT CITY PHOTO ARCHIVES
atch for the book – soon to be published by the Florida Strawberry Festival! The Florida Strawberry Festival was first presented in March of 1930 in the small city of Plant City, Florida. With a population of 6,800 within the city, and many more in the surrounding communities of Dover, Hopewell, Seffner, Trapnell, Lithia, Turkey Creek, Cork, and Springhead, the festival drew an impressive 15,000 attendees on its first day.
But for a hiatus during the World War II era, the festival has gone on for the past eighty-six years, with eighty-one festivals involving many thousands of local residents and national and international visitors. There have been stories written about the Florida Strawberry Festival but until now there has not been a complete history of the festival from its inception in 1930 through 2016. The Florida Strawberry Festival; A Brief History is scheduled for
publication in time to be available for this year’s festival. The book is an outgrowth of the Florida Strawberry Festival Board of Directors’ years of discussion of publishing a book about the festival. This time the discussion began in earnest in July 2015 and a contract was signed with the Donning Company, Publisher. With instructions from the Festival’s Board of Directors, General Manager Paul Davis was appointed to oversee the project and History Committee members Terry Ballard and Al Berry were to be advisors. The task of researching and writing the book was assigned to Florida Strawberry Festival Public Relations and Media Representative Lauren McNair, along with Plant City Photo Archives and History Center Executive Director Gil Gott. Working closely with the Donning Company editor, McNair and Gott completed their work in November 2016, and after editing, reviewing proofs, and making some additional changes, the book was finalized in January 2017. The book is currently going into production with a target date for shipment in late February. The coffee-table type book is in both black and white, and full color,
with over 200 pages, a colorful dust jacket, and a bright red hardbound cover. The narrative text covers a preface, a five-page introduction, a brief overview, and two chapters, each divided into decades and covering the years 1930 through 2016. This section includes over 200 images and photographs. The appendices include 82 photos of festival queens from 1930 through 2017, and listings of all maids in the queens’ courts. There are also 25 photos of the festival presidents and a complete listing of all the many directors over the years, as well as a list of the charter members. Last, the book also includes an extensive index consisting of thirteen pages. Organizers are planning to hold a special event to release the new publication and celebrate the eighty-some years of the festival and its amazing history. Book-signing events are also being planned and information will be available soon by contacting the Florida Strawberry Festival or the Photo Archives and History Center. For further information contact the Photo Archives at 813.754.1578 or email gil@plantcityphotoarchives. org.
BRANDON LEGAL GROUP At tor neys at Law
A Full Service Law Firm Family Law & Divorce, Estate Planning & Probate, Same-Sex Divorce, Business Law, Bankruptcy, Real Estate Law, and Criminal Defense
Oﬃces Brandon & Wesley Chapel Sun City Center & Tampa oﬃces available by appointment
The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 for A New Start- Florida, located at 1514 S. Alexander Street, Suite 202, Plant City. The organization understands that opiate addiction is a disease and that the fears and hesitancy many patients face as they begin their journey into recovery are a reality to be addressed. The outpatient treatment center offers medication assisted treatment, access to a 12-step recovery program, and behavioral therapy. Patients work closely with counselors to help in the recovery process. This results in the complete treatment of mind, body, and soul, which leads to restoration. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, January 19, 2017. Heavenly Healthy, LLC is a wellness consulting and education company. The owner, Mendi McDowell, has over 17 years experience in the industry as well as educational background in Psychology, Sports Medicine, and Business. Customized services offered include corporate wellness consulting, family wellness consulting, educational classes, wellness competitions, presentations, and more. Contact Heavenly Healthy, LLC at wwwheavenlyhealthywellness.com for more information. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at Life Family Church, located at 600 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. in Plant City. Life Family Church is excited and passionate about building the Kingdom of God by reaching out in the community with the love of God, thereby raising the spiritual, economic and socioeconomic status of our city and other cities both here and abroad. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting and building dedication on Thursday, January 19, 2017 for Advantage Restoration and Contracting. The company specializes in commercial and residential cleaning services, mold remediation, and water/ fire damage restoration. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill. Nestled conveniently on the corner of County Road 39 and State Road 60, Uncle Mike’s and UM Catering, open lunch and dinner, has family friendly atmosphere with great food, amazing servers, and plenty of activities for all, from painting classes, to line dance lessons to Ladies Night in the Saloon. Blake Hall is the newest and greatest thing to come to Plant City, especially for weddings! Make Uncle Mike’s your place for family, food, and fun! PAGE
2017 Florida Strawberry Festival Queen & Her Court Queen Drew Knotts received her crown from among 22 bright and beautiful contestants on January 26 at the 82nd Annual Florida Strawberry Festival Lions International Scholarship Pageant. Congratulations also to First Maid Marlee Arn and Court Members Carolyn Brummer, Courtney Coton and Ariel Navarette. Our newest ambassadors will appear frequently during the 11-day “We’re Playing Your Song” themed-extravaganza in celebration of Eastern Hillsborough County’s strawberry harvest. Throughout the year’s full schedule, these lovely ladies will well-represent the industry and Plant City. Be sure to follow their journey through photos and media posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, with hashtag #berryfest17, and at www.flstrawberryfestival.com. Enjoy learning more here, too! By Cheryl Johnston | Photos by Anthony Sassano
Queen Drew Redman Knotts T
he daughter of Andy and Jeanne Knotts is the third female in her extended family to wear the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s crown, following in the footsteps of her grandmother, Ruby Jean Redman (1953) and cousin Chelsea Bowden (2012). She will attend Georgia Southern University on a Division 1 Soccer Scholarship this fall, where the Plant City High School senior Varsity Captain and Anchor on Raider Television plans to major in journalism. While also dual-enrolled at Hillsborough Community College, the National Honor Society scholar/athlete is, in addition, a PCHS varsity cheerleader, varsity flag football teammate, President of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and member of the Senior Executive Council, Yearbook staff and Homecoming Court. Miss January on the PCHS Calendar is also active in the First Baptist Church youth group. At ages three and four, she began watching her babysitters compete in local pageants. Her own competitions started at five with the Jr. Royalty contest. Over the years, Drew won Duchess, Princess and Queen as well as First Maid in the Little Miss Plant City competition. Our new Queen believes others consider her to be competitive, outgoing and confident. Because of previous experience, Drew wasn’t particularly nervous onstage until the Top Five were named from the Top 10 Finalists. “I was stoked and shocked all at the same time,” she explained after being announced as Queen. “My parents jumped up, yelling, and they were hugging people all around them.”
Share a sentence from the local business ad you presented onstage? “The celebration of a lifetime begins at Wells Memorial Funeral Home.”
All of these amazing people contributed to this win! They believed in me and encouraged me to be the best version of myself. I’m eternally grateful for them!
What excites you about the upcoming year? “I look forward to being an ambassador for such a great city, the Florida Strawberry Festival, and our industry.”
Like whom do you aspire to be? “My grandmother. She is full of grace, puts others first, and loves her family.”
Who would you like to thank for this success? “My whole family, my pageant coachTiffany Johnson, and my trainer- Mike Gartz.
Given the opportunity, with whom would you like to have dinner and a long conversation? “Queen Elizabeth. I would love to have her teach me her ways.” PAGE
First Maid Marlee Rose Arn P
lant City High School senior and Hillsborough Community College dual-enrollee Marlee Arn hopes others see her as loving, positive, and encouraging.
The daughter of Ed and Michelle Arn will attend Samford University to major in Interior Architecture. The musically talented jazz band soloist also earned superiors in solo and ensemble Vocal Performance in district competitions. Marlee serves as Youth Worship Band Leader at First Baptist Church of Plant City as well. Other school involvements have included National Honor Society, Varsity Swim Team, Interact Girls’ Service Club, Youth Alive Club Council, Senior Class Secretary, Raider of Excellence, and Calendar Girl- Miss March 2016. Prior to this Pageant, Marlee has participated in Little Miss Plant City and the 2016 Queen’s Scholarship competition. She’s proud to follow in the footsteps of her mother, who was a Court member in 1990. Of the 2017 Pageant experience, Marlee shared: “I actually wasn’t that nervous and felt very calm on stage. I couldn’t stop smiling because I was so excited. It’s very nice to see something you’ve worked so hard for work out in the end. We thought it was funny that Ariel’s initial reaction, once she saw who was on the Court, was to start singing our PCHS alma mater because we are all Raiders.”
And your family’s reaction? “They were all very supportive and excited for me. I couldn’t have done this without them! My brother couldn’t be with us because he’s at college in Alabama, but it was cool to know he was supporting me from nine hours away.” Share a favorite line from your commercial presentation. “’Astin Strawberry Exchange, celebrating family, friends and traditions, generation to generation.’ I like that sentence because it also represents the family atmosphere of our town.” How were the shopping trips for your new royalty wardrobes? “Hanging out with the girls all day was so fun. We’ve all
known each other as long as I can remember, so we were laughing the whole time. We are super excited to wear our outfits to the Festival, especially the gown.” In addition to Festival responsibilities, what do you expect this year? “I’m excited to be a role model for younger girls in the community. When I was younger, I looked up to the girls in the Court, so it’s cool because I know exactly how they feel.” Who would you thank for this success? “My friends and family have been such a great support during my preparation. I’d also like to thank God because I believe He has a plan for everything and it’s
cool to see that this was part of it.” Any musician preferences? “Yes! Judah & The Lion and Taylor Swift.” Who is your role model? “I aspire to be like my brother Cole, who has had a huge impact on my life. I’ve looked up to him since I was a kid. He’s always been such a supportive and positive person.” And an interesting dinner would be with whom? “I would for sure dine with Taylor Swift! I’m a huge fan, so I think it would be great to sit down and get to know her.”
Caroline Brummer C
aroline Brummer, a Top 5 academically-ranked junior at Plant City High School, is a threeyear Varsity Cheerleader and Miss February on the school’s 2017 calendar. The daughter of Jeff and Laura Brummer appreciates her FFA involvement for what she’s learned about “the importance of Agriculture.” Brummer explained, “I enjoy those aspects of the Strawberry Festival and community and look forward to being an ambassador for something that impacts so many people.” In addition to the Veterinary Assisting Program, National Honor Society, and Positive Coaching Alliance involvement, Caroline placed second in the U.S. Southeast Region in the Optimist Oratorical World Championships at St. Louis University. She is also a delegate to the 2017 Congressional Classroom through the Randy Roberts Foundation, who expects to “learn more about the government and how I can make a difference.” She believes people recognize her for determination, competitiveness and humor. Caroline enjoys activities involving animals and watching Florida State University football games. The future Seminole plans to major there in Public Relations. In addition to Calendar Girl, her only prior pageant experience was becoming a Court member in the 2009 Little Miss Plant City contest.
Were you nervous? “That night was almost a blur. I was so excited to hear my name and even happier when they kept announcing my friends. I would like to thank the Lions Club and everyone who helped the night of the pageant for making the evening so special for all of us.” And your family’s reaction? “Everyone was very happy! I was lucky tohave so many family members and friends sharing this moment with me. My sister was home from college and my grandmothers, aunts, and cousin drove hours to be there. It really made for a great experience!” Share a few words from your commercial presentation. “According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number 2 is death. Well,
I’m Caroline Brummer and I have the great privilege to publicly speak to you about death.’ By representing Hopewell Funeral Home, I got to meet Marsha Passmore. I would like to thank her for all her encouragement.” How about the shopping trips? “The best part was getting to know Mrs. Di, Mrs. Donna, and the rest of the girls better. I can already tell we’re going to have a lot of fun this year!” For your success, to whom would you offer thanks? To my family and to Katie Butson, for always believing in me and being there for me. Current read? “Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck [shout out to Mrs. Hamilton, my English teacher] and
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. I just finished one of my favorites, The Help.” One you aspire to be like? “My Mimi, because she supports me and everyone in our family unconditionally. She is tons of fun and is the glue that holds our family together.” And great dinner conversation would be with...? “Michael Oher, the person The Blind Side story is based on. I’d like to hear his thoughts about his experiences in my favorite movie and the true story behind it — to spend time with someone who has succeeded against all odds. He served as such a great role model. Oh, and hanging out with a professional football player wouldn’t be so bad either.” PAGE
Courtney Danielle Coton
lant City High School senior Coutney Coton hopes people recognize her for kindness, sincerity, and a sense of humor. With this pageant win, the daughter of Danny and Danna Coton accomplished a childhood dream, like her aunt did in 1980. “I want to be a positive role model for children,” shared Courtney, adding, “because I have always looked up to the Strawberry Queen and Court, so I would love to be that for someone else.” Active at PCHS as a four-year Varsity Cheerleader and member of the Girls’ Interact Service Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Teenage Republican Club, Courtney also enjoys family trips, community service, and growing her faith through the First Baptist Church of Plant City. She plans to study Journalism at either the University of Alabama or Ole Miss. Regarding the FSF Queen’s Scholarship Pageant, the 2017 PCHS Calendar Girl shared: “My family was so proud of me! They’ve been waiting for me to do this pageant since I was a little girl, so this was a very special moment for us.” Even after having competed in Junior Royalty a few times, Courtney still felt nervous onstage. “But when I was standing with the other girls for Top Five,” she explained, “I honestly didn’t care what place I was announced, because I was just so happy and excited to be in the five.” For her success, she’s credits pageant coach Katie Sharer Butson, the 2004 Strawberry Queen and one Courtney aspires to be like. “I’ve grown so much in my confidence and with public speaking because of her,” said Courtney. “I had the privilege of being the flower girl in the Children’s Court for Katie’s coronation ceremony. I’ve always looked up to and admired her because she’s beautiful on the inside and out.” A favorite line in her 30-second pageant ad for Morrow Steel was “Bill Morrow truly is the man of steel.” Courtney’s musical favorites include: Vance Joy, Ed Sheeran, The 1975, Of Monsters and Men, and The Lumineers. One dream dinner partner would be: “Definitely, actor Steve Carell, who plays in some of my favorite movies and is in my favorite show, ‘The Office.’ I think he would be hilarious to have dinner with.”
Ariel Navarrete P
lant City High School senior Ariel Navarrete is active as the Raider Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team Captain and serves in Student Government, Executive Council, Interact, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Teenage Republicans. In her spare time, the daughter of Juan and Lucy Navarrete enjoys mentoring young girls on mission trips to Nicaragua, interior decorating and playing guitar. She plans to pursue a degree in Interior Design. Friends consider her to be funny, optimistic, and open-minded. Of the Strawberry Festival Pageant experience, Ariel shared: “I’ve always wanted to compete in this one and look forward to representing all the Festival stands for and being a role model to young girls. I remember seeing the Queen and Court on the prettiest float in the Strawberry Festival parades and in the newspaper. I think it’s every Plant City girl’s dream. Our pageants here are so much fun because they’re all about personality and character…I wasn’t nervous because it passes so quickly…I was the last to be called and once I realized we all went to PCHS, I started singing our school’s alma mater. My family was so happy for me. They encouraged me to compete again this year. I remember looking over to my parents when I was announced in Top Five and they were jumping and screaming. It was a great moment!”
You love shopping, right? “I absolutely love it, especially with my school friends. It’s so enjoyable because we sing in the car and have made a tradition of always heading to the food court to taste every sample.” Tell us about your ad for Alan’s Air Conditioning. “It was actually quite funny. I included some jokes like “I could say more AC jokes, but I know you aren’t all fans.” Who do you credit for your success? “I’d like to thank my mom and dad. They always knew this was something I wanted to do. Last year I was named Miss Congeniality, and I remember their encouragement that just like I was myself around the other contestants, if I were to be myself in front of
the judges, then I could win. Te amo, Mom and Dad!” Who do you aspire to be like? “My mom is such a hardworking woman. She’s taught me everything I know and always guided me down the right path. She has every quality I hope to have one day. I have always looked up to her and always will.” Any musical favorites? “I’m diverse and love all kinds of music, but my favorite artist is Taylor Swift.” A great dinner would be with…? “The Mexican artist known for her selfportraits: Frida Kahlo. I find her inspiring and strong. I’d ask her to paint me!”
~ Helen P., a patient of South Florida Baptist Hospital
The Care You Need, When You Need It.
Having lived in Plant City for 60 years, Helen is thankful for having a trusted hospital so close. From general surgery to yearly mammograms and the utilization of South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Outpatient Rehabilitation, Helen has always been treated like royalty. A member of the community since 1953, South Florida Baptist Hospital was built on quality, compassionate care. You’ll find a highly skilled and experienced team that works to make patients and visitors as comfortable as possible during their hospital experience. When you’re treated at South Florida Baptist Hospital, you’ll feel at home, close to home — all your health care needs are covered, without ever leaving Plant City.
Choose South Florida Baptist Hospital. Let South Florida Baptist Hospital be your partner for getting you well and keeping you well. Fill out a health profile online at SouthFloridaBaptistCare.org
Our Specialties: ■ ER: Efficient medical treatment for minor or major emergencies and illnesses ■ Surgery: Large operating rooms, hightech equipment and spacious recovery rooms create a pleasant environment for patients ■ Heart: State-of-the-art heart and vascular center offering cardiac diagnostic services and procedures
and you’ll be sent a complimentary travel first aid kit.
Celebrating heritage and harvests in the community. Since 1930, the Florida Strawberry Festival has brought people together from across the state to celebrate traditions, bountiful successes and to enjoy parades and entertainment. Mosaic is proud of the 4-H and FFA students who work to make the Strawberry Festivalâ€™s livestock events a success. Mosaic also salutes the community members and businesses that come out each year to support youth agriculture and this time-honored community event. ÂŽ
We help the world grow the food it needs.
At The 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival
he Florida Strawberry Festival prides itself on blending treasured traditions with new entertainers, foods and events to give our visitors a fresh experience each year. Here is a list of what you’ll see for the first time at the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival:
Kazual Kazual (pronounced Casual) is a family band of three brothers and a cousin who bring a distinct sound to the ears of their fans. They mix the sounds of R&B, pop and hip hop together to create an experience they call “DooWopHipPop.” Kazual, known for their smooth acapella harmonies, has opened for Beyonce, Nelly, Randy Houser and many more
industry names. Blending dance with harmonious sound and intoxicating vocals, be prepared for Kazual to captivate and invigorate your rhythmic senses. ROBOCARS “Yellow Jacket and “Big Blue” Featuring “Yellow Jacket,” a Camaro, and “Big Blue,” a pickup truck, ROBOCARS is a strolling performance duo, transforming themselves from robots to cars and back again. Nightly showcase acts in the Publix Showcase Tent Will Erickson and the Wreckage, Soul Circus Cowboys, “Gospel Night” featuring First Baptist Church of Plant City Modern Worship Team
Shortcake Burger (Carousel Concessions) A fried hamburger patty topped with white cheese, bacon and your favorite finishings, sandwiched PAGE
Governor Burger (Plant City Lions Club) A fried beef patty topped with chili, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles
and Pastor Calvin “Pee Wee” Callins, new entertainers in HOLA Plant City!, NRG, Ben Allen Band, 33 Years, J. Klein Band, Neon Truckers and Jack Michael Band Tampa Bay Times Race Zone This family exhibit blends items of interest for the little ones and the long-time NASCAR fans. Featuring a 2006 M&M’s Ford Fusion NASCAR racing simulator, “Toby,” a replica of “Lightning McQueen” from the hit movie “Cars,” a Sebring Pace Car Corvette, a Dale Earnhardt race car and plenty of NASCAR memorabilia, the Tampa Bay Times Race Zone is a dream for any both the senior and more recent fans of racing. Cab Calloway Orchestra You won’t forget it – those smooth shiny instruments all in a row, the soloists singing and playing their hearts out, the silky smooth ensemble passagework, those spicy brass harmonies, the whole room bouncing and swaying to the irresistible rhythm, everybody singing “HI DE HO!”.... It must be the Cab Calloway Orchestra, now under the baton of Cab’s grandson, Calloway Brooks. Calloway Brooks, along with the Cab Calloway Orchestra, deliver both the authentic sound of a hot jazz orchestra and a snazzy stage
style, bringing out a jump, blues and boogie experience of “swing that is king and jive that’s alive!”
Deep Fried Strawberry Cheese Burst (Best Around Concessions) A sweet Plant City strawberry is injected with smooth cream cheese, deep fried and topped with powdered sugar and strawberry sauce. Governor Burger (Plant City Lions Club) A fried beef patty topped with chili, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles Brisket Burger (Plant City Lions Club) It’s a hamburger with a twist – a fried 1/3 pound brisket patty finished off with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles Shortcake Burger (Carousel Concessions) A fried hamburger patty topped with white cheese, bacon and your favorite finishings, sandwiched between two shortcakes (buns) with strawberry topping and st
Ornamentals: Nursery Pots Soil Mediums Herbicides Fungicides
Nursery Blend Fertilizers Greenhouse Poly
Agriculture: Fertilizer Crop Protection
Grass Seed Food Plot Seeds
COUPON Free Qt of Weed Killer with a $50.00 purchase
103 S. Alexander St. Plant City, FL, 33563 Hours of operation: Monday- Friday 7:30am - 5:00 pm
CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING THE TOP 10, ASHLEY! PERSONALIZED ATTENTION NICE FAMILY ATMOSPHERE MOST INSURANCE ACCEPTED NEW PATIENTS WELCOME
Ashley Rae Hamel
DENTAL A S S O C I AT E S
RAY GUTIERREZ, DMD | HELEN HOVEIDA, DMD GENERAL DENTISTS 512 E. ALEXANDER STREET | PLANT CITY DENTALASSOCIATESWALDENWOODS.COM
D0150, D0330, D0272, D0210, D1110, D6010, D6012, D6013, D6040, D6050, D9310. IT IS OUR OFFICE POLICY THAT THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENT FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED-FEE OR REDUCED-FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT. DN18996, DN20136
• GENERAL FAMILY DENTISTRY • CROWNS & BRIDGES • COSMETIC BONDING & VENEERS • IMPLANT RESTORATIVE DENTISTRY • DENTURES & PARTIALS • SEDATION DENTISTRY • INVISALIGN® INVISIBLE BRACES
Schedule of Events 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival PROVIDED BY FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL THURSDAY, MARCH 2ND Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon Day Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day Patrons 60 years of age or older get $2 off the gate admission of $10. O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Present voucher from participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores at Midway to receive $3 off $20 wristband and ride all day for only $17. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway Opens at 12:00 Noon 10:30 a.m.–Noon - Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra 11:45 a.m. - Senior Citizens Drawing 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Drifters, Platters & Cornell Gunter’s Coasters 6:00 p.m. - Will Erickson and The Wreckage 7:00 p.m. - Mosaic Youth Swine Show 7:30 p.m. - for KING & COUNTRY FRIDAY, MARCH 3RD Publix Feeding Florida Day Moonlight Magic Night Publix Feeding Florida Day from noon10:00 p.m. Present any Publix brand non-perishable item at entry gate and receive $5 off the regular price of $20 Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book. Moonlight Magic Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $25 per person. All patrons entering the Midway will be required to purchase a $25 wristband, 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. All patrons are subject to search. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway Opens at 12:00 Noon 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. - World Record PAGE
Strawberry Smoothie Created by Cabot Creamery 1:00 p.m. - Dairy Contestant Judging 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Willie Nelson and Family 6:00 p.m. - Soul Circus Cowboys 7:00 p.m. - Mosaic Youth Swine Sale 7:30 p.m. - Kip Moore 10:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m. - Moonlight Magic SATURDAY, MARCH 4TH Free Kids Day | Youth Parade Day Super Saturday Wristband Day Free Kids Day Kids through high school age admitted free. Super Saturday Wristband Day from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $30 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Free Kids Day sponsored by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union. Dairy Shows sponsored by Grove Equipment Service. Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest sponsored by Mavric’s Chocolate Barn. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. - 44th Annual Strawberry Youth Parade 11:00 a.m. - Dairy Show Showmanship 1:00 p.m. - Dairy Show 2:00 p.m. - Youth Strawberry Stemming Contest 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Kane Brown 6:00 p.m. - First Baptist Church of Plant City Modern Worship Team 7:30 p.m. - Gospel Night featuring Pastor Calvin “Pee Wee” Callins 7:30 p.m. - 3 Doors Down
SUNDAY, MARCH 5TH Coca-Cola Family Day Coca-Cola Family Day Present any CocaCola brand can or plastic bottle product at entry gate to receive a voucher for $5 off the $25 wristband and ride most mechanical rides from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. for only $20. Can or bottle is not valid for gate admission. Baby Contest sponsored by South Florida Baptist Hospital. Youth Plant Show & Sale sponsored by Gulf Coast Turf & Tractor. 9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m. - Registration for Baby Contest 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 10:00 a.m. 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. - Baby Contest: Decorated Diaper Contest; Baby Features Contest; Diaper Derby 11:00 a.m. - Dairy Showmanship (Adults) 11:30 a.m. - Dairy Pee Wee Showmanship 12:30 p.m. - Dairy Costume Ball 2:00 p.m. - Youth Plant Sale 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Clare Bowen/Charles Esten 6:00 p.m. - HOLA Plant City 7:30 p.m. - Little Big Town MONDAY, MARCH 6TH Grand Parade Day | Ride-A-Thon Day Ride-A-Thon from 10:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Grand Parade Day sponsored by SunPass. Parade Luncheon sponsored by Tampa Electric Company.
Lamb Shows sponsored by Bad Boy Mowers. Strawberry Spaghetti Eating Contest sponsored by Spaghetti Eddie’s. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 10:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. - Invitational Parade Luncheon 1:00 p.m. - Grand Parade Begins 2:00 p.m. - Grand Parade Passes by the Festival 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - The Bellamy Brothers 5:00 p.m. - Lamb Showmanship & Show 5:00 p.m. - Strawberry Spaghetti Eating Contest 6:00 p.m. - NRG 7:30 p.m. - Jennifer Nettles TUESDAY, MARCH 7TH TWOSDAY | Ride-A-Thon Day TWOSDAY and Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. It’s your choice! Ride any single ride for only $2 or ride most mechanical rides all day with a $20 wristband purchased at the Midway. Adult Strawberry Stemming Contest sponsored by Chocolate Strawberry Express. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 12:00 noon 2:00 p.m. - Adult Strawberry Stemming Contest 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda 3:00 p.m. - Lamb Jumping Contest 3:30 p.m. - Brenda Lee 6:00 p.m. - Ben Allen Band 7:00 p.m. - Lamb Costume Contest 7:30 p.m. - NEEDTOBREATHE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8TH American Heroes Day Ride-A-Thon Day Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. American Heroes Day All active, reserve, retired military, veterans, law enforcement and first responders are admitted free with valid ID. American Heroes Day sponsored by Friends of U.S. Military Families. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 12:00 noon 1:00 p.m. - Super Dog Mega Corndog Eating Contest 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Tracy Byrd 6:00 p.m. - Mosaic Youth Steer Show 6:00 p.m. - 33 Years 7:15 p.m. - Honor American Heroes 7:30 p.m. - Scotty McCreery THURSDAY, MARCH 9TH Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon Day Florida Blue Senior Citizens Day Patrons 60 years and older get $2 off the gate admission of $10. O’Reilly Auto Parts Ride-A-Thon from noon-11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $20 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Present voucher from participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores at Midway to receive $3 off $20 wristband and ride all day for only $17. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 12:00 noon 10:30 a.m.–Noon - Cab Calloway Orchestra 11:45 a.m. - Senior Citizens Drawing. 2:00 p.m. - Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest
2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - The Oak Ridge Boys 6:00 p.m. - J. Klein Band 7:00 p.m. - Mosaic Youth Steer Showmanship 7:30 p.m. - The Blues Brothers FRIDAY, MARCH 10TH Tampa Bay Times Day on the Midway Moonlight Magic Night Tampa Bay Times Day on the Midway from noon-10:00 p.m. Receive $5 discount with a coupon from the Tampa Bay Times for the $20 Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book. Moonlight Magic Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $25 per person. All patrons entering the Midway will be required to purchase a $25 wristband, 10:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m. All patrons are subject to search. Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest sponsored by Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 12:00 noon Noon - Strawberry Mashed Potato Pie Eating Contest 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers 6:00 p.m. - Beef Breed Showmanship 6:00 p.m. - Neon Truckers 7:30 p.m. - Elle King 10:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m. - Moonlight Magic
South Florida Baptist Hospital. 9:00 a.m. - Registration for Livestock Judging Contest 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 10:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. - Livestock Judging 10:15 a.m. - Baby Parade 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Maddie & Tae 6:00 p.m. - Jack Michael Band 7:00 p.m. - Mosaic Youth Steer Sale 7:30 p.m. - Patti LaBelle SUNDAY, MARCH 12TH Coca-Cola Family Day Coca-Cola Family Day Present any Coca-Cola brand can or plastic bottle product at entry gate to receive a voucher for $5 off the $25 wristband
and ride most mechanical rides from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m. for only $20. Can or bottle is not valid for gate admission. Youth Beef Breed Show sponsored by The Hay Exchange. Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown sponsored by Taylor’s Doughboy. 10:00 a.m. - Gates Open Midway opens at 10:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. - Youth Beef Breed Show 1:00 p.m. - Kitchen Craft Cookware 2:00 p.m. - Pulaski Vacation Giveaway 2:30 p.m. - Fanta Strawberry Soda Throwdown 3:30 p.m. - Joe Nichols 5:00 p.m. - Stingray Chevrolet Corvette Drawing 6:00 p.m. - HOLA Plant City! 7:30 p.m. - Rascal Flatts “RHYTHM & ROOTS” Tour
SATURDAY, MARCH 11TH Farm Worker Appreciation Day Super Saturday Wristband Day Farm Worker Appreciation Day sponsored by Astin Farms. Super Saturday Wristband Day from 10:00 a.m.11:00 p.m. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $30 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Baby Parade sponsored by
GIVE YOURSELF A REASON TO SMILE
Exam & X-rays
(Reg. $305) Offer Expires 5/31/17. Includes exam, cleaning & x-rays. New Patients Only.
DENTAL A S S O C I AT E S
RAY GUTIERREZ, DMD | HELEN HOVEIDA, DMD GENERAL DENTISTS 512 E. ALEXANDER STREET | PLANT CITY DENTALASSOCIATESWALDENWOODS.COM
D0150, D0330, D0272, D0210, D1110, D6010, D6012, D6013, D6040, D6050, D9310. IT IS OUR OFFICE POLICY THAT THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENT FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED-FEE OR REDUCED-FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT. DN18996, DN20136
Meet Suzanne Cribbs Florida Strawberry Festival New Associate Director BY KATIE LOUDERMILK
uzanne Cribbs, newly-elected Associate Director for the Florida Strawberry Festival®, cherishes the opportunity to serve in leadership with her hometown’s premier family-entertainment venue. The fifth-generation Plant City native grew up watching her parents’ involvement in the community and Strawberry Festival. Both have inspired her to continue the legacy. Her father, Jess (Jim) Vess Walden, Jr., was a President of Farm Credit and 20-year director of the Festival before he passed away from cancer. She and her mother, Linda Walden, have been co-chairs of the annual Fashion Show for 26 years. “I just love everything about Plant City!” Suzanne shared. Since her childhood, she was involved with numerous Festival events, including the Baby Parade, shoe box floatbuilding, and the Strawberry Queen pageant. “Escorting the Grand Parade marshals was something I helped my dad with in my early 20s and how I started volunteering with the Festival,” she explained. “After he passed, I continued volunteering with my mom for over ten years, escorting the Grand Parade judges to the luncheon, parade site for judging, and then to the Festival grounds to tabulate and announce the winners.” Suzanne has been married 32 years to Tim Cribbs, Career & Technical Department Head, Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor at Durant High School. She is also the proud mother of Joshua and
Caitlin, both of whom were Durant honor graduates [’06; ‘09] and served as Florida State FFA officers. Caitlin, a University of Florida graduate, works as an elementary educational consultant in Tampa. Joshua and his two children, Abbie and Jess Vess the third, live in South Dakota. The Baby Parade was a family tradition, too. “My mother always entered me. I believe I won Most Beautiful Float when I was three,” Suzanne said. “Joshua won Most Handsome one year and Healthiest another. Caitlin won Most Beautiful float one year in a yellow dress as the center of strawberry blossom.” Agriculture has always been important to the family. “My dad and my husband farmed 50 acres of strawberries along with their jobs,” she recalled, adding, “and I helped. When the children were younger, they showed livestock that ranged from chickens to cattle at the Festival.” “Tim has been chairman of the Festival’s Youth Livestock Judging Contest since 2012 and I assist him with FFA and 4H team registration,” she continued. “I have also served as a judge for state FFA speaking and writing contests.” Her family also provides a scholarship, the J.V. Walden Scholarship, in honor of her father and his contributions to the town. The Plant City High School graduate [Class of 1980] attended college at Hillsborough Community, University of Florida, and University of South Florida. She teaches
English now at Tomlin Middle School, where she’s also a STEM program team leader and gifted student program consultant. Before Suzanne was announced as associate director, she won Grand Champion in the 2016 Neighborhood Village food preservation category for her squash relish. Her kids told
her jokingly, “It’s a good thing you won that LAST year, Mom.” “I am very honored to be chosen as the new Festival Associate Director,” she offered. “This town means so much to me and my family. I find joy in the work and volunteering I do here.”
ANNUAL STINGRAY CHEVROLET RAFFLE!
WIN A 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray! Raﬄe tickets will be available at Stingray Chevrolet until 6pm EST Friday 3/10/17, and the Florida Strawberry Festival (March 2-12, 2017) during hours of operation up to 4:30pm EDT 3/13/16. Tickets will also be available on-line at stingraychevrolet.com until 6pm EST Friday 3/11/17. The winning ticket will be drawn at 5pm EDT on March 12, 2017 at The Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, FL. Proudly sponsored by Stingray Chevrolet for Unity in the Community
THANK YOU to everyone for supporting Unity in the Community and helping those in need! A raﬄe for a new 2017 Corvette Stingray is being conducted by Unity in the Community, Inc, a 501(c)(3) non-proot organization located in Plant City, Florida. Stingray Chevrolet, located in Plant City, Florida, is the source of the prize. The winning ticket will be drawn at 5pm EDT on March 12, 2017 at The Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Florida. Winner need not be present to win. All proceeds from the raﬄe beneet Unity in the Community, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-proot organization. A $5 minimum donation per raﬄe ticket is suggested but not required. No purchase necessary. Winner must be 18 years or older. Employees, members and immediate family members of Stingray Chevrolet and “Unity in the Community” living in the sames household are not eligible to win. Raﬄe tickets will be available at Stingray Chevrolet until 6pm EST Friday, 3/10/17, and at the Florida Strawberry Festival (March 2-12, 2016) during hours of operation up to 4:30pm EDT 3/13/16. Tickets will also be available on-line at stingraychevrolet.com until 6pm EST Friday 3/10/17. Limit 50 tickets per person. Winner will be promptly notiied of the drawing by phone. If failure to contact winner within 72 hours of the drawing occurs, another winner will be drawn. Winner responsible for tax, tag, title and fees plus any prize related federal taxes (Form 1099 will be provided. Void where prohibited. No cash option available. Participants agree to release, discharge and hold harmless Stingray Chevrolet, Unity in the Community, Inc, participating radio stations, radio programs, parent, subsidiary and aﬃliated companies, and their respective oﬃcers, directors, employees, agents and representatives, against any claim, liability or expense arising from participation in the raﬄe and/or acceptance or use of any prize. Must be a legal U.S. resident of the Continental U.S. to be eligible to participate. Winner is responsible for taking local delivery of the Corvette Stingray at Stingray Chevrolet.
Farm from the
Strawberry Bread and Strawberry Butter BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
armer’s wife Melissa Green Grimes serves the industry she married into as Hillsborough County Chairperson for the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers. She and Buddy, her husband of seven years, have a three-year-old son, Clayton, who loves the Grimes & Son farm life, too. Melissa enjoys showing paint horses competitively and together, the family also loves saltwater fishing. But the top priority for Lithia-born, homeschooled Melissa is “raising our son and making my husband happy.” The Strawberry Butter recipe has been passed down to Melissa through Buddy’s grandmother Betty and mother Debby. Melissa often gifts party guests with the butter in 3-ounce labeled Mason jars. It’s wonderful served on Strawberry Bread, bagels, and morning toast.
Strawberry Bread • • • • • • • • •
3 cups fresh strawberries, diced 4 eggs room temp 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil 1 1/2 cups sugar 3 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1-¼ cups chopped nuts
Add first 4 ingredients. Beat well. Add next four ingredients. Mix well, then add nuts. Pour into two 9x5 inch greased pans or muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done. Makes two loaves or 24 muffins.
Strawberry Butter • • • •
16oz of unsalted butter softened 1/2 cup of diced strawberries 1/2 cup of smashed strawberries with juice 1/4 cup confectionary sugar or 3 tablespoons of honey
Whip butter till fluffed, add in sugar and continue to blend. Fold in diced and smashed strawberries. PAGE
Farm from the
Debbie Williams Norris Strawberry Shortcake BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
armer’s daughter Debbie Williams Norris grew up working in the family’s strawberry fields alongside her parents, Billy and Mattie, and her brothers Darrell and Billy Keith. Through the years, the Plant City High School graduate (Class of 1971) also delivered berries to the Publix stores in Tampa. Today, after 22 years as a Head Start instructor at Springhead Elementary, Debbie works now as a para-professional to kindergarten teachers at Walden Lake Elementary. After her mother’s death in late December 2016, Debbie considers it an honor to share the Strawberry Cake recipe Mattie was known for. The cake has also long been a birthday tradition, which daughter Amanda Brewer is continuing. Debbie is especially grateful for the recent appreciation shown by Dana Coton and Marina Matthews when they donated a book, Strawberry Girl, to the Walden Lake Elementary School’s library in memory of Mattie Williams.
Strawberry Shortcake • • • •
1 box white cake mix 5 quarts of strawberries 4 envelopes of Dream Whip Sugar
Prepare 4 envelops of Dream Whip per directions on box. Refrigerate 6 hours. Overnight is better. Wash, stem and slice 5 quarts of berries. Sweeten generously. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and overnight is even better. Prepare 1 box of white cake mix, according to directions. Bake in 9x13 pan. When cool, remove pan. To prepare cake: Slice cake horizontally and put bottom half in pan. Drain berries until all liquid is gone. Mix berries with 3/4 amount of the Dream Whip. Spread 1/2 on cake. Place other half of cake on top of sweetened berries. Spread rest of berries on top of that layer. Finish cake with remainder of the Dream Whip. PAGE
Farm from the
Dee Dee Grooms
Strawberry Salad and Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
lant City native Dee Dee Kinchen Grooms learned about farming from her grandfather, who also worked a separate full-time job. The Turkey Creek High School graduate (Class of ’72) learned to cook when her mother worked evenings and appointed Dee Dee responsible to feed her two younger sisters. To this day, preparing healthy food for family and friends still brings her joy. In fact, employees who have appreciated her “egg whites on an English muffin” lovingly call that breakfast sandwich “Mc DeeDee’s.” Over the years, Mrs. Grooms has also won several Grand Champion awards for her jams, a cake, and strawberry lemonade concentrate. Dee Dee met Carl, her husband of 43 years, while out on a date with another farmer. Their 43-year-old company, Fancy Farms, is well-known for its quality fruit and for the couple’s Florida Strawberry Growers Association involvement as one of the founding families. Their son Dustin farms with his father and daughter works Kristi with a marketing firm. Although Dee Dee works in the office only as needed now, she continues to cook the staff’s daily lunch. In addition to calligraphy, decorating and time at the beach, the creative cook loves planning extra special birthday celebrations. As an example, for their only grandchild Skylar, Dee Dee made a strawberry pancake breakfast and delivered giftwrapped chocolate-dipped strawberry pops to the 11-year-old’s schoolmates. To try some of Dee Dee’s regularly-requested recipes, be sure to purchase the oft-collected FSGA Annual Cookbook.
Strawberry Romaine Salad • • • • • • • •
2 large heads romaine lettuce 1 to 2 pints fresh Florida strawberries, sliced 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted, if desired) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Dressing • 1 cup vegetable oil • 3/4 cup sugar • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing (when strawberries are in season) • • •
5 quarts fresh Florida strawberries, washed & stemmed 1 quart white distilled vinegar Sugar
Wash romaine lettuce; dry. Tear into pieces and put in clear salad bowl. Add sliced strawberries on top of romaine lettuce. Sprinkle cheese on top of strawberries. Put chopped walnuts over grated cheese. This makes a beautiful presentation.
Dressing: Mix ingredients in bottle and shake until thickened; or, use a whisk to blend well. Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing: Place whole strawberries in a large stainless steel pot or plastic container. Pour vinegar over the berries and let sit overnight. The next day, pour off liquid from strawberries. Liquid should be red and clear (no pulp). The vinegar pulls the juice out of the berries. Next, measure the amount of juice the strawberries produced and put into a stainless-steel pot. Add equal measurement of sugar to the pot of strawberry liquid. Bring to a boil. Skim off foam, put into pint jars, and seal.
RussellsWesternWear.com TAMPA • WESLEY CHAPEL • BRANDON • LAKELAND • OCALA • BRADENTON • LAKE CITY
Meet Farmers the
Parkesdale Farms BY KATIE LOUDERMILK | PHOTOS BY MIKE FLOYD
lant City grown Matt Parke is taking over the family farm to continue the Parke legacy here in Hillsborough County and beyond. For three generations since its start with 10 acres in 1956, the Parke family has grown strawberries, citrus, and other fresh produce. As some of those involved in establishing the stateacknowledged non-profit Florida Strawberry Growers Association in 1982, the family’s members are very connected to the community--donating food to the local food bank, awarding scholarships, and selling their renowned strawberry shortcake during the annual Florida Strawberry Festival harvesting season. More than a decade ago, Matt retired from motocross racing to focus on the farm. He’s now engaged to Kandice Barber and has a nine-year-old daughter.
Focus: Detail your history with farming. Parke: I grew up on a farm and always helped my dad [Bobby], learning a lot from him and from family. I always knew I would become a farmer myself one day and begin officially in 2002 after graduating from Durant High School. I grew up enjoying watching the different plants grow. It’s fascinating for me to watch the seasons change. I still cherish those satisfying moments after accomplishing my goals for each season. Focus: What are your daily responsibilities on the farm? Parke: The first thing I do is head to the cooler, our main headquarters, and get the day started. I follow a checklist to make sure there are enough materials for the workers. I handle ordering the plants and seeds. Other important tasks range from checking quality controls, running the water, managing the
fertilizer and talking to salesmen to discuss forecasting for upcoming crops and anticipated quantities. Overall, I make sure everything runs smoothly. I can even be found working out on the fields, helping with crop spraying. Focus: What are some difficulties you face on the farm? Parke: The main issues I come across are finding labor, maintaining a profit with competing countries, and keeping the plants up-to-date for health regulations, all while remaining profitable. The humidity in Florida creates difficulties to keep the plants clean, thus requiring we spend more money to maintain our standards for cleanliness. We end up spending up to $80,000 per year. Our goal is to preserve quality for the produce for the customer’s sake. Keeping up our reputation for healthy plants is very important to Parkesdale Farms. We have been food safety certified since 1998.
Parkesdale Farms has become closer to organic than we ever have been in the past. Focus: Do you have any advice for the community regarding produce? Parke: When you buy produce at the grocery store, make sure you wash everything at home. You never know who has touched the fruit and vegetables. So many germs could be left on the produce by other people picking food up and then putting it back in the display area. It is better to be safe. Also, support your local farmers. Pay attention to what the produce’s origin is. Farming is going downhill in the United States. Many farmers are losing their farms due to competing prices from other nations and because of the numerous health regulations that must be followed. Please support your American farms!
Meet Farmers the
Lance Ham Ham Farms
BY KATIE LOUDERMILK | PHOTOS BY MIKE FLOYD
orn in Alabama, brought up by his family in Plant City, local farmer Lance Ham of Ham Farms shared his thoughts on what it’s like to be a farmer in our beloved town. Although he wasn’t born here, the Plant City High School graduate (Class of ‘88) has lived in Plant City from age one and from age nineteen, farming has been his passion. The new President of the Florida Strawberry Growers Association has also served the last four years as President of the local Elks Lodge. Lance has two children, Logan and Lexie, along with two grandsons. He is engaged to Crystal Eden. Focus: How did you become involved with farming? Ham: Farming was not the first thing I wanted to have a career in. My father was a helicopter pilot before he retired and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. Sadly, I found out I have color disorientation. But later I realized
how enjoyable the lifestyle of being a farmer seemed to me. I admired my father-in-law’s farm in Turkey Creek. He was always doing different tasks on a daily basis. And I got to see how the plants change. Watching plants grow and adapt left me in
Focus: What are your responsibilities as a farmer and President of the FSGA? Ham: My farm is considered a small farm. That means I have to be very good at multitasking. I do almost everything. I handle payroll,
My main crops are strawberries and tomatoes. I do not regret going into farming and am pleased with the life I chose. awe. That is how I knew I wanted to go into the farming business. My mother is third generation Plant City. Her father owned a small farm. I inherited the land and cleared out the cattle to plant crops. My main crops are strawberries and tomatoes. I do not regret going into farming and am pleased with the life I chose.
farm management, plant spraying, and sales calls. It keeps me busy and I am not always doing the same thing every day. As the president, I handle board meetings and am representative for the association. It was an honor for me to have been nominated for the position because I have been a member of the association since I started farming.
I never asked to be president. I always wanted to be part of the board though. I am truly honored to be the new president of 2017. Focus: What are some changes in farming you have experienced over the years? Ham: When I first started out, there were maybe 58 acres per farmer. Now, I know only four other small farmers. Our farming community has decreased dramatically over the years. The farmland has turned into commercial housing because it is difficult to maintain a profit. However, I do what I do for the lifestyle. If one cannot handle the stress and challenges of finding labor and competing with countries such as Mexico, farming is not for them. But if the difficulties were taken out, more people would find farming satisfying.
Strawberry Fun Facts
INFORMATION GATHERED BY KATIE LOUDERMILK
he Florida Strawberry Festival®, recognized as one of the best festivals in the country, ranks among the Top 40 Fairs in North America.
More than 100 annual events in 34 states celebrate the strawberry. Taxpayers do NOT subsidize The Florida Strawberry Festival®. A non-paid board of 30 directors and associate directors, selected by election from among local community residents, governs the event. Only a handful of paid staff members work year ‘round. 81 queens have worn the Florida Strawberry Festival® crown since 1930 when the Lions Club established the Festival. In 1948, American Legion Post #26 helped reactivate the Festival following a six-year hiatus during and immediately following WWII (from 1942-1947) Approximately 3,000 free seats are available in the concrete stadium bleachers on a first-come/first-serve basis (as part of the paid gate admission) for many of the 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. daily headline concerts on the Wish Farms soundstage. The Neighborhood Village and the Art Show are two popular displays of local talent for cooking, sewing, and fine arts visitors can enjoy. To ensure you’re buying Florida-grown winter strawberries, look on the container for “Jammer,” FSGA’s new mascot. A live, costumed Jammer makes personal appearances at special events. Jammer even has his own Facebook page. - See more at: strawberrysue.com/about#sthash.4yg17yI2.dpuf According to the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, of Florida’s statewide $148.5 billion in industry revenue, $307 million stems from strawberries. PAGE
Hillsborough County is now one of the largest agricultural counties in the nation, with more than 8,000 acres of strawberries planted annually in the local area. Some 2,800 county farms produce fruit and vegetable crops with an annual value of over $400 million. One acre produces about 50,000 pounds of strawberries, the first fruit to ripen in spring. Once picked, the rich in fiber fruit will not ripen. Eight ounces equal 55 calories and contain eleven grams of carbohydrates. Today, strawberries are grown on every continent except Antarctica. The top two strawberry-producing states in America are CA and FL. Americans eat approximately 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year, plus 1.8 pounds of frozen. Typically, 22-27 berries are needed to fill a 1-pound clamshell. When the fruit is smaller due to higher fall temperatures, a clamshell will hold nearly 35 berries. Among all fruits profiled as the World’s Healthiest Foods, strawberries ranks as the best fruit source of the pivotal antioxidant vitamin C in several nationwide studies conducted in different countries. Strawberries contain more vitamin C than any other berry. Just eight medium strawberries contain more vitamin C than one orange. Strawberries are best when served at room temperature. Strawberries, which are members of the rose family, are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. Most contain 150-200 seeds. The berries actually reproduce with long shoots of new growth rather than the seeds. Although not mentioned in the Bible, strawberries (originally called strewberries) have been representative symbols of righteousness and perfection. They were served at important functions in medieval times to bring peace & prosperity. In the early 15th century western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts. Folklore: If you split double berry in half & share with opposite sex, you will soon fall in love. The fruit is considered to be an aphrodisiac in many cultures. Learn more through the following links: flastrawberry.com flstrawberryfestival.com facebook.com/FLStrawberryFestival/ facebook.com/flastrawberry
YEAR ROUND SUPPLIER OF... Strawberries, Blueberries and NOW Blackberries
813.752.5111 @wishfarms â€¢ www.wishfarms.com PAGE
Brandon Snyder of Investments & Financial Services
Snyder Investments & Financial Services Young Partners Here for the Long Haul
BY BARBARA ROUTEN | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY SNYDER INVESTMENTS AND FINANCE
nyder Investments and Financial Services has been a Plant City institution since it was started in 1992 by Dean Snyder, who moved to the area from Mobile, Ala., in 1986. After Snyder was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in September 2012, his son Brandon Snyder began assisting his father and the firm. Brandon Snyder, a 2001 Plant City High School graduate, became managing partner of Snyder Investments and Finance after his father passed away in 2013. He knows intimately what it’s like to lose a beloved family member and feels it gives him a better understanding of the importance of the insurances he sells and the financial and retirement planning he provides. “My mom, Michelle ‘Mikie’ Snyder, would be working a full-time job and would have had to sell her house if Dad hadn’t had everything in place. Luckily, she’ll be taken care of now,” said Snyder.
“The best part of my business is seeing it work,” he said. “I help people with things they know littleto-nothing about, and when families go through awful tragedies, they thank me, and I know my work has a purpose.” Snyder and his associates sell all types of insurance–life, disability and others—and manage 401Ks, but their main focus is retirement planning, particularly for law enforcement officers. “We set up a plan, using the money they’ve saved for retirement, like IRAs and 401(k)s, plus their Social Security and any other funds they have. We help them design a plan so they’ll have an income throughout their retirement,” he said. Helping people in the community comes naturally to Snyder, whose father was involved in multiple charities. “I said I’d try all of his charities once and find the one I enjoy,” said Snyder, who lived in Colorado for a short time and took up road biking
before his father got sick. “Biking is what I like to do, so for four years—this will be the fifth— we’ve done the Dean’s Ride, an annual bicycle ride my dad started in 2013 to benefit the Plant City Family YMCA’s Livestrong program,” he said. For information about the April first ride and the Livestrong 12week wellness program for cancer survivors, call the YMCA at (813) 757-6677. It was fortunate for the clients of Snyder Investments and Financial Services that Brandon Snyder could step into his father’s shoes. In the United States, the average age of a financial advisor is about 51, with more than 40 percent over 55 and fewer than 12 percent under 35, said a CNBC article that referenced data from Cerulli Associates. Snyder, 33, got into the business before he was 30. His business partner, Lance Roberts, is 34 and worked eight years for AIG before
joining Snyder’s firm in March 2016. They are proficient in industry technology and recently updated their website, www.SnyderIFS.com. Their employee-benefits enrollment partner is Enrollment Alliance’s Bobby Leesman, a Plant City High School class of 2000 graduate. Snyder said, “I ask my clients, ‘Do you want the person responsible for your assets to pass away before you?’ They say, ‘No.’” “With us being the young guys, we’re in this for the long haul,” he said. “We’ll see our clients through— we’re probably going to be around longer than they are.”
Snyder Investments and Financial Services 1703 Thonotosassa Road, Suite B Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 752-2505 snyderifs.com
PARKPLACE PLACE 813-704-5924 813-704-5924 PARK BUILD THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS!!
How To Get Started Shopping For A Home BY NATE DAVIS, FLORIDA MORTAGE FIRM
3 Minutes to I-4 Park Rd or Buchman Hwy Exits!
10 different models to choose from, a wide variety of styles. A large selection of flooring, countertops, exterior colors, and brick choices! NATURAL GAS!! Inventory Move in Ready Starting at $218K Let us build your TURN KEY home starting in Mid $200K’s
PLUS A 20x 25 DETACHED GARAGE WORKSHOP Models available with 2 car attached garage
FEES ONLY $250 PER YEAR!!!
GATE ADDRESS 1809 N GORDON ST, PLANT CITY 33563 OPEN 10-5 MON, TUE, FRI, SAT , 1-4 SUN BY APPOINTMENT WED, THU. 813-704-5924 PAGE
f you are financing the purchase of a home, your first step should be to find out whether you qualify for a mortgage, and the second step should be to pinpoint how much you can afford. Both of those steps can be accomplished by getting prequalified. Before you do so, here’s the most important thing to remember about a mortgage prequalification: A prequalification at one place does not equal one at another. Since a prequalification is a simple, quick process, the amount of money you are told that you can borrow does not necessarily mean you will get approved by an underwriter for that amount. Many places will glance at your financial picture and ramble off a loan amount. This is a flawed process that can lead to heartache when you put an offer on a house, only to discover later you cannot get a big enough loan to buy it. The more accurate way is to figure out how much of a monthly
mortgage payment you can afford, as it typically includes principal, homeowner’s insurance, taxes and possibly mortgage insurance. For instance, two homes cost the same amount to buy, but one has higher insurance and property taxes. The house carrying higher insurance and taxes would have a higher monthly mortgage payment. If they were high enough, then it could be too costly for your monthly budget. Diligent mortgage loan officers will prequalify you based off of a monthly payment after reviewing your tax returns, pay stubs, credit report and/or any other relevant documentation (each person’s situation is different, so some documentation may or may not be required). The Florida Mortgage Firm requires its loan officers to be thorough and diligent with the prequalification process. If you have any questions about this, call us at 813.707.6200.
Florida Mortgage Firm (813-707-6200) is an Equal Housing Lender, NMLS #289323, NMLS #294701.
CSB_PlantCityMergerAd_FocusMag.qxp_Layout 1 1/30/17 10:42 AM Page 1
We Welcome Platinum Bank to the CenterState Family!
New Plant City Location Coming April 2017: 1804 James L. Redman Parkway Plant City, FL 33563 www.centerstatebank.com SAFETY
LO C A L L E A D E R S H I P PAGE
Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET
Ph: (813) 624-9675 | Fax: (813) 986-1145 email@example.com
he Walden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are the third Monday of each month at the Walden Lake Community Association office building on Griffin Boulevard in Walden Lake. The next meetings are scheduled for February 20th and March 20th at 7:00 PM. The meetings are open to all Walden Lake residents. Watch the announcement boards at all entrances for dates and times for special meetings and events. The Pavilion at the Sports Complex is available to rent. My family decided to have our grandson’s first birthday at the Pavilion and we had a wonderful day. The kids loved having all the extra room to run and play. They played softball, soccer, and more. Reservations can be made by calling contacting the HOA Office at 754-8999 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The fees to reserve are only $45 for half day and $60 for a full day with a $100 refundable damage deposit that I received in my mail within 3 days of the party. Don’t forget to renew your Dog Park Membership. It’s nice to see folks out there utilizing our wonderful facilities. President Dan Orico and Treasurer Heather Updike have resigned from the Board of Directors. Bob Bell from The Hammocks and Mike Fiaschetti from Forest Club were approved by the Board to complete the remainder of the vacated terms. During the month of January, there were 11 sales in Walden Lake. The average sale price in Walden Lake was $205,000 with an average of 56 days The January sales are as follows Address Sales Price 3444 Silverstone Court $110,000 207 Granada Court N $132,000 3447 Silverstone Court $147,000 1424 Oakwood Lane $171,000 2313 Walden Place $185,000 1901 N Golfview Drive $205,000 2801 Clubhouse Drive $226,000 3313 Kilmer Place $239,000 4106 Concord Way $250,000 2701 Clubhouse Drive $277,000 2816 Pine Club Drive $312,500
on the market. There was one sale in Walden Lake East. When looking at sold data, you need the knowledge and experience to consider what you know about the properties. We know the properties that sold and why some sold low. In these homes, 3 were Bank Owned, bringing down the average price. With these 3 properties removed from the equation, the average sale price was $224,125. Currently, 31 active listings are for sale in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East with an average list price of $242,038 and an average of 38 days on the market. There are 20 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $244,810 and average of 43 days on the market. Although inventory is increasing, it is still low. In the past 6 months, there have been an average of 14 homes sold per month giving a 2.2 months’ worth of inventory in Walden Lake and Walden Lake East. Homes that are priced well and in good condition are selling quickly. If you are considering selling, please contact The Sweet Team for a no obligation consultation 813-758-9586. We are always happy to provide you with an honest value of your home. The United Food Bank is in need of non-perishable items and our HOA office is a drop off location. They are also looking for volunteers to help stock shelves! If you have some time on your hands, they would love to have you. Feel free to contact me with real estate questions or about this article. NSweet@KW.com or 813-758-9586.
Living Area 1843 Sq’ 1401 Sq’ 1571 Sq’ 1716 Sq’ 1636 Sq’ 2665 Sq’ 2097 Sq’ 1860 Sq’ 2386 Sq’ 2536 Sq’ 2618 Sq’
Pool Private No Private No Private Private Private Private Private Private Private
Garage 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 3 Car 2 Car 2 Car 2 Car 3 Car
Keller Williams Lists and Sells more homes than any other real estate company in Tampa Bay! At Keller Williams our homes are marketed Globally and Sold Locally by Realtors that Live, Work and Believe in the communities they serve. Call any of our Keller Williams agents for a market analysis of your home at 813-759-1200.
Athlete of the Month: Dalton Wingo UCF Baseball Scholarship Recipient BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY DALTON WINGO
Plant City High School senior Dalton Wingo plans on attending the University of Central Florida on a baseball scholarship this upcoming summer.
aseball season is right around the corner. Some kids will play t-ball for the very first time and others will enter their tenth, eleventh, maybe twelfth season. For Plant City High School senior Dalton Wingo, this baseball season is a showcase of a lifetime’s worth of hard work and his dream to be drafted into the Big Leagues. The center fielder for the Plant City High School baseball team has played baseball for eight years now. He’s one of the core leaders as well. “I have always loved baseball and it’s really fun to play,” stated Wingo. “Once I figured out I could use baseball to pay for college and make a career for myself, I fell in love with it even more.” On November 6, 2016, Wingo signed to attend the University of Central Florida on a baseball scholarship. He plans to major in either Sports Marketing or Sports Management. “I chose UCF because I fell in love with the campus when I visited,” he said. “Everything they have to offer academically and
athletically is just really nice. It’s also close to home but far enough away that it feels like I’m still going off to college.” Even though the National Signing Day was February 1, Wingo decided to make his commitment earlier so he could focus on his performance this upcoming season. He hopes to be drafted this June and start his professional career right out of high school. “My key to success would be just falling in love with the game and working hard,” Wingo explained. “Even if I’m not necessarily playing a game or at practice, I’m doing something baseball-related every single day because I do love the sport.” With all Wingo has accomplished up to this point, it hasn’t come without obstacles. When he was 12 years-old, Wingo discovered there was separation in the growth plate of his right shoulder and had to take a six-month break from the sport he loved. After the extensive healing process ended, he re-injured himself a second time with the same problem; this time he was out for a whole year. Taking a year-anda-half break from baseball was by no means easy. He was fortunate, however, that it occurred at a young age so he could come into high school even stronger than he was before. Wingo credits many of his achievements to the immense help and support from his family. “My motivation is not only to make myself happy by playing professionally and showcasing my skills in front of the whole world; I want to make my family happy and one day give back to them for how much time and money they have put in to my success,” he expressed.
Wingo steps up to the plate and crushes a ball in a game last season. The Raiders’ regular season begins February 21st with a home game against the Plant High School Panthers.
Scott Bikowski, Wingo’s agent, has contributed greatly to how far Wingo has come as an athlete. Over the past year he has helped expose Wingo to the professional world. “Not only has he made the road to getting drafted a lot easier, but he has also been a great role model in and outside of baseball,” Wingo stated. Whenever he is not working on improving his own skills, Wingo makes time to better the skills of younger kids who look to him as an inspiration. “My advice to any young athlete is that if you really love the game and want to play it for a long time, you need to work hard and keep your head straight on and off
the field,” he explained. “Grades are important! Once your athletic career ends, you’re going to need to do something with your life, so work hard and keep your head straight in all you do.” Wingo’s final baseball season begins on February 21, as the Raiders take on Plant High School at home. He will graduate as an Honor Grad in May with a 4.03 GPA. Whether he attends UCF in the summer or gets drafted into Major or Minor Leagues in June, Dalton Wingo will continue to carry himself as the hard working, dedicated scholar athlete he is and make his family and community proud.
Sports Team of the Month National Signing Day at Plant City High School BY ASHLYN YARBROUGH
ebruary 1, 2017 was a historical day for many high school seniors and college coaches across the country: National Signing Day. This annual event is the day thousands of high school athletes make the prominent commitment to continue their athletic career at the top school of their choice. Plant City High School is a proud host of ten athletes who will leave their beloved town and embark on an incredible journey that will shape the rest of their lives. Savannah Kummelman, captain of the PCHS Girls Golf team, has led her team to win four straight district titles. She has been golfing seven years now and plans to pursue her college golf career at Montreat College in North Carolina. “I’m excited about meeting new friends, moving to a different place, and having a great time, all while playing the sport I love!” she stated. Drew Knotts has signed to play Division 1 soccer at Georgia Southern University. She has been dedicated to the sport for 15 years
The scholar athletes who have signed to further their athletic career are Savannah Kummelman, Nathan Hamilton, Corey King, Steven Ogeltree, Corey St. John, Calvin Richardson, and Drew Knotts. (from left to right)
now! Knotts plays as a right or left back defense winger and forward. “Coaching Drew has been an adventure because she tore her ACL four games into the season. Even though I was not her coach for very long, based off her work ethic I know she will be very successful at the next level,” expressed Brooke Bennett, PCHS Girls Soccer coach. Five PCHS football players made their commitment on this National Signing Day. “Our signees are a pretty good group of kids who all work hard and have been through a lot of adversity,” shared Robert Paxia, head football coach for the Raiders. “We are just so excited for them to get the opportunity to go play football and go onto the next level.” Offensive and defensive lineman Nathan Hamilton has played football since third grade. He has signed to continue playing the sport he loves at the New Mexico Military Institute and will serve in the military after his football career ends. “I love the competitiveness of the sport
and I’m excited about the college experience,” Hamilton explained. The Raiders’ quarterback, Corey King, has played seven years. He signed to continue playing football at Ferris State University. “I’m excited about competing and earning my spot right away. I just want to play and be great one day,” King expressed. Steven Ogeltree is a 14-year football player and linebacker for the PCHS football team. Because of his hard work and ability to “play any position there is to play in football,” as he would put it, Ogeltree signed to play at Ellsworth Community College. “I plan on transferring to a major university after my first three semesters at ECC and hopefully going into the NFL after that,” he stated. Defensive tackle Corey St. John has been playing football since age seven. He will also pursue his athletic career at ECC. “I’m excited about getting away from home, meeting new people, and getting my education on,” he explained.
Lastly, Calvin Richardson, a corner, has played football four years. He will also be playing at ECC beginning in the summer. “It’s nice knowing people up at college so I’m not there by myself,” stated Richarson. “I plan on signing to a D1 school after two years at Ellsworth.” Along with these seven outstanding scholar athletes who signed earlier in the year are Dalton Wingo, who will play baseball at the University of Central Florida; Edmilly Molina, who will play softball at Palm Beach Atlantic University; and Antoine Thompson, who has graduated early and is currently training at North Carolina State University in preparation for the fall football season. Plant City High School is a proud alma mater of these ten skilled athletes. Each will surely make their community proud as they pursue their dreams in the next chapter of their lives.
Leaders in Faith Dr. Daniel Morris
BY CHERYL JOHNSTON | PHOTO COURTESTY DAN MORRIS
r. Dan Morris, Sr. serves our community as President of the Biblical Leadership Institute, Executive Director of the Peoples Life Institute, and Director of Missions with the Shiloh Baptist Association. He and his wife of 10 years, Joyce, were both widowed by the too-soon deaths of their first spouses. The father of three and grandfather of six enjoys learning, teaching, travel, technology and friendships in every age range. After experiencing “the joy of growing up in a Christian home with mentoring parents,” Dr. Dan earned his Master of Divinity (1971) and Doctor of Ministry (1996) degrees, with major emphasis on Leadership in Organizational Growth, from Southern Seminary. He’s happy for this “amazing time to learn of the new cultural trends” and enjoys the creativity involved in networking with others. He loves Plant City for its “touch of country, small-enough” community environment, close-enough location to larger cities, and Christian cultural values held by so many wonderful locals.
unmanageable conflict to build a healthy foundation for long term growth. It is my calling to be a friend and blessing to those in ministry. Today, I enjoy this gift from God, work I often call a “Nehemiah TodayBuilding, Renewing, and Restoring churches as the body of Christ.” I have a passion to love and build relationships with people through our Lord, by coaching and helping ministers, church leadership, and all people get to the next level as leaders in their life, family, church, and community.
How did you become a Christian? I became a Christian at age nine and accepted the call to pastoral ministry as a teenager, pastoring my first church while single at age 19. Over 37 years, I have pastored seven churches in four states and serve now as a minister-missionary with 33 Southern Baptist Churches in East Hillsborough County.
Favorite Bible scripture? John 3:6 – How wonderful to know God’s grace is sufficient and available to everyone!
Describe what you enjoy most about your ministry today. After 36 years of pastoring churches I realized one great need is encouragement and support for ministers and church leaders. My greatest experience has been to help churches move through PAGE
How does Joyce help your ministry? I was Joyce’s Sunday School teacher after she moved from Webster, New York. Since she came to know Christ at age 60, she has blessed me with her support and perspective. She reminds me of things I or the churches do that hinder connection with people who don’t’ attend. She doesn’t think like the traditional Christian, so I study and review what we can do as Christians to be more effective witnesses in today’s culture.
How best do you like to share your faith? I love to seek, to think, and to live like Jesus and use the life relationships He used while here on earth. I enjoy walking with those seeking. My best approach involves asking questions and sharing stories. One favorite way is through Bible teaching, because He encouraged us to be Great Commission Christians. It is my blessing to be an available, relational, and intentional
My greatest experience has been to help churches move through unmanageable conflict to build a healthy foundation for long term growth. witness to those desiring to know Christ. Share some encouragement with our readers, please. The hope, peace, love, and trust relationship with the Lord is God’s gift that comes by His Holy Spirit. You will never regret exercising Christian faith and receiving
abundant strength for life now and into eternity. The blessing, fruits, and success of the Christian life come as we live and follow Jesus daily. Our greatest growth comes through difficult times. True faith and true leadership, in and out of season, is shown through our faithfulness as disciples of Christ.
Candy’s Corner BY CANDY OWENS
ell, Folks, it’s Festival time again!!! The 82nd annual Florida Strawberry Festival that is. Did you know the very first Strawberry Festival was conceived for and dedicated to the glorification of the strawberry and was held here in Plant City, March 12-15, 1930? Since that time, our beloved little Festival has become one of the best in the nation and now ranks among the top 40 fairs in North America. In my 54 years as a Plant City resident, I have proudly walked many miles around the Strawberry Festival grounds and watched many Festival parades pass by. I’ve participated in the parades and shoe box float contests, volunteered in the Information Booth, and even churned homemade butter alongside my fellow Brownies to hand out to passersby. I have watched many babies crowned King and Queen of the Baby Parade. I have eaten corndogs, French fries, cotton candy, candy apples, roasted corn, hamburgers, popcorn, fudge, mile-high apple pie, fried cheese, funnel cakes, taffy, boiled peanuts, roasted peanuts, and the WORLD’S BEST STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, and have loved EVERY bite! I have watched dancers dance and heard singers sing, and watched stars entertain audiences on stage before they were celebrities. I’ve also watched many beautiful young ladies walk across the stage in hopes of becoming the next Strawberry Festival Queen. I find it hard to believe our once little Strawberry Festival has grown from a few little acres of land near Jackson Elementary to a 100-acre site that welcomes over 500,000 guests annually. Well, our little Festival may be
growing bigger than our wildest dreams, but there is nothing better than walking around the fair eating all the yummy food, visiting with old friends, and watching the luckiest girl in Plant City be crowned Strawberry Festival Queen. Along with several hundred excited and nervous people a few weeks ago, I watched the 2017 Florida Strawberry Queen’s Pageant. The top finalists were asked the question: “If the Royal Family visited the Florida Strawberry Festival, what is the first thing you would take them to see?” Most answers focused on taking them to eat a certain food or to see a certain show. Their responses made me think back to how the Festival has changed over the years. When I was a little girl back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the most popular event was the crowning of the Strawberry Festival Queen. I can remember how exciting it was to be bundled up in the grandstand watching the contestants walk across the stage one by one, smelling all the yummy food in the air, looking to the left and watching the Ferris Wheel go ‘round and ‘round, hearing the faint screams of people on rides, and the sky-- there was always the most beautiful sky, filled with stars. I can remember how the finalists who made the court would walk out on stage with their beautiful white gowns flowing in the wind, their shoulder length white gloves, and their dramatic hair. In 1977, my sister, Karen Ann Owens, was chosen Queen of the 42nd Annual Strawberry Festival and Hillsborough County Fair. The theme was “Green and Growing” and was run by Mrs. Louise Gibbs, who was the General Manager
and Mr. E.O.”DAVVY” Davenport, who served as Assistant-Manager. The Officers were: Jack DempseyPresident, Mac Smith-Vice President, Jim Redman-Secretary, and Mac Hooper-Treasurer. The pageant was held in the Tomlin Jr. High School auditorium, where the contestants were narrowed down to the top 10 finalists. The final selection was done at 7:00 p.m. on the Festival’s opening night, during which time the girls competed in evening gowns, swimsuits, talent, and interview competitions. When it was time for the crowning, all 10 finalists stood together on stage in their evening gowns. The Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Bob Lastinger (there were no crown bearers or any children in the program. That had been discontinued and I suppose that was just not in style anymore.) The girls’ names were called in order of their place in the court. Fifth runner-up was Julie Wills; Fourth runner-up, Barbara Fulford, Third runner-up, Amy Carpenter; First runner up, Molly Dull, and then they called out the name of the new 1977 Strawberry Festival Queen: Karen Ann Owens! “Hip-Hip-Hooray!” my sister was queen. I watched along with my parents as the 1976 Queen Martha Lastinger placed the shiny crown on my sister’s head. Now, for our family, that was an unforgettable year. I looked at the program from my sister’s reign to see how things have changed over the years. A few of the sponsors were: Parkecrest Restaurant, The Other Brother, Gino’s Pizza, Jack Ramsey Motors, Edgar Hull Jewelers, Tatum & Johnson’s, Elston Insurance Agency, Jack Camp Realtor, Powell’s Buick and Pontiac, and McGinnes Lumber Company. The entertainment for the 1977 event was: Bobby Goldsboro, Doug Kershaw, Dusty Rhodes, Mel Tillis, Barbara Mandrell, and the FSU Flying Circus. There was also the Strawberry Recipe Cook-Off at the Arthur Boring Building with a chance to win the Grand Prize: a frost-
free Freezer or Micro-Wave Oven. Phrases to promote programs that year included: Blue Grass shows nightly, Continuous Demonstrations and Contests in the Neighborhood Village, Fresh Strawberry Show and Auction Daily, the Petting Zoo, Show Tent around the clock entertainment, and “Don’t leave until you meet Mr. Strawberry.” General Admission was $2.00 and gates opened daily at 11:00 a.m., except Sunday at 1:00 p.m. It’s hard to believe another Strawberry Festival is here. The 82nd Annual Strawberry Festival that is. What I find harder to believe is that back in 1930, that tiny committee and that little piece of land dedicated to the glorification of the strawberry would grow into something that would bring so much happiness and change to so many people’s lives forever. People have come from miles around to our beloved festival and had their first date, their first kiss, tasted their first Strawberry Shortcake, won their first blue ribbon, seen their first star performance, and been turned from an everyday ordinary person into a genuine Strawberry Queen. Plant City may be a small town on the map, but we sure have some smart people with some life changing ideas. And just for the record, if I had gone out for Strawberry Queen, and I was asked: “If the Royal Family visited the Florida Strawberry Festival, what is the first thing you’d take them to see?” My response would be: “I’d take them all bundled up to the grandstand at night, have them turn their heads to the left and watch the Ferris Wheel go ‘round and ‘round, smell all the yummy food in the air, listen to the faint screams of people on rides, and look up at the sky, the most beautiful sky just filled with stars, and I would say, “This is Plant City, my home!”
Providing civil and site engineering services throughout the southeast since 2004 607 S. Alexander Street, Suite 101 Plant City, Florida 33563 813-747-9100 | email@example.com www.boggseng.com
Words of Wisdom BY WANDA “LEWIS” ANDERSON
ne of my favorite things to do is go fishing. If you love to fish, I have just the tip for you. Next time try a little garlic. Fish are so attracted to the garlic scent that you can actually buy bait with the garlic smell built in. Or simply make your own food scraps with plenty of garlic added. One thing that doesn’t like garlic (besides vampires) are garden bugs. You can make a natural pesticide using garlic, mineral oil, water and liquid soap. Pour all into a spray bottle and mist your plants -- then it’s bye bye pesky bugs. To keep mosquitoes away try using garlic. Mix a solution of garlic oil, petroleum jelly and beeswax for a natural repellant. You can also place gloves of garlic nearby to ward them off. Did you know garlic helps prevent and treat colds? It’s packed with antioxidants and a daily dose of garlic could benefit your immune system. If you do get a cold, try sipping on garlic tea. Just steep chopped or minced garlic in a cup of hot water for several minutes, strain and drink. If the flavor is not to your
taste, add some honey or ginger. Garlic can also help with cold sores. This is a popular cold sore home remedy which involves holding a bit of crushed garlic directly on the cold sore; its natural antiinflammatory properties could help reduce pain and swelling. Garlic supplements may also speed up the healing process. Get beautiful hair with garlic. Garlic could help end your hair loss problems because it contains high levels of allicin, a sulfur compound similar to that found in onions, which were found to effectively treat hair loss. Simply rub sliced cloves of garlic on your scalp, squeezing as you go for the most benefit. You can also infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp. Garlic can help clear acne. It makes a great natural remedy to banish unsightly blemishes. Its antioxidants kill bacteria, so just rub a sliced clove of garlic on the pimple for an effective topical treatment. Consult your Physician before trying anything new. Until next time relax, enjoy and be thankful… PAGE
Affordable Day Away Fun, low-cost, one-tank trips from Plant City BY BARBARA ROUTEN FOCUS’s new monthly column will introduce interesting, inexpensive destinations within a 100-mile radius of Plant City and reachable on approximately one tank of gas.
Lauren Alexandra Salon 3015 James L. Redman Pkwy. Plant City, FL 33566
Special Offers With New Owner Linda Lentz
HAIRCUT & BLOW DRY $15.00
CUT & COLOR
Walk-Ins Welcome • Stylist Chairs Available
he Tampa Riverwalk, about 30 miles from Plant City The completion of the two-and-a-half-mile Riverwalk along Tampa’s waterfront has sparked a downtown revival that attracts people of all ages. There’s something about following the dark, slow-moving Hillsborough River, tracing the circular labyrinth and reading inspirational quotes carved on the path that calms the spirit. By day, enjoy the cityscape, random, intriguing artwork and the University of Tampa’s silver minarets. The Riverwalk is beautiful at night, when the city turns on its lights. Colors on the SunTrust Financial Centre pyramid represent various organizations and teams, and artist Tracey Dear’s “Agua Luces” color-changing lights on five bridges sparkle in the water. Artist Leo Villareal’s massive installation “Sky,” on the south side of the Tampa Museum of Art, brightens the night with its 12,000-square-foot “canvas” of multi-hued chasing lights. Rest or play at one of the many parks along the Riverwalk. Water Works, Curtis Hixon Waterfront and Cotanchobee Fort Brooke parks
Twilight’s soft light illuminates the historic Cass Street bridge and spotlights glow under fountains at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts along the Tampa Riverwalk.
have children’s splash pads and playgrounds. Unleash your pooches in Water Works and Waterfront parks’ fenced areas. Take in a free or fee-based dramatic performance or live music at a park, The Sail, Columbia Café, Jackson’s Bistro, Channelside or outside the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. Check out the Tampa Bay History Center, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Museum of Art and Florida Museum of Photographic Arts which may offer discounted admission the fourth Friday of each month (fourthfridaytampa.com). Bring bicycles or rent one. Take a Segway tour or ride on a water taxi, pedal boat, personal craft or dining cruise. Hop on the new Cross Bay Ferry from the Tampa Convention Center to downtown St. Petersburg. Prices vary. Dining options include food trucks, hotel restaurants, museum cafés, and The Sail, a 360-degree waterfront bar. Other eateries are at Channelside and across Ashley Drive. For more information visit thetampariverwalk.com and Tampagov.net/parking.
JOIN US IN THE RACE TO
Fish Tales Making Waves BY MIKE GOODWINE
END HUMAN TRAFFICKING
SATURDAY APRIL 1 / LAKE PARKER, LAKELAND 10K / 5K / 1 MILE / KIDS FUN RUN Learn more and register online at Fuel.Church/PRIZMRUN.
Sydney Sewell uses only artificial bait for fishing, never live bait.
ver the years I’ve noticed a lot more independent female anglers launching boats at the ramp or fishing off docks solo. On social media there’s a huge wave of female anglers coming onto the scene and showing the guys that women don’t need men to bait their hooks, as the old cliche goes. Plant City native Sydney Sewell is partly responsible for the wave of female anglers on the water making positive waves. Meet Sydney! What got you into fishing? From a very young age my grandparents raised me on a cane pole and bobber fishing for blue gill and shell cracker on Lake Kissimmee. As I grew older I wanted a bigger fish with a stronger fight, which led me into bass fishing. Do you prefer using artificial or live bait? I fish with artificial bait all the time and love that challenge. I never use live bait. First, having to figure out what the bass wants and then having to trick them to bite a wad of
plastic is half of the fun for me. Then getting a fish off an artificial bait makes me feel more accomplished. What’s your plans for the future involving fishing? My plans are to expand my knowledge and really grow in the industry. There are so many different techniques to try and so many lakes to fish. Not every lake is the same, so getting out of my comfort zone and really having to dig deep to figure out the fish in different areas would be awesome. If you could change one thing about fishing what would it be? It would be that females would get more respect. Just because we are girls doesn’t mean we can’t fish just as good as or better than the boys. Who sponsors you? I am sponsored by McCain Hi Performance rods, Nucanoe, Mystery Tackle Box, Costa Del Mar, Doomsday Tackle Company, and Bending Branches.
Artist of the Month: Gabby Schoch
Plant City Recreation Leadership Core Creates Rock Garden BY HEATHER DAVIS | PHOTOS BY JULIAN CASTORENO
Gabby Schoch and her peers in the Planteen Recreation Leadership Core have created a community rock garden for all to enjoy.
rtists and treasure hunters, rejoice! The City of Plant City, along with the Plant City Rocks group, are joining creative minds and forces to present a magical rock garden at the Planteen Recreation Center. What first started out as a problem to be solved has turned into an amazing opportunity. The Plant City Rocks group paint whimsical designs on rocks which are then hidden in hopes someone will find and then re-hide the painted treasures. This effort resulted in an abundance of rocks hidden throughout the City, which then began to create a safety hazard for the City’s Recreation and Parks Department during mowing and hedging. Within a brief period, the City had amassed a collection of well over 200 rocks. Recognizing them for what they were, pieces of PAGE
art, they didn’t want to throw them away. Rather than dissuade the Rocks group or having them halttheir activities, the City and the Rocks group decided to work together. Beginning in February, the Rocks group has been meeting at the Planteen every other week. Maggie Morona, the City’s Recreation Supervisor, recognized the group’s need for a gathering place and a central location where their rock creations could be placed. A collaboration between both groups birthed the Rock Garden idea, and Maggie suggested an empty section of land at the Planteen for the project’s home. The Planteen is also home to the Plant City Recreation Leadership Core, an exciting, innovative and ambitious group of girls and boys, ages 13-17. These bright teens was tasked with creating the rock garden for the Rocks Group and
immediately have thrown themselves into the project. Under the leadership and direction of 14-yearold Plant City High School freshman Gabby Schoch, the group is creating and building all the elements for the rock garden.
Gabby has been the creative and designing mind behind what will be called Wisteria Gardens. Always known for carrying a sketchbook, she sketched the garden’s layout and has been working diligently alongside her peers to make it happen. This experience has been one that made Gabby feel “a part of something, that will be recognized and good for Plant City.” Maggie Morona, who has become a role model and friend to the young group, sees this not only as an opportunity to have a home for the found rocks, but also to offer children a chance to visit and find a rock without going home emptyhanded. Wisteria Gardens will host its grand opening on February 19, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. An introduction to the garden and its young designers and artists, along with food, a bounce house and a rock painting contest with prizes are all part of the plans. This is truly a win/win for all and shows the power, beauty, and magic that results when creative minds join together. For more information on either the Planteen and its many programs or the Plant City Rocks group, visit both on Facebook.
Visit the Wisteria Garden rock collection and find yourself a treasure!
Heather’s Health Tips Dropping Like Flies BY HEATHER DYKSTRA
our New Year’s resolutions kicked off in January with a boom! You were on a mission! You spent time planning and moving schedules around to make sure you stayed focused on your goal. But then, life happened and took control. Work, stress and family obligations made it impossible for you to stay on track. Or, just maybe, were you not sure how to maneuver your schedule to make it work? Get in shape, lose weight, gain muscle, eat healthier or whatever your individual goal was should now be ready for level 2 (February). So, why is it that in early February, every year, most fitness and health resolutions drop like flies? The two main reasons I hear the most are: Time and Lack of instant results. Sometimes it takes last minute changes. Perhaps you were on a 6am workout schedule and you got called in for an early work meeting. To keep that goal in check, you would have to do makeup work (yep,
just like your kids do when they miss school). It would take sacrifice for another block of your free time later in the day or switching out a weekly rest day. Stress is inevitable. Do you react to it by getting upset and skipping your workout or go workout to relieve it? Let’s say you had to work late and didn’t feel like cooking dinner. Keep enough healthy food on hand so you can make something simple. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Lack of instant results, however, is where true dedication comes into play. You cannot expect to lose the weight that took months (or years) to put on, to take only one month to come off. Lasting weight loss requires commitment and effort every day. Just because you get off track, doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Start over and give it a real chance this time to take effect. Don’t be a fly.
Ashtyn Steele Senior of the Month BY ABBY ALMON
shtyn Steele is an extremely caring and hardworking senior at Plant City high School. With well over 300 community service hours, helping others is something Ashtyn enjoys. This warmhearted young woman is an active member in many extracurricular activities and service groups. Within the high school Ashtyn partakes in many of the school’s clubs: a few would be the Girls Interact Service Club, Teenage Republicans Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Plant City High School PTSA. She holds many leadership positions, some of which have allowed her to travel, not only across the country, but across the globe. Ashtyn took part in the Student Leadership University program in which she traveled to Washington DC and then to Europe. It is clear to see that Ashtyn is a born leader seeing as she holds leadership positions, not only in school but out of it as well. She is a part of the First Baptist Church Leadership Team, the First Baptist Church of Plant City Summersault
program and is a Next Radical Generation Mentor. Ashtyn was also the face of Christmas Lane and spent her days stepping out of her comfort zone—greeting guests, working with children, and spreading Christmas cheer to those around her. She served the community as a 2016 Strawberry Festival Queen’s Court member. Ashtyn has also been a longtime participant in Relay for Life, a cancer research fundraising effort that exists to raise awareness and find a cure for this dreaded disease. It’s no wonder Ashtyn was chosen for be a Senior of the Month. She is dedicated to helping the community and its citizens in any way she can. FAVORITES: Artist: Rascal Flatts Food: Pizza Quote: “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” –Matthew 5:16 Hobbies: Singing, performing, being with her friends
About the Writer: Plant City High School senior Abigayle Almon, 17, is passionate about writing. She has contributed Senior of the Month articles to Focus Magazine for two years. Abby is a varsity swimmer and enjoys participating in FFA. She will show her third steer at the 2017 Florida Strawberry Festival. This multi-talented young woman has decided to turn her hobby and love of art into a career. She will begin college at the University of Central Florida with a plan to major in Visual Art and minor in Business. One day, Abby would like to own her own art gallery. PAGE
Blake Dunn Senior of the Month BY GRESHAM STEPHENS
ith a strong academic focus and a mind for the Plant City Community, Blake Dunn is the perfect fit as Plant City High School’s Senior of the Month. Through his work in both school and community, Blake is a student who works hard to improve not only himself, but also the lives of others. For his dedication to academics, Blake will graduate in the top ten percent of his graduating class. He is a member of the 1290 club, comprised of students scoring 1290 or higher on the SAT test. He has represented PCHS in the math bowl and was inducted into the PCHS Math Hall of Fame this year. He has been a member of the Envirothon Competition Team for four years, serving as captain the past two. The team was honored to win the state competition in 2015. Blake is also a member of the National Honor Society, BOLD Club, Teenage Republicans Club, and the Boys Interact Club. He has volunteered for the United Food Bank of Plant City, First Baptist Church, and Camp Invention. Blake is most proud, though, of his involvement with the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 5. He has earned over 360 community service hours
with this organization alone. He has been a Boy Scout since the first grade and has been a Senior Patrol Leader for the past seven years. His passion for learning helped him develop his Eagle Scout Project, for which he founded the Plant City Free Libraries Program. With help from 18 volunteers, he constructed six little free libraries to be placed around the city. He desires that people have books to read so lifelong learning can continue. Blake met with the city commission, Rotary Club, and many others to make his dream a reality. His successful Eagle Scout project is going through the review process to be finalized by late February. Blake’s dedication to his academics, family and community are unmatched, making him a perfect choice as senior of the month. FAVORITES: Subject: Physics Artist: Krizz Kaliko Quote: “You make 100% of the shots you don’t take.”-Wayne Gretzky Restaurant: The Feast Food: Crab Legs Movie: Toy Story Sports Team: Manchester United TV Show: The Office Hobbies: Netflix, Basketball Place to hang out in Plant City: The Corner Store
About the Writer: Plant City High School senior Gresham Stephens, 17, has contributed Senior of the Month articles to Focus for four years. The seven-year leader in the National FFA Organization serves currently as Plant City Sr. FFA Chapter president and Hillsborough County Federation FFA chapter vice-president. His busy life includes AP classes, Hillsborough Community College dual enrollment, church youth group involvement, and community service. Gresham plans to attend Mississippi State University, where he will double major in Animal and Dairy Sciences and AgBusiness. PAGE
South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Cafeteria Serves Delicious Meals BY CHERYL JOHNSTON
Grilled steak, rice pilaf with mushrooms, sauteed vegetable medley and selections from the salad bar
lexander’s Café inside South Florida Baptist Hospital just may be one of the best kept dining secrets in town. The well-organized eatery is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with delicious buffet meals at specific hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Locals visit regularly to pick up the weekly menu, plan their visits (usually several a week), and enjoy the incredibly affordable selections from a rotating variety of buffet items. Alexander’s also offers healthy quick choices area as well as fresh baked goods. The Café’s weekly menus feature made-from-scratch comfort food, plus meats such as fresh fish, pork, chicken or beef. Two fresh vegetables, two homemade starches, wonderful soup, and a very special salad bar are available daily. On occasion, customers will discover action stations, such as Stir Fry, Pasta, Rice or Noodle Bowls. Plenty of healthy snacks, PAGE
Grab and Go fresh daily salads and sandwiches, and infused waters in Mason jars make it convenient for hospital staffers or those in a rush to enjoy proper nutrition, too. The Café also offers Joffrey’s Coffees, Sachet international teas, in-house baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and assorted desserts. Additionally, Alexander’s provides made-to-order hospital meals per patients’ individual preferences. It’s obvious to regulars that food service professionals are very involved in the day-to-day operations at Alexander’s. From the tasty choices and food quality on the buffet and inside the adjacent coolers for cold items, to the cleanliness and service-with-a-smile at the cashier’s station, dining here is an inviting and relaxing time. Boston transplant John Belcher, Manager of Food and Nutrition and Catering Services, started with SFBH in 2001. He named the cafeteria because its windows face Alexander
Street. The marketing department helped create the strawberry-themed logo. After Belcher hired Chef Michael Ambrosino, they quickly adjusted to diners’ requests for favorite veggies and sides like grits, greens, and stewed tomatoes. With more than 30 years of experience, food and nutrition coordinator Leon Fisher joined SFBH in 2003. He is usually onsite also with numerous group fundraisers, church functions, and private celebrations the company’s 911 Catering services. Belcher appreciates his “great team, Chef Mike, Chef Ethan, Leon Fisher, and the rest of the outstanding culinary crew” who he has dubbed the “Elite 21 Special Forces Culinary Crew.” He also values Chamber of Commerce memberships in Plant City and Brandon, while crediting his wife of 35 years for “patiently waiting for me after working long days all my life.” In appreciation, the SFBH leadership team has supplied a Transit van for 911. The Café already boasts several wall-mounted TVs, and future improvements will include new tables/chairs, larger buffet area, fresh paint, and updated window treatments. Deborah Lulei and I had an early dinner at Alexander’s in January. Her $4.00 meal of pork roast, rice pilaf with mushrooms and pinto beans was seasoned to perfection. My steak, rice pilaf, sautéed vegetable medley, and salad bar were delicious choices, too. Including iced tea, our bill was around $11.00 – truly unbelievable. Last week, my husband RJ and I enjoyed breakfast after our walk at Brewer’s Park. He was especially impressed with the abundance of choices, food quality, prices, and the happy-to-be-here smile on the cashier’s face. With his scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes, sausage
Melanie Drayton, a two-year employee, works the dinner shift so she can attend college classes earlier in the day. Her smile says it all - she loves her work and the people who dine at Alexander’s Cafe.
patty, and gravy/biscuit and my thick-sliced ham, grits, and sautéed potatoes, plus our beverage, the bill totaled only $8.64. No wonder locals love Alexander’s so much. I’ve also met two delightful Café attendants: Melanie Drayton and Dehavelyn Lynn Callendar, a 22-year-employee. These ladies display hospitality at its best! Alexander’s Café enjoys a large church crowd on Sundays, too. If you haven’t been yet, go soon for the win-win of great food, friendly people, and best prices around.
North end of First Floor South Florida Baptist Hospital 301 N. Alexander Street Plant City, FL 33563 813-757-8452 Hours: Monday thru Sunday Breakfast 7AM – 9:30PM Lunch 11:30AM – 1:30PM Dinner 4:30PM – 7:00PM
BBQ Sides Southern Broccoli Salad RECIPE BY LAYLA KEELER DRAWDY
hen we were kids, broccoli salad was never the first thing we went for if it was available. Boy, we didn’t know what we were missing! This salad is always a hit! For all those New Year’s resolutions, make it with Splenda and it’s basically carb free!
• 3/4 cup mayon broccoli am • 1 head fresh raw • 1/4 cup sour cre ed bacon ok ite vinegar co s wh ce s sli on 8 po to les 6 • • 2 tab lenda Sp crumbled • 1/4 cup sugar or ion on red nd black d ou pe gr op ly ch sh p • 1/2 cu • Salt and fre to in t cu r, da ed Ch • 8 ounces sharp pepper very small chunks
the tiny bite sized lks chop into only sta d an s ve n, lea ge the crumbled baco Trim off the lar a large bowl. Add in e ac e Pl th li. e co bin oc m br florets of a small bowl, co ing, and cheese. In e and onion, raisins if us d to broccoli mixtur Ad ll. we ng rri sti ts, ien remaining ingred toss gently.
ions Optionalall ofathdedfoit llowing 1/2 of one, some or Golden raisins Sliced Grapes es Sliced grape tomato
events ZENFEST 2017
3pm- 6pm | All World Acres | 4715 Bruton Rd. Info: healingtoday.com/zenfest.htm ZenFest is a very relaxing and artistic charitable cause, specifically showcasing local talent in music, live art, etc. Your attendance will help keep the beautiful campground at All World Acres maintained for more events throughout the year. All performers and workers do this event out of kindness and love for our community, so please tip them or purchase their merchandise to show your support. It’s one big family of people giving to each other.
O’BRIEN’S PLANT CITY CHILI COOKOFF
February 19 Sunday
1 PM | 1701 S. Alexander St. | Prizes awarded to top 3 contenders -- COME VOTE your favorite!
PLANES TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES
February 25 Saturday
10AM – 3PM | Plant City Airport | 4007 Airport Rd. Cost: $5 parking per car | Info: Samantha Bryant 813-754-3707 As part of the EAA Young Eagles Program, kids ages 8-17 are offered free airplane flights (limited to first 100) and Boys Scouts will work toward their aviation and another featured merit badge that day. Educational displays and vendors make this a great family fun day.
FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL
March 2 – 12
The Florida Strawberry Festival has something for everyone! Ten days of welcoming hospitality, concerts, entertainment, FFA / 4H competitions, contests, educational displays, vendors, midway rides, and that all important world-class fair food charms folks from all over America. Bring friends! PAGE
FEBRUARY 14 TUESDAY • Happy Valentine’s Day!
16 THURSDAY • Business After Hours- Focus Magazine 16th Annual Focus Anniversary Party 5:15 - 7 PM Keel & Curley Winery 5210 Thonotosassa Rd. Info: Samantha Bryant 813-754-3707
18 SATURDAY • FFCC Show: Plant City HS Competitive event for all FFCC classes of Color Guard, Percussion, and Winds 8 AM Plant City High School 1 Raider Place Website: www.ffcc.org • Sweet Strawberries Come paint the Sweet Strawberries painting! 12 Noon - 3 PM Keel and Curley Winery 5210 Thonotosassa Road $30/seat; Tickets- wineandcanvas.com
• Strawberry Classic Car Show Union Station Depot 102 N. Palmer St. 4 - 8 PM Info: 813-754-3707 Free to the Public
23 THURSDAY • Safe Families for Children Gala 6:30 – 9 PM Wishing Well Barn 4302 Pippin Rd. Info: https://secure.ministrysync.com/ ministrysync/event/home.php?e=12543
24 FRIDAY • Plant City Main Street Food Truck Rally 5 – 9 PM 101 S. Collins St. & McCall Park/Train Depot area Website: www.facebook.com/ plantcityfoodtruckfestival
25 SATURDAY • TC FFA Strawberry YOU Pick Benefits Relay for Life Also: Yard Sale in Teacher Parking Lot (”Take what you want; Donate what you can”) Turkey Creek Middle School 5005 Turkey Creek Road Plant City
MARCH 2 THURSDAY – 12 SUNDAY • Florida Strawberry Festival “We’re Playing Your Song!”
3 FRIDAY • ABWA Plant City Bringing 3D Mammogram to You! 8:30 AM- 3:30 PM Keller Williams 1607 S. Alexander St. Tickets: www.tamapabaymobilemammography. com
3 FRIDAY- 5 SUNDAY • March Madness Super Regional Baseball Tournament 3rd: 3-6PM; 5th: 5-9PM Global Sports Alliance, Inc. Tickets: gsafloridabaseball.com
4 SATURDAY • Mustang Adoption @RJ Farms 9AM 7301 W. Short Rd. The 2nd Annual Maximum Mustang experience features Shoshone/Dann mustangs and BLM rescue mustangs. Trainers will showcase their skills in hopes of winning cash and prizes. Many mustangs will be available for immediate adoption, some for a $25 reassignment fee and others up to $125 adoption fee. • Strawberry Festival Youth Parade 11 AM Through downtown to Festival Grounds Info: Pat Pogue 813-754-4680
5 SUNDAY • Bridal Wedding Expo Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill 106 SR 60 E. 1 – 4 PM Vendors, food, prizes, cocktails, music and much more Tickets: eventbrite.com
6 MONDAY • Strawberry Festival Grand Parade 11AM Through downtown to Festival Grounds
9 THURSDAY • Chamber Leadership- Environment, Economy, & Transportation 7:30 AM- 5:30 PM Info: Ashton Houston 813-754-3707
16 THURSDAY • Chamber Business After Hours- 1916 Irish Pub 5:15 - 7:00 PM 2309 Thonotosassa Rd. Info: Samantha Bryant 813-754-3707
17 FRIDAY • Spring Break Classic Baseball Tournament 6 – 9PM Global Sports Alliance, Inc. Tickets: gsaflordiabaseball.com
ONGOING 1914 Plant City High School Community Center 605 N. Collins St. Hosts several ongoing opportunities: • 1) Quintilla Geer Bruton Archives Center History/Genealogy library & archives research facility) Tues. 10AM-6PM; Wed.-Sat. 1-5PM Evenings by appointment • 2) East Hillsborough Historical Society Classroom Gallery Art display by East Hillsborough Art Guild members Thursday - Saturday, 1-5PM Evenings by appointment • 3) Pioneer Museums Tour schedule: call 813-757-9226 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
MONDAYS WEEKLY • Plant City Daybreak Rotary Club 7 AM South Florida Baptist Hospital Community Rm. Info: George Banning, 813-759-1638
1ST & 3RD MONDAYS MONTHLY • Improvement League of Plant City 7 PM Historic Glover School Conference Room 5104 Horton Rd. Info: William Thomas, 813-757-6760
2ND & 4TH MONDAYS MONTHLY • Plant City Commission Meeting 7:30 PM City Hall, 302 W. Reynolds St. City Clerk: 813-659-4237 (December: 2nd Monday only)
2ND MONDAY MONTHLY • Plant City Garden Club 10 AM (Sept. thru May) info: Christy Linke; 732-322-8392
1ST TUESDAYS MONTHLY • Economic Development Corp. Meeting 2 PM @PC Chamber unless announced 106 N. Evers St. Info: Jake Austin, 863-712-0655
1ST TUESDAYS MONTHLY (SEPT-MAY) • Arts Council of Plant City 7 PM Chamber of Commerce Public Room 106 N. Evers St. Info: Dodie White, 813-752-5156
2ND TUESDAYS MONTHLY • GFWC Woman’s Club of Plant City 10:30 AM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544
2ND & 4TH TUESDAYS MONTHLY • American Legion– Norman McLeod Post#26 6 PM @2207 W. Baker St. 813-752-8608 Info: Nancy Miller, 813-754-2544
TUESDAYS WEEKLY • Plant City Lions Club 12 Noon @BuddyFreddy’s Restaurant 1101 Goldfinch Drive Info: Tony Lee, 813-752-7202
• Plant City Kiwanis Club 12 Noon Info: David Wolf 813-717-9300
THURSDAYS WEEKLY • Toastmasters (Chapter 4051) 7:30 AM @ PC Chamber 106 N. Evers St. • Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Services 9AM - 4PM @PC Chamber, 106 N. Evers St. Dottie @813-204-9267 re: consultation
2ND THURSDAYS MONTHLY • GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Plant City 7 PM @1110 N. Wheeler St. Info: Lisa Rhodes, 813-376-8294
FRIDAYS WEEKLY • Top 40 Country Fried Fridays 9PM – 2AM Uncle Mike’s Smokehouse Grill 106 E. SR 60 813-737-4444
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS WEEKLY • Music in The Loft @Krazy Kup Fridays 6:33-8:33 PM; Saturdays 8:3310:33PM 101 East J. Arden Mays Blvd. 813-752-1220; Facebook • Live Music @O’Brien’s Irish Pub Fridays 530-8:30 Acoustic; Saturdays 9PM ‘til close 1701 S. Alexander St. 813-764-8818
3RD SATURDAYS MONTHLY • Strawberry Classic Car Show 4-8 PM 102 N. Palmer St., Historic Downtown Plant City Info: 814-754-3707 or email@example.com www.plantcity.org
• Recovery for Life 6:30 - 8PM 12-step Bible-based program to help w/addictions Lorena Jaeb Rainbow House 504 N. Palm Dr., Plant City Info: Debbie Ray 813-763-1562
WEDNESDAYS WEEKLY • Walking Club 7:30AM for 45-minute walk Meet @Bruton Library Info: Susan Miles 813-757-9215
CARDS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY Created by Calvin R. and Jackie Mathews
CARDS FOR VALENTINE’S DAY COME JOIN THE FOCUS COMMUNITY
“LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK FACEBOOK.COM/ THEFOCUSMAGAZINE
ACROSS 1. Depend 5. Suffix for infer or prefer 9. Carmel and Horeb: abbr. 12. Sent to an early grave 16. Mixture 17. Busy places in December 19. Large empty space 20. Major appliance 21. Start of verse 24. West Point pupil 25. Mess 26. Stevenson, for one 27. Beepers 28. Photographer & reformer Jacob 29. Warbling sound 30. Linear measure 31. Appearance 34. Ceremony 35. Chomp 36. Latin thing 39. More of verse 43. Parisian padre 44. ’84 Nobel Peace Prize winner 45. Alley’s follower 46. Card game 47. Wooden shoe 48. Suffix for allow or annoy 49. More of verse 54. Supportive cry 55. Imogene __ 56. Prisoner: Sp. 57. Raise givers 58. Lily variety 59. Basketball’s __ Thomas 60. Copenhagener 61. 1960’s hi-fi 64. Oversees __; proctors 65. Scalp problem 66. Uncooked 69. More of verse 72. Idiot 73. City on the Rhone 74. CX 75. Colony builder 76. Nostril titillater 77. Complain 78. More of verse 84. Holy ones: abbr. 85. __ Rooney 86. Lowdown 87. Maria Shriver’s ex 88. Sore back? 89. Mean ones 90. Wound covering 91. Dolly, for one 94. __ donna 95. Drink from India 99. Elaborate solos 100. End of verse
23. 27. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 35. 36. 37. 38.
102. Incline 103. Recipe direction 104. Pa Cartwright’s portrayer 105. Bone: pref. 106. Carry 107. Cube root of 1000 108. Nazi Rudolf __ 109. Pronoun DOWN 1. Crucifix 2. Intended for grades 1 to 12 3. Whiskey, vodka, etc.: abbr. 4. Get what __; receive proper compensation 5. Retired professors 6. Grandmas 7. Satiate 8. Sprite 9. Fable’s feature 10. Small-headed monkey 11. Radical 1960s student org. 12. Old West transport 13. Mother __ 14. Word with for and what 15. Prohibitionists’ foes 18. Actor Omar 19. Singer Rudy 20. Dieter’s gauge 22. Atlanta Braves shortstop __ Aybar 1
40. 41. 42. 43. 47. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 55. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 7
65. Earth “All in the Family” role 66. Roper’s event Olive centers 67. “__’s House”; Prefix before “sphere” Ibsen play British bishop’s item 68. Part of WWW “__ Is Born”; ’76 film 70. Orange parts Health club offering 71. Pauley & Fonda Toss 72. In a ship’s bilges “Hurray!” 78. Soon Puzzle 79. More nervous Uneven 80. Late Talmadge Clockmaker Thomas and 81. “...__ of great others price...” For the __; temporarily (Matthew 13:46) “Portrait of a Lady” artist 82. Hen sounds __ in; inundated by 83. __ Good Feelings Do a grammatical (1817-25) exercise 85. Got up Biscuit’s cousin 88. “L’__ du Tour”; 1’s followers in one French cycling hundred thousand competition Flustered 89. Pest-control __ setter; reddish dog company “...[Eve] gave some to her 90. Connery & Penn husband...and __ it.” 91. History (Genesis 3:6) 92. Mr. Guthrie Taken __; surprised 93. Funny person Musical symbols 94. Cracker spread Late actor Richard 95. Funeral blaze “Some Like __”; ’59 film 96. Fanny Judicial remarks 97. This: Sp. Con games 98. Attention-getting Deck of 22 cards sound Fitzgerald’s namesakes 100. Wyo.’s time zone Amasses __ sum; 101. La-la’s forerunner becomes wealthy
by Calvin R. & Jackie Mathews
95 101 104
© Puzzle Features Syndicate
A R L O
P A S T
T A R O T
S C A M S
S A U N A
A S T A R
E L H I
R O O D
R I O T E L L A S P I T C H L I Q S
E T A P E A R L E N Y O U A R E D U E
Cardsfor forValentine’s Valentine’s Day Cards Day E N C E M T S M A L L S V O I D E E N O F H E A R T S R R A Y A D L A I P I I S T R I L L M I C T R I T E B I T K I N G O F H E A R T S O O P WA R O N Y O U I H A V E A C O C A P R E S O B L O E I S I A H D A E O A T E S T L I C F O R T H T H E J A C K S I I O A N T A N D T E N A N D A C A N D Y D O P E A R O S O G R E S S C O N P R I M A P E K S M A K E A R O Y A L E S T I R L O R N E T E N H E S S
E R A O F S C O N E S C A L E
D O W N B E L O W P A R S E S T A G E
T U S H R O D E O R E B U S L O D E
E S T O A D O L L E R O S E E V E R
A H E M W O R L D S E T H S W E T S
TAMPA • WESLEY CHAPEL • BRANDON LAKELAND • OCALA • BRADENTON • LAKE CITY TY TY
50 Or More Expires 4/30/17 • In Store Only • Not Valid On Sale Items Limit 1 Per Person Per Day