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TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Volume 4 Issue 10 • March 2012

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06-08 LOCAL

Activity abounds now and in the coming month for the Winter Haven community. Enjoy a report on the Banker’s Cup Awards and previews of two high profile upcoming events: the Original Highwaymen Art Extravaganza weekend and the two days of the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic.

09 SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

Clay McKown thoroughly enjoys his city, his work with Allen & Company, and his responsibilities as the current YP group of the Greater Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce. Enjoy meeting a man with a big vision for our future and one whose actions speak louder than words.

11 FESTIVAL SECTION

We’re excited this month to present what’s new for the Strawberry Festival: Ron Gainey, the new president and the new Evelyn and Bautista Madonia, Sr. Agriculture Building. Also new is a queen with a pageant first: two grandmothers who also wore the crown.

39 BUSINESS PROFILE

The Tucker Group consists of four companies, which combined offer a century of experience: Tucker Construction, Tucker Paving, Tucker Carpets, and Concrete Construction Services. All four divisions were involved with the construction of Legoland, and are currently involved with projects at SeaWorld and Gaylord Palms. A tough economy has only served to strengthen their business.

40 DINING PROFILE

Make your way to Pappy’s Grill at the Winter Haven airport and meet Rod Hamlet, the owner, who formerly owned an establishment across from the Lakeland airport listed by Diners, Drive Ins and Dives as one of the 7 best places to eat in Florida. Enjoy fresh food, fair prices, in a fun setting.

38 - CITY OF WINTER HAVEN

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42 - EVENT CALENDAR

ON THE COVER

Winter Haven Young Professionals

FOCUSWINTERHAVEN.COM Full digital version of the current and past magazines Extended features, interviews, dining profiles and business profiles with extra content Community news updates


LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER One of the neatest things about publishing a community newspaper is to be continually amazed by the creativity and drive in local residents to continue a legacy or accomplish a mission. The first weekend this month the Davenport community welcomes art aficionados far and wide to enjoy the Original Highwaymen Weekend Art Extravaganza. Anyone who has ever planned an event can relate to the effort involved in gathering 10 of the 18 still living 26 original Highwaymen (one is female) artists for the first weekend in March. Only a few tickets for the Friday night dinner and auction with the artists remain. But on Saturday, everyone can watch them create at the free-to-the-public art show and purchase some priceless work for affordable prices. This is definitely a must-go event. Winter Haven is definitely on the sports map also this first weekend with the Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic race known as The Criterium. Five local men had a vision for cycling, community, and charity that now draws participants and spectators from around the country to race our roads. The entire family can be involved, too. Fun in the sun with pedals and helmets - it may not get any better than this. The good news for everyone these days is that our young career professionals care as much as the older generations about Winter Haven’s future. Clay McKown, current YP president and our Spotlight interview for March, is leading the group’s involvement in every aspect of civic life. You’ll read as well about the Tucker Group, four companies thriving in a tough economy to physically build industry and hospitality venues that will create jobs for our citizens. It’s a win-win collaboration for a cause that helps us all. Once again, we feel honored to share life with you and to tell the stories that matter in this moment. Thanks for reading and supporting those you meet among our pages.

Mike Floyd - Publisher mike@floydpublications.com Got a story idea? Looking to advertise in Focus? Contact us for more information.

Publisher Mike Floyd mike@floydpublications.com

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Office 813.707.8783 Fax 813.764.0990

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www.thefocusmagazine.com Standards of accuracy: The goal of the writers at FOCUS Magazine is to provide heart-warming stories that are accurate from the start. Being human, however, we sometimes make mistakes. Please forgive us. So if you notice anything that is incorrect, then please do not hesitate to contact the editorial department and inform it about the fact error. To do so, call (813) 707-8783 or e-mail editorial@floydpublications.com. The staff will fix the error in a timely manner.

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FOCUS Magazine is published monthly and is available through local 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.

Photographers Billy Friend | Jennifer Darnell Staff Writers Brian West | Cheryl Turner | Diana Brink Heather Davis | Taylor Flumerfelt | Cheryl Johnston Amanda Molinaro | Joe Bowles Contributors Al Ruechel | Gil Gott Bruce Rodwell | Jo-An Lusk | Nate Davis

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Licensed territories are available. We are looking to expand the family and are looking for motivated individuals to join our award winning team. If you are interested in owning your own Focus Magazine contact Mike Floyd at 813.707.8783 ext 26. FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

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LOCAL » FOCUS

Winners Patti Bostick and Gary Price with past Banker’s Cup recipients Photo by: Will Chappell

2012 GREATER WINTER HAVEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANKER’S CUP AWARDS WINNERS GARY PRICE AND PATTI BOSTICK HONORED FOR ADVOCACY F WRITTEN BY: VALERIE MCCUTCHEON

ebruary 2nd found Nora Mayo Hall filled with well-dressed guests enjoying a Taste of Winter Haven while honoring the Man and Woman of the Year at the 2012 Banker’s Cup Awards. As attendees mingled, sampling assorted specialties from acclaimed Winter Haven dining establishments, Chamber of Commerce President Nelson Kirkland announced a surprise performance by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Well, the next best thing anyway: the cast of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story from Theatre Winter Haven.

In its 89th year, the Banker’s Cup is regarded as the city’s highest honor and awarded annually to a man and woman who have had a positive impact on the community through their service. Written nominations are submitted for consideration and then the Chamber’s Selection Committee votes on those submissions. This year, perhaps the only ones surprised by the announcements were the winners themselves.

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Vaughn McAshan, the 2005 Man of the Year, introduced Patti Bostick as a strong leader filled with courage, integrity, enthusiasm, passion and vision. Her nominator wrote in reference to her work with the Women’s Resource Center that she is a “humble civic leader who never draws attention to herself as she advocates for the most vulnerable among us.”

2001, its purpose is to improve the lives of greater Winter Haven citizens. They have awarded more than $2 million dollars in grants and manage over $5 million in gifts and endowments, all for charitable purposes benefiting the community. He is also a Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club board member.

The Women’s Resource Center helps local women in need by providing them with skills to increase self-sufficiency and enrich their lives. In addition to her work there over the past 28 years, Patti has also volunteered at the Humane Society of Polk County, Girls Inc., Theatre Winter Haven, Winter Haven Hospital and All Saints’ Academy. Bonnie Parker, the 2011 Woman of the Year, described Gary Price as a “mild-mannered, unpretentious, behind-the-scenes type of volunteer” and as Winter Haven’s very own “Clark Kent.” A partner in the accounting firm Cross, Fernandez & Riley, Price is best known for his involvement as a founding director of the Community Foundation of Greater Winter Haven. Established in

The cast of Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story from Theatre Winter Haven provided the entertainment. Photo by: Will Chappell

Gary Price and Patti Bostick join a long line of individuals who have devoted themselves tirelessly and selflessly to improving life in Winter Haven, and we offer them our sincere thanks and congratulations.


LOCAL » FOCUS

Cycling Course

4TH ANNUAL CHAIN OF LAKES CYCLING CLASSIC THE MOST FAST AND FURIOUS CRITERIUM RACING IN FLORIDA O WRITTEN BY: CHERYL JOHNSTON

n Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4, 2012 the city of Winter Haven will host the 4th Annual Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic.

Cyclists of all ages and classes will race on the scenic roads of Polk County and the streets of beautiful downtown Winter Haven competing for Bill Bone Pro-Am Classic Series points, Florida Point Series points, prize money and trophies.

Time trials and a road race will be held Friday in Alturas.

Several classes of riders will compete in The Criterium, the Saturday event (from 10-yearolds to senior cyclists) when crowds of fans will gather to watch the race organized by the non-profit group, Cycling Classics, Inc. This challenging multi-lap race involves 8-turns on the three-quarter mile course. For an interesting view of the course through a competitor’s helmet-camera, visit http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCF21vPhSAE.

The Kids’ Races on Sunday are grouped for ages 4-6 and 7-9. Every child receives a medal and a photo op on the winner’s podium. Children also have opportunity to learn bicycle safety and practice their skills in the Bicycle Rodeo. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Humane Society of Polk County as the notfor-profit Florida Corporation of Cycling Classic works diligently to benefit the sport, the community, and a local charity.

Cycling Classics, Inc., founded in 2008 by five friends who shared (and still do) a passion for cycling, their communities, and charities, desires that their event be both challenging and rewarding to the competitors, exciting and fulfilling to the spectators, and financially rewarding to a local charity.

For information visit CyclingClassics.com or phone Dan Rooney at 863-294-4468.

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LOCAL » FOCUS

ORIGINAL FLORIDA HIGHWAYMEN WEEKEND ART AND NATURE LOVERS - ARE YOU READY FOR A TRULY ART EXTRAVAGANZA UNIQUE EXPERIENCE? I WRITTEN BY: CHERYL JOHNSTON

t’s time again for The Original Florida Highwaymen Weekend Extravaganza, which is presented by the City of Davenport’s Florida Heritage Series.

The 2nd annual event will start Friday, March 2, 2012 with dinner at the Del Webb Orlando clubhouse. Tickets for this event will be sold only in advance since seating is limited. Individual tickets are $50 and a table reserved for your group of would cost $400. Nine of the original Highwaymen artists will be present. Each artist attending the dinner will bring a painting to be auctioned after the meal and a Highwaymen Artist will be seated at each table to share about their art and experiences. Auction proceeds will benefit the Arts in Davenport. On Saturday, March 3, 2012, the art show is free and open to the public from 10:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. at the Davenport Community

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Center, 5 South Allapaha Avenue. One or more of the artists will be painting at the event. Mr. Robert Butler, one of the original Highwaymen, will be signing his new book, “Highwaymen Artists-An Untold Truth”

Artists will offer for sale their paintings, calendars, note cards, etc. Peruse and purchase original art and prints as you enjoy the idyllic setting in beautiful Davenport. Food will be available during the event. The weekend is sponsored by and partnered with the following: Bright House, Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing, Del Webb Orlando, Wayne T. Fellows, and McCutcheon Marketing. For tickets and information, please call the Davenport City Hall at 863-419-3300 and speak with Rachel Castillo or City Manager, Amy Arrington. You might also wish to visit www.mydavenport.org.


Leadership for The Winter Haven Young Professionals Group has been a team effort among friends. Pictured L-R are: former Chair Katie Gernert, Media & PR Director for CNP; current Chair Clay McKown of Allen & Company; immediate past Chair Josh Lewis of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney; former Chair Allison Beeman, Director of Haines City Economic Development Council; and current Co-Chair Nicole Erickson of The Tucker Group.

CLAYMCKOWN MCKOWN CLAY CHAIR OF WINTER HAVEN YOUNG PROFESSIONALS GROUP

Clay McKown thoroughly enjoys his city and his work with Allen & Company. Presently he’s the youngest member on the Ritz 100 Board of Directors. He’s also a man with a big vision for the future of his community, and his actions speak louder than words. Enjoy getting to know the current Chair of Winter Haven’s YP (Young Professionals) Group. He’s also open to suggestions and questions from anyone who hopes to make a difference in Polk County. Focus: Tell us a little about your background, Clay. I was born in the WH Hospital and grew up in Avon Park, where I graduated from high school in 2004. During that time I worked five years for Publix. I once lived three months in Ireland also. Now I live in South Lakeland and work for Allen & Company’s Winter Haven office. Focus: How about your education and qualifications for the financial planning career? I earned an Associate of Arts in 2005 from South Florida Community College. During the summer of 2007 I interned with the Foreign Commercial Service at the US Embassy in

Interview by Cheryl Johnston

Dublin, Ireland. The majority of that ime was spent with the US Ambassador researching opportunities in renewable energy for U.S. companies interested in competing in Europe’s renewable energy industry. That winter I interned at Allen & Company and in 2008 received a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of South Florida. I was employed as a Financial Planner at Allen & Company in the winter of 2008 and completed the Certified Financial Planner™ Certificate Program at the University of Central Florida in 2009. Focus: How did you become involved with the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and specifically with Young Professionals? I first got involved with the Chamber as a member of Leadership Winter Haven - Class 30. That opened my eyes to all of the positive things going on in Winter Haven and made me want to get involved. After attending a few YP meetings I decided this would be a great group to join. Not long after, I joined the board. They were in search for a new president so I volunteered to fill the position. Focus: Would you give us an overview of this YP group’s personality and membership? We are group centered on personal development and we have a great time doing it. We meet once a month for a social, speaker, or onsite tours of key organizations in Winter Haven. Last year YP had close to 100 members. We anticipate more membership growth this year.

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CLAY MCKOWN Focus: How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

My favorite way to spend my time is out on the Chain of Lakes with good friends. I also enjoy playing golf, attending various sporting events, and traveling whenever possible. Focus: What do you enjoy most about the work you do career wise and the work with the Chamber?

I love what I do. I really enjoy working with my clients and helping plan their finances around their life goals. Although stressful at times, it is all worth it when I can give a client peace of mind in regards to their financial affairs. Another aspect of my career I enjoy is the opportunity to become involved in the community. Allen & Company encourages associates to make their community a better place. They have supported my efforts with the Winter Haven YP Group and other organizations I volunteer with. Currently I’m the Chair of Leadership WH - Class 32 - for the Chamber of Commerce. I highly recommend this program to any Winter Haven professional.

In February we enjoyed our meeting at Six/Ten’s Beymer Building downtown and then sampled wines with Anita Strang from The Laughing Owl Market. Main Street Winter Haven also presented some insights. YP offers great educational and social experiences.

I think YP member Lauren Schwenk expressed it very well when she wrote: “WHYPG gives young leaders in our community a chance to not only connect with one another but to use our synergy to have a voice. We have an incredible amount at stake and we need to make Winter Haven a place that encourages young professionals to set their roots here.” Focus: What do you enjoy most about the WH community? Winter Haven is a special place. It has the culture and community of a small town with the opportunity for personal growth generally associated with large metropolitan areas. As an emerging professional I believe sky is the limit here. Focus: Are you active in other organizations as well?

Focus: Are there particular Chamber or YP projects or efforts you enjoy more than others?

Yes, in addition to serving as chair for Leadership Winter Haven Class 32, I am the Secretary of the Board for the Winter Haven Economic Development Council. I’m a board member of the Ritz Theatre and an advisory board member of the Chain of Lakes Collegiate High School. For Polk Vision I serve as board member and Civic Engagement Task Chair.

I really enjoy getting established professionals, executives, and representatives to our meetings. It gives our members a chance to meet some of the movers and shakers in Winter Haven they might not have met otherwise.

I’m also involved in the USF Alumni Association, a Camp Councilor with Good Shepherd Hospice Bethany Center, and I mentor for various schools for the Polk County School Board.

I think the YP group as a whole is what I enjoy most. From an economic development standpoint our demographic is vital to the growth of Winter Haven and that excites me. I’m here to live and build my business for the long haul (like many others in WHYPG) so that motivates me to get involved and shape the City we all want to see- a vibrant, entertaining, high quality of life with the opportunity to be prosperous without sacrificing our culture and community.

Focus: What does the future five years out look like for you?

Focus: We understand YP has big plans for this year. Can you tell us a few of those? Our scheduled activites for the next few months includes: In March we’ll have some fun with members of all YP groups in Polk County as we tackle the Fantasy of Flights new Confidence course and Zip line. In April we will meet county and city commissioners and tour the Winter Haven Fire Safety Complex. In May we’ll challenge each other in paintball and then celebrate with food on the grill. Focus: Why would you encourage others to become involved? YP is a great way to make new friends and network connections and learn more about what makes our community work so well. We mix the learning with fun, social activities, too. In January, for example, we met at Ridge Art to hear Tony Benge of The Landings, along with Chip Tucker and Steve Sawyer from Tucker Construction, speak about the project.

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WHYPG members spent an October evening at the Winter Haven Hospital where surgeon/urologist Dr. Sigo Parekattio demonstrate the cutting edge technology of robotics surgery and allowed the group to use the machines.

MARCH 2012 focuswinterhaven.com

Winter Haven is where I see myself in five years. I would love to own a house on the Chain of Lakes. Professionally I see myself at Allen & Company with a business that is still growing. Thanks for your time, Clay. It’s a pleasure to meet actively engaged young professionals and learn of ways they are helping to prosper the community. We appreciate all you do for Winter Haven and the organizations with which you serve.


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AGRICULTURAL CENTER A VERSATILE ADDITION TO STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL GROUNDS BY DAVE NICHOLSON

R

ain, cold or heat won’t be a major concern this year for such Florida Strawberry Festival favorites as the steer show and lamb costume contest.

Thanks to the new Evelyn & Batista Madonia Sr. Agriculture Show Center, festival livestock shows have a permanent home, complete with bleacher style seating, heating and air conditioning. “We won’t have to worry about the weather,” festival General Manager Paul Davis said. The center won’t be hard for festival guests to find. At 33,000 square feet, the Madonia center is by far the largest building on the festival grounds – nearly twice the size of the TECO Expo Hall. The center, named for the well-known owners of the Red Rose Inn and Suites and a large farming operation, was constructed at a total cost of about $3.6 million. The building is a centerpiece of the festival and will be “center stage,” when the gates open March 1, Davis said. The building sits on nearly 4 acres on Oak Avenue in the northwest corner of the festival grounds, near the Tomlin Middle School gymnasium. The center replaces rented livestock tents. The building has gotten rave reviews since it was completed early this year. It has already housed such festival events as the Strawberry Ball, festival queen’s pageant and fashion show. For the festival, it will be converted to a livestock area with gates and fencing anchored in the concrete and indoor-outdoor carpeting. Spectators shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to sit during livestock shows, sales and contests. The bleachers can seat 1,700 to 1,800, far beyond the capacity at the tents that used to house the events.

The center will only be open during festival livestock events; at other times it won’t be accessible to the general public. Competitors in the livestock shows will have access for practices and the like. The festival is all about agriculture and a permanent home for livestock shows has been in the works for many years. Davis said festival President Ron Gainey deserves credit for his extensive work on developing a versatile design for the center. City Commissioner Mike Sparkman, who previously served as president, said Gainey played a key role in shaping the center, including making trips to the Georgia National Fair in Perry to view a similar building. “Ron Gainey poured a lot of time and effort into making this a reality,” Sparkman said. Gainey gave credit to other members of his committee. “It wasn’t just Ron Gainey, it was everyone working together to make this all happen,” he said. The Madonia center is the first phase of a plan to improve festival facilities for livestock events, Gainey added. He hopes the festival can complete the vision by adding two pavilions to house livestock adjacent to the center in time for the 2013 celebration of King Strawberry. Gainey said city commissioner and Festival Director Rick Lott, with the Visions and Innovations committee, is heading up the efforts to sell naming rights to the pavilions to help pay for construction costs. He added that the relatively new committee is exploring other ways to improve the festival in years to come.

Paul Davis shows off the new Eveyln & Batista Madonia Agricultural Show Center

“We are looking ahead not just to the next festival. We are looking 10 to 20 years down the road,” he said.


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Queen & MEET THE 2012 FL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

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Each year since 1930, the City of Plant City and the Florida Strawberry Festival kick off the season with the selection of a new Queen and Court. And each year, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes with the Plant City Lions Club and the Lions Auxiliary to present a pageant that to make everyone proud and to deliver five young ladies who can represent the Festival and our city. And each year, we do just that. Still, we find ourselves asking, “How can we get another five girls as good as those we had the year prior?” Thankfully, year in and year out, the young ladies in our area step up to the challenge. This year is no different as the 2012 Queen and Court were named just a few weeks ago. I had a moment to speak with First Maid- Calli Jo Parker and Court Members Olivia Higgins, Erica Kelley and Chelsea Talavera.

& Court

INTERVIEW BY BRIAN WEST | PHOTOS BY ANTHONY SASSANO

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Queen

2012 FL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL The past several years have seen several milestones in the Florida Strawberry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant. Lauren and Erica Der became the first sisters to wear the crown. Then the feat was repeated last year as Victoria Watkins, younger sister to Ashlee, became the second pair of sisters to wear the crown. This year, Chelsea Bowden becomes the first Queen to have grandmothers who wore the crown. That’s right, grandmothers. Both of Bowden’s grandmothers, Barbara Alley Bowden – 1948 and Ruby Jean Barker Redman – 1953 were Strawberry Queens. And as you might imagine, they’re both pretty excited for their granddaughter. Chelsea and I had a chance to speak a couple of weeks ago, immediately following her first official appearance as the 2012 Queen at lunch with the Plant City Lions Club – sponsors of the pageant.

FOCUS: TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.

Bowden: I am one of three children. Both of my parents are educators. I come from a large family. I have 9 cousins on one side and 2 on the other. I’m really family-oriented. We spend Sundays together after church, eating dinner. We’re together for holidays and birthdays. We have a lake house where we like to spend time. When we are there, there’s usually about 20 of us, so it’s a pretty packed house and a lot of fun. Family is what’s most important to me.

FOCUS: WHAT DOES YOUR FAMILY THINK ABOUT ALL THIS?

Bowden: My family is still overwhelmed and still just taking it all in. They’re all still kind of in shock. I’m just so blessed to have this opportunity. Both of my grandmothers were Strawberry Queens, and they are so excited. My grandmother’s friends call them all day. They come over to my house and talk about how their friends are coming over and writing them. It’s really exciting.

FOCUS: PRIOR TO THIS YEAR, WHAT DID THE ROLE OF STRAWBERRY QUEEN MEAN TO YOU?

Bowden: I think it was someone that was the face of the Festival and the agriculture industry. The Strawberry Queen is also a role model to the young girls who look up to her. I know I always looked up to the role. The Queen is also someone that can get along with anyone. It was always something really special to me.

FOCUS: WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT FROM THE PAGEANT?

Bowden: The crowning moment was probably my most memorable. I’d have to say that was the number one moment for me. The interview was great. I felt like the judges really liked me. They gave

Chelsea Bowden

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me such great compliments that I was really kind of taken back. There were just so many FOCUS: IT’S ONLY BEEN A COUPLE OF DAYS SINCE YOU WERE CROWNED QUEEN, BUT I KNOW great moments. Meeting all the girls, even the ones that didn’t make it to the top five, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN BUSY. they were all just so nice. I realize that I’m fortunate to have this opportunity. Bowden: Yes. We’ve already ordered our evening gowns and cocktail dresses. They’re beautiful. We’ve gotten our outfits together; clothes and shoes. We’ve also been to another luncheon. FOCUS: WHAT DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO PREPARE FOR THE PAGEANT? Bowden: Oh my goodness. It took so much. I’m sure you probably know that a lot of the girls get coaches now. I had a coach, mostly for the interview portion because I was FOCUS: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN? so nervous about it. And getting the hair and makeup, and the clothes - it was a lot of Bowden: I really enjoy going to the movies or renting from Red Box. I like to be with preparation. And I couldn’t have done any of it without the support of my parents. my family of friends on a Friday or Saturday night. I’m an outdoorsy person, which a lot

FOCUS: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST?

Bowden: Getting to know all of the girls has been so much fun. And I’m really looking forward to getting to the Festival and meeting all the entertainers. That’s just going to be so much fun, and each of us have someone that we’re really excited about. I’m also looking forward to spending time at the Palace, which is where we’ll stay during the day, and it’s amazing. We went last night to check it out and we all picked our seats. It’s amazing.

FOCUS: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE INTERACTIONS YOU HAD WITH THE FIRST MAID AND COURT?

Bowden: I think we’re going to get along great. We all have different personalities but they blend really well. We’re just all so excited about everything that’s ahead of us.

of people don’t know. I have 2 dogs and I really love going to Medard Park with them. I’m really athletic and love anything outside. I also love shopping, especially bargain shopping.

FOCUS: TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT NOT EVERYONE KNOWS.

Bowden: I danced for about 8 years, competitively, before I became a volleyball player. I used to do tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip hop. Not many people know that because I stopped competing when I got to the eighth grade because there isn’t much you can do with dance in high school, except cheering, and I’d never really done any of the jumps and flips. We have a color guard, but it’s not the same thing, so I had to branch out a little to something else.

FOCUS: WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO GAIN FROM BEING QUEEN?

Bowden: I think I’ll gain more knowledge about Plant City’s history. I already know a lot, but there are a lot of things I don’t know. I also expect to gain better speaking skills, Bowden: Yes, I’m a senior this year at Durant High School. I’m planning to go to HCC because a lot of what I have to do is talk with others. I’m sure I’ll be meeting a lot of people; a lot of influential people, and hopefully they’ll make an impact on me and each and study Nursing. I would like to go to the University of Florida for my second two one of the court members. years, but I’ll have to wait and see how the first couple of years go.

FOCUS: YOU’RE A SENIOR THIS YEAR. WHAT DO YOU INTEND TO DO AFTER YOU GRADUATE?

FOCUS: WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INTEREST IN NURSING?

Bowden: I really like Science, Biology and Chemistry. I’ve always had great teachers at Durant. I want to do something in the mission field overseas. I want to make an impact on children. That’s my biggest goal.

FOCUS: I ALSO UNDERSTAND YOU’RE INVOLVED IN THE DURANT HIGH SCHOOL LEON CLUB. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE LEOS?

Bowden: I got involved through Student Government. I’m a member and Mrs. Singletary sponsors Student Government and the Leo Club. So from Student Government, a lot of students will get involved in the Leo Club. Leo Club is the number one community service club to be involved in at Durant. Everyone is in it. We have a blast. We’ve volunteered at Pig Jam and the United Food Bank. And I have so many friends in it and that just makes it a lot of fun. Mrs. Singletary is just an amazing woman. I talk to her all the time. I spoke with her all the time leading up to the pageant and she was someone who gave me great advice. I really look up to her.

FOCUS: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LIKE TO SAY TO CLOSE THE INTERVIEW?

Bowden: God has blessed me with such a great opportunity and I really want to thank Him and my family and friends. I’m just really looking forward to the year and getting to know the girls better. Chelsea Bowden is going to make a great Queen for the Florida Strawberry Festival. I have no doubts she will do an excellent job in representing the Festival and Plant City well. At 5’11”, Chelsea is the tallest Queen we’ve had since Beckie Brown (5’11¾”) in 1987. Interestingly, Brown and her mother Ruth, the first mother daughter Queens, were the emcees for this year’s pageant. If you find yourself out and about and happen upon Chelsea, introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did. She’s a very sweet young lady and will make us all proud to have her as this year’s Queen. Congratulations, Chelsea! Enjoy your year and make the most of every opportunity.

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Court 2012 FL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL

FOCUS: CALLI JO AND ERICA, THIS WAS YOUR SECOND YEAR COMPETING, CORRECT? Parker: Yes. It was definitely easier than my first year competing, because I knew what to expect and what was coming. This year I just kinda had it in my mind that God has a plan, and whatever it is, I’m just going to let Him use me. When He placed me in the position I’m in now, it just felt so comfortable. You get placed where you know it’s right and you just know that it’s going to work out perfectly. So that was the state of mind I held throughout the entire pageant. It definitely helped keep me calm and collected.

First Maid

Calli Jo Parker

Kelley: I made the top ten last year but I had no idea what to expect. I think I messed up on the on-stage question last year, so that’s what I worked on most this year. I didn’t take it too seriously. My dad and my brother were at all of my dress fittings. They could probably do the pageant with me and do just as well. It even got to the point where my dad, whose the most country guy you could ever meet, was giving me pointers when I practiced my walk.

FOCUS: IT’S ONLY BEEN A FEW DAYS, BUT WHAT’S BEEN MOST MEMORABLE FOR YOU? Parker: That’s difficult. The whole night was just amazing. But I think when I was answering the impromptu question was probably the most memorable for me. I’ve told everyone, it’s so crazy how fast your brain moves when you’re on stage like that, but I did not realize how funny my answer was until I saw the judge’s faces. They were all just laughing. It was a very memorable moment for me. Higgins: It’s kind of funny. Just as Amber Carapezza was coming off the stage from delivering her commercial, there was fire in the building. We heard the commotion, but didn’t know what was going on. Then she came into the dressing room and told us what happened. That was pretty memorable. And we could hear Mr. Davis say, “We just want everyone to know that we rented these lights.” Kelley: When they called my name for the top five. I was the last one called, so I was a nervous wreck. It didn’t matter whether or not I was crowned Queen, just knowing that I made the Court meant everything. I was so happy. Talavera: The day after the pageant, we got to meet the Queen and Court from last year. I’ve never really talked with them, so it was really nice to see how close they are now after a year together. They’re all very close. So I’m really looking forward to having four new best friends.

FOCUS: WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO MOST THIS YEAR? Parker: Honestly, visiting with all of the Directors’ wives. There are so many people that work the festival, and the Red Coats get a lot of recognition, but their wives and the women who work behind the scenes do just as much work as everyone else. I’m really excited to get to know them and thank them for everything they do.

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Higgins: Obviously the entertainers and the food, but one of the things I’m really looking forward to is getting to know the other girls. After seeing last year’s Queen and Court, and seeing how close they are and the relationships they have and knowing they’re relationships that will last a lifetime, that’s what I’m really looking forward to. Kelley: I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone. Today with the Lions Club was just a glimpse of what the year will be like. Everyone is so sweet and nice.


Talavera: I’m really looking forward to meeting the entertainers and lots of great food.

FOCUS: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CAREER PLANS. Parker: I’m currently a freshman at HCC studying Agriculture Communications. I told my mom the other day, when I’m standing on the stage with a microphone, I just feel like I was meant to do that. That’s what I was born to do. Most of the girls were really anxious about that moment, but I couldn’t wait for that moment. I have no idea where I could do that [as a job] but to be somewhere speaking about agriculture, my faith, about anything in front of thousands of people - that is home to me. Hopefully Agriculture Communications will lead me to something like that. Kelley: I’m attending HCC. I’m studying Business Management and I want to open my own pageant gown store in Plant City. I want the dresses to be unique and custom designed. When you put on a dress, you have to feel beautiful on the inside. I want to share that with other girls. You can’t go to Prom or compete in a pageant and have a great time if you don’t feel beautiful and I want to help other girls have that experience. Higgins: I’ve been homeschooled since I was in Kindergarten. I’m a senior this year and started dual enrollment at HCC my junior year. The state pays for that, so I’ll graduate from high school this spring and then from HCC in December. Then I’ll go on to USF to finish my Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in English. I’d like to be able to teach at the college level. Talavera: I’m currently attending Plant City High School. After high school, I’m thinking about attending Southeastern College. It’s so pretty. I went to their Christmas musical and it was just so amazing. I just like that atmosphere and I’ve just had so many people say great things about it. So I’d like to go there, or maybe USF. I’d like to major in English and become a high school English teacher.

FOCUS: OLIVIA AND CHELSEA, WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INTEREST IN TEACHING ENGLISH? Higgins: I enjoy English and I’m good at it. I like to write, and I want to be able to get married and have a family. I had a great teacher at HCC, Mrs. Galloway, and she inspired me to go for it.

Chelsea Talavera Talavera: Mrs. Jo Beth Newsome was my 9th grade teacher. She was just so amazing. I just knew that I had to be just like her.

FOCUS: CALLI JO, I KNOW YOU’RE A CHRISTIAN. WHAT WERE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NUMBER OF CONTESTANTS SHARING THEIR BELIEF IN GOD? Parker: The support was overwhelming. The sisterhood backstage was wonderful. Most of the girls were believers, which made it so much better. Last year I didn’t get the same feeling. This year, everyone was in the pageant to serve God, and it just made everything so much more enjoyable. We all look for the same things out of life, and especially these five girls that made the court. We all have one heartbeat. And I think it’s something that has already brought us closer together, quicker than any court I’ve seen, personally.

FOCUS: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY? Parker: I really want to say thanks to my family. Kelley: I would really like to thank everyone that helped me. My coach, Crystal, was a blessing. She’s such a sweetheart. And I’m so thankful for the support I got from my family and friends. Higgins: I really want to say thanks to my family. Thanks so much to Lynn and Connie at Tip to Toe for being my sponsor, and everyone in the community that was giving me such good advice. Thanks so much for the opportunities we’ll have this year.

Erica Kelley

Talavera: I just want to say thanks to everyone in my family and my friends for all their support. These are 4 great young ladies. They’re all very grounded and come from good families in our community. They will do a great job in representing our city and the Florida Strawberry Festival in 2012. Congratulations to each of you. Enjoy every moment. FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

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A FAMILY LEGACY OF FESTIVAL QUEENS CHELSEA BOWDEN AND TWO GRANDMOTHERS SHARE PAGEANT HISTORY BY CHERYL JOHNSTON

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hen Chelsea Bowden was crowned 2012 Strawberry Festival Queen recently, both grandmothers could so relate. That’s because they have each worn that symbol of royalty in earlier pageants.

Chelsea, a 17-year-old Durant High School senior, is now a Queen notable as the first to have two grandmothers who had also reigned. Additionally, the three also share deep Plant City roots, strong connections through family service to the Festival, and lifelong memberships at Plant City’s First Baptist Church. Ruby Jean Barker Redman and Barbara Alley Bowden both described their response to Chelsea’s new title as “elated.” Ruby Jean Redman, the 1953 Queen, entered the competition with several friends, she said, “as a joke, thinking I had no chance. Like today, there were so many pretty girls.” Her experience, she recalled, was “quite different from Chelsea’s.” In that year’s twonight affair, the court named Monday was “fitted with matching gowns for the announcement of the Queen” crowned three evenings later on Thursday.

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you’re eliminated, it’s not the end of the world. It’s fun and an honor to represent Plant City. Just make the best of it.” As for advice for her “tall and stately granddaughter with tremendous stage presence,” Redman has none. She laughed, “Mine would be so out of date. She’ll be just fine because she’s excited to do a good job.” Barbara Alley Bowden reigned in 1948, the first year the pageant established in 1930 resumed after a seven-year pause for World War II. Bowden’s pageant experience differed, too. She said, “We wore formal dresses only and mine was one I’d worn to a prior prom. Today it costs quite a bit for girls to compete with three outfits and time spent in practice. Now it’s very important to have lots of support from family and friends.” Bowden complimented the 2012 contestants. “All of the girls did a great job and anyone of them would have made a lovely Queen.” Then she added, “Obviously, though, we’re thrilled for Chelsea.”

Redman also noted a difference in pageant prizes. Today’s Queen and Court receive a New York shopping trip and scholarships. “Our prizes,” she said, “included money for a 6-week modeling course and kitchen appliances like toasters and coffeepots.”

When first time entrant Chelsea’s name was announced as 2012 Queen, her surprised look was priceless. Had the cameras zoomed in on the more than a dozen cheering family members, they also would have captured a perfectly priceless picture of hometown family love and support.

Redman, who later served numerous years with the Lions Club pageant committee, offered helpful advice to future contestants. “Don’t take the competition too seriously. If

And because of that love, our new Queen says she wants nothing more than “to carry on a legacy.”

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LOCAL OWNERS • LOCAL DECISIONS

Platinum Bank welcomes you to the 2012 Florida Strawberry Festival

Plant City Office 1804 James L. Redman Pkwy., Plant City, FL 33563 Telephone (813) 659-1234 | Fax (813) 659-9134 Other Locations: Brandon, Lakeland, Tampa, and Winter Haven

Lobby Hours: Monday –Thursday 9:00am – 4:00 pm Friday 9:00am – 6:00pm Drive Thru Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am – 6:00 pm 24 hour ATM in the Drive Thru Member FDIC

www.platinumbank.com

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STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL PRESIDENT RON GAINEY LOOKS FORWARD TO OPENING DAY BY DAVE NICHOLSON

R

on Gainey’s service at the Florida Strawberry Festival has literally taken him from the pigpen to the presidency.

Gainey is in his first year in the top job but he’s a veteran festival volunteer whose early roles included heading up the swine show. He promises a bumper crop of fun for guests when the fest opens its 11-day run on March 1. “We look forward to a great year at the festival,” said Gainey, who was elected to the position in April by his fellow directors. Festival General Manager Paul Davis said the choice of Gainey was a good one as the celebration stays true to its hometown roots. “Ron Gainey has a passion for the festival and he has a passion for this community,” Davis said. “He really works hard to make sure every event is better than the last.”

Gainey, a native of South Carolina, moved to Plant City in 1966 after serving in the Navy for four years. He started working at Plant City Steel but soon decided on a career switch to insurance. Colleagues in his new line of work, including Billy Vernon and Ray “Rolly” Rollyson Jr., encouraged him to help out at the festival. He and his wife Vonda soon were busy volunteering – and loving every minute of it. Over the years, his roles have included heading up the festival’s switch to electronic ticketing and leading the committee on the $3.6 million Madonia center. Gainey said the groundwork for the Madonia center goes back to the early 1980s when attorney and former state lawmaker James L. Redman and rancher and citrus grower Harry Carlton first dreamed of such a facility. He hopes the festival can complete the vision by adding two livestock pavilions on the grounds by the end of the year, thanks in no small way to an anticipated $1 million generated by naming rights.

Gainey said visitors to the festival will notice changes that include competitive livestock shows in the new Evelyn & Batista Madonia Sr. Agriculture Show Center and volunteers who will roam the grounds offering assistance. Gainey credits his wife Vonda with the idea for what he calls Berry Ambassadors, a new set of volunteers who starting this year will help guests find their way around the festiHe wants to make sure that the celebration of the area’s top crop offers a great entertain- val grounds. The volunteers will wear identifying vests and “give directions or whatever ment value, including a lot of free shows. “We are the third largest fair in the state of help is needed,” actively seeking out guests who appear to be lost. Florida” and one of the largest in the nation, said Gainey, a 68-year-old agent at Poppell Insurance. Gainey notes that the festival runs on its 2,000 volunteers. He is enlisting the help of associate directors to expand the pool of volunteers. With the help of strong ticket sales for such headline acts as Reba, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan and Hank Williams Jr., and a larger than ever tribute to veterans, police and other “When you get new people you get new ideas and you get new volunteers,” he said. first responders on the March 7 American Heroes Day, he’s hoping crowds will top last year’s record 545,000.

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2012 FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Direct Auto Insurance Free Grandstand: Limited stadium seats “FREE” for all shows with general admission. Seating is on a first-come, first seated basis. Stadium shows are at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm daily. Stadium cleared after each 3:30 pm show. Reserved seat tickets available at the Amscot Main Ticket Gate located at 2209 W. Oak Ave., Plant City, FL 33563. An additional ticket office adjacent to east side bleachers open during Festival to sell any remaining reserved seat tickets. Reserved concert seat tickets DO NOT include gate admission. Ages 3 & up require a ticket for shows. You can purchase reserved seat Tickets online at www.flstrawberryfestival.com. Gates open at 10:00 am & close at 10:00 pm daily. Children 5 & under are admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Children 6 to 12 require a youth ticket purchase of $5.00. General admission is $10.00 for patrons 13+. Dogs and/or other animals are not allowed on the Festival grounds unless they are a service or guide dog, non-human primate or animals in a show or contest. Certified trainers (with ID stating same) of companion dogs/animals will be allowed. All animals in shows or contests are to be removed immediately after the close of the event. No illegal drugs, firearms, alcoholic beverages, or pets are allowed on the Festival grounds. Because of the early printing of this events schedule, changes, errors, deletions, or omissions may occur, in which case the Florida Strawberry Festival® reserves the right to construe its own rules and regulations and to decide all matters and differences in regard thereto.

THURSDAY, MARCH 1ST Senior Citizen’s Day | Ride-A-Thon Day

Patrons 60 years of age or older get $2.00 off the gate admission of $10.00 all day. Senior Day is Sponsored By: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $19.00 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.............................. Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 10:30 am – Noon..... Jimmy Sturr & Orchestra•................. Wish Farms Soundstage Noon........................ Senior Citizens’ Drawing• ................ Wish Farms Soundstage (One drawing only-MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN) 3:30 pm.................... The Oak Ridge Boys....................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:00 pm.................... Youth Swine Show............................................... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 7:00 pm.................... Karaoke Contest..................................Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent 7:30 pm.................... Gretchen Wilson............................. Wish Farms Soundstage

FRIDAY, MARCH 2ND

Sweetbay Supermarket Day on the Midway Moonlight Magic Night Sweetbay Supermarket Day on the Midway 12:00 Noon to 10:00 pm Present any “My Essentials” non-perishable item at entry gate & receive $2.00 off the regular price of $20.00 Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book. Moonlight Magic – Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $20.00 per person. All patrons entering the Midway for this event will be required to purchase a $20.00 wristband, 11:00 pm until 3:00 am. All patrons entering the grounds are subject to search. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open...............................Midway opens at 12:00 noon 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows • ..................... CF Industries Ag Tent 1:00 pm.................... Dairy Contestant Judging....... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 3:30 pm.................... The Gatlin Brothers/Crystal Gayle.......................................... ........................................................................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:00 pm.................... Youth Swine Sale.................... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena

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2012FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.Bell Shoals Baptist................................................................... ...................................................................Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent 7:30 pm.................... Demi Lovato.................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 11:00 pm – 3:00 am.Moonlight Magic........................................................... Midway

SATURDAY, MARCH 3RD Kids’ Day | Youth Parade Day

Kids through high school age admitted free all day. Youth Stemming Contest Sponsored By: SunnyRidge Farm. Kids Day is Sponsored By: Wells Fargo. Suite Caroline Sponsored By: Fantastic Sams. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open..................................Midway Opens at 10:00 am 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 11:00 am.................. Youth Parade............................................State Farmers Market Noon........................ Dairy Show Showmanship................................... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 1:00 pm.................... Suite Caroline................................. Wish Farms Soundstage 2:00 pm.................... Youth Strawberry Stemming....................................................... ....................................................................Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent 2:00 pm.................... Dairy Show............................. Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 3:30 pm.................... The JaneDear Girls......................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.Hola Plant City........Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent 7:30 pm.................... Air Supply........................................ Wish Farms Soundstage

SUNDAY, MARCH 4TH Mountain Dew Family Day

Bring a Mountain Dew can to the Festival and receive a voucher for $5.00 off the $25.00 wristband and ride all day for only $20.00. Mountain Dew can is not valid for gate admission. Dairy Shows Sponsored By: Tractor Supply Company. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open..................................Midway Opens at 10:00 am 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 11:00 am.................. Adult Showmanship (Dairy).... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 11:30 am.................. Pee Wee Showmanship (Dairy)................................................. ................................................................................. Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 12:30 pm.................. Dairy Costume Ball................. Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 2:00 pm.................... Youth Plant Sale.................................... CF Industries Ag Tent 3:30 pm.................... Jake Owen....................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm... Registration for Baby Contest.............Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent (Hillsborough County Babies Only) 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.. Baby Contest: Decorated Diaper Contest; Baby Features Contest; Diaper Derby (Hillsborough County Babies Only) 7:30 pm.................... Hank Williams Jr............................. Wish Farms Soundstage “Taking Back The Country Tour”

MONDAY, MARCH 5TH Grand Parade Day | Ride-A-Thon Day

Ride-A-Thon from 10:00 am until 11:00 pm. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $19.00 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Grand Parade Day Sponsored By: United States Marine Corps. Lamb Contests Sponsored By: Sunbelt Rentals 7:30 am.................... Farm Credit Strawberry Salute Breakfast................................... Invitational 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.................................. Midway opens at 10:00 am 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 10:30 am.................. Invitational Parade Luncheon.................................... Sponsored by: . .......................... FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

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2012 FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Regions Bank 1:00 pm.................... Grand Parade Begins................................ Downtown Plant City 2:00 pm.................... Grand Parade Passes by the Festival 3:30 pm.................... Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals............... Wish Farms Soundstage 5:00 pm.................... Lamb Jumping Contest.......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 6:00 pm.................... Lamb Show............................................ CF Industries Ag Tent 7:30 pm.................... Josh Turner..................................... Wish Farms Soundstage

TUESDAY, MARCH 6TH Red Hat Day | Ride-A-Thon Day

Ride-A-Thon From 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $19.00 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. Red Hatters get $2.00 off the gate admission of $10.00 all day. Red Hat Day Sponsored By: Red Rose Inn & Suites. Adult Stemming Contest Sponsored By: SunnyRidge Farm. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.............................. Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 10:00 am – Close.... Poultry & Rabbit Shows..........................CF Industries Ag Tent 10:30 am.................. Red Hatters Welcome............................................ Grandstand 2:00 pm.................... Adult Strawberry Stemming Contest.......................................... ....................................................................Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent 3:30 pm.................... Brenda Lee...................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:00 pm.................... Lamb Costume Contest......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 7:30 pm.................... Vince Gill......................................... Wish Farms Soundstage

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7TH American Heroes Day | Ride-A-Thon Day

Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $19.00 will entitle wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. All active, reserve, retired military, veterans, law enforcement & first responders are admitted free with valid ID. American Heroes Day Sponsored By: FOX 13 CARE*FORCE 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.............................. Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.Poultry & Rabbit Shows......................... CF Industries Ag Tent 1:00 pm.................... Superdog Corndog Eating Contest............................................. ....................................................................Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent 3:15 pm.................... Honor American Heroes................. Wish Farms Soundstage 3:30 pm.................... Lee Greenwood/Louise Mandrell.. Wish Farms Soundstage 6:00 pm.................... Youth Steer Show................... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 7:30 pm.................... The Band Perry............................... Wish Farms Soundstage

THURSDAY, MARCH 8TH Senior Citizen’s Day | Ride-A-Thon Day

Patrons 60 years and older get $2.00 off the gate admission of $10.00 all day. Senior Day is Sponsored By: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Ride-A-Thon from 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm. A wristband purchased at the Midway for $19.00 will entitle the wearer to ride most mechanical rides for this one low price. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.............................. Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 10:30 am – Noon..... Ronnie McDowell............................ Wish Farms Soundstage Noon........................ Senior Citizens’ Drawing Wish Farms Soundstage (One drawing only – MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN) 3:00 pm.................... Strawberry Shortcake Eating Contest........................................ ....................................................................Stingray Chevrolet Entertainment Tent 3:30 pm.................... The Charlie Daniels Band.............. Wish Farms Soundstage 7:30 pm.................... Luke Bryan...................................... Wish Farms Soundstage

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2012FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FRIDAY, MARCH 9TH

The Tampa Tribune Day on the Midway Moonlight Magic Night The Tampa Tribune Day on the Midway Noon to 10:00 pm - $2.00 off the regular price of $20.00 Fun Pack Ride Coupon Book. Sponsored by: The Tampa Tribune. Moonlight Magic – Ride most mechanical rides for one special price of $20.00 per person. All patrons entering the Midway for this event will be required to purchase a $20.00 wristband, 11:00 pm until 3:00 am. All patrons entering grounds are subject to search. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open.............................. Midway Opens at 12:00 noon 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.. Livestock Contestant Judging..................................................... ................................................................................. Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 3:30 pm.................... Cornell Gunter’s Coasters Bobby Hendrick’s Drifters The Platters..................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 6:00 pm.................... Showmanship Judging-Beef Breed............................................ CF Industries Ag Tent 7:30 pm.................... TobyMac.......................................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm... Makenzie Raye....................................Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent 11:00 pm – 3:00 am.Moonlight Magic........................................................... Midway

SATURDAY, MARCH 10TH Farm Worker Appreciation Day

Farm Worker Appreciation Day Sponsored By: Wish Farms. 10:00 am.................. Gates Open..................................Midway Opens at 10:00 am 10:15 am.................. Baby Parade................................................................. Stadium 3:30 pm.................... Allstar Weekend . ........................... Wish Farms Soundstage 7:00 pm ................... Youth Steer Sale..................... Patterson Co. Livestock Arena 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm..Rev. Art Jones and the Bible Based Fellowship Church Cathedral Choir..........................................Sweetbay Supermarket Showcase Tent 7:30 pm.................... Rodney Atkins................................. Wish Farms Soundstage

SUNDAY, MARCH 11TH Mountain Dew Family Day

Bring a Mountain Dew can to the Festival and receive a voucher for $5.00 off the $25.00 wristband & ride all day for only $20.00. Mountain Dew can is not valid for gate admission. Beef Breed contest Sponsored By: Purina Mills® 10:00 am.................. Gates Open..................................Midway Opens at 10:00 am 11:00 am.................. Youth Beef Breed Show..........................CF Industries Ag Tent 3:30 pm.................... Easton Corbin................................. Wish Farms Soundstage 7:30 pm.................... Reba................................................. Wish Farms Soundstage

FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

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COMFORTABLE JUST GOT AFFORDABLE.

8136890817 MARLIN JAMES INC www.marlinjames.com License #CAC056868

0% APR FOR 36 MONTHS!* (WITH EQUAL MONTHLY PAYMENTS) Imagine coming home every day to an environment that’s as fresh, clean and healthy as it is comfortable. Now is the perfect time to make that a reality, with a Trane high performance heating and cooling system. And with 0% APR Financing with equal payments for 36 Months on a qualifying Trane systems, it’s never been so easy to own one. Maximum comfort, lower heating and cooling costs, clean indoor air, and affordable payment options -that’s the Trane difference. Trane heating and cooling systems have always been known for their high performance, precision engineering and solid dependability. But like any great system or tool, they can only operate at full potential when in the hands of an expert. Trane Comfort Specialist™ dealers earn their title by satisfying the most demanding critics -- the customers they serve. This elite group delivers: • The highest levels of customer satisfaction • Superior rate of customer referrals • Ongoing commitment to continuing education

Call now for a free home comfort consultation.

*Special financing offers valid on qualifying systems only. All sales must be to homeowners in the United States. Void where prohibited. The Home Projects Visa card is issued by Wells Fargo Financial National Bank. Special terms apply to qualifying purchases charged with approved credit at participating merchants. The special terms APR will continue to apply until all qualifying purchases are paid in full. 0% APR/36 Months: The minimum monthly payment will be the amount that will pay for the purchase in full in equal payments during the special terms period. For newly opened accounts, the regular APR is 27.99%. The APR will vary with the market based on the U.S. Prime Rate. The regular APR is given as of 1/10/2012. If you are charged interest in any billing cycle, the minimum interest charge will be $1.00. The regular APR will apply to certain fees such as a late payment fee or if you use the card for other transactions. If you use the card for cash advances, the cash advance fee is 5.0% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10.00. Monthly payment if shown based on $7,100 purchase.

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MARCH 2012 focuswinterhaven.com


GIVE YOURSELF A REASON TO SMILE DENTAL A S S O C I AT E S

at WaldenWoods

RAY GUTIERREZ, DMD & SARAH DEEDS, DMD GENERAL DENTISTS 512 E. ALEXANDER STREET | PLANT CITY

WWW.DENTALASSOCIATESWALDENWOODS.COM

$

59

Cleaning,

Exam & X-rays

-OR-

$

500

OFF

Invisible Braces

(Reg. $299) Offer Expires in 30 days. Includes exam, cleaning (prophylaxis) & x-rays. New Patients Only.

Offer Expires in 30 days. Offer not to be used in conjunction with any other offers or reduced-fee plans.

D0150, D0330, D0272, D0210, D1110, D8040, D8090 IT IS OUR OFFICE POLICY THAT THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENT FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED-FEE OR REDUCED-FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT.

A Proud Member of the Heartland Dental Care Family ADV14138

Call today! 813.305.1382

NEw ADULT PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN IN YOUR AREA! JSA Medical Group has opened a NEW Adult Primary Care Center in your community!

Accepting New Patients Including Humana and CarePlus Medicare Advantage Plan Members RUBEN Board Cer ti PEREZ, MD fied Internal

Medicine

JSA JSA MEDICAL MEDICAL GROUP GROUP -- PLANT PLANT CITY CITY 1001 1001 East East Baker Baker Street, Street, Suite Suite 400, 400, Plant Plant City, City, FL FL 33567 33567 We We offer offer many many services services in-office in-office for for your your convenience! convenience!

Call to Make an Appointment Today! (813) 708-0164 www.JSAMedicalGroup.com

Se Habla Espa単ol

ATTENTION STRAwBERRY FESTIvAL EvENT-GOERS!

Meet Dr. Ruben Perez & his team in person! Visit the JSA MEDICAL GROUP table on The Midway grounds on March 1st, 6th and 8th between 10 am and 2 pm!

FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

37


EXTRA » CITY OF WINTER HAVEN

CITY OF WINTER HAVEN EXTENDED HOURS CARE C WRITTEN BY: JOY TOWNSEND

hildren and reading should go hand-inhand. To that end, the Friends of the Winter Haven Public Library invite you and your entire family – including the dog – out for a fun-filled day at the 19th Annual Shamrock, Walk and Run to benefit the Winter Haven Public Library, Children’s Department.

On Saturday, March 10, the Shamrock, Walk & Run will include activities and events for all ages. Events start at 2 p.m. and anyone can register for the 5K race, 2-mile walk, kids’ races or 1-mile jog-with-your-dog, or just sit in the shade and enjoy the live band, bounce house and great food and drinks. There is something for everyone. Entry fees for the 5K or 2-mile race will be $17 through March 3; and $20 thereafter. For the 1-mile jog with your dog, the cost is $25 through March 3; and $30 thereafter. Kids’ races cost $7 through March 3; and $10 thereafter. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Department of the Winter Haven Public Library.

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MARCH 2012 focuswinterhaven.com

Register for your event of choice before March 3 to receive an early-registration discount and be guaranteed to receive a longsleeved race T-shirt. You may also register on race day, beginning at 1 p.m., in the Library Multi-Purpose Room. All registered dogs will receive a goodie bag filled with doggie items and a free one-month dog park membership at Veterinary Healthcare Associates. All races begin at the corner of Avenue A and Fourth Street NW, near Richard’s Fine Coffees at the Library, 325 Ave. A NW, Winter Haven. For the complete event schedule, prices and course map or to register, visit www. rockwalkrun.com. Or, you may also contact the Winter Haven Public Library at (863) 291-5880.

When

REGULAR LIFE doesn’t

fit into

Regular Hours

Walk-ins are welcome during these hours: Saturday 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. & Sunday 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

No appointments are necessary for minor illnesses and minor injuries such as sore throats, ear pain, colds and flu.

Monday - Thursday 5 p.m. - 8 p.m

BOND CLINIC, P.A.

500 E. Central Avenue Winter Haven, Florida 33880 863.293.1191

www.bondclinic.com


BUSINESS » BUSINESS PROFILE Owner Larry “Chip” Tucker, Jr. believes in forming strong relationships with his customers, which includes giving back to the community as much as possible, especially during hard times. Tucker presides as vice president of the Winter Haven Economic Development Council. He encourages his employees to get involved in volunteer work, as his company is currently assisting the Eloise Visual Arts Project, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Relay for Life. Aside from The Landings, other current construction projects include the Fantasy of Flight Confidence Course, All Saints Academy Barnett Learning Commons, Haines City Health Department, Sessions Middle and Elementary School in Winter Garden, Lake Howard Trail, Haines City Library and City Hall, Winter Haven Fire Safety Complex, and Legoland Water Park. Projects nearing completion include Jarrett Gordon Ford, Trail Head Park, and Posner Dodge.

Employees and crew members pose for a group shot. The combined experience and teamwork of all four divisions helps the company offer high-quality service. Photo by: James Coulter

TUCKER GROUP A t the intersection of US Highway 17 and Cypress Gardens Boulevard, where the old Orange Dome once stood, lies a vacant lot that, within the next two years, will become The Landings—a 70-acre multipurpose complex featuring stores, restaurants, a theater, splash park, and marina. Bringing this project to life is the only company whose experience allows it to provide high-quality service even during harsh economic times.

Formed in January 2010, Tucker Group consists of four companies, which combined offer a century of experience: Tucker Construction and Engineering, Tucker Paving, Tucker Carpets, and Concrete Construction Services. Each company operates independently while collaborating with one another and offering customers a one-point contact capable of meeting all their construction needs. “The more services you can provide allows you to cover more bases,” Marketing Director Nicole Erickson said. “We may go and meet with a customer as Tucker Paving and find out they have floor covering needs, and we have the ability to take care of those floor covering needs as well, and they don’t have to go find someone else.”

STARTUP AND GROWTH EVEN IN HARD TIMES WRITTEN BY: JAMES COULTER

As a self-performing contractor, Tucker Group can complete all projects in-house with their own employees. They pride themselves on working one-on-one with their customers from start to finish, helping them work within their budgets while providing multiple options for their projects.

The company has also been able to get involved with new markets. All four divisions were involved with the construction of Legoland, allowing them to gain experience in the hospitality industry. The company is currently involved with projects at SeaWorld and Gaylord Palms.

For more information about how the Tucker Group might meet your needs, visit their website at thetuckergroup.net, or call (863) 294-8777.

TUCKER GROUP 3535 LAKE ALFRED RD. WINTER HAVEN, FL 33881 (863) 294-8777 THETUCKERGROUP.NET

“We do what we say we’re going to do, and we do it in the time we say we’re going to complete it,” Erickson said. “We do not make false promises. We know what we are good at, and if it’s not something we specialize in, we will help you find the person who specializes in that.” Even during the economic downturn, the company still manages to offer the same high-quality service it has always provided. “It doesn’t matter what the economic time is: no customer should ever settle for anything but the best,” Erickson said. If anything, the economy has allowed the company to improve twofold: first, it allowed the company to focus and improve on areas not completely impacted by the economy—more notably, maintenance. “All buildings need to be maintained, and a lot of people, instead of building new, just decide to renovate and repair their facility,” Erickson said.

The 40-foot-tall Wing WalkAir Confidence Course at Fantasy of Flight offers three levels of adventure with 33 challenges and 600 feet of zip line. Photo by: James Coulter FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

39


DINING & ENTERTAINMENT » DINING PROFILE green cucumber tortilla stuffed with thickly sliced turkey and bacon, fresh avocado and spring mix. The menu has great variety – you can enjoy traditional sandwiches and salads, or try something more adventurous like the Spit Fire Burger (soaked in spices and topped with pepper jack cheese, fried jalapenos and onions) or the Ahi tuna burger. The really hungry can order a Hindenburg: a 12-inch, half-pound hot dog, or attempt the Porkzilla challenge: finish a five-pound pork sandwich with coleslaw and baked beans in under one hour and it’s free. You also get a t-shirt and your picture immortalized on the presently empty “Swine Shrine. “

Owner Rod Hamlet, who won’t let you go hungry!

PAPPY’S GRILL FOOD ON THE FLY AT WINTER HAVEN MUNICIPAL AIRPORT

P

WRITTEN BY: VALERIE MCCUTCHEON

appy’s Grill owner Rod Hamlet met us with a smile early Saturday morning, even though he’d been up most of the night smoking 400 pounds of pork for an event that afternoon. Also the owner of Florida BBQ Company & Catering, a full service catering company serving five to 5,000, Rod stays plenty busy. “I don’t sleep, but people gotta eat!” he explains. A sixth generation Floridian born and raised in Lakeland, Rod has always loved to cook. He spent four years in the Marine Corps and was inspired by the flavors he found overseas to experiment with his own creations. He entered barbecue competitions and traveled the pro circuit with Billy Bones BBQ & Crew until 2002 when he opened the Dranefield Deli in Lakeland. That later became Pappy’s Grill by the Lakeland airport and was honored by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives before moving to Winter Haven in October 2011. A former professor of aviation maintenance technology, the airport location is a perfect fit. Hamlet knows pilots, planes, and food. “I just love to cook and make people happy with food,” he says. The spacious restaurant features model aircrafts hanging from the high ceilings, large windows overlooking the runway, modern metal tables, and a picturesque porch offering more seating and views. Rod and his mother walk from table to table, chatting

40

MARCH 2012 focuswinterhaven.com

with regulars and welcoming newcomers. “Call me Grandma,” she smiles. “Everyone does!” We perused the breakfast and lunch options on the menu while sipping that day’s flavored coffee, “Jamaican Me Crazy.” Rod suggests we order from the aptly named Bucket List, so we tried The Morning Feed Bucket: fried potatoes, grits, two eggs any style, cheese, bacon, sausage and topped with sausage bacon gravy (each batch is homemade with 2 pounds of Jim Beam sausage and 1/3 pound of bacon). The gravy is so popular that they also serve it by the cup or bowl. The Slop Bucket has fried potatoes, ground sausage, sweet caramelized onions, and just the right amount of fresh garlic and cheddar cheese.

Turkey Bacon Avocado Wrap

He also brought us an omelet as big as a football, made from four extra large eggs and stuffed with juicy ham and gooey cheese. On the lighter (but not any smaller) side, the Looney Bucket features fresh fruit mixed with creamy honey yogurt and topped with crunchy granola. We also had to try the pulled pork off the lunch menu. Cherry wood smoked for 12 hours and completely hand-pulled, over half a pound of the delectable, perfectly seasoned meat is piled on a bun and topped with homemade tangy sweet Florida BBQ Company sauce. The turkey-bacon-avocado wrap was a tasty, lighter offering: a bright

The Morning Feed Bucket

We loved the atmosphere, delicious food, enormous portions, and reasonable prices at Pappy’s Grill. The fact that nothing is over $8.75 means you can keep coming back to try everything without breaking the bank… just maybe your scale!

CRITICAL INFO 2073 HIGHWAY 92 WEST WINTER HAVEN, FL 33881 863-268-8240 FACEBOOK: PAPPY’S GRILL FLORIDA BBQ COMPANY & CATERING: 863-5817107 HOURS: 7 A.M. – 2 P.M. DAILY


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FOR SALE

FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

41


ENTERTAINMENT » EVENT CALENDAR

WINTER HAVEN

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

If you have an upcoming event and would like us to add it to our calendar of events please email the information to: editorial@floydpublications.com

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20 – FRIDAY, MARCH 30

» RussMatt Baseball Central Florida Collegiate Invitational More than 200 college baseball teams play 800 games throughout the month Visit www.russmattbaseball.com for schedules and locations or call 800-828-7655 or 863-420-2586

FRIDAY, MARCH 2


» 2nd Annual Original Highwaymen Weekend Extravaganza
 Ticketed dinner with 9 original Florida Highwaymen
 Auction follows dinner to benefit Arts/ Culture of Davenport
 Call 863-419-3300 for ticket info

SATURDAY, MARCH 3


» Davenport Highwaymen Art Extravaganza
 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
 5 S. Allapaha Avenue, Davenport Free admission www.mydavenport.org » Chain of Lakes Cycling Classic (March 3 & 4)
 Road Race/Time Trial, Sat. March 3
 Lake Buffum area, Alturas

SUNDAY, MARCH 4


» Cycling Classic Criterium
 Includes race for local kids, ages 4-9
 Downtown Winter Haven
 www.cclingclassicsinc.com

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7

» Karen DeVos as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: A One Woman Impersonation 1 p.m. 325 Avenue A N.W., Winter Haven Free admission 863-291-5880

42

MARCH 2012 focuswinterhaven.com

» VA Aide & Attendance Workshop 6:30 p.m. Informational workshop for veterans regarding the VA Aide & Attendance monthly pension benefit, hosted by Spring Haven Retirement. 1225 Havendale Blvd. N.W., Winter Haven Free Admission RSVP to Brady or Tom: 863-293-0072

SATURDAY, MARCH 10

» 19th Annual Shamrock Walk and Run 1 p.m. Presented by Friends of the Winter Haven Public Library 5K Run, 2 Mile Walk, 1 Mile Jog With Your Dog and Children’s Races 325 Avenue A N.W., Winter Haven www.rockwalkandrun.com 863-291-5880 » Model Train Show and Swap 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Presented by Regal Railways. Vendors, model train layout, videos and more. 401 3rd Street SW, Winter Haven Adults: $4. Children under 12: free
 www.regalrailways.com

FRIDAY, MARCH 16

» Champagne & Shamrocks 6:30 p.m. A joint venture with The Symphony Guild of Winter Haven Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra concert, dinner, silent auction & champagne. 500 3rd St. N.W., Winter Haven Tickets: $100 www.symphonyguildofwinterhaven.com 863-293-2138 or 863-677-5881

SATURDAY, MARCH 17

» TD Bank Central Park Art Festival 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Over 100 fine art displays, Polk County School’s Artists of Tomorrow Pavilion, Children’s Hands-On Tent, Entertainment Stage, International Food Court and 3rd Annual Battle of the Bands. 5th Street and Central Ave, Winter Haven 863-291-5661 » Cattle Baron’s Ball 6 p.m. The American Cancer Society’s “denim and diamonds” fundraiser features dining, dancing, music, gaming, entertainment, auctions & more. Bunch Ranch, 4641 Hancock Ave, Highland City Reservations required. Cost TBD. 863-688-2326 x5502

SATURDAY, MARCH 24

» 4th Annual Family Fit Fest 9 am - 1 pm Presented by the Junior League of Greater Winter Haven to promote overall health awareness. Educational games, Family Fun Run, cooking demonstrations, health and wellness screenings, healthy snacks and door prizes. Downtown Central Park Free admission www.jlgwh.org/familyfitfest

TUESDAY, MARCH 27

» Poetry on the Patio Casual evening of poetry readings and live music on the patio of Richard’s Fine Coffees at the Winter Haven Public Library 325 Avenue A N.W., Winter Haven 863-291-5880

MARCH 30 – APRIL 1

» Polk County Cup Tennis Tournament Inaugural tennis tournament seeks to raise awareness and funds for newborns requiring special care, hosted by John and Tracy Scheck. Includes kickoff

dinner, tournament play, and finals. 4200 Country Club Road, Winter Haven Call 863-292-4138 for registration or sponsorship info

SATURDAY, MARCH 31

» Bark in the Park A Pooch’s Paradise! Doggie vendors, live music, food, drinks and wiener dog races. Downtown Central Park Free admission www.mainstreetwinterhaven.com

ONGOING EVENTS THURSDAYS Downtown Farmers’ Market 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Farm-fresh produce and other local vendors Downtown Trailhead Park Senior Adult Center Ballroom Social 7:30 p.m. 250 S. Lake Silver Dr. N.W., Winter Haven $3/person 863-291-5870 1st SATURDAY Main Street Market Day Monthly vendor market with candles, plants, vegetables, candy, soaps and more Virginia Miller Park 863-295-9422 Classic Car Cruise 4 – 9 p.m. Downtown Central Park 863-291-5656 2nd and 4th SATURDAY Saturday Afternoon Movie 2 p.m. Family friendly movies and refreshments Winter Haven Public Library Multipurpose Room Free admission 863-291-5880


CITRUS

Classic

A benefit for the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Fund for Women and Children

Join Buddy and his LEGOLAND® friends as you play your part in a 5K run/walk benefiting the Winter Haven Hospital Foundation Fund for Women and Children. Weave your way throughout Central Florida’s newest family theme park from the entrance through Fun Town, Miniland USA and LEGO® City!

Saturday, April 14th, 2012 LEGOLAND® Florida Winter Haven, FL 5k run/walk start time: 7:00 am For information on how to register, sponsorship opportunities, or vendor information Contact: 863-292-4138 or foundation@winterhavenhospital.org Online Registration at www.active.com

FOCUS MAGAZINE WINTER HAVEN MARCH 2012

43


Zone B Mar. 17th-Apr. 22nd

Spring Turkey Season Zone A Mar. 3rd-Apr. 8th

Handmade wooden box call are part of the allure, skill and excitement of Turkey Hunting.

ANDY THORNAL COMPANY 336 Magnolia Ave. • Winter Haven, FL 33880 Mon-Sat • 10am-6pm • (863) 299-9999 • AndyThornal.com


FOCUS Winter Haven 04-10