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Plant City Times &


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Holiday Gift Guide

Plant City Times &


Observer General Manager/Editorial / Michael Eng, General Manager/Advertising / Tony Del Castillo, Assistant Managing Editor / Jess Eng,

Gift of Giving................................................................................... 6-7 Holiday Recipes............................................................................ 8-9 Shipping Deadlines......................................................................10 Meet Grand Marshal Dodie White......................................11 Christmas Events....................................................................12-13 Holiday Calendar....................................................................14-15 Chamber Christmas Tree Contest.......................................16 Unique Plant City Gifts.......................................................18-19 His & Her Gifts..........................................................................20-21 NRG at Christmas Town.............................................................22 Plant City Community Choir...................................................23 Christmas Lighting Advice.......................................................24 Build a Gingerbread House.....................................................24 Christmas Lane................................................................................25

Associate Editor (Community) / Amber Jurgensen, Staff Writer / Justin Kline, Advertising Executives / Veronica Prostko,; Joanna Verga, Circulation/Office Manager / Linda Lancaster,

110 E. Reynolds St., Suite 100-A Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 704-6850 COVER ART BY LUIS TRUJILLO

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GIVING If your holiday traditions involve helping your fellow neighbors in need, several Plant City-based non-profit organizations want to meet you this season. Sometimes during the holidays, it’s easy to get lost in a shopping fervor. You want to buy presents for your kids, co-workers, friends and family — all while keeping your eyes peeled for what you want in your own stocking. But the gift of giving extends further than just your circle of friends and family. There are many Plant City-based non-profit organizations that need help to continue providing helpful services, especially around the busy holidays. So this year, give something that could help a complete stranger. — Amber Jurgensen

Plant City has its own Meals on Wheels office that delivers food to the elderly and disabled, who otherwise couldn’t leave their homes to get food. The dediADDRESS: 203 N. cated team Thomas St. of volunPHONE: teers always (813) 745-9932 is looking for donations. Financial donations are accepted. And the organization doesn’t just need human food. They also accept pet food at their office. If donating money to be used for pet food, please specify.

Around the nation, The Boys and Girls Club of America provides a safe place for youth to learn and grow. The club serves many underprivileged children in an effort to educate ADDRESS: West Plant City Club: 901 S. Waller St., Plant and inspire City, FL 33563 them to their Dover Unit: 2820 S. Gallagher full potential. Road, Dover, FL 33527 Donations PHONE: (813) 659-2800 of clothes, toys, (Dover) or (813) 707-8490 books and more (Plant City) are welcome at both chapters. The Dover location, which largely serves migrant workers, needs donations of warm clothing for those families.



MACDONALD TRAINING CENTER INC. D/B/A JAMES RANCH Making learning fun, the MacDonald Training Center runs a variety of programs to help those with disabilities live their lives as they choose. The non-profit organization offers day services, community living, vocational training and employment services. There are many ways to

get involved, including volunteering, donating resources and financial support. One major need during the holidays is assistance for the senior MTC clients who need walkers, high-back recliners, hospital beds and other items.

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PREGNANCY CARE CENTER Specialized for expecting parents, the Pregnancy Care Center of Plant CIty is a non-profit organization that offers pregnancy and parental counseling. A unique program, “Earn While you Learn,” gives future fathers and mothers a chance to learn what to expect, parenting techniques and life skills by

attending classes. Each class attended earns them “baby bucks” which they can use at the center’s store. The store carries baby items for newborns to 24 months. The center is always in need of donations for the store.

UNITED FOOD BANK OF PLANT CITY The number of hungry families the United Food Bank of Plant City feeds has ADDRESS: 702 E. tripled in the last Alsobrook St. year. PHONE: (813) 764-0625 The food bank WEBSITE: distributes packages of groceries to clients that come by referrals from local churches and government agencies. The only way the bank can continue to provide services is by receiving donations. Donations can be made my individuals, food manufacturers, food processors, grocery chains and other food suppliers. Donations can be food and toiletries, as well as financial donations.


INFO ADDRESS: 304 N. Collins St. PHONE: (813) 759-0886 EMAIL: WEBSITE: plantcitypreg-

UNITY IN THE COMMUNITY For nearly 14 years, Unity in the Community has done just what its name suggests — bring the community together. The non-profit organization assists other organizations like Meals on Wheels, the United Food Bank, Thanksgiving Dinner program and other local initiatives through fundraising efforts. Unity in the ADDRESS: P.O. Box 524, Community is run by Plant City, FL 33564 volunteers. Residents EMAIL: unityinplantccan become bers to help support WEBSITE: unityinlocal programs. A senior or student can join for a $10 annual fee, while individual fees are $25 and corporate and small businesses are $100.


OTHER WAYS TO GIVE There are several more local and national organizations that help those in need in Plant City. Here are a few and how you can get involved. Bay Area Legal Services 701 Tillman Place, Suite 300, Plant City; (813) 752-1335 or 1(800) 6252257; Frameworks of Tampa Bay Inc. (813) 514-9555; Goodwill of Plant City 2802 James L. Redman Parkway; (813) 754-2778 Helping Hands 604 E. Baker St; (813) 781-4272; Kaleidoscope Educational Services 110 W. Reynolds St., Suite 104; (813) 704-6908; Lorena Jaeb Rainbow House (Baby Bungalow) 504 N. Palm Drive; (813) 356-1293; Plant City Thrift Shoppe 2510 W. Baker St.; (813) 377-3977, Ext. 248 The Youth Alliance (813) 719-0244; theyouthalliance. com;




Christmas Treats Plant City Style! MAKING THE GRADE | SHERRIE’S POUND CAKE Plant City High School College and Career Counselor Sherrie Mueller has her own holiday poundcake that deserves an A+. INGREDIENTS: 2 sticks butter 1/2 cup solid Crisco shortening 1 cup regular whipping cream 1 tablespoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt 3 cups sugar 6 large eggs 3 cups sifted plain flour

What Christmas would be complete without a few good sweets to share with family and friends? And, of course, what could be better than to offer these sweets with an authentic Plant City spin? Florida Strawberry Festival Queen Kelsey Fry’s Apple Dumplings to Plant City artist Betty Jones’ Peppermint Bark, we have

you covered this holiday season. Thank you to all our wonderful Plant City chefs for contributing some of their favorite dishes. We hope you enjoy these recipes, and if you add them to your family tradition this year, please let us know. Email Associate Editor Amber Jurgensen at — Amber Jurgensen

METHOD: • Cream the butter and Crisco together; add whipping cream and beat well. Add vanilla, salt and sugar; beat until light. • Add eggs alternately with flour, beating well after each addition (2 eggs, then 1 cup flour; repeat twice). • Pour into a well greased and floured tube or bundt pan. Place in center of a cold oven; turn oven to 300 degrees. • Bake for 90 minutes or until done. Do not over bake. • Invert cake pan on wire rack when removed from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes and remove pan. • When cool, dust with sifted confectioner’s sugar if desired. • Store tightly wrapped. Makes a large pound cake and one that stays moist for days. Freezes well.

ARTISTIC FLAIR | PEPPERMINT BARK Local artist Betty Jones is well known for her colorful hat designs. Her peppermint bark recipe is just as colorful. Betty suggests serving the treat after a large meal with coffee. INGREDIENTS: Crushed candy canes, to yield 1 cup

2 pounds white chocolate Peppermint flavorings, optional

METHOD: • Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller. • Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. • Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate (add peppermint flavoring at this point if desired). • Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with parchment or waxed paper and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. • Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle). TIPS: Jones never used peppermint oil; the peppermint candy was good enough. She also did not use parchment or waxed paper but rather spread a layer into a cookie sheet or even cake pans (just not too thick and not too thin).


PRODIGAL RECIPE | MACADAMIA NUT COCONUT PIE At just 17, Plant City’s Devin Davis already has gained national recognition as a talented chef. Davis won the Lakeland First Friday Pie Bake-Off in July 2012, with his Macadamia Nut Coconut Pie. It is a spin on the classic pecan pie everyone has at Thanksgiving and Christmas with the addition of coconut and maple syrup to give more of a holiday feel. See more at INGREDIENTS: FILLING 1/2 cup butter 3 large eggs 3/4 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup maple syrup 3/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts 1/2 cup flaked coconut

CRUST 1 1/3 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons sugar 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes 4 tablespoons cold butter flavored Crisco, cut into cubes 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water METHOD: CRUST • Combine flour, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Add the butter and Crisco to the flour mixture. Toss it to coat each piece in flour. • Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter and Crisco into the flour mixture, until it is the size of green peas. Using a spoon, carefully stir in the water one tablespoon at a time until it is moistened and starts to come together. • Form dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Once chilled, roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch in thickness. • Fit the dough into a 9-inch pie plate and trim the excess off the edges. Then, crimp the edges and mold into desired fashion. Prick the dough with a fork and set aside.

FILLING • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small sauce pan, heat the butter over medium-low heat until it turns golden brown, then set aside to cool. In a mediumsized bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Add the remaining five ingredients, cooled butter and whisk until combined. • Stir in the nuts and coconut and pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees. Lay a piece of tin foil over the pie and bake for 30 minutes. • After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. • Serve with whipped cream if desired.


HARD ACT TO FOLLOW | GINGER COOKIES Delicia Wallnöfer adapted this 19th-century recipe for ginger cookies for modern baking. Her daughters, Paige and Virginia, bake the cookies before doing Civil War reenactments to take to their friends in camp. INGREDIENTS: 3/4 cups shortening 1 cup sugar 1 beaten egg 1/4 cup molasses

2 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger 2 cups flour

METHOD: • Cream shortening and sugar. Add the egg and molasses and mix well. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the shortening mixture. Mix until combined. • Roll into walnut-sized balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes. If you want chewy cookies bake for seven minutes, for crunchier, “snap”-style cookies, go the full 10 minutes.

O CHRISTMAS TREE | STRAWBERRY CHRISTMAS TREE CENTERPIECE Sue Harrell runs a delicious food blog for the Florida Strawberry Growers Association. She has created a strawberry Christmas tree center piece that looks too good to eat — almost. For an instructional video, visit Sue’s blog, INGREDIENTS: Large foam cone White dipping chocolate Romaine lettuce

Toothpicks Fresh Florida strawberries

METHOD: • Rinse the berries and let them dry while the white dipping chocolate warms in a crock pot. Once the berries are dry and the chocolate is warm and creamy, dip the tips of the strawberries into the chocolate. Set berries on parchment paper to cool. • While the chocolate sets on the berries, begin working on the tree. Attach pieces of lettuce to the foam cone with toothpicks starting from the bottom and layering upward. • After the cone is covered with lettuce, begin adding the the chocolate-tipped strawberries onto the lettuce with toothpicks. In no time, you’ll have a beautiful, edible Christmas tree that is sure to impress. As guests remove strawberries from the tree, the attractive green base of the lettuce mimics branches of a real tree.

FIT FOR A QUEEN | APPLE DUMPLINGS Kelsey Fry has been enjoying and making her mother’s apple dumpling recipe for years. The Florida Strawberry Festival Queen does have one warning though: Prepare this dish at your own risk; it’s beyond imaginable. INGREDIENTS: 2 whole Granny Smith apples 2 8-ounce cans crescent rolls 2 sticks butter 1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla Cinnamon, to taste 1 12-ounce can Mountain Dew soda

METHOD: • Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9-by-13 buttered pan. • Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges and in between the dumplings in the pan. • Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

FAMILY SECRET | STRAWBERRY BREAD PUDDING It’s a collaboration between mother and daughter. Dora Beveard and Marsha Passmore have enjoyed Strawberry Bread Pudding for years. Beveard created the bread pudding, and Passmore added the strawberries. INGREDIENTS: 2 1/2 cups sugar or Splenda 1 stick butter 4 eggs 1 1/2 cups dry milk 2 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 16 slices of bread cubed 1/2 cup of strawberries sliced dash of cinnamon optional

METHOD: • Cube the bread and place in a 9-by-13 baking pan. Put sliced berries over bread. Pour the ingredients over bread and berries, with a dash of cinnamon, and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. • Serve with vanilla bean ice cream or Cool Whip topping.




Dec. 20: Normal pickup and delivery service. UPS 2nd Day Air packages picked up today will be delivered on Tuesday, Dec. 24.



Dec. 14: Standard Post Service (domestic)

These are the last days to ship domestically with FedEx to ensure your package will arrive before Dec. 25.

Dec. 16: Global Express Guaranteed for Asia/ Pacific Rim, Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East Dec. 17: Global Express Guaranteed for Africa

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Dec. 18: Global Express Guaranteed for the Caribbean, Central and South America and Europe Dec. 19: Global Express Guaranteed for Canada

Dec. 12: FedEx SmartPost Dec. 17: FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery Dec. 19: FedEx Express Saver Dec. 21: FedEx 2Day A.M. and FedEx 2Day

Dec. 21: Priority Mail (domestic)

Dec. 23: FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight and FedEx Standard Overnight

Dec. 23: Express Mail (domestic)

Dec. 25: FedEx SameDay

Dec. 20: First-Class Mail (domestic)


First-Class Parcel Mail Letters Airlift Address Priority Mail Express and Cards Priority Mail Mail APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 090-092 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIP 093 N/A Dec. 3 Dec. 3 Dec. 3 APO/FPO/DPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 APO/FPO/DPO AA ZIP 340 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3 APO/FPO/DPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec. 17 Dec. 10 Dec. 10 Dec. 3

Dec. 21: Delivery of UPS Worldwide Express, UPS Worldwide Express Freight, UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air shipments processed and labeled for Saturday Delivery. Pickup service provided for regular Saturday pick-up customers of air and international shipments only, or if prearranged by Friday, Dec. 20. This is the last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air packages in time for Christmas (arriving Tuesday, Dec. 24). Dec. 23: Normal pick-up and delivery service. This is the last day to ship UPS Next Day Air packages in time for Christmas (delivered on Tuesday, Dec. 24). Dec. 24: Normal delivery of air, international and ground shipments. Pick-up service available for air and international shipments if prearranged by Monday, Dec. 23. No UPS Ground, UPS Standard or 3 Day Select pick-ups until Thursday, Dec. 26. Dec. 25: No UPS pick-up or delivery service.




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MEET 2013 PARADE MARSHAL DODIE The Christmas Parade’s Board of Directors didn’t have a hard time choosing this year’s Christmas Parade grand marshal. In an unanimous decision, the board named Dodie White as the leader of the 2013 parade, which will be held on Dec. 6. “Dodie has worked tirelessly for years to make the Plant City community a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Marsha Passmore says. The announcement came as a surprise to White, who has been modest about her nomination. “There are just so many more people I feel are more deserving than me, so this is an honor,” White says.“It’s hometown Christmas, and it’s really an honor to be doing this.” Born and raised in Plant City — “one of the few,” as she says — White is no

stranger to the community. After graduating from Plant City High School and earning a business degree, she returned to the area and has been active in community service ever since. Among the items on her extensive résumé are stints with Plant City Entertainment, the Arts Council of Plant City, the American Cancer Society and the Veterans Memorial Foundation Monument Committee. Although she enjoys recognition such as this one, White says she’s just happy to help. “I don’t do it for the face time, although I’m truly honored,” White says.“I do it because I think we’re born to make a difference.” Having been involved with the parade’s marketing committee for years, this is far from her first


rodeo with the Christmas Parade — even if it is her first time in the spotlight. She also says 2013’s event promises to be bigger and better than last year’s parade. “We’ve got more floats than usual,” White says. “We have a lot of participation from the local schools, several marching bands have already signed up and several churches. We also have service clubs that are involved this year.” Perched atop the parade’s lead car, White will guide the parade from the corner of Collins and Alsobrook streets down to the courthouse on Reynolds Street. After that, she’ll step out of the spotlight and get back to doing the work she loves — helping to make her community the best place in the world to live. — Justin Kline

Courtesy of the Plant City Photo Archives & History Center



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It’s almost time for the Christmas Parade, Plant City’s biggest annual holiday celebration. The theme for this year’s parade is “Celebrate the Season,” and the title sponsors will be Unity in the Community and Stingray Chevrolet. Dodie White has been named grand marshal for 2013 and was chosen for her many years of service to the Plant City community. White, WHEN: 7 p.m. Dec. 6 riding at the front, WHERE: Starts at the intersection will lead a number of Collins and Alsobrook streets, of floats, decorated traveling north on Collins and cars and trucks, and down Reynolds Street, ending at the courthouse. marching bands down. INFORMATION: Marsha Passmore, (813) 245-2244 Santa will be in the parade once again, riding in his own float.

Despite its geographic location in the Sunshine State, Plant City transforms into a winter wonderland through a myriad of Christmas events and traditions.

OK, so Plant City never will have snow. But, that doesn’t mean the Christmas spirit isn’t alive and well in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. From the city’s annual Christmas Parade to the Christmas in the Park donation celebration, Plant City is one of the best places in the world in which to enjoy the holiday season. As parties, planning

IF YOU GO WHEN: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov.

29 through Dec. 18 WHERE: Corner of Maki Road and West Alexander Street, adjacent to Plant City High School INFORMATION: Dave Robbins, (813) 763-2730


and presents demand more of your time, make your plans early to attend these events. Here, we spotlight just just some of the main Christmas events taking place this year in Plant City. For even more events, turn to our comprehensive calendar, pages 14-15. — Justin Kline

OPTIMIST CLUB TREE LOT If you’re in search for that most important of Christmas decorations, you should check out the Plant City Optimist Club’s annual Christmas tree sale. The club’s annual Tree Lot, its primary fundraiser, opens for business Nov. 29,

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and could get a big uptick as the holiday shopping season continues. “We’ll really get going Black Friday, and we’ll go for 12 to 15 days pretty hard,” chairman Dave Robbins says. A whopping 75 percent of the club’s annual budget comes from the sale of these

trees, and proceeds also stay in town to support programs and charities throughout the area. The club sold 840 trees last year, and leaders would like to top that 2013. “We hope to sell 850 trees,” Robbins says. “The main thing is maximizing our profits, so we want to clean up on them and be through by the 17th or

18th of December.” In addition to seven different charities, the proceeds will benefit the Plant City High School Scholarship Fund, Steppin’ Stone Farm, the club’s sports teams and programs, Youth Appreciation Week, the Respect for Law program, the Plant City High School Booster Club and more.

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CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK a.m. to 2 p.m., or 5 p.m. to For the past 17 years, 6 p.m., Monday through Plant City’s Christmas in Friday. A photo ID or the Park event has driver’s license brightened the is required for days of kids from registration. throughout the WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 14 Children area. WHERE: Dr. Martin Luther King ages 5 to 10 The donaJr. Recreation Center, 1601 E. are eligible tion event, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to receive typically INFORMATION: Lillie Brown, donated held at the or toys. On Dr. Martin (813) 757-9195 top of the Luther King Jr. toy giveaways, Recreation Center, there also will be offers free toys and a drawing among the plenty of fun for chilpre-registered youths to win a dren in need. new bicycle. The first 100 families to regAttendees also can enjoy ister their children will receive free food, though a child’s partoys, and the recreation center ent or guardian must be preshas been accepting these regent. Kids will get to play games, istrations since October. There and there will be face painting, is still time left to register and a playground and a nutritionist donate. mobile to educate kids about The final day to register healthy living, check their will be Friday, Dec. 6. Donors blood pressure and give away and families can register at handouts and stickers. the Recreation Center from 9

Lights of Love


senting on the tree. Proceeds will Lights of Love is celebratsupport South Florida Baptist ing its 15th anniversary this Hospital. year, and South Florida Baptist Santa Claus will be available Hospital has quite a show for photos from 5 to 7 p.m., at planned. the Train Depot. He also will be This year’s edition of the annuresponsible for lighting the tree. al tree- and park-lighting event, New to Lights of Love will be hosted by Mayor Mary ThomasMrs. Claus’ Kitchen, a food booth Mathis, will begin at 6 p.m., with a that will serve chili, corn dogs, performance by the First Baptist popcorn and caramel apples. Church Children’s Choir and end Proceeds from the event with the lighting ceremony at will benefit the hospital, which 7:30 p.m. hopes to raise $25,000 from As always, the tree will light and food sales. The hosbe decorated with differpital plans to expand its ent colored lights to surgery center with represent different two more operatdonors. Some ing rooms — a lights will be WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 process leaders lit in memory hope to comof a person, WHERE: McCall Park, across from the Historic Downtown plete in 2014. and others Train Depot, 106 S. Evers St. The deadline will be hung INFORMATION: Lisa, (813) for light purin honor of a 757-8478 chases is Dec. 2, person. Donors but the hospital also will receive still will accept a card in the mail, donations up to the recognizing the day of the event. person they are repre-


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Greetings The holiday spirit is alive and well in Plant City, and the community will offer a plethora of events for you and your family to enjoy.


OPTIMIST CLUB TREE LOT 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 29 through Dec. 18, at Plant City High, 1 Raider Place, Plant City Visit


CHRISTMAS LANE 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1 through 28, at 2091 Wooten Road, Dover Visit


HANGING OF THE GREENS 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Plant City Call (813) 754-3519


FESTIVAL OF HOPE 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Plant City Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2203 Strawberry Road. The focus is to earn money for the church’s Community Service Center. The event will feature face painting, corn hole, cake walk, child’s craft table and more. Call (813) 752-4694


PLANT CITY CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S CONNECTION CHRISTMAS PARTY 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Walden Lake Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City Call (813) 752-3786



CAROLING ON THE CORNER 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the corner of Sparkman and Clemons roads. The Springhead Singers from Springhead United Methodist will perform every Wednesday before Christmas. Call (813) 752-5751


CHRISTMAS SHOWING OF FINE ART 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at

Walden Lake Golf & Country Club, 2001 Clubhouse Drive, Plant City Visit LIGHTS OF LOVE 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at McCall Park, Historic Downtown Plant City Call (813) 757-8478


CHRISTMAS PARADE 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the intersection of Collins and Alsobrook streets, traveling north on Collins and down Reynolds Street Call Marsha Passmore, (813) 245-2244


CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS MUSICAL: “THE LIGHT HAS COME” 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Plant City Call (813) 754-3519

LADIES’ ADVENT TEA 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City (813) 752-4622 MUD TITAN Saturday, Dec. 7, at 1500 Prevatt Road, Plant City Visit

PLANT CITY COMMUNITY CHOIR PRESENTS “LIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at St. Clement Catholic Church, 1104 N. Alexander St., Plant City. Cost is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Seniors and children under 5 are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Visit or call (813) 444-TUNE PLANT CITY BIKE FEST 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Historic Downtown Plant City Call (813) 754-3707 PLANT CITY KIWANIS BREAKFAST WITH SANTA 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Plant City Community Bingo Hall, 105 J. Arden Mays Blvd. Call (813) 708-0001, Ext. 203


CELEBRATION IN DECEMBER: “CHRISTMAS: GET SMART” 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at First Baptist Church of Dover, 3223 N. Gallagher Road, Dover Call (813) 719-2273 SWAT CHRISTMAS PROGRAM 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Lone Oak Baptist Church, 3505 Lone Oak Road, Plane City Call (813) 754-5278


SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Haught Funeral Home, 708 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Call (813) 717-9300 STRAWBERRY CREST HOLIDAY CONCERT 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Strawberry Crest High School, 4691 Gallagher Road, Dover Call (813) 707-7522 WINTER CONCERT 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Bryan Elementary, 2006 W. Oak Ave., Plant City Call (813) 757-9300


WINTER CONCERT 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Walden Lake Elementary, 2800 Turkey Creek Road, Plant City Call (813) 757-9433


CAROLING ON THE CORNER 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the corner of Sparkman and Clemons roads. The Springhead Singers from Springhead United Methodist will perform every Wednesday before Christmas. Call (813) 752-5751


of Plant City, 404 W. Reynolds St., Plant City. Call (813) 247-3866

before Christmas. Call (813) 752-5751

“MEET ME AT THE MANGER” 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Plant City Church of God, 2103 Mud Lake Road, Plant City Call (813) 752-4591

“HOME FOR CHRISTMAS” 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20 and 21; and 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at Hopewell Baptist Church, 6001 C.R. 39 S., Plant City. Call (813) 737-3579

SANTA BREAKFAST 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Plant City Call (813) 754-3519


DURANT HIGH SCHOOL BAND CHRISTMAS CONCERT 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Durant High School, 4748 Cougar Path, Plant City Call (813) 757-9075

ADULT CHRISTMAS MUSICAL: “THE TREE OF LIFE” 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Plant City Call (813) 754-3519

PLANT CITY HIGH SCHOOL WINTER CONCERT 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Plant City High School, 1 Raider Place, Plant City Call (813) 757-9370

CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PROGRAM 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1104 Cason St., Plant City Call (813) 752-8345

WINTER CONCERT 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at Nelson Elementary, 5413 Durant Road, Dover Call (813) 651-2120

INTERGENERATIONAL CHRISTMAS PROGRAM: “THE NIGHTSHIFT BEFORE CHRISTMAS” 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City (813) 752-4622


THE LIGHT OF CHRISTMAS 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14; and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Plant City’s First Baptist Church, 503 N. Palmer St., Plant City Call (813) 752-4104


CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center, 1601 E. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Plant City Call (813) 757-9195 or (813) 7579196 CAROLS OF THE SEASON The Tampa Oratorio Singers will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at First Presbyterian Church


“MEET ME AT THE MANGER” 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Plant City Church of God, 2103 Mud Lake Road, Plant City Call (813) 752-4591


WINTER PROGRAM CONCERT 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Lincoln Elementary, 1207 E. Renfro St., Plant City Call (813) 757-9329


CAROLING ON THE CORNER 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the corner of Sparkman and Clemons roads. The Springhead Singers from Springhead United Methodist will perform every Wednesday



STRAWBERRY CLASSIC CAR SHOW 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in Historic Downtown Plant City Call (813) 754-3707


“CHRIST WAS BORN FOR THIS” 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at FBC Midway, 2902 Midway Road, Plant City Call (813) 752-7209 CONTEMPORARY MUSICAL: “CELEBRATE THE DAY” 9 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Plant City Call (813) 754-3519 “THE PERFECT TREE” CHRISTMAS MUSICAL 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, at Shiloh Baptist Church, 1104 Cason St., Plant City Call (813) 752-8345


CANDLELIGHT SERVICE 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at Hopewell Baptist Church 6001 C.R. 39 S., Plant City Call (813) 737-3579 CANDLELIGHT SERVICE 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at First United Methodist Church, 303 N. Evers St., Call (813) 754-3519 CANDLELIGHT WORSHIP 7 p.m. Tuesday,

Dec. 24, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City Call (813) 752-4622 CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT WORSHIP WITH COMMUNION 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City (813) 752-4622 CHRISTMAS EVE PAGEANT 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 302 N. Carey St., Plant City (813) 752-5061 ESPAÑOL CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City (813) 752-4622


CHRISTMAS DAY WORSHIP WITH HOLY COMMUNION 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 25, at Hope Lutheran Church, 2001 N. Park Road, Plant City (813) 752-4622


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Businesses throughout Plant City are decking their halls for the annual Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Tree Contest. This year’s contest includes of 24 participants, including Keel & Curley Winery, Uptown Girls Boutique, Parkesdale Farm Market and the Plant City Times & Observer. Each establishment will have a tree on display inside, and people will get to vote for their favorites in the People’s Choice contest. “We hope to get the community and local Plant City people out there,” says Chamber Administrative Coordinator Amy Nizamoff.“We want to showcase local businesses in Plant City.” Last year’s winner, Hope Lutheran Church, is looking to repeat as the people’s champion. But, the church could face some stiff competition from Brown’s Floral Shop, another perennial contender, and other businesses that may have an ace up their sleeves. Although the People’s Choice contest is mainly for bragging rights, there’s also an incentive for you to go

out there and vote: a drawing for a $200 gift card. It’s almost like playing Bingo. Take your ballot (see opposite page) on your Christmas tree tour, and each business will give you a colored sticker to put over their square. When you fill up your card, or at least 65 percent of it, bring it to the chamber, you will be entered to win a $200 Visa gift card. The drawing is open to anyone age 19 or older; voters up to age 18 can also participate, but they will be entered to win a $25 gift card. The chamber hopes the 15-business minimum will encourage participants to see things that they haven’t before and perhaps to provide a little boost to the local economy. “Maybe people will learn about something they didn’t know Plant City had and see the services that our local businesses provide,” Nizamoff says. The drawing for the gift card will take place Dec. 19. For more information, call (813) 754-3707 or email Amy Nizamoff, — Justin Kline

Give Them The Gift That Willl Really y Have Them Jumping! A BOING! Gift Card





Closed on Thanksgiving Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Christmas. Check out our web site for special holiday hours.

622 Ware Blvd., Tampa, FL 33619 (Just off I-75 & the Crosstown)


(813) 341-4897

Follow Us!


The Greater

ity lant ofCCommerce PChamber Nov. 26th - Dec. 19th, 2013

Christmas Tree Contest

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $200 VISA GIFT CARD Visit all entries & vote for your favorite Christmas Trees at the following locations. Then turn in your card to the Plant City Chamber of Commerce, 106 North Evers Street, Plant City (813) 754-3707 between 9 am and 5 pm M-F.

Name & Phone Number

1. 110 E. Reynolds St. #100A - 2. 3109 SR 574 W. - 752-2869 3. 108 Southern Oaks Dr. 661-2455 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm)

(Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm, some Sats.)

754-4805 (Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm)

6. 305 S. Wheeler St., 759-2265 (Mon-Thurs, 9am-4pm, Fri, 6am-6pm)

7. 5145 Harvey Tew Road,

8. 303 N. Lemon St., 752-9194

717-9865 (Sun-Sat, 9am-5pm)


11. 2001 N. Park Road, 7524622 (Mon-Fri, 8am-4:30pm)

4. 1503 S. Alexander St., Ste. 103 5. 106 E. Reynolds St., 752-5189 752-6183 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 5pm)

9. 1805 James Redman Prkwy, (Mon-Thurs, 8am-5pm, Fri, 8am-4pm 752-4247 (Mon-Fri, 9am-9pm)

(Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm, Sat, 9am-noon)

10. 784 Hunt 10 Hunter CCreek ek Dr., D

318-7768 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe

12. 5210W.Thonotosassa Rd, 720-5474 13.106 Drane St. #2 704-6923

(Sun-Thurs 11am-6pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am) (Mon-Fri, 11am-5pm, Sat, 10am-6pm)

14. 104 N. Evers Street #101

764-9516 (Mon - Fri, 8am-5pm)

15. 3702 W. Baker St. 752-0502 (Sun-Sat, 9am-6pm)

Plant City Family

The Herban Cowboy

16. 1507 YMCA Place, 757-6677 (Mon-Fri, 17. 304 N. Collins St., 759-0886 (Mon &Wed, 18. 314 S. Collins St. - 704-6896 (Mon5am-9pm, Sat, 8am-6pm, Sun, 1pm-6pm)

9am-5pm,Tues &Thurs, 9am-7pm, Fri 9am-noon) Thurs, 9am-6pm, Fri, 9am-7pm, Sat, 9am-4pm)

19. 3014 James L Redman 752-2379 (Mon-Sat, 8-6)


.118W. Reynolds St. 704-1376 (Wed &Thurs, 10:30am-4pm, Fri, 10:30am-5pm, Sat, 10am-5pm)

Under 18 check here

Walden Lake Car Wash Wells Memorial & Event Center

21. I4645 US Hwy 92 Plant

City - 752-1010 (Mon-Fri, 8-6)

22. 702 E. Alsobrook St., Suite H, 23. 110 E. Reynolds St. #300 - 756764-0625 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

6901 (Tues-Fri, 10am-5pm Sat, 10am-3pm)

24. 1414 S. Alexander St.,

752-7226 (Mon-Sat, 8am-6pm)

25. 1903 W. Reynolds St., 752-1111 (Sun-Sat, 8am-5pm)

• Must have 65% of the card filled for your vote to count • Must have 100% of the card filled to be eligible for the $200 card • Ages 19 and up eligible for $200 gift card • Ages 18 and down eligible for $25 gift card 064795-01




For those who live in Florida, Keel and Curley wine is offered at many grocery stores, including Walmart, Publix and some ABC Liquor Stores. Many residents have tasted the sweet flavors from the winery, which sits in Plant City’s back yard. But out-of-towners can have a chance to sip on the fruity fusions, as well. It’s easy to send a bottle to relatives and friends out of state. Keel and Curley delivers wine to more than 30 states. To find out which ones and or to place an order, visit WHERE TO BUY: PRICE: $14.99 to $24.99

Homegrown HAPPINESS Face it. Picking out gifts is hard. Everyone has different tastes and interests. There’s a constant worry the receiver may already have it. And then, there’s the inevitable fighting of traffic to get to the mall. All this headache happens while wondering if those on your list will even like their presents. But, there is a solution to the trials

of present picking. There are many gifts right here in Plant City that are made and sold locally. For the relatives who live out of town and out of state, a little flavor from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World is sure to be the most unique gift they receive this year. — Amber Jurgensen

FESTIVAL FUN Many gifts are tangible. They can be worn, consumed or used. But, over time, they become worn down or outdated. So, why not buy your loved ones an experience this year? After all, memories last a lifetime. Florida Strawberry Festival tickets go on sale Thursday, Dec. 5. WHERE TO BUY: PRICE: Online: $8 for ages 13 and up; $4 for ages 6 to 12; at the Gate: $10 for ages 13 and up; $5 for ages 6 to 12

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Put a little sweetness into your gift without giving the infamous fruit cake. Parkesdale Farm Market can ship many of their products. From strawberry syrup to full-fledged gift baskets, Parkesdale has something that can whet anyone’s appetite.

WHERE TO BUY: Parkesdale. com PRICE: $5.98 to $54.99


Instead of store-bought generic holiday cards, send your relatives and friends something a little different. The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce has a variety of Plant City postcards for sale. From a black-and-white print of two children picking strawberries to the colorful interior of local landmark Parkesdale Farm Market, there’s a unique card for everyone on your list. WHERE TO BUY: The Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, 106 N. Evers St. PRICE: Two for $1 PHONE: (813) 754-3707

HOMETOWN PRIDE It’s a wearable gift, and who doesn’t like something functional? The I <3 Plant City shirt sold at The Corner Store in Historic Downtown shows a little hometown pride. The Corner Store also sells other T-shirts, including one boasting its slogan, “Eat Well or Die.” WHERE TO BUY: The Corner Store, 121 E. Reynolds St. PRICE: $15, $16.99 PHONE: (813) 754-0900

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FOR THE BOOKWORM As the center for history, the Plant City Photo Archives and History Center has an interesting collection of books all about the town. There are four titles; “Strawberries and Steel: A Plant City Love Story,” by Nicholas D. Brown, $15; “Remembering Plant City, Tales from the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World,” by Gilbert Gott, $20; “No

Substitute For Victory,” by Felix Haynes, $15; and “The Life and Times of Plant City In The 1940s,” by Dick Elston, $15. HISTORICAL BOOKS PRICE POINT: $15, $20 AVAILABLE: Plant City Photo Archives and History Center, 106 S. Evers St. PHONE: (813) 754-1578

Plant City Gifts for

HIM&Her It’s often easy to choose gifts for your children, your parents and your best friends. But, when it comes to your spouse or significant other, the cliché rings true: Men are

from Mars, and women are from Venus. But don’t panic. The Plant City Times & Observer has created a list of Plant City gifts for “Him” and “Her.” — Amber Jurgensen

FOR THE COWBOY FOR THE FOODIE Add a little Southern kick to gift giving this year by giving him a bottle of Lawson’s BBQ sauce. The locally made sauces are sold at a variety of retailers such as Felton’s Meat Market and Lawson Hardware. The sauces will sure to be a hit all year long. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from direct retail sales support the Thin

Blue Line non-profit. For a full list of locations, visit LAWSON DIP-N-Q AND LAWSON DIP-N-Q HOT COST: $3.75 AVAILABLE: Lawson Hardware, 3217 N. Cork Road PHONE: (813) 361-6973 WEBSITE:

Fashion meets function in the form cowboy boots. For men, square toes in tan, burgundy, dark brown and black are in this season. Southside Farm and Pet Supply offers the best brands. BROWN BOULET BOOTS PRICE POINT: $247.99 AVAILABLE: Southside Farm and Pet Supply, 3014 James L. Redman Parkway PHONE: (813) 752-2379

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FOR THE INTERIOR DECORATOR Stylish and Simply Stunning Interiors, or SASSI, has just opened in what was previously Knotts Hardware. The store will bring a little Christmas cheer to Historic Downtown all year long. The shop sells glittering ornaments, jolly Santa figurines and cozy garland. The inventory is perfect for any woman who enjoys decorating. GOLD AND WHITE ORNAMENT COST: $21.99 AVAILABLE: SASSI, 314 S. Collins St. PHONE: (813) 340-1036

FOR THE SWEET TOOTH Chocolate: It’s a classically delicious gift that will be sure to have her tastebuds buzzing. Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe has a variety of appetite whetting treats from white to dark chocolate. There are many holiday molds from which to choose, including a giant Santa.

FOR THE FASHIONISTA What woman doesn’t love jewelry? This season’s trends are all about the big statement necklaces. This particular piece is costume jewelry which means it won’t break the bank. Statement necklaces can be found around town at stores like The Herban Cowboy and Uptown Girls. ORANGE AND BLUE STATEMENT NECKLACE COST: $16.99 AVAILABLE: Uptown Girls, 10 E. Reynolds St. Suite 300

GIANT SANTA, MILK, WHITE OR DARK CHOCOLATE COST: $49.99 AVAILABLE: Neumeister’s Candy Shoppe, 106 Drane St. NE. PHONE: (813) 704-6923

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Do You Hear What I Hear?

teens to be a part of this year’s Christmas Town. In addition to performances by NRG and other local choirs and choruses, Busch Gardens will feature a plethora of winter activities usually reserved for families in colder climates. SnowWorld will offer children a chance to make a snowman and engage in a friendly snowball fight. Guests early October,” says Director Yvonne also can enjoy Christmas carChristmas Town Fry. “Christmas music always ols on the Christmas Town WHEN: 6 to 11 p.m. select nights, brings back so many emotions Express, meet Santa and Nov. 29 to Dec. 23. and memories. Whenever we Mrs. Claus, schmooze with WHERE: Busch Gardens, 10165 N. are preparing for a show, we penguins and much more. McKinley Drive, Tampa always think about what the Fry says her group — TICKETS: General admission: $60 music means and try to conalong with their parents for adults, $20 for children. nect with the message. These — are ready to spread WEB: or songs are so warm and snuggly. Christmas cheer. ... We’re totally in the Christmas “The parents are so supspirit.” portive and so conscientious Busch Gardens scouts discovered about every aspect of this NRG during one of the group’s perfor(group) — from food to costumes mances at the Florida State Fair and invited the to transportation,” she says. Of course, when they aren’t performing, the teens will have opportunities to enjoy Busch Gardens. “Some nights, we’ll have them change and let them go and have fun,” Fry says.“So, we’d love for our all Plant City friends to come and see the show and then hang out and have fun with us. We love our hometown folks.” — Michael Eng

Plant City’s NRG will be among the featured performers this year at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town. This year, Plant City will spread its Christmas cheer even beyond the city limits. Youth pop singing group Next Radical Generation will be among the featured performers this year at Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town, a monthlong winter-themed celebration. NRG will perform 20-minute shows at 8:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29 to Dec. 23, at the Marrakesh Theater. NRG — featuring teens Marlee Arn, Arie Fry, Bryson Keel, Emmy Menia and Ashtyn Steele — have been preparing for Christmas long before any cold snaps hit the area. “We’ve been singing Christmas music since

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Sounds of the Season The Plant City Community Choir gave Kenneth R. Watts an opportunity this summer. Now, in the season of giving, he’s returning the favor. Watts, PCCC’s new artistic director, will be conducting the choir’s annual Christmas concert,“Lights and Sounds of Christmas.” It’s the first big performance Watts will conduct for the community choir. On Sept. 11, he and the choir opened a Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce breakfast with a rendition of the national anthem. Watts comes to the Plant City program with more than 40 years of conducting and performing experience. In addition to his role with the PCCC, he serves associate music director for Tampa’s St. Patrick Catholic Church, conductor of the Eastern Hillsborough Community Band and the founding conductor of the OLLI Singers! at the University of South Florida’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He learned of

the Plant City job after seeing a performance. “I had gone to one of (the PCCC’s) concerts, and I thought to myself, ‘I’d love to be able to conduct this ensemble one day,’” Watts says. This summer, he volunteered to be the choir’s interim conductor, won the job after an audition and was asked to remain on board as the permanent artistic director a month later. “This is an awesome choir,” he says.“They are really, really awesome.” Watts and the choir are preparing for the Christmas concert, where they will perform holiday favorites, a “Christmas Portrait” medley and even “Hime Ma Tov,” a traditional Hebrew song. “It really expresses the sentiment of the season and, being sung in Hebrew, it

“LIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS” WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 WHERE: St. Clement Catholic Church, 1104 N. Alexander Street, Plant City COST: Ages 13 and up: $10 in advance; $12 at the door; seniors and children 12 and under: $8 in advance, $10 at the door. CONTACT: (813) 444-8863 WEBSITE:

reminds us that the whole Christian tradition started at Jerusalem,” Watts says. The centerpiece of the concert will be “Noel: A Night of Everlasting Love,” a collection of carols from all over the world, which will be narrated by Marsha Passmore. — Justin Kline




Christmas Done Bright Need a spark for your Christmas display? Take a page from Plant City resident’s Chaun Buttorff’s book.

Christmas is just under a month away, and many Plant City residents likely are planning their exterior lighting displays. Some of you may be scratching your heads just trying to come up with ideas. For those who want to stick out but need a starting point, Chaun Buttorff has you covered. Buttorff, president of the Sam Allen Oaks Homeowners’ Association, knows a thing or two about what makes a good Christmas display: His neighbor-

hood holds an annual competition for just that. “It adds an extra element to the neighborhood, with the holiday spirit for the kids,” Buttorff says. The owners of the “best-dressed” house get a $100 prize, which definitely offsets some of that electric bill. Buttorff says a good way to help your display stand out is to go beyond lining the roof of the house and decorate the other elements. “I run all the roof lines on the

house, like accents for a gingerbread house,” Buttorff says.“I run lights through the bushes, on the porch, and on the tree trunks — that adds depth to the house.” He personally goes with just one color — white — but says that tactic wasn’t something he opted for immediately. “I’ve been doing this for 12 years,” he says.“I just have more white lights.” When adding lights to bushes and trees, you will need extension cords. But you don’t want to have a bunch of bright orange cords clumped

together in the middle of the yard, because that can get unsightly. Look for green cords, which will blend in with your yard, and try not to get them tangled up. If a light display isn’t enough for you, take notes from neighborhood resident Don Ross. “Don Ross wins all the time,” Buttorff says.“He’s tinkering in his yard all day. He goes all-out: blow-up Santas and snowmen, lights and handmade wood fixtures attached to his roof, which he built in his garage ... he does it all.” You may not have time to make your own decorations by hand, but you can purchase inflatable Santas for $35 at Walmart. As Buttorff says:“More is better.” — Justin Kline


GINGERBREAD HOUSE HOW-TO: Follow the steps below for this easy-to-make gingerbread house that’s easy enough for children to create. Assorted candies such as Necco wafers, ribbon candy, M&Ms, assorted hard candy, gum drops, Red Hots, peppermints, mini marshmallows, mini candy canes, sprinkles, Tootsie Rolls, Life Savers, jaw breakers and red licorice

1/2 pint milk carton; empty, rinsed and stapled shut

1 16-ounce container vanilla frosting

3 graham crackers

OTHER: Small bowls or containers, plastic knife, base (plate or cardboard) and cotton balls (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS: • Divide candies into individual bowls or containers. • Break all three graham crackers in half.


• Spread icing to the bottom, or flat sides, of the crackers, and adhere to milk carton to form the house’s walls and roof. (If frosting is too thin, add powdered sugar.) • Working on one section at a time,

cover the graham crackers with frosting and decorate with candy. Create windows, doors and chimneys using various candies. Use frosting to place either marsh-

mallows or cotton balls around the house and the base to form snow. • Allow to dry overnight.


Labor of Love Lane Wetherington has a well-documented love of Christmas, his favorite holiday since boyhood. Every year, he turns his parents’ house in Dover into a huge holiday display for all ages.

What started as just another It’s a good thing Lane light display turned into someWetherington has such a good thing more, increasing in relationship with his parents, size and extravagance as because a $4,000 electric bill Wetherington grew older. would freak most people The biggest growth out. spurt came in the But, that’s how mid-1980s, when it goes at the he decided to Wetherington WHEN: 6 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1 turn the display household through 28 into a grander every holiWHERE: 2091 Wooten Road, spectacle. day season, Dover “It just got when it hosts COST: Free bigger and bigChristmas WEBSITE: ger, and grew Lane — one of above and beyond the biggest nonour dreams of what commercial light it would be for a frontdisplays in the state. yard display,” he says. “Without my parents, I Wetherington likes to say that could not do it,” Wetherington everything you’ll see at Christmas says. “Especially (because) it hapLane is “bigger than life.” Nothing pens in their front yard.”



is built to scale, including the sleigh that Santa Claus himself will sit in from time to time. For example, the centerpiece of the display is a 35-foot-tall Christmas tree standing proudly in the middle of the yard. There are more lights on that tree than there are on an entire neighborhood street. “It’s got 82,000 lights,” Wetherington says. “It takes a crew about eight hours to put together, not including 50 hours behind the scenes prepping the

tree to be installed. There are things being worked on even in July and August.” Wetherington has a team of 200 volunteers working with him, a group he calls the “backbone” of Christmas Lane. The display covers just over an acre of land and features a walk-through display, photo spots and appearances by Santa Claus from Dec. 13 to 24. Security and concessions will be provided. Admission and parking are free. — Justin Kline

“I believe inside every child is a hidden strength, an unknown ability, and a hero waiting to be discovered.” Author Unknown

Mary R. Davis, M. Ed. Director

110 W. Reynolds Street, Suite 104 Plant City, FL 33563 • 064793-01


813-704-6908 • 25

December 7, 13-15, 17-23 & 26-30

6:30 p.m.- 10 p.m.

Presented by

For tickets and more information visit

Wild Wonderland lights up Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo with seasonal cheer. Merriment awaits with returning family favorites, plus many NEW additions to this Tampa Bay tradition. More than a million twinkling lights REAL REINDEER (only at the Zoo) and penguins 100 foot long Arctic Freeze Ice Slide Safari Spectacular - a festive way to visit the animals of Safari Africa Meet Santa*

Ga Games, free Zoo rides, Frosty & friendswalk-around characters ������� �������� ���� �������� Animated holiday displays Delicious holiday treats and more!

Lowest prices in town for the whole family, plus FREE parking! *Santa is available for photos through 12/23, then he must return to the North Pole.

Wild gift Ideas Adopt an Animal

Get a holiday gift that makes a difference. By purchasing a symbolic animal adoption package you help to support expertanimal care at the Zoo as well as local and global conservation efforts. Packages start at just $35 and special packages are available.

Annual Zoo Pass Gift Certificates

Annual Zoo Passes make great gifts. Zoo Passes begin at $60 for Individuals, and a Family Annual Zoo Pass is just $160. Along with unlimited daytime admission, Zoo Pass holders also receive a subscription to Zoo Chatter magazine, discounts on gift shop purchases, special event tickets like Wild Wonderland, Zoo School programs, and more!

������������ ���� ��� � ����������������


Connect with the Zoo!



We can ship your gifts in time for the holidays!


2505 Thonotosassa Road, Plant City, FL 33563 (Near I-4 and in the Publix Shopping Center) HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2013



Haught Funeral Ho Home during the month of December as we remember those we have lost. Stop by during regular business hours and place a personalized angel on our Angel Tree. There is no cost for the angel. This is our way of remembering our loved ones during the holiday season.

Also plan on joining us

Tuesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. for our Service of Remembrance. This service is available to everyone in our community.

708 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Plant City, FL 33563 (813) 717-9300


Plant City Times & Observer 2013 Holiday Gift Guide  

Plant City Times & Observer 2013 Holiday Gift Guide