Upcoming Events

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On January 28 at 8pm, singer-songwriter and guitarist Ryley Walker will take the stage at Union Hall in Lakeland. The folk artist, originally from Rockford, Illinois, is currently on tour following the April 2021 release of his newest record, Course in Fable. In advance of his Union Hall jam…

Independent bookstore and coffee shop, Pressed had their grand opening on July 29. The page-turning proprietors, Christina and Paul Needham, are offering a hand-curated selection of new books (classics and new releases) and a small cove of used books, along with Ethos Coffee Roasters coffee,…

In May of this year, St. Louis, Missouri native and twenty-year Lakeland resident Derrick McBride released his debut self-published novel, “One Search for All.” Inspired by true events that transpired in 1970s Fulton, Missouri, the story follows Miss Willie Swanson Edwards and the author’s g…

Mark your calendar for the 2021 Juneteenth Celebration in Winter Haven later this month. This free, family-friendly event celebrating African American history and culture will be hosted by the City of Winter Haven at Lake Maude Recreational Park on June 19 from 1 pm to 8 pm. All are welcome …

Eric Collins is a graphic designer by day, musician by night (and the rest of his free time). Born in St. Petersburg, Collins moved to Lakeland when he was five. Now married with two children, Collins has been here ever since. The MrENC frontman released his latest EP, “We Do Our Own Thing,”…

The Polk Museum of Art welcomes Mayfaire by-the-Lake back to the shores of Lake Morton on May 8 and 9, 2021, taking extra precautions to ensure the return of Mayfaire will not only be safe for all visitors, artists, and staff, but a true celebration of art during the time of the pandemic. 

This morning my beautiful little blue-eyed angel (aka Jack-Jack Doppelgänger) elected to start his engine at 5 am.  He was wide awake and spinning around in his crib like a whirlybird.  On that note, Nando said, “I’ll go make coffee.”  I said, “Well… I’ll start the list, and then let’s have …

Streaking – we’ve all done it, right? In small towns like ours across the country, it’s a right of passage. How does one streak? Remove all items of clothing and take off running with a group of your best buddies. The objective? Feel the wind on your fanny and try not to get caught. Why do i…

Get all the hecks and fricks out while you can. A new ordinance is taking place in the City of Lakeland that will ban profanity and language construed as such. The City Commission voted unanimously to pass ordinance 21-053 on March 15, 2021.

Winter Haven yoga teacher Prima Burney is ‘opening the door’ for others to navigate life and healing through her wellness and herbal alchemy business, Open Door Wellness. Using her own life experiences and talents to help her clients, Burney aims to solidify Open Door Wellness as a positive …

Join the Lake Wales Arts Council for the 50th Annual CB&T Lake Wales Arts Festival! The festival will take place on the Shores of Lake Wailes from 10 am to 5 pm on February 20, and 10 am to 4 pm on February 21, 2021. The family-friendly, free-to-attend arts festival is sponsored by Citiz…

In the early 1950s, Fort Pierce painter A.E. “Bean” Backus trained Highwayman Alfred Hair to paint landscapes and eventually served as a mentor for others, including Harold Newton. Other future Highwaymen saw the work of Hair and Newton and were inspired to try painting themselves. While con…

As part of their 100-year anniversary celebration, Citizens Bank & Trust announced 100 Days of Giving, an opportunity for qualified Polk County non-profit organizations to apply for part of a $100,000 grant fund. Since 1920, Citizens Bank & Trust has been a stable and loyal partner w…

It is finally the time of year for sugar and spice and everything nice. For Head Baker at Craft + Kitchen, Meg Magliano, it’s time for beer and baking and boozy sweets making.

A new Holiday season is fast approaching, which means it’s the perfect time to cover our tips on brewing a cup that will impress any (socially distanced) crowd! Thanksgiving gatherings will likely be smaller this year for a lot of us, yet this also means you can show off your barista skills …

Downtown Winter Haven is getting a little extra twinkle this year during a six-week event dubbed Starlight Nights Winter Haven. Beginning November 25th and sparkling through January 6th, the community can enjoy lights and decorations spanning the Historic District in Downtown Winter Haven, f…

Born and raised in Lakeland, Amy Sharpe had an affinity for performing and acting as she grew up. Every year her family would take a beach vacation, and she would wrangle her sister and cousins into elaborate performances. The same giggles and glee that undoubtedly resulted from those makesh…

It was about this same time last year. The dog days of summer had just passed, and a smidge of central Florida fall was in the air. Any cooler weather after a Florida summer is always welcome. I was heading north to Pittsburgh while Nando stayed in town to do some work.

About 1,400 years ago, in an Ethiopian highland named Kaffa, a goat herder named Kaldi noticed something strange in his goats one fateful evening. His usually calm goats were jumping around and bleating loudly, and refused to go to sleep. This was highly unusual, so Kaldi decided to investig…

I first tried this breathing exercise at the Winter Haven CityWorks (x)po earlier this year before we had to shelter at home.  Kerry Wilson from Inside Out Yoga taught everyone in the audience how to do this simple breathing technique that you can do anytime, anywhere.  This is thought to he…

In this first Summer Series, we’d like to demystify some of the latest, scientific findings on coffee! And hopefully, do our part to clarify and counteract all the misinformation that’s so easily found in our online feeds these days! Below, an amazing scientific review by our own medical exp…

When you think about your own mental health, self-care may not be the first thing that pops to mind – but it is definitely a major player in how you feel. The term “self-care” might call to mind manicures, facials, massages, bubble baths, or a blowout. But, I’m here to talk about taking thin…

This past November, having just wrapped a film in NY I found myself sitting wide-eyed staring back and forth between my grinning husband Nando and three positive pregnancy tests.  I was in shock and flooded with emotion.  What about my career? What about our business? What about jet-setting …

It would be fair to say Bartow’s newest coffee house started in a Brooksville field – the idea for it did, anyway. CEO and Creative Director of Unfiltered Coffee, Geanie Folder, worked in a nursing home for most of her life. A fierce creative, Geanie always kept a “vintage side hustle” upcyc…

Lakeland and Winter Haven are Polk County’s two most populated cities. For almost as long as the two cities have existed (Lakeland was founded in 1885 and Winter Haven in 1923), these have made up the two largest parties in the figurative east/west divide of the county. This unspoken feud sp…

Cynics have long pushed the idea that the future of content is entirely electronic – that books, newspapers, magazines are soon to go the way of the dinosaur. At Haven, we’ve found that if you keep your product hyper-focused on a community you care about and do your best to be a resource for…

Lake monsters and giant sea serpents have been the stuff of folklore and nightmares for centuries. Something about the murky depth of a barely explored ecosystem on the same planet we inhabit is unnerving. Perhaps the most infamous freshwater mythical beast is Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. …

Described as radiant, encouraging, one-of-a-kind, Betsye Kay Finch left an impression on everyone she met. Perhaps most important were the impressions made on her thousands of dance students over her three decades of teaching dance in Lakeland. Now, her daughter, Alexis Rocker is carrying on…

Peace Corps Week begins March 1st and commemorates President John F. Kennedy’s establishment of the agency on March 1, 1961 and celebrates all the ways that the Peace Corps has made a difference at home and abroad.  Since 1961, more than 235,000 Americans have served their country and the gl…

Grammy-nominated saxophonist and Director of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of South Florida, Jack Wilkins has cultivated an illustrious jazz career in recording, performing, and teaching. Wilkins will be bringing his talents to the Ridge later this month with a concert in tribut…

Over one million dollars – that is how much money has been raised statewide for arts education because of an interactive supplemental funding program initiated by the Tax Collector for Polk County (TCPC). Every year, Tax Collector for Polk County, Joe Tedder and his team would participate in…

Chef Amy Freeze is an English teacher at Frostproof High School.  And… she’s also a 7-time World Food Championship Competitor Chef and a 4-time world finalist.  Aside from teaching and competitive cooking, Amy is the guest chef at Bok Tower Gardens, where she hosts a series of Farm-to-Table …

It is a tradition nearly fifty years strong – a weekend of food, fare, and fine art – but this year it’s bigger and better than ever. The 49th Annual CB&T Lake Wales Arts Festival presented by Citizens Bank and Trust and hosted by Lake Wales Arts Council, will take place on the Shores of…

World-traveled, Grammy-nominated artist Jim Salestrom is set to croon for the crowd at the Lake Wales Arts Center later this month on January 18. “I play songs about places that I’ve been and people that I’ve met,” said Salestrom. “I try to bring some humor. I’m a storyteller and the music i…

I am grateful to live where I do, in Polk County, on the Ridge.  I enjoy living in one of its most rural corners. Recently, I looked out my window and saw a black bear about a hundred yards from my house. It caused no harm, did no mischief, and just ambled on about its business of being a be…

Who doesn’t love a farmers market where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, cheese and local meats to serve your families for the week?  My husband and I have been talking about creating one to replicate some of the markets we were used to.  A place where you could go and visit wi…

On the last Saturday of each month (except in November and December) a special group of women meets at Heartfelt Quilting & Sewing in Winter Haven to use their talents for a good cause. The store was started by Tom and Pat Roberts. Pat Roberts started sewing as a child and began working …

Built in 1932 as a winter retreat by Charles Austin Buck, the estate was acquired by Bok Tower Gardens in 1970.  The 20-room Meditarranean-style mansion is decorated for the Holidays and is celebrating its 25th year of the home tour.  The entrance hall shimmers in silver to celebrate the 25t…

I can’t take credit for that title – that’s all Kaley Aldridge. It’s what she makes with her creative business, Moonebird. It is scary and brave to walk away from the security of a job that doesn’t make you happy to follow your passions – and that’s exactly what the creative mind behind Moon…

The United States was coming out of the Second World War. The troops came home with many physical and psychological wounds. Many had suffered horrendous experiences beyond our present understanding. Yet, life had to go on. Families reunited, rebuilt lives and carried on.  I had the honor of …

Grab your sweetheart and your tickets for “A Night of the Romantics!” at the Lake Wales Arts Center. GRAMMY-nominated master-vocalist Patrick Muehleise will take the stage on November 16 at 6 pm, to serenade the audience with a powerful program melodically exploring life’s greatest emotion – love.

A tradition some 40 years in the making, the Orange Blossom Revue brings barbeque, craft beer, and an impressive line-up of music to the shores of Lake Wailes on December 6 and 7. Get lost in that sunshine state-of-mind as you jam out to musical acts from here to Nashville and indulge in aut…