John Leenhouts, better known by his naval call sign “Lites,” is the President and CEO of SUN ‘n FUN, a Lakeland non profit organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the future of flight through world-class events, inspiring and educating people of all ages. Their largest event, the 39th Annual SUN ‘n FUN International Fly-In and Expo, will be held April 9 through 14, and Focus Magazine sat down with Lites to discuss the event, as well as the mission of the organization and what’s in store for the future. More...
Each Sunday morning, Debbie Miller leaves North Lakeland’s Fuel Community Church uplifted and inspired, ready to tackle the week ahead. However, one particular Sunday morning message reduced Miller to tears—she couldn’t believe what she had just heard. The church had invited Alli Mellon, executive director of the Hard Places Community, to speak about her experiences in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia and the heart of the country’s child sex trafficking industry, where boys and girls as young as three years old are forced into having sex with grown men night after night—including Maeng. More...
If you’ve spent any amount of time in Lakeland, you’re probably familiar with the tan and white building that sits off Main Street overlooking idyllic Lake Mirror. If you haven’t been there and you love a good steak, we suggest you familiarize yourself with Texas Cattle Company…and fast! More...
Craft beer lovers in Polk County who are asking, “What’s on tap?” suddenly have a lot more offerings to choose from…over 300 more, in fact. The Brass Tap, an upscale chain of bars serving an extensive variety of craft beer, wine and even cigars is now open in the Lakeside Village in Lakeland. Founders Jeff Martin and Steve Slowey, who also operate locations in Brandon, Wesley Chapel and New Port Richey, have been eyeing the prime location for the past three years. More...
Join us for a SPOOKY but FABULOUS evening of fun! The Third Annual Twilight At The Ritz On Central is on Saturday, October 13, 2012. Twilight starts at 7:00 p.m. at the historic Ritz on Central in Winter Haven. Tickets are $75.00 per person and all proceeds support the Ritz on Central. More...
The Polk Heart Walk is a 3-mile walk benefiting the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association. Funds raised support the American Heart Association’s life-saving research, education and community programs. Fundraisers can register to walk with their company or as an individual. Additionally, local child heart survivors are being featured at Subway Restaurants where customers can purchase a red heart to support the local event. Heart Walk attendees also receive a free Subway sandwich at the finish line. More...
2 Can’t Miss Events
SUN n’ FUN
SUN ‘n FUN, the annual international fly-in and expo held at Lakeland Linder Airport, kicks off its 39th year on Sunday, April 7 and runs until the following Sunday, April 14. SUN‘n FUN is the second largest gathering of pilots and aircraft owners in the nation. Even if you’re not an aircraft owner or aviation enthusiast, SUN ‘n FUN has something for everyone of all ages. For the full schedule of events and activities, log on to sun-n-fun.org.
Ice Cream Festival
Sample some of your favorite flavors or try something new at the first annual Florida Ice Festival on Saturday, April 6 at Lakeland’s Joker Marchant Stadium, presented by Magnify Credit Union. Over 30 local ice cream artisans and vendors will be in attendance to treat your sweet tooth, in addition to live music, face painting, bounce houses, pony rides, wall climbs, and various eating, art, and sculpting contests. Don’t miss the main event, Major League Eating’s World Ice Cream Eating Championship, featuring Joey Chestnut, five-time winner of the annually televised Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest. Come be a part of this Lakeland first! Gates open at 10 a.m.
• Wingin’ It Festival
City of Winter Haven Airport
Gates open at 1 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday
Competition Chicken Wing Cookoff to showcase best backyard and professional teams in Central Florida. Fly-in event will also feature live bands, eating contests, and other entertainment.
Proceeds benefit Bryce’s Buddies Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
For more info check out winginitfestival.com or call 863-585-6849
• Achievement Academy’s Rise and Shine Walk for Kids
First Presbyterian Church | 7:30 a.m.
175 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland
Proceeds will benefit the Achievement Academy, a pre-kindergarten charter school providing education and therapy services to children with developmental delays/disabilities in Polk County.
For more information call 863-683-6504.
• Family Fun & Fitness at the Fountain
Downtown Winter Haven | 9 to 11 a.m.
Free workout held by instructors from Gold’s Gym.
For those new to exercise, as well as the already fit.
• Dixieland Spring Art Fest
Dixieland Village Parking Lot | 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
1035 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland
Fine arts, photography, painting, jewelry, wood, textiles, sculpture, mixed media, food vendors, and entertainment hosted by the Dixieland Historic Neighborhood Association.
For more information contact Mary Smith at 863-682-1468.