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Contents Table of



Take a look back at the days of yesteryear and how Plant City celebrates the holiday season. From the Plant City Music Festival to annual visits from Santa Claus, our city’s celebrations are merry & bright

This month, we are proud to present our annual Holiday Gift Guide. Our area’s local boutiques, jewelry stores, and niche merchants showcase their best gift ideas. The Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone on your holiday shopping list.







As third-generation roofer and Plant City-native Nathan Garrett and his team at Backbone Construction & Roofing prepare to give away a roof to one lucky recipient, Garrett discusses the construction and roofing industry. Meet Nathan Garrett and learn more about the ‘backbone’ of your home.



Berry Patch Animal Clinic, owned and operated by Katura Belle Stansberry, offers expert veterinary care for Plant City’s small pets. Learn more about how this veterinary office is making an impact on the community while offering compassionate care for four-legged friends.


Mike had a rough time this hunting season, so he’s decided to focus on his modeling career. To see more of these lovely photos, visit Mike on Instagram at @blackneck_adventures / Issue 19-11 / November 2020


Mike Floyd


Cierra Craft


Chandler Workman

Crystal Colegrove




Anthony Sassano

Candy Owens

Tony DeVane


Angela Ardrey Anthony Bolesta Cheryl Johnston Sherrie Mueller Emily Topper


Candy Owens Heather Davis Gil Gott Natalie Sweet

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 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.



The rumors are true- Russell’s is coming to Plant City. On November 3, the western wear brand purchased Southside’s property and apparel company. Russell’s, a family-owned business, is ready to open its doors to eager Plant City shoppers.



From private birthday parties to large social gatherings, Second Plate Catering is Plant City’s choice for exquisite cuisine and professional dining service. Meet Executive Chef Casey Ryan and learn more about why folks come back for a second helping with Second Plate Catering.

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) 7078783 or e-mail The staff will fix the error in a timely manner. FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local Plant City businesses, restaurants and many local venues. Advertisers warrant and represent the descriptions of their products advertised are true in all respects. Focus Magazine assumes no responsibility for claims made by advertisers. All letters and their contents sent to Focus Magazine become the sole property of Floyd Publications, Inc and may be reproduced thereof. All views expressed in all articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Floyd Publications, Inc. Use or duplication of material used in this publication is prohibited without approved written consent from Floyd Publications, Inc.








Publisher This year has been a whirlwind to say the least. When we look back, 2020 will be the year of masks, the busiest hurricane season on record and the year that one of the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL came to Tampa Bay.

enclosed feature looking back on the ways our community celebrate the holiday season. Thank you to the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center for providing photos for this gallery of old memories.

It's hard to believe it's already the holiday season. It's time to stuff the turkey, trim the tree and purchase gifts for family and friends. We hope you will take inspiration from our annual Holiday Gift Guide, where we feature gift ideas from local merchants. From Brown's Jewelers earring and necklaces to LEGO sets from Brick City Bricks, our guide is sure help you find something for him, her and the kids.

This month, we also created our 2nd annual 25 Days of Christmas calendar, sponsored by Plant City Main Street. This year's events are centered around downtown and spending time as a family in our community. Enclosed in the insert, you'll also find four beginner recipes to try this holiday season and a Christmas Church Service Guide to help you and your family find the information you need in one comprehensive guide.




On the cover, we feature a special Santa on the roof. Nathan Garrett of Backbone Construction and Roofing talks about his company's annual Roof Giveaway to one lucky Plant City family. Nathan also shares his top tips for those looking for a custom home builder. Speaking of the holidays, our office began reflecting on our family holiday memories as kids. This inspired the

As you gather as a family to celebrate the holidays, be sure to tag us in your holiday memories. We'd love to see what new memories you create in a Plant City Christmas. Warmest Regards,

Mike Floyd










PCHS Names 13 Winners of 2021 Calendar Girl By Cierra Craft | Photo by Deanna Hurley Photography

On Saturday, November 7, Plant City High School held its annual Calendar Girl competition at the Grimes Agricultural Center at 6:00 p.m. Funding raised through sponsorships, ticket sales, and calendar sales will benefit the school’s Booster Club. Gisele Gutierrez was named the 2021 Cover Girl and will be joined by 12 Plant City High School students to complete the calendar. The winners and their respective placements are: Cover Girl- Gisele Gutierrez Miss January- Hannah Holm Miss February- Jilian Sparkman Miss March- Haylee Christopher Miss April- Kiah Jackson Miss May- Bailey Blanton Miss June- Amanda Polanco Miss July- Teshylen Williams Miss August- Litzy Mendoza Miss September- Madison Hood Miss October- Christian Sullivan Miss November- Callie Smith Miss December- Katie Phillips PAGE


Plant City Main Street launches Downtown Passport Program By Cierra Craft

In order to drum up business at downtown merchants, Plant City Main Street wants to incentivize shoppers with the Small Business Downtown Passport. Each booklet is $5.00 each with up to a $100 value in savings at businesses such as Clever Massage, TubTreats, and V.E.V. Fitness & Nutrition. Your passport will be stamped when you make a $10+ purchase at each participating business. Once shoppers have filled their passport with stamps, stop by the Plant City Main Street office to have it validated and receive a discount to use on a future purchase at one of the participating businesses. Visit 10 businesses, receive 10% off on your next visit. Visit 11 or more businesses, receive 15% off your next visit. Visit all 20 businesses, received 25% off your next visit. To see a full list of participating businesses and to purchase a Downtown Passport, visit Each passport is valid from November 28, 2020 to December 5, 2020. Shop small this year and begin collecting stamps on Small Business Saturday, November 28.




Food Bank in Need of Turkeys and Donations for the Holidays Plant City Walks for Alzheimer’s Awareness By: Jennifer Jordan

On November 5 and 7, the Woman’s Club of Plant City and Grace Manor Assisted Living Facility held their respective Alzheimer’s Awareness Walks at Brewer Park. With about 70 people combined attending both walks, supporters dressed in purple and donated money to raise awareness and help find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. The Woman’s Club of Plant City already walks at Brewer Park once a month and calls themselves the “Happy Feet Group'', but dedicated this walk to Alzheimer’s, not just because November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, but it also hits a personal level for Patricia Wolff, president of the Woman’s Club. “I wish I had known more and could’ve done more for my mother, who passed away 4 years ago from Alzheimer’s,” said Wolff. “The hardest part was her not knowing who I was, but I always cherished the moments when she did know me.” Grace Manor also decided to host their 1st Annual Walk for a Cause with a $10 registration that included a t-shirt. Raffles for prizes from sponsors such as Outback Steakhouse and Operation Paying it Forward were also being purchased for $1 as well. With Ricky Mondelli DJ’ing and snacks and refreshments being provided to the walkers, the two-mile walk started at Grace Manor and continued to Brewer Park. The walk was led by Grace Manor’s Executive Director Sheryl Vitelli, who said, “We are very excited to be supporting the Alzheimer’s Association, and our community support has been incredible.” With over $2,400 raised and surpassing the goal of $2,000, both walks not only helped raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s, but they started a new tradition that will hopefully continue every November with continued support from the community. To learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease, visit

By: Jennifer Jordan

With the holidays rapidly approaching, United Food Bank of Plant City is looking to reach a big goal- get 2,000 turkeys to fill their freezers and serve the fellow citizens of the community. With COVID-19 preventing many families from being able to provide food for themselves adequately, the food bank has witnessed the number of recipients more than double. Mary Heysek, the director of the United Food Bank said, “Before the pandemic, we served 5,000 people each month; now it’s 11,000.” Not only is the food bank hoping to reach their goal of 2,000 turkeys, but they also need additional food donations as well, such as canned soups, canned vegetables, pasta, rice, and peanut butter. The United Food Bank’s Fall Food Drive needs the community’s help supporting local schools with either non-perishable food items or monetary donations. These donations will go towards the school’s overall pounds collected, and every $25.00 donated equals 9 pounds of food. These donations can be dropped off either at your local school or at the food bank located at 702 E Alsobrook St. When dropping off donations at the food bank, be sure to mention the name of the school that the donation is going towards. For any additional information on the turkey drive or Fall Food Drive, call the United Food Bank at 813-764-0625, or visit their website at Please donate during the holiday season and help a family in need.






Walden Lake Review BY NATALIE SWEET


alden Lake Community Association Board Meetings are held virtually the third Monday of each month. You can Livestream or Teleconference the conference by signing in to www.WaldenLake. org. Watch the boards at the five entrances for any special meetings

FL License Plate Created by Locals Approved by State By: Cierra Craft

In 2017, fishing charter captain Mike Goodwine was sitting at the Department of Motor Vehicles waiting to be called to the desk for service. He began looking at the wall of state specialty licensed and wondered why there wasn’t a tag for Redfish, like the other state game fish. With a little research, Goodwine decided he would create a license plate for redfish benefiting Coastal Conservation Association Florida. “CCA has done more for our fishery and conservation of Reds than any organization I know,” said Goodwine. He contacted graphic designer, Jesse Starr, to create and design the Redfish tag with a vision. “He wanted a redfish tail fin coming out of the water near some mangroves,” said Starr. “I wanted it to resemble Mike’s Blackneck Adventures logo- which I also designed. I focused on the fin design and added the background mangroves and water in a way that would lend to the visibility of the information on the plate and not be too busy or distracting.” With the hard work of the advisory board of the Coastal Conservation Association Florida, Florida House Bill 1135 was approved by Governor Ron DeSantis on September 19, 2020. The bill adopted new designs for specialty license plates, among the group was the Redfish tag. Now, the plate must receive 3,000 pre-orders before the plates will go into service. To purchase a plate, visit Funds from the sale of the “Conserve Florida Fisheries” license plate support protecting and enhancing saltwater marine resources, expanding habitat restoration efforts, developing saltwater fisheries conservation, and enriching coastal environmental education. “When you buy a plate you’re helping conserve our coastlines and the redfish population,” said Goodwine. “Thanks again to everyone involved in making this happing. God is amazing.” PAGE


and times. The Walden Lake Board of Directors have approved the 2021 Budget. Dues will be $320 Semi-Annual for single family residents and $239 Semi-Annual for Condos and Townhomes. You will receive your invoice for the first installment in December and we are asked to pay on time. Paying your dues in a timely manner saves you from paying interest, attorney and filing fees, which can add up to a significant amount. If for some reason, you will have a delay in paying your dues, please speak with the HOA office to see if you can come to a resolution. Having food trucks on the 2nd Fridays and last Sundays of each month in Walden Lake at the HOA office/sports complex, has been a big hit with many residents. The Melt Machine Gourmet Grilled Cheese Food Truck will be here on Sunday, November 29th and Engine 53 Pizza Food Truck will be here on Friday, December 11th. Santa will be back at Walden Lake on December 5th from 9:00 to Noon! This will be different from last year due to the pandemic. It will be a drive-by where you will visit with Santa, receive a stocking filled with crafts and pick up a snack bag and drink boxes or water, all while staying in your vehicle. Walden Lake LLC submitted a revision of their plans to the City of Plant City on October 30, 2020. To see this and past information on what is happening with the development of the Walden Lake golf course, you can visit under the “News” tab. The latest information can also be found at the City’s website During the month of October, there were 14 sales in Walden Lake and 1 sale in Walden Lake East. The average sale price was $288,984 with an average of 9 days on the market.

The October sales are as follows: Address / Sales Price / Living Area / Pool / Garage 3223 Thackery Way / $199,000 / 1232 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2509 Sagebrush Road / $225,000 / 1561 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 4110 Longfellow Drive / $229,565 / 1632 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3420 Silver Meadow Way / $233,000 / 1600 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 1610 Teakwood Drive / $259,000 / 1902 Sq’ / Community / 2 Car 2751 Golf Lake Drive / $267,500 / 2039 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 4114 Longfellow Drive / $275,000 / 11818 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 1800 Sagebrush Road / $275,000 / 2027 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3047 Sutton Woods Drive / $314,900 / 1982 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 2005 Country Club Court / $321,900 / 3187 Sq’ / No / 2 Car 3021 Forest Hammock Drive / $335,000 / 2215 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car 2908 Spring Hammock Drive / $339,900 / 2177 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 3406 Kilmer Drive / $339,999 / 2996 Sq’ / Private / 2 Car 5891 Hammock Drive / $342,000 / 2347 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car 2802 Forest Club Drive / $382,000 / 2608 Sq’ / Private / 3 Car There are currently 7 active listings for sale in Walden Lake with an average list price of $412,60 and an average of 101 days on the market. One of these listings is in Polo Place and if you eliminate this listing, the statistics change the averages to $331,667 and 27 days on the market. There are 19 properties Pending Contract with an average list price of $305,747 and average of 18 days on the market. The real estate market is hot due to a lack of inventory, and interest rates are extremely low, making this not only a great time to sell but also a fantastic time to purchase. Can you buy or sell during the pandemic? Yes, absolutely! Real Estate is considered an essential service and The Sweet Team at Keller Williams Realty is still working, while following CDC guidelines for ourselves and clients’ safety. If you are interested in the most current statistics or any questions regarding this article, feel free to reach out to me. or 813-758-9586.




Celebrated Plant City Artist Realizes Lifelong Dream of Becoming a Published Author Celebrated Plant City artist, Angie Hill Klein, has realized a childhood dream by becoming a published author! Sadie Tells the Bees is a wonderful and heartwarming story that was inspired after experiencing the loss of “the Mema” Angie’s beloved Grandmother, Sadie Mae Ferguson Hill. She wanted to honor “Mema’s” memory by writing this hopeful story that links nature, legacy, love and faith with beautiful illustrations from both Angie and one of her greatest influences, her aunt, Shirley Hill Layton. To bring the story and images to life, Angie called on the expertise of local Graphic Designer, Ellen Lynch, to design this stunning children’s book that is now available to order on Amazon. In Sadie Tells the Bees, Angie Hill Klein, shares a heartwarming, coming-of-age story based on the old tradition of “telling the bees.” After Sadie, a curious, young, farm girl, loses her grandma, she finds herself following in the footsteps of those before her: confiding in the bees, learning how to cope with loss, and finding hope and peace in return. Sadie Tells the Bees paints a beautiful picture of the rhythm

of life and the harmonious balance between nature and Sadie’s family—the stewards of the land. Through the queen bee, we learn that changing seasons and loss are a part of life. Sadie encourages us to see the beauty, love, and blessings all around us. And most importantly, we learn that heaven and the people we’ve lost are always closer than we think. Angie is a woman of Faith, blessed wife and mother and lucky enough to say she has had the same crazy gaggle of girlfriends since the 6th grade. She can be found in most any venue from Mass to her favorite brewery with paint in her hair and on her clothes, that’s just the way it is. She immerses herself into each painting and prays that bits of her faith and heart show up on each canvas. She also has a passion for writing and prays “Sadie Tells the Bees” will be just the first of many of her tales that will do the same. Angie has been painting murals for over 20 years. She is proud to say that she has been accepted into 3 juried art shows to date, as well as being a featured artist in the Plant City Historic District “Main Street Program”. Nothing makes Angie more proud than to represent her hometown in these events and creative avenues. PAGE


Celebrate the Season 2020 | Friday Dec 4 at 7PM Plant City's Hometown Christmas Parade is a family event, and everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the fun. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors and have a great time together! The parade route will start at Collins & Alsobrook Streets, travel north on Collins through downtown, turn right onto Reynolds Street, and end at the courthouse. 2020 Parade Grand Marshal: Plant City Police Chief Ed Duncan There will be beautifully decorated floats, high-energy marching bands, talented church participation, civic & service groups, local business participation, and of course we expect a visit from Santa himself to help us kick off the 2020 Christmas Season Celebration! Attendees are asked to follow these parade safety guidelines: Face Coverings are highly recommended for everyone attending Please bring your own personal hand sanitizer and use it regularly Do not attend the parade if you feel sick, have a temperature, or any other COVID-19 related symptoms Social distance as much as possible from non-family members The parade will be live-streamed on the City of Plant City’s Facebook page featuring Mayor Rick Lott & City Manager Bill McDaniel as Parade Emcees Plant City Christmas Parade is sponsored by Wolf Funeral Services



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Aspire President Lisa Rhodes and 2020 Woman of Distinction Honoree Marsha Passmore



On November 4, Marsha Passmore received the Aspire Plant City Inaugural Woman of Distinction. Passmore was selected due to her involvement in the community, dedication to volunteering, and exceptional leadership skills that have inspired and empowered fellow women.

Aspire Plant City Honors

Marsha Passmore as Inaugural Woman of Distinction By Jennifer Jordan


n November 4, Aspire Plant City held its First Annual Woman of Distinction program, honoring Marsha Passmore for her involvement in the community, dedication to volunteering, and exceptional leadership skills that have inspired and empowered fellow women. The Woman of Distinction honors a woman in the community who has been a role model and/or mentor to other women and girls, exhibits leadership skills, and advocates for positive social change, and with everything Passmore has done in her lifetime for Plant City, the award made its way into the right hands first. Living in Plant City her whole life, Passmore is a retired General Motor’s Accountant after 22 years and has a degree in marketing and human resources management. She has participated in several civic organizations, including being Chairman of the Board for three years with Unity in the Community, President of the Arts Council of Plant City, Past President and current board member of the United Food Bank, and Vice President of the Robert W. Willaford Railroad Museum board. She served on the Plant City Historic Association, is a member of the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, is the co-chairman for the Strawberry Festival Queen Exhibit, a Strawberry Festival ambassador, a Plant City Photo Archives trustee, and a member of the South Florida Baptist Hospital’s Diamonds and Denim committee. She also involves herself in the Plant City Christmas Parade, Bruton Memorial Library Foundation, and First United Methodist Church. Even with all those organizations and more keeping her busy, Passmore still managed to serve for six years as City Commissioner, and in 2011, her devotion to Plant City earned her the title of Citizen of the Year.

“I am so honored, and I don’t know how they selected me because there are so many worthy women in Plant City,” said Passmore, humbled to be the organization’s inaugural honoree. “ I don’t do anything for an award, I just do it because I think it’s the right thing to do.” Upon receiving her award, she also gave a special thanks to her late father, stating, “My father is the reason why I always like to see the good in people, he’s the reason I always try to do the right thing.” The event was hosted by Wishing Well Barn, with sponsors including but not limited to, Southern Hospitality, On-Site Accounting, Universal Insurance Plant City and State Farm. Lunch was catered by Second Plate Catering and music performed by Casey Stidham. Special guest speakers included Lisa Rhodes, Sophia Hyde, Mary Heysek, Maggie Carlisle and Marsha’s sister, Dodie White. Each spoke on their personal experiences working with and knowing Marsha as a hardworking, radiant, humble woman with a servant’s heart and a love for God and her community. With all of Marsha Passmore’s achievements, awards, and honors, earning Aspire Plant City’s First Annual Woman of Distinction award is not only appropriate, but also proof that she has worked hard in her life and community, and has earned her place in Plant City history forever. “My goal is to make Plant City the best place ever to live and continue to improve our wonderful community,” said Passmore. “It’s so simple to smile and be thankful and kind.”




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Plant City

Entertainment hopes to avoid final curtain call By Cierra Craft


he stage lights are dark. The props remain untouched and the house is silent. Performers at Plant City Entertainment are not used to the emptiness that fills their theater at 101 N. Thomas Street. For 40 years, the community theater has entertained audiences with dazzling performances, but in response to COVID-19, Plant City Entertainment was forced to cancel six shows. Ticket sales are a major source of revenue and with the cancelation of productions, the theater's finances have taken a hit. Despite its economic hardship, the theater's board hopes Plant City Entertainment does not fall victim to COVID-19. "Even though the revenue ‘in-flow’ has ceased for a while, the ‘out-flow’ must continue as we pay for the operational expenses," said Plant City Entertainment President Victor Hamilton in a statement on the theater's website.

Broadway Comes to Plant City During the early 1970s, a group of well-to-do citizens formed the “Plant City Community Theater” but disbanded after a few productions. It was revived in 1980, with a $400 loan from Arts Council of Plant City. “The very first production was a non-musical, Let’s Hear It for Me, which was performed on hay bales at the Plant City Railroad depot.,” said Shirley Outen, 40-year member of Plant City Entertainment and current board member. The theater put on a sold-out production of “The Apple Tree” in 1981 and repaid the Arts Council loan. The organization changed its name to Plant City Entertainment, Inc. sometime after. The theater has won many accolades over its four decades, including many MONTI Awards, which recognize outstanding performances, productions and theatrical technical talents presented by community theaters in eastern Hillsborough County. PAGE


“In recent years, Plant City Entertainment has taken home five MONTI Awards for Best Musical of the Year,” said Outen. “PCE has also won MONTI Awards for the past seven years for best play of the year... At the 2020 awards ceremony, PCE won an amazing total of sixteen MONTI Awards.” Plant City Entertainment was the first community theater in the state of Florida awarded rights to perform “Les Miserables” when the rights were released in 2012. Plant City Entertainment is in need of the community’s help to keep the stage lights on. It is a treasured part of our community and a piece of our city’s history. To donate, visit its website at http://www. and click the donate button or mail a check to PO Box 2473, Plant City, FL 33564. PCE is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization and all contributions are tax-deductible. PAGE






The Plant City Christmas Music Festival began in 1962, as depicted here. A large stage was set up near modern-day McCall Park and school orchestras, choral groups, and others performed for the community. Photo courtesy of the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center.

The downtown merchants decorated their windows for the holiday, competing against each other for Best Decorated Window. Black’s Department Store was known for its award-winning displays. This photo, provided by the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center, depicts the store’s 1954 display, comprising an angel, a nativity scene, and a large, ornate candelabra.

Celebrating a Small Town Christmas By Cierra Craft

As another holiday season quickly approaches, we take a look back at a little holiday history in Plant City. Our mind turns back to the days of yesteryear, when our community was wrapped in the magic of Christmas with holiday window displays in downtown Plant City, a visit from Santa Claus, or through the eyes of a child, we were swept up by the bright lights of the Plant City Christmas Parade.



The Plant City Christmas Parade is a long standing tradition, beginning in 1965 by the Plant City Jaycees. With Santa’s arrival as one of the treasured moments, in 1967, Mr. Ott Grinstead portrayed the jolly gift giver, arriving by helicopter at Grant’s Mall (known today as Plant City Plaza). Photo courtesy of Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

The WPLA staff, in 1953, celebrated the holiday season with their annual Christmas party. At the time, WPLA was managed by George Friend. Back row are (L-R): Nola Shumway, Jim Shumway, Anne Wilson, Jim Derrick, and W.A. Smith. Middle row are (L-R): Ginny Derrick, Vonelle Miles, Irene Smith, Virginia Friend, Betty Solie, and Jessie Friend. Frankie Blackwelder is the lady leaning over the 3 men in the front row (L-R): Joe Wilson, George Friend, and Gordon Solie.

Sheena the elephant and Suzy the chimp from Busch Gardens Fairyland made an appearance in the Plant City Christmas Parade in the mid-1960s. Photo courtesy of the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center

The General Telephone Company celebrated the holidays at the Tampa Electric Company’s Leisure House on December 23, 1953. Among the operators in attendance were Mrs. Dorothy Pollock, Mrs. Lurene Johnson and her children Brenda and Nancy, Mrs. Betty McKenzie and her daughter Gayla and son Kevin. Mrs. Jackie Reid and her daughter, Mrs. Melba Cox, and Mrs. Nany McLean, among others.

Crowds gathered at Schneider Stadium to hear marching bands on December 1, 1954. That same year, the stadium was named in memory of William Schneider and served as a gathering place for parades, bands, and other community events.

Plant City Steel Company employees received Christmas Turkeys each year to feed their families. This photo was taken December 1968, according to the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center. Plant City Steel Company was located at the northeast corner of US 92 and Park Road. PAGE






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Chamber. We are requiring masks at the event, will be spreading everyone for distancing and will have hand sanitizing stations. We are honored to serve the community in this capacity and thankful for our sponsors because without them this wouldn’t be possible: Evangelical Deliverance Church, C&S Wholesale, City of Plant City, Kiwanis Club Plant City, Global Sports, and Star Distribution. In honor of its 30 year anniversary, can you share a little history on Santa Sled? We partnered with the city to have it at the community center this year. It started at the Haines Street Recreation Center back in the day, which then became the Dr. Martin Luther King Recreation Center. It was held there before the event moved to Allen Street and then, recently, we’ve been at Ellis Park. It can get a bit congested, so I felt it was befitting to bring it back to where it began. I’ve always been involved in the event in some type of way throughout the 30 years. Plant City Kiwanis also helps those in need this holiday season, right? Yes, Kiwanis does “Christmas for an Angel” program. The guidance counselors at the 18 elementary schools will pick students in the greatest need and Kiwanis will help those kids by giving toys, clothes, shoes, etc. We usually help 35 kids at each of the schools, so we make a big impact. The holiday season is a busy time for you because you’re also on the Christmas Parade committee. How do you do it all? I just do it! I organize myself and say ‘today, I’m going to do this for Kiwanis, tomorrow this is for the parade…” I am passionate about giving and I’ve always been on the giving side, it’s just in my nature to give back. The parade is Dec. 4, everyone come out, wear your mask and try to social distance. Everyone needs to be safe and have a good time.

People of Plant City

Sharon Moody By Cierra Craft


t’s in my nature, giving is just what I do,” said Plant City native Sharon Moody. Moody is a committee member for the Plant City Christmas Parade, president of Plant City Black Heritage, and the Vice Governor of the Florida District of Kiwanis Club. In all of these roles, Moody is giving back to the community in one way or another. This holiday season, Moody will make an impact on nearly 1,000 families through these various organizations.



The Plant City Black Heritage and Des’Aimes Social Club host the annual Santa Sled event to give back to families in need. What is expected at the 2020 Santa Sled event? This year is the 30th annual Santa Sled and it will be at the Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center on Dec. 19 from 10AM to 2PM. We will serve over 200 families and because many are still out of work due to the coronavirus, we expect to have more applicants this year. We will give out toys, groceries, and clothes. The deadline to register is Nov. 20th and applications can be picked up at the

What is your favorite Christmas memories? Being with my mom. She was a good cook and we would make dinner together, go shopping and bake together. She is gone now, so we can’t do that, but I remember as a kid I would sit and watch her cook. She wouldn’t tell me anything in the dish, so I learned by watching. What’s your favorite dish to make during the holidays? My kids love my dressing. I can cook anything else, but my kids always want my dressing. If anyone wants to make a donation to help kids in need, what is the best way they can help? If someone wants to donate money or drop off a gift or if they don’t have a way to drop it off, I can pick it up. Just call me at 813-453-7134 and we will make arrangements to get their contribution to someone in need.



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(813) 820-6484 |



Did You Know? “Salute to Veterans” Exhibit Features Cuban Missile Crisis and Plant City’s Most Highly Decorated WWII Soldier By Gil Gott Plant City Photo Archives


he Plant City Photo Archives and History Center Salute to Veterans exhibit, on display from November through the Holidays and the first week of January, is featuring two special exhibits: (1) Ivan Cardwell’s exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis, and (2) the story of Barber Craig Mills, Plant City’s most highly decorated WWII veteran. The Salute to Veterans exhibit contains over 700 photos of area veterans in various sizes from 8x10, to 10’ banners. The Archives is located at 106 South Evers Street in historic downtown Plant City and is open from 10:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Here is the story of Major Mills: Barber Craig Mills was born August 1, 1918, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, the son of Eugene Spencer Mills and Lula Craig Mills. He went by his middle name of Craig throughout his life. The Mills family moved to Plant City in the summer of 1928 when Mrs. Mills accepted the position of principal of Wilson Elementary School, where she remained until 1937; Mrs. Mills was a prominent educator in Plant City schools. She had also served as principal of Bryan Elementary School and Tomlin Jr. High School. Craig Mills attended Plant City schools and participated in the early Boy Scout Troop 5, organized and sponsored by the Norman McLeod Post 26 in Plant City in 1931. In 1933, while a sophomore at Plant City High, Craig Mills wrote The Plant City Courier article about the first Scout from Troop 5 to receive the Eagle Scout rank, Victor Smith, and about the other Scouts who were attaining their awards through merit badge work. Among those was Mills, who attained five of the merit badges, including the Life Scout Award. In 1935 Mills became part of the noted All Eagle Scout, Boy Scout Troop 5, serving with Scoutmaster Oscar Baynard, and Assistant Scoutmaster Mike Sansone. Mills graduated Plant City High School in June 1935. The Kanyuksaw yearbook showed him as participating in Latin Club, Football, and the Senior Play; he was the Class Historian and an Honor Student. Entering the University of Florida in 1935, Mills pursued a business curriculum along with the ROTC. He graduated in 1939 and took employment in Pensacola teaching high school business classes. Mills



was activated in January 1942 and entered active duty in February 1942. After training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Pine Camp, New York, he was promoted to Company Commander in the 37th Armored Regiment at Camp Bowie, Texas. He was then promoted to Captain and assigned to the newly organized 771st Tank Battalion, September 10, 1943. On August 26, 1944, Tank Commander Captain Mills entered combat in the European Theatre of Operations attached to the 84th Infantry Division. With the 771st Tank Battalion, Captain Mills, (who, at 5’7” and 160 lbs., was not a big man), fought in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. The primary battles were the Ardennes Forest/Battle of the Bulge, the Rhineland, and Central Europe. His unit fought from the Roer River to the Rhine River, crossed the Rhine in conjunction with the 17th Airborne Division, took the historic city of Hannover, and marched to the Elbe River to join forces with the advancing Russians. Captain Mills was wounded March 1, 1945, and continued the battle. With his crew and their tank, “Calamity Jane”, (their “guardian angel”), he led the battles regardless of the challenges and the obstacles. While scouting an uncharted area once, his Commander warned him to stop driving his jeep ahead of the mine sweepers. He is reported to have said, “Aw shucks, ah just go fast so that I’m past them before they explode.” Mills received a “battlefield” promotion to Major shortly after the taking of the city of Hannover. His men said of him, “He’s a damned good guy; the kind of a person that never looks out for himself, but always thinks of his men.” On May 13, 1945, Major Mills was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which is second only to the Congressional Medal of Honor. His award was presented to him by Major General Alexander R. Bolling, and concluded with these words: “The extraordinary heroism and courageous actions of Captain Mills reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.” Major Craig Mills, from Plant City, Florida, was the most highly decorated individual in the 771st Tank Battalion, and probably the most highly decorated WWII veteran from Plant City. In addition to the

Distinguished Service Cross, he earned the Bronze Star, with oak leaf cluster, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. After being relieved from active duty, in 1946, Craig Mills accepted a position with the State of Florida. He returned to school, earning an M.S. degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation, from Florida State University, with a focus on the hearing disabled. For his work in this line he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Gallaudet University (1974). He retired as head of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Florida Department of Education, in 1975. Mills was also active in rehabilitative services for the U.S government in the U.S. and abroad, and in both missionary and rehabilitative services for the Presbyterian Church. He was an educator, soldier, state employee, consultant, missionary, and public speaker. Mills died in Tallahassee February 9, 2002. Sources: Research provided by Rob Yoho; State Archives of Florida Online Catalog (Craig Mills papers); “Certificate of Service”; “War correspondent promo & DSC, 24May1945”, The Plant City Courier; Plant City Photo Archives and History Center.







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MARK SOMMER Mark just finished being booked on a new TV commercial on recycling with a Principal Role. We are so proud of you!


BRYANNA MATUREN Heartland Living Magazine New Year’s Fashion Shoot Featured Model

JASON RAMIREZ Introducing Actor and Model Jason Ramirez who just finished trying out for a major speaking role on an upcoming TV Commercial.

Jess Anderson index pg NOV20.indd 1



10/14/2020 10:25:19 AM

22 Annual Lights of Love nd

Give the Gift of Love Give the gift of love this holiday season by donating a tree light in memory or in honor of someone special. The Lights of Love tree is located in McCall Park in downtown Plant City and will be lit through the holiday season. All donations are tax deductible and will benefit the many community services provided by South Florida Baptist Hospital.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase a light ($25–$100): (813) 757-8478







Holiday Gift Guide On the heels of the holiday season, shoppers begin searching for the perfect gift for loved ones. Gift givers are expected to spend over $1,000 on holiday purchases this season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. From fine jewelry to delectable food favorites to the latest fashions, Plant City’s local retailers have something to offer everyone this holiday season. Skip the long lines at the big box stores and step away from the computer, instead stroll into one of Plant City’s local businesses and shop small businesses this year. Shopping Plant City’s small businesses supports the aspirations of the business owner but also contributes to the city’s economy. A stronger economy benefits our community as a whole. The Holiday Gift Guide showcases the best gifts from area small businesses for the foodie, the fashionista, and the fun lover. Purchase gift certificates to several local eateries, and support a small business this holiday season.




601 E Alexander St, Plant City, FL 33563 813-754-4438

Swig Skinny Can Cooler $29.95

Rag Edge Flannel $44.00 Happy Happy Holiday Tee $28.00

Mangiacotti Whipped Body Lotion & Body Wash $17.95

Black Patch Strawberry Hat/813 Patch Hat $31.99



Flo Maflingo Stuffed Animal & Childrens Book Starting at $12.99

Deck The Stalls & Brew Pack Poopourri Sets $23.00

ge n i r F er St,

d lexan 33563 A E 1 60 FL City, t 8 n a l P 4-443 813-75

Happy Everything Platter $69.96 Ugly Sweater Attachment $24.95

Northern Lights Spirit Jar Candles $19.99 PAGE


Beautiful Necklaces, Rings, & Earrings

Brown's Jewelers 1705 James L Redman Pkwy Suite G, Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 754-2360

Charles Hubert Watches for Men & Women

Men’s, Women’s, and Children’s Rings for All Occasions Gorgeous 14K Pendants



Nautical and Gold Bar Pendants

Brown Jewele 's rs 1705 J

Women & Girls Stud Earrings

ames L Redma Suite G n Pkwy , Plant City, F L 3356 (813) 7 3 54-236 0

Ladies Hoop Earrings Rosaries and Religious Items PAGE


Brighton Fiji Necklace $88.00 Fiji Earring $78.00

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Corkcicle Camo Tumbler $37.95 Cantine $44.95

y n Pkw a m d Re 6 mes L y, FL 3356 a J 4 Cit 280 lant P 5 , 3 0 4-726 #1 5 7 3 1 8

Strong & Fearless Bath Soak $20.00



Waymaker Tee $30.00

Rao k

Kendra Scott Elisa Necklace $68.00 Earring $65.00

2804 Jame sL #103, Plan Redman t City P , FL 3 kwy 813-7 3566 54-72 65

Oventure Ring $25.00 Pouch $35.00

Gratitude Journal $25.00 Devotional "He Whispers Your Name" $16.99 PAGE


Sugar Glitz Boutique (813) 754-2360

Flowy White long sleeve sequin Top $29.65

HoHoHo Red long sleeve Top $28.65

Holiday Snowman Earrings $23.00



Flowin and Glowin Chain Necklace $27.75

Holiday Fun long sleeve Top $27.75 Anchors Away Bracelet Set $25.50

Sug Bouar Gli tiq tz ue ( sug 813) 75 a 4 glit

-236 utiq 0 ue.c





Yates & Hagan 1452 Town Center Dr, Lakeland, FL 33803 (863) 603-7078

BRUMATE-Slim Cans $22.99 - $27.50 Holds White Claw, Michelob Ultra, Red Bull & More.

Consuela Handbags & Accessories $39.00 - $65.00 Michel Design Works Peppermint Set -Holiday Collections and More $6.00 - $14.99

Soaps, Napkins, Candles, Room Sprays, Caddys & More.

YETI Lunchbox & Tumblers $30.00 - $79.99



enewton 14kt Gold filled Jewelry $28.00 - $82.00

Necklaces and Earrings Available

Nora Flemming Changeable Serving Dishes & Décor. $13.50 to $30.00 Year Round Collections Available

Yate Hag s & an 1452

Town Cent Lake er D land r, , FL 3380 (863 ) 603 3 -7078

Blue Q Socks $10.99 - $12.99

Masks $8.00 - $14.00

Adult and Youth sizes. Holiday Patterns & Solids available

Men’s & Women’s Sizes



ty i C k Bric icks Br g $39.99

Christmas Wreath

artin ds St, t s s t Se nol E Rey 33563 107 FL City, 256 t n a Pl 6- 6 813-75

Pirate Ship

Cargo Train




Tub Trea


106 NE D rane St # 1, Plant Cit y, FL 335 63 (813) 750-3 825

Foaming Hand Wash $7.00 Available in OVER 30 scents and refills.

Luxury Hand-Poured Candles $15.00 Available in over 20 scents.

Cupcake Bath Bombs $8.00

RELAX & RECHARGE with the Solid Bubble Bath FROSTING.

Donut Bath Bombs $7.00 PAGE


Variety of Gift Baskets Available for ANY Occasion!

Keel Farms 5202 Thonotosassa Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 (813) 752-9100


Autumn Apple, Sangria, Taste the Blues, Black Raspberry, Wild Berry, Strawberry, KeyLime, & Peach. LIMITED AVAILABILITY!

Agrarian Ale & Ciders

Choose from flavors like: Strawberry-Lime, Elderberry, Mango, & Pineapple



Taster Tower $59.99

Parkesdale Farms 3702 W. Baker Street Plant City, FL 33563 813.754.2704

Fruit Chorus $43.99

Fab 4 Varity Pack $65.00

Sun-Kissed Five Sampler $48.99 Shipping included



Parkesdale Farms 3702 W. Baker Street Plant City, FL 33563 813.754.2704


Cookies & Bread Basket $24.99



Outback Steakhouse

Buy $50 or more and receive a bonus card for $10



Norma's Cuban Sandwich Shop



Brick House Cafe Keel Farms

Nick's Pizzaria & Wings

O'Briens Irish Pub & Grill

Parkesdale Farms Gift Certificates In ANY amount

Olde Town Pizzeria & Pasta Co.









Backbone’s Nathan Garrett talks roof giveaway & the holiday season



By Cierra Craft Photos courtesy of Backbone Construction & Roofing

Plant City-native and third-generation roofer Nathan Garrett knows that his business- Backbone Construction and Roofing- is more than just a builder of custom homes. Backbone is a helping hand, assisting local neighbors in putting their home back together after a natural disaster. Backbone is a family-oriented business, caring for customers like family. As the Backbone team makes customers’ dreams come true, they demonstrate integrity and are a name many have come to trust. This holiday season, Nathan Garrett and his team are gifting another family with a free roof in the third annual Roof Giveaway. Learn more about the giveaway and Backbone Construction and Roofing’s commitment to offering professional service with strength, fairness, and compassion when it’s needed most. PAGE


Backbone is known for its annual Roof Giveaway during the Holiday season. Where did the idea of giving away a roof originate? How long has Backbone hosted this giveaway? I have always been passionate about community and giving back. Having been in the roofing industry for many years we have inspected a lot of homes in the Plant City area for roof leaks. What we find is that many people don’t have the savings they need to put a new roof on their home. Let's be honest, roofs are not inexpensive, but it is the most important component for your home. In essence, it is the “Backbone” of your home. If you don’t have a secure roof, the rest of the home will deteriorate with it. After Hurricane Irma in 2017, we witnessed many people who had damage and unfortunately, couldn’t afford their deductibles to have their roofs replaced. This left a considerable level of discomfort in me. After seeing so many people struggle with bad roofs, we wanted to do something and knew we had to help. I wanted to bless our community in some way. Naturally, I put my passion for helping others and my company together. We started the giveaway in 2018; this year will be our third giveaway to a local family in need. It is truly amazing to do this. You could giveaway a roof at any time of year, why the holiday season? Holidays are always the busiest and most expensive time of year for everyone. It’s also the season dedicated to giving and my favorite time of year. For me, this time of year is all about family and fun, and this is why we thought it would be the perfect gift for someone in need at Christmas time.



What are the requirements to be chosen as a recipient? Our roof giveaway is all about our local community. The rules are simple: If you know someone in need, visit our website, go to the roof giveaway page. Complete the form and include a short essay of why you think the person you are nominating is the perfect candidate for a new roof. Once we have received the nominations, we go through them and we select the best nominations, and begin doing our due diligence in qualifying them. It's not just a random selection, we get information, and we decide as a group who our winners will be. Backbone has been chosen as Best Roofing Company two years consecutively in the Readers’ Choice Awards. What does this award mean to you? Receiving this award two years in a row has been exciting. Being that it is voted on by our community makes you feel so incredible, especially when you are up against two other well established and deserving companies. I have to say again, winning it two years in a row was an amazing experience for us. We strive to treat each customer and their project like we would if we were working with our own family and their home. Having our community see this and vote for us is truly humbling. We appreciate our Plant City community and look forward to working with our local neighbors for many years to come.

You’re a third-generation roofer. When did you start learning the trade? Who has shaped you into who you are today? My first experience with installing metal roofs was with my grandfather around the age of 12. I spent a lot of summer days with my Papa and Granny working on all aspects of a home. I really have a lot of good memories filled with love, hard work, and learning as much as I could. There are a lot of great people that have been involved with shaping me into the man I am today. From my grandparents to my wife, friends, and my two little boys. Most of all I was brought up by two amazing parents; they raised me with love and compassion, teaching me right from wrong, most importantly how to treat others. I don’t believe I would be the man I am today without them. I know how truly blessed I am and grateful for all the experiences I have had along the way to now. Do you offer finance options or payment plans? Yes, we have a few ways of financing your projects you can find them on our website at it is a very simple form to fill out and get approved in minutes. What are your top 3 tips for those looking to build a custom home? Building a custom home is a very time-consuming process from finding land, designing plans, waiting for them to be approved, and then actually building your dream home. The main thing I would say is finding a builder that you can see yourself being around and enjoying their company for a year or more. You need to know you can trust them. Do your research! This is a substantial purchase, sometimes the largest in our lifetime. You don't want it to be unenjoyable.

Backbone originated as a roofing company, but expanded its services to include construction. From custom homes and new builds to expansions, maintenance and more.

When you’re designing your home, always go a little bigger in size than you think you would like. We have built multiple homes and what you hear most from customers is “I should’ve made the kitchen bigger” or “I thought my shower would’ve been a little bigger,” so always go a little bigger than you think. Metal roofs are your best friend. If it's going to be your" forever home" that you’re building, put a metal roof on it. Trust me, it’ll save you thousands in the long run.

Backbone Construction & Roofing 813-580-8611 Nathan Garrett began working with metal roofs at the age 12 under the mentorship of his Papa. Pictured: Garrett's grandfather and Nathan's son, Hudson, in 2016. License #'s: CBC1263027 & CCC1331030

Backbone Construction & Roofing owner Nathan Garrett is a Plant Citynative and third-generation roofer. He said his roofing experience began as a young man working alongside his Papa on metal roofs. When customers call Backbone Construction & Roofing, they can expect to speak with Garrett directly about their project needs. He makes it a point to visit each job site personally. PAGE








*Family Law *Mediation *Divorce *Business Law *Real Estate Law *Bankruptcy *Wills and Trusts *Criminal Defense INGRID M. HOOGLANDER






Berry Patch F Animal Clinic




rom geriatric care for older dogs or kitten care for feline fur babies, Plant City’s pet parents turn to Berry Patch Animal Clinic for their veterinary needs. Formally known as Animal Clinic at Southside, Berry Patch Animal Clinic is located at 3012 James L. Redman Parkway. The office is owned by and operated by Derek and Katura Belle Stansberry. Stansberry grew up in her grandfather‘s, Donald C. Andrews, DVM, veterinary hospital and formed her love and passion for animals at an early age. Her fourlegged, one-eyed friend, Rex, often keeps her on her toes. Stansberry is joined by Dr. Douglas Bandkau who has been practicing veterinary medicine for over four decades. He graduated from Michigan State University in 1979 and enjoys spending time with his two Shih Tzus. “We have an open door to welcome all new and existing clients from the past and will always have your pets’ best interest at heart because they can’t tell you what’s wrong,” said Stansberry. “Come see us discover what we can do for you and your pet. Like you, we love pets like family.” Berry Patch Animal Clinic specializes in wellness care, surgery, internal medicine, and emergencies for small animals. Berry Patch also offers Spay/Neuter Surgery, Dental cleaning, and dental surgery, Growth/tumor removals, Digital x-ray, Hospitalization, and Boarding. Berry Patch partners with the vet technician program at Plant City High School, allowing students to gain real-world experience, and the veterinarian office partners with Plant City Police Department in caring for its K9 unit.

“We are so thankful to be a part of Plant City High School vet program. Sharing our knowledge and expertise with the next generation and inspiring young adults in this industry is invaluable, ” said Stansberry. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be in partnership with the Plant City Police Department’s K9 Unit. Working with the officers and their companion animals to maintain the K9’s health and supporting local community is extremely important.“ The costs of veterinary care can be uneasy, but Berry Patch accepts cash, all major credit cards, checks, and offers two payment services: Care Credit and Scratch Pay. Both options allow you to set up payment plans that fit your budget. Berry Patch is a member of the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association. The vet clinic was named the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce February 2019 Member of the Month and in March 2020, received the FOCUS Magazine Readers’ Choice Award for Best Veterinary Practice. Pet parents rave about Berry Patch Animal Clinic in online reviews. One reviewer said, “Highly recommend! Staff is always so friendly and caring. They always take care of your furry friends.” Another review agreed, adding: “Love this place, I take my 4 dogs here and they’re in love with the vets, they don’t hate going to the vet and they make sure my animals are good and taken care of. Staff is amazing.” This new pet parent said she couldn’t have asked for a better experience: “For my first experience with a vet ever, I couldn’t have been recommended a better place! The staff was so kind and helpful, answered all my questions with no hesitation and were so kind and patient with my sweet pup! They went above and beyond by calling to check on him after he received shots a few days later to sending a welcome to the family card So glad we went with them! Highly recommend.”

3012 James L Redman Pkwy, | Plant City, FL 33566 | (813) 707-0520 | Facebook & Instagram: @berrypatchanimalclinic Monday & Friday: 8AM to 6PM | Tuesday- Thursday: 8AM to 5PM | Saturday: 8AM to 2PM | Sunday: Closed PAGE




10% OFF Expires 12/31/2020





TURNING HOUSES INTO HOMES Locally owned branch by Jeremy & Lisa Rhodes Here for all of your Real Estate needs.




Russell’s Western Wear is a family owned business. Owner Scott Meister took over the family business, after the passing of his grandfather. Scott and his wife Elizabeth are parents to four children. The Meisters are active in the community and in their church.



Each year, Russell’s donates a portion of their boot sales to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation in Tampa. In 2019, Russell’s raised over $20,000 plus a personal match by Meister.



f boots, denim, and a ball cap are the elements of your daily work wear, Russell’s is sure to have something for you and with a location in Plant City, shopping couldn’t be more convenient. The Tampa-based, family-owned business purchased Southside Western Wear on November 3, acquiring the property, along with the boot and western wear division. Southside has retained ownership of the feed and pet supply division, now Southside Feed and Outdoor, and will operate from a building on the property leased to them by Russell’s. Russell’s owner Scott Meister and his team are excited to bring their knowledge of western, work, and weekend wear and friendly customer service to Plant City. Many of the Southside employees will remain on staff at Russell’s, allowing customers to be met with the same friendly faces they know and love. “Southside Western Wear has become a staple in Plant City,” said Meister. “It’s an opportunity for us because we already know the market. It was an opportunity for the Lopez family to sell to someone they trusted to know the market.” Russell’s Western Wear dates back to the 1960s; Meister’s grandfather was friends with the owner of a western wear store and acquired the business from him in 1992. As a young teen, Meister says he would sweep floors or handwrite the tickets, developing a love for the boot business. When his grandfather died in 2006, Meister moved back to Tampa and took over the family business, beginning with the flagship Russell’s store on Dale Mabry Highway, building the brand and overseeing its growth to now eight locations throughout Florida. Russell’s isn’t a corporate giant, but just a homegrown, family-owned company. Meister, a native of Tampa, and his wife Elizabeth are

parents to four children and are active in their church and community. Russell’s offers over a dozen boot brands and western apparel and accessories for men, women, and children. In rebranding the Plant City store to uphold the Russell’s Western Wear legacy, Meister plans to add more Florida lifestyle apparel brands and a wider selection of workwear, denim, and boots. The brands that Plant City loved at Southside will still be there but with more options to choose from: Justin Boots, Ariat Boots, Tony Lama, Wolverine, Timberland Pro, Durango Boots, Nocona Boots, Corral, Dan Post, Lucchese Boots and more. Russell’s will expand on its Cowboy Hat selection including Stetson, Resistol, Ariat, and more. In addition to selling apparel and boots, Russell’s has a long history of supporting the community. Meister’s niece had stage 4 cancer as a young child, so every year, Russell’s partners with the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (based in Tampa), where a portion of boots sales is donated directly to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. This

Each year, Russell’s Western Wear sells its wide selection of denim, shirts, Western belts, hats and more at the Florida Strawberry Festival. The western wear brand’s booth is located just outside of the Grimes Agriculture Center.

year, Russell’s raised over $24,000 plus a personal match from Meister. Additionally, Russell’s offers a 10% discount for 4-H and FFA members, first responders, military personnel, and veterans. Russell’s will be honoring the Southside discount offered on the Tomlin Gold Card this year, as well and a sponsor of the Plant City Junior Bassmasters fishing club. The brand also offers its western wear just outside of the agricultural pavilions at the Florida Strawberry Festival each year. “We have roots right here,” Meister said.“So we’re going to keep running the store like a local store should be run, and that’s the piece that makes this a really good fit.” Whether you’re looking for workwear, looking for new Costa del Mar shades for the fishing boat, or need a gift for someone special, stop by Russell’s Western Wear on James L. Redman Parkway. For more information on Russell’s Western Wear or to shop its boots and western wear selection online, visit

On November 3, Russell’s Western Wear purchased Southside’s property and western wear business.

3014 James L. Redman Parkway | Plant City, FL 33566 | (810) 624-6362 | Mon-Sat: 10AM to 7Pm, Sun: 12PM - 5PM PAGE


Personal Banking Services: • Community Hero Checking • Future Leaders Checking (For Students aged 15 & Up*)

• Personal Checking Accounts

Business Banking Services: • Business Checking • Community First Checking

(For Clubs or 501(c)(3) Non Profits)

Ask About Competitive Rates • Business Loans • Home Equity Lines of Credit • Personal Loans

Plant City Branch:

813.759.2265 1804 James L. Redman Pkwy. Plant City, FL 33563

Downtown Plant City Branch: 813.659.8049 102 W. Baker St. Plant City, FL 33563

A special account for those that go above and beyond the call of duty, including Teachers!

South State Bank and CenterState Bank, N.A. have merged to become South State Bank, N.A. Please visit to learn more. All Loans Subject to Credit Approval. South State Bank N.A . NMLS# 403455



Additional Services:

• Online/Mobile Banking • Treasury Management • Merchant Services *Students under the legal age based on your State of residence, are required to have a parent or legal guardian as an additional signer.




tyler By Katie Hamilton

Lauryn Tyler is a senior at Plant City High School and has ran Cross Country for three years while running track for four years. Lauryn plans to attend a state college while majoring in biological studies with hopes of pursuing a Ph.D. With high academic goals, Lauryn has faced the challenges of balancing her school and athletic life while taking AP courses, dual enrollment, and organizing club events. Lauryn says that the perfect balance was not easy to do when she first became a studentathlete. She stated, “I’ve learned what exactly works and what doesn’t when it comes to prioritization.” Many students choose either academics or athletics; however, Lauryn is a hard-working and dedicated student to both hemispheres of her life. While Lauryn is a senior and is excited to pursue her future, there are a few things that she does admit that she will miss. Most of all, Lauryn will miss the certainty of high school. Lauryn said, “Each year, with this one being an exception, you have the date in which you start, a schedule to which you follow, and for me, a safe sports season.” Many students are not able to find a safe haven in their high school years, luckily, the Plant City High School athletics department has provided that for many students this year. The global pandemic has had a large impact on people’s lives, but especially the lives of students. Lauryn expressed concern over the late start to the season saying that it has kept the entire team from getting ahead of the game this season. However, as many runners do, Lauryn uses the ability to run to defeat the stresses that manifest during the pandemic. In these uncertain times, Lauryn not only pushes herself, but her coach Ben Martucci provides extra support for her and her teammates. Tyler recalled, “Coach M gives us a rigorous training schedule that puts me and my team back into shape despite the challenges of the global pandemic.” While her coach is her biggest motivator, her mom is the refuge Lauryn seeks when she is feeling disheartened. Lauryn is eternally grateful for how her mother still wakes her up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday for a meet and how she supports her unconditionally. Lauryn stated, “My mom has been an unwavering source of encouragement and guidance throughout my athletic experience.” Lookout for Lauryn Tyler in the afternoon hours running along the sidewalk of Alexander Street with her Raider Cross Country teammates. PAGE


Experience the difference 405 S. Kings Ave, Brandon, FL 33511



813 820 3138

At Redefine Beauty Aesthetics we believe all patients deserve to be treated with honesty and respect and will come to know that our knowledge and expertise will bring the best results. We pride ourselves in making realistic goals and results for our patients to have the best non-surgical outcomes.

Our services include: Injectables (Botox, Xeomin, Dysport, Jeuveau) Fillers (Versa, Voluma, Volbella) Laser Treatements (IPL, Laser Hair Removal, Yag, Skin Resurfacing) Facials Medical Grade Skin Care And more. visit our website for monthly specials

Actual patient. Before and after peel


At Redefine Beauty Aesthetics we combine education and experience for superior outcomes. We make each and every person feel and see the difference inside and outside. Come and experience why patients have been trusting Carolyn Agnew ARNP-C, MSN for over 10+ years. She has been a mentor and trainer for her peers, students and other professionals in the industry.



3012 James L Redman Parkway Plant City, FL 33566

(813) 707-0520

Katura Stansberry Clinic Manager with her Best Friend “REX”





Team of the Month Baseball in Mulberry By Katie Hamilton


ith Plant City sports limited due to COVID-19, parents around town have moved to other local areas to enter child athletes in team sports. Mulberry has been offering a baseball team for young boys that is safe, well- priced, and is a great way for youngsters to get outside during times when activities are limited. These young athletes have a great opportunity to interact with other children their age apart from school time. The coaches, Matt Martin, Justin Smith, and Ray McNab are “...the real MVP’s” according to Lindsay Smith whose child is a player on the team. Mom Stephanie Eisenbach has two children on the team, who absolutely love the Mulberry program. Eisenbach detailed how the coaches have made the team a family, she quoted, “We go to Beef’s every Friday night as a team.” Parents have even explained that the coaches are hands-on and show expertise when working with the kids. This was especially evident during times when teammates were saddened about strikeouts, the coaches in turn provided strongwilled tips and overall comfort to the boys. Many parents were amazed at how well the games flowed. Lindsay Smith said, “There is no greater joy than watching your heart on the field.”



As parents provided loud cheers from the outside fences, the game became a total fan-fest while families broke away from the hard times of COVID-19. Christy Lyle, the mother of Glenn Lyle, describes the passion for baseball comes from the history of the sport in her family. While baseball is a great example of an allAmerican sport, Lyle said, “Baseball is also the perfect age group for my son; we can start him young and it’s a safer sport than most.” While it’s the parents that get hyped for the game, the boys are the root of the spirit. Whether it was shouting light-hearted chants, tossing the ball in between sets, or hanging in the dugout, there was always a smile on the player’s faces. Reid Connell, who is a second-grader at Lincoln Elementary, was ecstatic to play shortstop. Connell gleefully explained how he loves every second of playtime and adores his teammates and coaches. Many of the boys hope to continue this sport into their adolescence. Evan Eisenbach is a third-grader at Walden Lake Elementary School and has set goals for the rest of the season. Evan wishes to not only win plenty of games, but he also is striving to score a big homerun, following in the footsteps of two of his teammates. Evan’s brother, Maddox, loves

when he gets to bring in his friends from a run when it’s his turn up to bat. Overall, this team has a strong sense of community which is great for these young boys to get out, play with friends, and have a baseball season that they will surely never forget.

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Meet the


Colburn and Amanda Carmichael, C&G Wood Inspirations By Heather Davis


hen you visit the Facebook business page of C&G Wood Inspirations you are greeted with the about message introduction which reads “just a husband and wife hobby that’s turned into a successful small business.” Colburn and Amanda started C&G Wood Inspirations, which is named after the first name initials of their two sons, only two years ago. What started out as a hobby for both of them exploded quickly into a full-time business that has kept both of them very busy. Colburn, who was up until March formally employed by Publix and Amanda who is a hairdresser at Stella & Co. in Polk City, both share a common interest in farmhouse style furniture and décor. The couple started by hand building furniture in their rustic farmhouse style for their own home using reclaimed pallet wood. Their unique style quickly caught the eye of the public through Facebook and Instagram posts made by the Carmichaels and before they knew it requests came their way to create custom style furniture pieces for others. One aspect that sets their style apart from others is the very distinct style and design on their table tops and the custom painted finishes. While Colburn is usually the one building and assembling the furniture, Amanda does the finishing work. Even their two kids like to get in on the action by helping sand the wood making it a whole family effort. C&G Wood Inspirations not only creates custom one of a kind handmade furniture, but also décor such as signs with specialized wording, wall hangings, shelving, benches, and holiday inspired décor. Many items are on display for the public six days a week at Stella & Co. Boutique located in Polk City. To view examples of the work of this delightful husband and wife team you can find C&G Wood Inspirations on Facebook and Instagram @ CGWoodInspirations.






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Leaders in

Faith Senior Pastor Justin Kirksey, Hopewell Baptist Church By Cheryl Johnston


ed by Senior Pastor Justin Kirksey, the Hopewell Baptist Church congregation celebrated its 150th homecoming on October 18, 2020, and welcomed many who had attended over the years. The Georgia native moved here to accept the lead position with his wife Melissa and their children – Hannah, 10, Abigail, 8, and Jacob, 5. In identifying three defining moments of his walk with God, he credits his “salvation, accepting God’s Call to Ministry, and marriage to Melissa.” When time allows, Pastor Kirksey likes to fish, especially “with family, friends, and members of our church so I can get to know them better.” The Kirkseys enjoy Plant City’s “small-town feel, proximity to Tampa and Orlando, and the variety of shopping, dining, entertainment options.” Additionally, he appreciates that “the community’s churches seem to have a healthy, cooperating spirit!” Describe your path to Hopewell. My parents shared the gospel with me from an early age and brought me to church with them. At age 11, one evening after Vacation Bible School, I couldn’t sleep for thinking about my own sin and need to be saved. When I woke my parents, we prayed at their bedside as I repented and trusted Christ for my salvation. I had known God was calling me into ministry since my teens, but I resisted. At age 21, I surrendered to the ministry call in 2001. Jonah 3:1 is my life verse because when God called me into ministry, I initially said no. Yet He would not leave me alone until I said yes. He gave me another chance to be faithful and I’m so thankful our God is a God of second chances. After making my call public, I attended Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia to earn a B.A. and Master of Divinity. I served at three Georgia churches in Waycross and Bristol from 2006-2010 before we moved to Starke, Florida, where I served eight years as Senior Pastor of the Madison Street Baptist Church. In 2017, we met with Hopewell’s pulpit committee but didn’t feel God was moving us then. A year later He led us back into communication and in February 2019, I was called as their next pastor.



What excites you about Hopewell, its rich history, and your work? There is a lot to love here. The people are eager to hear the Bible preached and have shown tremendous love to my family and myself. Our generous congregation has maintained faithful giving levels even during this pandemic. Our church does a tremendous job of balancing a love for her past with an excitement for the future. I love seeing how the gospel and the Word of God impacts people’s lives. I love preaching, evangelism, and discipleship for this reason. I also like the process of discerning the direction God has for a church, sharing the vision with the people, and working together to see it accomplished. My wife serves in various ministries here, too, but her greatest ministry is to me and our children during this stage of our life as a stay-at-home wife and mother. I could not do what God has called me to do without her! In what ways do you share your faith with individuals? Years ago, I was impacted by the “Way of the Master” evangelism ministry training led by evangelist Ray Comfort and former TV personality Kirk Cameron. There are many good methods of sharing, and as long it’s Biblical, I’m for it! I encourage people to read the Bible (start with the book of John) and really consider the claims of Christ. There’s so much cultural disinformation about the Christian faith, I try to explain the difference between cultural Christianity and true faith. You are not a Christian because you were born to Christian parents, born in America, or because of some religious rite like baptism. You are only a Christian if you have repented of your sin and trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross for your salvation. Once someone accepts Christ, I suggest they spend time daily in Bible study and prayer – in the morning if possible because it sets the tone for your day. Then, become an active participant in a Bible-believing church seeking to impact others with the gospel. One cannot fully thrive in their walk with God in isolation. The friendly members of Hopewell Baptist Church welcome all to its weekly services at 6001 S. County Road 39 in Plant City. Learn more by visiting or phoning 813-737-3053.









INFANT ROOM TEACHERS- Ana Velasquez, Esmerelda Cisneros, Lina Maldonado, Maribel Martinez

Pre-K Four Year Old Teacher-Beth Mahar

Happy Holidays! One Year Old Room Teachers- Nellie Cruz, Jessica Montelongo, Cindy Gonzalez

From Mr. Mike, Ms. Jean, and the Staff of A+ LEARNING.

A+ LEARNING CENTER 1109 West Grant Street Plant City, FL


813-764-0211 (fax) LIC# C-PC-432628 Owners- Mr. Mike Ham, Ms. Jean Rice

SCHOOL COOKSTeresa Wood, Lina Maldonado

School Children TeachersAsonia Porter, Courtney Whiteis

Three Year Old Room TeachersJennifer Oakley, Katrina Harris

Two Year Old Room TeachersLupe Zavala, Elva Movua




Candy’s Corner By Candy Owens


’m thankful for turkey, I’m thankful for yams, I’m thankful for cranberries, biscuits, and hams. I’m thankful for potatoes, gravy, and peas. I’m thankful for stuffing and marshmallow fluff. I’m thankful, Thanksgiving, for good things to eat. But mostly I’m thankful I can still see my feet. Eww Wee! I have eaten a whole lotta Thanksgiving dinners in my 50 years, some of which have taken place at relative’s homes, some at friend’s homes, but mostly at my home. Wherever I am or whoever I am with for Thanksgiving, let me say that I am truly blessed to be eating somewhere and with someone. I remember back in 1969 our family went to Bloomingdale to spend Thanksgiving at my Great Aunt Mabel Parrish Crissmore’s house. I was not too excited to go because it was also my 7th birthday and my parents had just presented me with a brand new banana seat bicycle. I wanted to stay home and ride my new bike, eat birthday cake, and enjoy presents, but my father said that we had to go because all of his mother’s brothers and sisters would be there and it was going to be an extra special occasion. My parents, my sister Karen, and I made the drive out to my aunt’s house located on Sally Parrish Trail which sat on 80 acres of land that backed up to Lithia Springs and originally belonged to my great-grandmother Sally Garner Parrish. This property was way back in the woods and it looked to me like we were traveling to a place where you might find Daniel Boone setting up camp alongside his trusted Indian friend Mingo. I loved it. The fall leaves were on the ground and the air was cool and crisp. You could smell wood burning from her fireplace and there was plenty of room to play outside. My father parked the car and we carried our pots and pans of Thanksgiving goodies inside. My aunt’s house was filled with food and with people. Her long dining table was set with all sorts of yummy things to eat, but I noticed a few things on the table that looked out of the ordinary and that was a big platter of Venison. There were also several bowls filled with chicken and dumplings, but when I looked a little closer I saw bones sticking up and kind of lost my appetite. My aunt had cut slices of pie and put at each person’s plate and I remember how I went around the table looking for the biggest piece and that is where I wanted to sit. We ate, visited, and played outside until it was time to go. We had a wonderful time. On the ride home, my father explained to my sister and I that my grandmother’s family was raised back in the woods where they hunted for deer and raised chickens to eat. He also told us how his mother and her sisters had to ring chickens’ necks, clean them, and cook them. He told us how back in her day they lived off the land and had many mouths to feed and could not waste any food. Needless to say, my sister and I were glad that we did not live back during that time. Another Thanksgiving that comes to mind was back in 1967 when we went to Titusville to visit my mother’s father Clyde Bates. I remember how my mother dressed my sister and I in matching woolen skirt sets which I did



not like because they were itchy. I pitched a fit and wanted to wear something else, but my mother insisted that we look nice for the visit with her father, so she won as usual. I can remember how the ride from Plant City to Titusville was long and treacherous. Back in the early 1960’s the Interstate was not complete and was nothing like we know it today. It seemed like it took forever to get there especially for two young girls in woolen skirt sets with tights. When we finally reached my grandfather’s house, my sister and I were hungry, tired, and cranky, but were not allowed to show it. Lunch was served pretty quick and I remember how everything on my plate looked pretty normal. I was so hungry that I peeked at my plate all through the blessing. I guess I thought that my food might disappear if I closed my eyes all the way. Ah! The long blessing was over and time to eat. I dug in to the delicious looking dressing and swallowed. It was so good that I went in for the second bite and was getting ready to swallow when…hold on and wait a minute…there was something slippery and slimy in my mouth! I swallowed quickly and then thought to myself, I think I swallowed a chicken eyeball! I leaned over to my sister and whispered: “I think I swallowed a chicken eyeball!” My grandfather heard me and started laughing and said: “Those are good old oysters, you are eating oyster dressing.” Well I was done with the dressing part and was left to eat what was on my plate. I was none too happy. On the ride home, my mother explained to us that she was raised on the water and that she and her family loved seafood but that when she married my father she stopped putting oysters in the dressing because my father did not care for seafood. My sister and I chimed, “Neither do we!” When I became a teenager I would gobble down my Thanksgiving lunch so that I could go visit my best friend, JeanAnn Weaver, and eat lunch at her house at 1 p.m. Well, I really did not go just to eat, I went because it was so much fun at her house. Her house was filled with relatives that I loved and they loved me. There was her uncle Tom and aunt Edna Lamb, her uncle Burton and aunt Lillie Lamb, her uncle Robbie and aunt Jean Barker, and her uncle LeRoy and aunt Betty Barker Watkins and a number of friends and self-appointed family members. The house was filled to the brim with people, laughter, chit chat, music, food, and love. Speaking of food, there were pots, pans, and dishes of food on every flat surface in that house. They had card tables set up with cakes and pies. There was so much food that you literally had to crawl from the table to the floor after lunch. They also had a front yard filled with cute boys that JeanAnn’s little brother Curt invited over to play football and scarf food. That was the part that I loved. I remember how the aunts and uncles would tell us funny stories from their youth and how everyone would gather around the piano and sing. Aunt Betty sure knew how to tickle those ivories. We all stayed, and played, and sang, and ate until dark. By the end of the day, there was nothing left but dirty dishes to wash, chairs to fold, and a few crumbs to vacuum


FRONT ROW: L TO R- KAREN OWENS ROMERO, MABEL PARRISH CRISSMORE, CANDY OWENS BACK ROW: L TO R- FORD CRISSMORE, SALLY PARRISH OWENS, MAURICE PARRISH, RUBY PARRISH LYONS, REV. WAYNE OWENS, ANN OWENS. up. I would not trade those times for all the tea in China. The Thanksgiving of 1999 was the most profound of them all. My father was terminally ill and we knew that this would probably be the last holiday that we would spend together as a family. My mother, my sister, and I cooked everything that we could think of that my father liked to eat. We even made a trip to Lakeland to Reececliff’s to get every pie that they had. We sat down at the table to eat and after the blessing my father asked that each person say what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving. When it was my father’s turn he looked at me and said, “I am thankful to be alive!” At the end of this month, I will turn 58 years old and ALL of the aunts, uncles, and grandparents that I mentioned along with my father AND mother have all gone on, the property in Bloomingdale belongs to someone else’s family, and the piano that we all stood around is who knows where, but for all those aunts and uncles, and for those grandparents who served the foods they loved, and for all the stories and laughter shared, and for my friends and family, I GIVE THANKS. Happy Thanksgiving! Here is my recipe for a fun and delicious THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS TRAIL MIX 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia, a symbol of our nation’s abundance. Nuts and Seeds: Promise of a future harvest and growth. Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country. Candy Corn: Sacrifices of the Pilgrims’ first winter. Settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day. M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to guide us to a bright future.. Dried Fruit: Harvest gifts from our bountiful land.






















Second Plate Catering Serving Tampa, Plant City, & Lakeland BY CIERRA CRAFT PHOTOS COURTESY OF SECOND PLATE CATERING

2309 Thonotosassa Rd. Plant City, FL 33563 813-252-1668 2900 Buckingham Ave, Lakeland, FL 33803 863-834-2377


rom formal weddings to large corporate conferences, Second Plate Catering is sure to bring your event to life with delicious cuisine, fully customized to your wishes. Founded in 2016, Second Plate Catering stays at the edge of dining trends, incorporating fresh ingredients into each meal. Second Plate Catering is owned by 1916 Irish Pub owner/operator Chuck Jamieson. The businesses operate out of 1916’s Plant City location at 2309 Thonotosassa Road and the clubhouse at Cleveland Heights Golf Course at 2900 Buckingham Avenue in Lakeland. At the Lakeland location, catering customers can utilize one of the clubhouse’s three events spaces: Main Ballroom, Masters Lounge, and Sawgrass Suite. In working closely together, Second Plate Catering can offer creative bar and beverage services for any event throughout the state of Florida, backed by 1916 Irish Pub’s reputation and expertise.

DELICIOUS MEMORIES FOR YOUR OCCASION When booking Second Plate Catering, request a tasting prior to your big day, allowing you to sample and tweak your wedding menu before the big day. The team can not only create dishes specific to your cuisine preferences, from anything as specific to Low Country Shrimp Boil to cuisines centered around your Latin culture. “We can do anything from Filet to as casual as barbecue,” said Jamieson. “Second Plate Catering is a mix of casual and fine dining.” Second Plate Catering creates delicious memories for your occasion. From a breakfast buffet bar to a plated dinner service with Flank steak, mashed sweet potatoes, and four cheese ravioli, Second Plate Catering can do it all. PAGE


PREFERED CATERER OF LAKELAND & PLANT CITY Second Plate has catered events for the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, City of Lakeland, XFL, University of South Florida, Strawberry Ball, and the Friends of the Bruton Memorial Library’s annual Mystery Dinner Theater, among other events. Each speaks highly of Jamieson, Chef Casey Ryan, and the Second Plate Catering team. “We host our Basketball Banquet at Cleveland Heights, so we reached out to see if Chuck would continue to hold our event there,” said Al Green, Athletic Director of Florida Southern College. “We have always had an excellent experience, great food, great service… they’re easy to work with and we’re given a ton of options within a price range, depending on our needs.” “We have used Second Plate Catering several times for Chamber events,” said Sophia Hyde of the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce. “We are honored to have him as a member, and we appreciate how easy he is to work with. His team has always done a great job for us.” “They provided a box lunch for our 2020 Strawberry Queen Scholarship Pageant Judges, and the judges LOVED the presentation, and the food was excellent,” said Gail Lyons, chair of the Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Scholarship Pageant. “Friday night rehearsal and Saturday night pageant, they provided an array of sandwiches, chips, and cookies for the contestants, production crew, stagehands, and emcees. They made an awesome impression and we will be using their services again.” “Chuck and his team always go out of their way to make the meal great and accommodate their customer’s needs,” said Jodi Stevens of the Plant City Rotary Club. To book Second Plate Catering, visit or call 813-252-1668.

MEET CHEF CASEY RYAN Second Plate Catering’s culinary expertise is the work of Executive Chef Casey Ryan. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with a PCII certification, Chef Casey has more than 20 years of culinary experience in the sports, entertainment and hospitality industry. His career path has allowed him to provide culinary services for various high-profile events and guests, including the World Series, the Republican National Convention, the Super Bowl, and galas for John McCain, Hillary Clinton, the United States Special Operations Command, among others. His prior experience includes leading the culinary team at the RP Funding Center, Tropicana Field, and Tampa Convention Center. Chef Casey worked in Executive Sous Chef and Executive Chef positions for the Atlanta Braves. While in Atlanta, he also launched the culinary operations for the openings of Sun Trust Park and the Coca-Cola Roxy Theater which included complete kitchen design and build, menu and concept development, and team development. With these experiences and more, Chef Casey brings excellence to every dish developed through Second Plate Catering. PAGE


404 N Alexander St. Plant City, Florida 33566 (813) 652-8017






Plant City Christmas Parade

Plant City

Happenings NOVEMBER


Entrepreneur/Small Business Consulting Services 9:00AM-4:00PM Grow & Expand Small Business | Financing & Marketing Assistance Phone Call Consultation (Due to Covid-19) Cost: Free- Schedule Appointment/ Register Online Info: Robert Pierce @Piercer@ or 813-204-9267

All Things Thanksgiving Trivia 6:30PM & 7:30PM Thanksgiving & Turkey Trivia Food | Family Fun The Industry @ 119 S. Collins St Cost: Free Info: (813) 756-6955 or


Plant City Strawberry Classic Cruise-In 3:00PM-8:00PM Classic Cars & Trucks | Vendors Live DJ Downtown Plant City @102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free & Free Car Registration Info: 813-754-3707 PAGE


Aquaponics Growing Class 10:30AM-1:00PM Learn How to Grow Your Own Food |Grow a Lush & Edible Garden | Easy A Land of Delight Natural Farm @2514 Leaning Pine Ln Cost: Free Info: 813-359-9120 or

Winery to the Rescue 11:00AM-5:00PM Raffles | Dog Related Vendors | Food | Silent & Live Auctions Keel & Curley Winery @5202 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: Free Admission & Parking (Donations & Proceeds to benefit FLGDR) Info: 813-752-9100


Last Friday in Downtown 5:00PM-9:00PM Food Trucks & Market Vendors | Live Entertainment | Family & Pet Friendly McCall Park @100 N. Collins St Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: 813-764-9516



7:00PM Decorated Floats | Candy & Beads | Family Friendly Downtown Plant City (get more definitive location) Cost: Free Info: 813-453-7134 or



Rise Social Networking Event 5:00PM-6:00PM Networking | Young Professionals Roots Tap Room & Wine Bar @101 S. Evers St Cost: Free (No RSVP Required) Info: 813-754-3707


UnWINEd Yoga


Plant City Bike Fest 4:30PM-8:30PM Motorcycles | Vendors | Contests Downtown Plant City @102 N. Palmer St Cost: Free to Public | Bike registration$10 per Class Info: 813-754-3707


Holiday Shopping Extravaganza 3:00PM-7:00PM Small Business Vendors | Face Painting & Pictures with Santa | Holiday Gifts Wishing Well Barn @4302 Pippin Rd Cost: Free Parking & Admission Info: 813-418-0181 or

9:00AM-10:00AM Outdoor Yoga | Lunch & Wine | All Yoga Levels Welcome Keel and Curley Winery @5202 Thonotosassa Rd Cost: $10 Cash Drop In or clients. Info: 813-752-9100 or


Santa is Coming to Slabach & Co. 10:00AM-5:00PM Snow & Pictures with Santa| Craft & Food Vendors | Pet Friendly Slabach & Co. Farmers Market @110 E. Keysville Rd Cost: Free Admission Info: 813-357-9372


Trivia at Roots 7:00PM-9:00PM Live Trivia | Prizes | Food & Drinks Roots Tap Room & Wine Bar @101 S. Evers St Cost: Free Trivia Info: 813-756-5400







b Gallery of Plant City

Halloween on Main Street On Friday, October 30, thousands turned out for Halloween on Main Street, a family-friendly holiday event centered around McCall Park. Downtown merchants passed out candy to trickor-treaters and vendors offered their goods. The event was presented by Plant City Main Street, who offered free treat bags sponsored by First Response Heating and Cooling and Green Life Environmental. Photography sponsored by Hungry Howie’s Plant City.

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d a. Plant City’s youngest citizens were encouraged to dress up and trick-or-treat from downtown vendors in a family-friendly atmosphere. Food trucks were on site offering cuisine of all types including Poke bowls and burgers. b. Businesses, like MacGrath-Poppell & Co., got in on the festivities with the team dressing as Grease’s iconic Pink Ladies. Businesses were able to not only pass out candy, but sell their goods and services in a unique marketing opportunity. c. Jayme Harris, and her son Dylan, enjoyed the Halloween on Main Street event before heading to Sir Henry’s Haunted Train the following day. Many families noted the success of the downtown event and hope to see a similar turnout at future downtown events. d. From sweet to sassy and even spooky, children were in the spirit of Halloween. The trick-or-treaters made rounds to businesses such as Brick City Bricks, I Hate My Trainer, and Fringe Boutique, among many others. e. The girls at Fringe used Halloween on Main Street as an opportunity to let people know that they’re relocating to downtown Plant City’s Drane Street in the near future. Fringe also set up a free photo booth and sold Bourbon & Boweties bangles. PAGE




Gallery of Plant City

Plant City Dolphins 2020 Jamboree On October 17, the Plant City Dolphins hosted their annual Jamboree, a scrimmage match up between the Fins and Pinecrest Pilots and North Lakeland Legends. To view more photos, visit our Facebook page @focusmagazine



Gallery of Plant City



a Gallery of Plant City

Empty Bowls On November 14, the United Food Bank of Plant City hosted its annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. The event raised awareness of hunger and food insecurity in our community, while raising money to fund the UFBPC’s programs to fulfill that need. Attendees sampled soups and purchased handcrafted clay bowls.

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e f

g a. The United Food Bank is led by Executive Director Mary Heysek b. St. Peters Episcopal Church had a giant pot ready to serve their Virginia Style Brunswick Stew. c. The Berry Royal Bowl was created by 2020 Strawberry Queen Meghan White, First Maid Kennedy Sapp, and Court Members Lacie Collins, Denim Hughes, and Emma Miller. d. Beautiful sidewalk chalk art helped raise awareness to hunger and food insecurity in our community. e. This bowl titled “I Love My Hometown” featured icon Plant City landmarks or imagery. It was created by Lesli Platt. f. Dodie White and Marsha Passmore sported their Empty Bowls face masks and are ready to try the soups available. g. The community turned out to support the United Food Bank. Participants of the event included local schools, churches, and civic organizations. PAGE







GUILLERMO BELTRE HVAC INSTALLER I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where I studied refrigeration technology for two years. I worked for Coca Cola as a refrigeration engineer and SEIMCA before moving to the U.S. I have worked in refrigeration and HVAC for 19 years; I am passionate about my career. When I'm not working, I love to spend time with my family and cook.


813.547.6674 | #CAC181932 PAGE






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