Posts

Look no further for fall fun! Search our list of Polk County’s 2016 Halloween happenings and autumn festivities taking place now through early November.
fall pumpkins pixabay LRCPixabay.com

Recurring & Multi-Date Events:

If you’re looking for 2017 events, please click here.

Through Sunday, October 9

The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
Where: Florida Southern College, Loca Lee Buckner Theatre
Time: Sept. 29- Oct. 2 & Oct. 6-9, 7:30 p.m. (Sundays at 2:30 p.m.)
Details: Written by John Bishop and directed by Mary T. Albright, this raucous comedy is drawn from prominent murder mystery films of the 1940s. The plot centers on the creative team responsible for a recent Broadway flop in which three chorus girls were murdered by the mysterious “Stage Door Slasher.” Called to assemble at the estate of a potential wealthy backer for their new show, they encounter a mansion replete with sliding panels, secret passageways, and a mysterious maid, all of which figure prominently in the ensuing mayhem when the infamous “slasher” reappears and strikes again.
 

Thursday, October 6-Saturday, October 8

Cracker Storytelling Festival
Where: Homeland Heritage Park, 249 Church Avenue, Bartow
Time: 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Details: This annual literacy and multicultural event will feature thrilling stories from ten talented storytellers from around the state of Florida.
 

Friday, October 14-Sunday, October 16

Lake Mirror Classic Auto Festival
Where: Lake Mirror Promenade, Lakeland
Time: See details below
Details: The annual event in Downtown Lakeland attracts over 40,000 spectators and draws top car collectors from across the southeast featuring a display of more than 650 show vehicles. Friday 6 p.m.- Hot Rod Rendezvous and outdoor concert; Saturday, 10 a.m.- Car show & free community events; Sunday, 8 a.m.- Road Tour (pre-registration required).
 

Saturday, October 15-Sunday, October 16

Rootstock Plant & Garden Festival
Where: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Details: Bok Tower Gardens’ signature fall plant sale debuts ROOTSTOCK featuring dozens of plant vendors, local musical artists, healthy cuisine and a spectacular display of seasonal foliage. This festival marks the start of Florida’s gardening season, and admission is free both days.
 

Saturday, October 22-Sunday, October 23

Florida Dance Theatre Presents Dracula
Where: Branscomb Auditorium, Florida Southern College
Time: 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, 2:30 p.m. on Sunday
Details: Join Florida Dance Theatre as they unearth a deadly foe at their first full-length ballet of the season, “Dracula”. This sensational selection has just the right amount of spooky, scary, and fun to make it entertaining for all. The ​cost is: $35 for premiere seats, $20 for general adult and $15 for child admission.
 

Friday, October 28-Saturday, October 29

Polk County Sheriff’s Haunted Jail Tour
Where: PCSO jail, 455 N. Broadway Avenue, Bartow
Time: 6-11 p.m.
Details: The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is hosting their annual Haunted Jail Tour to benefit the United Way of Central Florida. PCSO volunteers will present the Zombie Apocalypse. Saturday will be family night, with treats and games for kids. The tour will be $5, with proceeds going to United Way. Visitors will be taken through areas that include the morgue, infirmary, incinerator and jail.
 
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Where: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: Part begins at 9pm; Movie at midnight
Details: Let’s do the TIME WARP again…The Polk Theatre continues its tradition of showing the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and will feature the Original Lipstick Players as the Shadow Cast under the direction of Ferdinand DeJesus. Tickets are on sale online and in the office (9-5). $15 Prop bags will be available at the Door $5.
 

Saturday, October 29-Sunday, October 30

Pioneer Days Festival
Where: Lake Wailes, Lake Wales
Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Sunday
Details: There will be live entertainment on stage both days. Living history re-enactments, artisan and tradesmen demonstrations, pony rides, children’s activities, a Historic Architecture Carriage Tour, and an Antique Car Parade will showcase the weekend’s festivities.
 

Through Saturday, October 29

Zombie Farm Paintball Hayride
Where: Smith Family Ranch, 13444 Moore Road, Lakeland
Time: Begings Sept. 30, 7-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Details: Zombie Farm Paintball is a 20 minute hayride, in the dark, that takes you through Zombie Farm’s infectious zones. There have been reports of the living dead lurking in the night, especially around swampy areas. The ranch will supply you with a paintball gun for your protection against these creatures. Admission includes live zombies to shoot at, use of a paintball gun, 200 rounds of ammo and a narrated hayride. The cost is $30 per person.
 

Through Sunday, October 30

CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Smith Family Ranch, 13444 Moore Road, Lakeland
Time: Begins Oct. 1, 3-6 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 12-6 p.m. Sundays
Details: Join the Smith Family Ranch for a fun-filled day at CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival. where you will find about 20 acres of fun for all ages including a pumpkin patch, 8-acre Egyptian Wheat maze, corn box, corn cannon, country store, cow train, miniature mazes, pony rides, and farm animals.
 
Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein
Where: Lakeland Community Theatre, 121 S Lake Ave, Lakeland
Time: Begins Oct. 14, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays; 7:30-10 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays; 2-4:30 p.m. Sundays
Details: The electrifying adaptation of the monstrously funny film will leave you in stitches. From the creators of the record-breaking Broadway sensation The Producers comes this monster new musical comedy. The cost is $22 for adults, $20 for seniors (55 & up) and $15 for children (17 & under).
 
Pumpkin Safari
Where: Safari Wilderness Ranch, 10850 Moore Road, Lakeland
Time: Begins Oct. 8, 1-6 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays
Details: These special fall safaris include 45-minute customized vehicle tours, led by an experienced tour guides; guided walking tours of the small mammal house; visits to a free-flight aviary and petting zoo barn; one pumpkin for each visitor, which can be carved at the ranch and given to the animals for enrichment or taken home to decorate; and stops at craft and enrichment stations.The cost is $75 or see Groupon for up to 52 percent off.
 

Through Monday, October 31

Brick-or-Treat
Where: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: Begins Oct. 1, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays & Halloween Monday
Details: Presented by Shutterfly, this event returns with more spooky, kooky Halloween fun for kids. Expanded in 2016, the friendly-not-frightening event features trick-or-treating along the Brick or Treat Trail, larger-than-life LEGO® models, LEGO build activities, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, a scavenger hunt with prizes, and an exclusive, Halloween-themed fireworks show in Pirates’ Cove. Brick-or-Treat takes place on weekends in October.
 

Friday, November 4-Sunday, November 6

St. Joseph’s Annual Fall Carnival
Where: St. Joseph, 210 West Lemon Street, Lakeland
Time: Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Details: Check out St. Joseph’s annual fall carnival for fun! The cost of a day pass is $15 pre-sale or $20 at the gate. The weekend pass is $30 pre-sale or $40 after Nov. 1.
 

Through Saturday, November 5

The Shallow Grave
Where: 701 42nd St NW, Winter Haven
Time: Begins Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays
Details: The Shallow Grave is a highly detailed spine tingling scare-fest that brings the Central Florida area something they have been missing. An intimate in your face, fear filled environment with custom themes and movie quality sets to put you in the midst of terror unlike anything you have experienced before. The cost is $27-$43.
 

Through Sunday, November 13

Harvest Holler Corn Maze
Where: 950 Tavares Road, Polk City 33868
Time: Begins Sept. 23, 4-8 p.m. Fridays; 12-8 p.m. Saturdays; 12-5 p.m. Sundays
Details: Admission includes an interactive corn maze, hayride, hay fort, corn cribs, tire swings, cow train, corn hole and pumpkin patch. The cost is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $8 youth (4-12 years). Kids 3 and under are free.
 
fall pumpkins Pixabay LRC Pixabay.com
 

Single Date-Events:

Thursday, October 6

Pep Homecoming Parade & Festival
Where: MILK Park on Lake Silver, Winter Haven
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: Join the Public Education Partnership of Winter Haven, area schools and local organizations at the PEP Homecoming Parade & Festival. In addition to the parade and festival, there will be a performance by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team and a firework display.
Rescheduled to Monday, October 10 due to Hurricane Matthew.
 

Friday, October 7

Downtown Lakeland’s First Friday
Where: Munn Park in Downtown Lakeland
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: This monthly event offers guests an evening of free family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and the opportunity to visit a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment. Each month, First Friday has a different theme, and special activities are provided to complement the theme. October’s theme will be “Friday Night Live, a celebration of the arts”.
 
Dinner & A Movie: Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Where: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Details: Join the Polk Theatre for a special Halloween installment of the Dinner & A Movie series as they present the Hitchcock classic Psycho accompanied with devilishly fine food. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. with the movie starting at 7.30 p.m. Guests are able to attend just the movie for $5.
 
Halloween Boo-gie Night Party
Where: Medulla Resource Center, 1049 Parker Road, Lakeland
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: Dance the night away at Polk County Parks & Recreation’s Halloween dance party. This free family event will feature a DJ, face-painting, a trick or treat village, coloring contests and a costume contest.
 

Saturday, October 8

Polk County Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale
Where: Lakeland Nursery, 4620 US Hwy 98 S, Lakeland
Time: 9 a.m.- 1p.m.
Details: Florida-friendly plants will be available for purchase including butterfly and hummingbird plants, Florida natives, ornamentals for sun and shade, Florida Sun Peach Trees, blueberry bushes and bromeliads. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions.
 

Friday, October 14

Halloween Trick-or-Treat Party
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, Winter Haven
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Details: Polk County Parks and Recreation presents this free Halloween party featuring music, light refreshments, arts & crafts, coloring contests and costume contests.
 
Kids Pumpkinfest
Where: Winter Haven Public Library,
Time: 5:30-9 p.m.
Details: Drop off your children while you attend Oktoberfest! Kids will enjoy games, decorating pumpkins, and pizza. $10 per child, kindergarten – 5th grade
 
Main Street Winter Haven Oktoberfest
Where: Central Park, Winter Haven
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: Join Main Street Winter Haven for the 10th Annual Oktoberfest featuring beer, brats and live music. A Tasting Ticket includes: bratwurst or BBQ dinner and tasting of over 20 beers for $25.
 

Saturday, October 15

FallFest 2016
Where: Polk State College, 999 Avenue H NE, Winter Haven
Time: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Details: Thousands trek to the campus each third Saturday in October to enjoy the event that features a craft show, the Kids Zone, music, police and EMS demonstrations, the Pumpkin Patch, food, the Haunted House and…more.
 
Lakeland Zombiefest
Where: Sun ‘n Fun Fly In Inc., 4175 Medulla Rd, Lakeland
Time: 2 p.m.-12 a.m.
Details: Terminal V will include local bands and entertainers along with how-to and discussion panels. There will be scheduled costume contests and cosplayers. Zombiefest always has an eclectic variety of vendors serving food and sharing their merchandise. The cost is $5. Kids 10 & under are free. The cost of parking is $5.
 

Friday, October 21

Dracula’s Masquerade Ball
Where: Lake Mirror Promenade, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, Lakeland
Time: 7:30-11:30 p.m.
Details: Join Florida Dance Theatre for Dracula’s Masquerade Ball on Friday, October 21, 2016. This is one event you sure don’t want to miss. Come enjoy an evening of fine food, music and dancing and revel in the ambiance of the Loggia as it is transformed into Dracula’s Masquerade Ball.
 

Saturday, October 22

32nd Annual “Munn Park Extravaganza
Where: Munn Park, Lakeland
Time: 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Details: The 32nd Annual “Munn Park Extravaganza”, presented by the Garden Club of Lakeland Inc. will offer over 40 vendors featuring a variety of plants, flowers, trees, and garden-related art for sale. A new plant introduction will be presented by Bill Koen from the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation.
 
Haunted Halloween Hayride & Happenings
Where: Loyce E. Harpe Park, 500 W. Carter Road, Mulberry
Time: 5 – 10 p.m.
Details: Polk County Parks & Recreation’s 20th Annual Haunted Halloween Hayride & Happenings event offers a fun and safe alternative to traditional “trick or treating” while offering attractions such as a hayride to a haunted walking trail, carnival games, live entertainment, a trick or treat village, costume contest and pie -eating contest.
 
Kids’ Night Out
Where: WonderHere, 111 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: Let your children (ages 4-12) enjoy some fun while YOU enjoy a much deserved night out…or in! $20 per child, dinner included.
 

Sunday, October 23

Hocus Pocus
Where: Polk Theatre, 121 Florida Avenue S, Lakeland
Time: 2-3:45 p.m.
Details: Join the Polk Theatre for a showing of the 1993 Halloween film, Hocus Pocus. Rated PG. The cost is $5.
 
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Where: Polk Theatre, 121 Florida Avenue S, Lakeland
Time: 5-6:45 p.m.
Details: Join the Polk Theatre for a showing of Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street. This 1984 film is rated R. The cost is $5.
 

Tuesday, October 25

Halloween Harvest – “Ghost Busters”
Where: Auburndale Downtown City Park
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Details: The Auburndale Chamber of Commerce presents this annual event featuring Trick-or-Treating, a costume contest, entertainment, flash mob dancing, food vendors, crafts and more. There will also be a Spook-tacular Haunted House with the Auburndale Fire Department (assisted by The Shallow Grave).
 

Thursday, October 27

74th Annual Crickette Club Parade & Carnival
Where: Downtown Bartow & Mosaic Park, Bartow
Time: 4-8 p.m.
Details: Bartow’s favorite family tradition is better than ever featuring rides for tots and teens, expanded food selections including food trucks, new games, costume contest for store-bought and homemade, Crickette Club’s famous cake walk, drawing for $500, $300, and $100 Visa cards, Bingo and more. All proceeds benefit the Bartow area Girl Scouts and the Bartow Community. Parade is free with the Carnival to follow at Mosaic Park.
 
Safe Haven Halloween
Where: Freedom Park, Polk City
Time: 5:30-8 p.m.
Details: Join in the annual spooky fun for the entire family featuring free popcorn and candy, delicious food, a cupcake walk for tiny tots, carnival games and prizes, tug-o-war, three legged races, potato-sack races, and costume contests.
 

Friday, October 28

Boo! Bash
Where: Explorations V, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Details: Celebrate safely during a fun-filled morning of Halloween games, food and activities for the youngest crowd. Join in by wearing kid-friendly costumes. Included with admission/membership.
 
Halloween Spooktacular
Where: Wabash Community Center, 1230 Southern Ave., Lakeland
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Details: This Polk County Parks & Rec event is free and will feature costume and coloring contests, trick or treating, and more.
 
Spooktoberfest
Where: Eloise Resource Center, 710 Snively Ave., Eloise
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Details: This Polk County Parks & Rec event is free and will feature costume and coloring contests, trick or treating, and more.
 

Saturday, October 29

Annual Dundee Fall Fest
Where: Dundee Community Center, 603 Lake Marie Blvd, Dundee
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: Bring the family out for games, hayrides, food and candy.
 
Ghouls’ Night Out
Where: Downtown Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.- 2p.m.
Details: The City of Winter Haven will be hosting Ghouls’ Night out which includes candy from area businesses, a hayride, food vendors, a DJ, and lots of fun activities for people of all ages.
 
Halloween Water Ski Show
Where: Lake Silver, Winter Haven
Time: 8 p.m.
Details: Enjoy this special ‘Spooktacular’ Ski Show on Lake Silver by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team. There will be a costume contest before the show at 7 p.m. for ages 0-16. Free.
 
Lakeland Library’s Annual Food Drive
Where: Lakeland Public Library front lawn, 100 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Details: Bring in your non-perishable items and the participate in fall festivities that include games, face-painting and snacks at this family-friendly event. The event is free and open to the public, but please remember your food donation.
 
The Mulberry Library’s 2nd Annual Harvest Festival
Where: Spence Field, 1100 NE 1st Street, Mulberry
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Enjoy a night of fun featuring vendors, pony rides, hay rides, candy, trunk-or-treat, games, a hay bale maze and a live Bluegrass band!
 

Sunday, October 30

Fall Festival
Where: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Details: NorthRidge Church present this annual fall festival featuring your same favorite free elements and a few extras such as inflatables, food, games, train rides, Ident-A-Kid, Fire Department exhibits, by the Polk County Sherriff’s Office SWAT and Rescue teams, and candy.
 
Halloween Movie
Where: Polk Theatre, 121 Florida Avenue S, Lakeland
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Details: Join the Polk Theatre for a showing of the 1978 Halloween movie classic, Halloween featuring Jamie Lee Curtis. Rated R. The cost is $5.
 
The Exorcist Movie
Where: Polk Theatre, 121 Florida Avenue S, Lakeland
Time: 8-10:15 p.m.
Details: Join the Polk Theatre for a showing of the 1973 Halloween movie film, The Exorcist. Rated R. The cost is $5.
 

Monday, October 31

Safe Place to Trick or Treat
Where: Lewis Matthews Complex/Gene Carroll Field, Davenport
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Details: Enjoy free hot dogs and drinks, cotton candy, popcorn, a haunted house, maze, costume contest and activities.
 
Just Cares, Inc. 5th Annual Fall Festival
Where: 124 S Kentucky Ave, Lakeland
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Details: Join this safe environment for families that is an alternative to Halloween featuring a petting zoo, games & activities, bounce house, performances, music, candy and more.
 

Saturday, November 5

Auburndale’s Autumn Arts & Crafts Bazaar
Where: Auburndale Downtown City Park
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Details: The City of Auburndale presents their annual arts and crafts show. Stop by to find arts and craft vendors with items in painting, needlepoint, ceramics, photography, stained glass, wearable art, jewelry, wood-crafting and more.
 
Belk Charity Day Sale
Where: Belk at Lakeside Village
Time: 6-10 a.m.
Details: Purchase your $5 Charity Sale ticket to support the Learning Resource Center or other local organizations and schools. Get $5 off your first purchase with our thanks for supporting our southern communities. Save on rarely discounted brands! Free gift card to the first 100 customers. The pre-sale dates are Oct. 25 – Nov. 4.
 
Gobble, Gobble, Death & Trouble
Where: Ramon Theater, 15 E Wall St, Frostproof
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: Enjoy a dinner at the theater while trying to solve this fall-themed murder mystery. Tickets cost $40.
 
Kathleen Area Historical Society’s Fall Festival
Where: Heritage Park, Kathleen, 8950 N Campbell Rd. Lakeland
Time: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Details: Enjoy this Kathleen tradition where you’ll find cane grinding/syrup making, a pioneer life exhibit, rummage sale, children’s activities, live music, food and more. Vendors and other nonprofit organizations will be in attendance. Admission is free.
 
 
Related Posts:
2015 Fall Festival & Events

 
 

“School bells are ringing, loud and clear; vacation’s over, school is here…”


This fall is shaping up to be another busy semester for the Learning Resource Center and LRC students. In addition to programs such as ACT Prep and SAT Prep, Study Habits of Successful Students for grades 6-8, Get the Competitive Edge…College Success Planning for grades 9-12 and year-round One-to-One Tutoring, LRC is working with the community in the following programs that have just begun or will soon begin.
 
LRC Programs Fall 2016

Taking place now:

  • 21st Century After-School Programs at Polk City Elementary, Loughman Oaks Elementary, Garner Elementary and Lewis-Anna Woodbury Elementary Schools
  • Exceptional Student Education for Public and Private Schools
  • All Saints Academy Supplemental Services
  • PEP After-School Programs at PEP Education Center and Inwood Elementary

 

Soon to begin:

  • Title I Florida Baptist Children’s Home Tutoring Program
  • Title I Migrant Program
  • Title I Hearth Programs (Homeless Children)
  • CROP
  • Sheriff’s Girls Villa
  • GRE at Florida Southern College

 

“But we are glad school has begun. For work is always mixed with fun. When autumn comes and the weather is cool, nothing can take the place of school.” – Winifred C. Mitchell


 
 

Related Links:


Who We Help

By Christine Sikorski, 2016 Bartow Camp READY! Teacher


Camp Ready Bartow LRC Polk
We first saw ridiculously adorable and compact, little Maddox with messy sandy blonde hair, camouflage t-shirt, jean shorts and cowboy boots clinging to his dad’s leg with a sheepish grin spreading across his muddy face that first day of Camp READY! on June 20, 2016. His family lived a half-hour away. Maddox had never been to preschool before. Dad brought Maddox faithfully every day so that Maddox could get ready for kindergarten and have an awesome first year in school.
 
The teachers and counselors at Bartow’s Camp READY! agreed that Maddox was a bit reluctant to participate at first. In fact, he confidently declared on the first day of camp, “I am not going to sing in the show, and my dad is not coming!” We assured him that he would have a great time singing for the parents and we would make sure his dad would come! Having never been to preschool, he had trouble writing his name, which looked more like he wrote it with an alien alphabet. He could name a few shapes, but could not name any colors. He did not know any numbers between 0-21 and could only identify the letter “W”, which was the first letter of his last name. He also had not spent much time socializing outside of his family and church, so camp was a nice, gentle exposure into getting along with all types of friends at school.
camp ready bartow lrc polk
In 20 days, we immersed Maddox in letter sounds, shapes, colors and numbers through play and fun movement activities, readiness, art and cooking centers. He was bombarded with literacy as he listened to dozens of high-quality books in all three classes throughout his morning. He was exposed to all sorts of new vocabulary in positional words with movement activities. While in cooking, he learned science, measuring and dividing food to share. He practiced his letters and their sounds through daily singing of the alphabet song, “Learning Letter Sounds”. Maddox did like to sing, after all. In fact, he was the star of the show, belting out the alphabet song.
 
After the show, we overheard Maddox talking to his buddy Kyle.
 

“I think I’m ready for school now. I can spell my dad’s name!”
 
“Oh yeah? How do you spell it?,” checked Kyle.
 
Maddox proudly spelled his dad’s name, “D-A-D!”
 
“That’s how you spell my dad’s name too!”

 
Kids say the funniest things.
 
 

Related Posts:


Summer camps drive steady increase in school-readiness

 
 

It’s back-to-school time! Scroll down to find details on the first day of school and the 2016 sales tax holiday as well as local events, health fairs and donation drives.

back to school freepik

Graphic: Freepik.com

Student orientation: Thursday, August 11
First day of school for students: Monday, August 15
 
Tax-free holiday: August 5-7
 

Bashes

Back to School Bash
When: Sunday, July 30, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, 135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven
What: Polk County Parks & Recreation’s Back to School Bash is a free family event. Families will get to enjoy free school supplies for children kindergarten through the fifth grade (first come, first served). Families will also enjoy music, educational exhibitors, and children activities. This event will help children start the school year off on the right foot.
Contact: 863-298-7898
 
Back to School 2016 Community Bash
When: Saturday, July 30, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Winter Haven Recreational and Cultural Center, 801 Ave. T NE, Winter Haven
What: The “Circle of Love Project” (comprised of local churches, businesses and the City) will provide back to school supplies for Winter Haven area children. Supplies and book bags geared towards grades K – 8, will be distributed to children in need with educational, financial and health vendors on site. Everything will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. An adult and child(ren) must be present to attain a ticket for the free book bag and school supplies. There will also be bounce houses, free food, music and swimming from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m. for ages 5 – 17.
Contact: Tory Dewdney, 863-291-5675.
 
Life Church Backpack Outreach
When: Saturday, July 30, 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: 581 Berkley Rd. Auburndale, FL 33823
What: Auburndale’s Life Church will hold a giving for over 700 free school backpacks filled with school supplies for needy families.
Contact: Dawn Simmons, 863-967-5433
 
First Friday Downtown Lakeland
When: Friday, August 5, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Lakeland
What: Free, family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and the chance to check out a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment. Augusts’ event theme is Back-to-School sponsored in part by MIDFLORIDA Credit Union.
Contact:863-510-9723
 
Summer Palooza
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Simpson Park, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland
What: To introduce New Beginnings High School to the Lakeland community, the school is hosting Summer Palooza so that families and children will have the necessary resources to go back to school. New Beginnings’ Summer Palooza will provide necessities along with educational guest speakers, a warm meal, and entertainment throughout the day.
Contact:
 
Back to School: Movie at the Pool
When: Saturday, August 13, 8:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Where: 1100 NE 1st St, Mulberry, FL 33860
What: Enjoy a showing of “Finding Nemo” while swimming in Mulberry’s own Community Pool. Admission is free, however guests must be residents of the City of Mulberry. Children under the age of 15 years must have a valid Pool ID.
Contact:City of Mulberry, 863-425-1125
 
Fifth Annual Community Back to School Family Fun Day
When: Saturday, August 13, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Westwood Park, 1151 36th Street NW, Winter Haven
What: This free event is aimed at preparing family in the community for the new school year by providing free health screenings, health information, child safety information and more. There will be a backpack giveaway with school supplies for school-age children. There will be also be fun activities and entertainment for kids including games and a petting zoo.
Contact: 863-875-7933 or info@heart2heartcommunity.org
 
Rock the Block Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 20, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: The Lakeland Center: George Jenkins Arena
What: Bring the entire family to this free community event featuring giveaways, free backpacks, free haircuts, a health fair, hot dogs, cotton candy, bounce houses and more.
Contact: Harvest Assembly of God: 863-682-7000. The Lakeland Center: 863-834-8100
 

Just outside of Polk:

 
Whole Foods Market Florida Back to School Lunch Giveaway!
When: Sunday, August 7 & August 14, 12 p.m.
Where: Whole Foods Market
What: Whole Foods Market Back to School Lunch Giveaway- Get a complimentary lunch without any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives for your child (12 and under) for the first day of school.
Sunday, August 7: Tampa; Sunday, August 14: Orlando
Contact: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list
 

Health Fairs

Back to School Health Fair
When: July 29-August 6 (see dates & sites below)
Where: Central Florida Health Care: Throughout Polk County
What: A Central Florida Health Care back to school health clinic featuring CFHC school supplies and backpacks also.
Contact: 863-425-6200

Dates, Times & Sites:

  • Friday, July 29, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Avon Park, 950 CR-17A W
  • Saturday, July 30, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Lakeland, 1129 N Missouri Ave
  • Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Winter Haven, 201 Magnolia Ave. SW
  • Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. in Dundee, 1023 Dundee Rd

 
Back To School Health Fair
When: Saturday, August 6, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 40100 US Highway 27, Davenport
What: Good health is the best back-to-school supply your child can have. So don’t miss our free Back-to-School Health Fair that combines health and safety education with fun for the whole family!

  • Safety presentations by police and EMS
  • Health presentations by local pediatricians and physicians
  • Back-to-school screenings and discounts
  • Fun Zone with free crafts, face painting and activities
  • Free school supplies
  • Teddy Bear Clinic
  • Drawings for tickets to special events, while supplies last

Contact: 866-997-DOCS
 
Back- to-School Shots
Department of Health in Polk clinics

  • Auburndale, 1805 Hobbs Road, 863-965-5400
  • Haines City, 1700 Baker Ave. E., 863-421-3204
  • Lake Wales, 835 W. Central Ave., 863-678-4144
  • Lakeland, 3241 Lakeland Hills Blvd., 863-413-2620

– The Bartow clinic does not provide childhood immunizations.
– Appointments are recommended, although walk-ins are accepted.
– All but the Auburndale clinic are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. At Auburndale, the immunization clinic hours vary by day.
 

Donation Drives

Gator Encounters & Donation Drive
When: Friday, July 29, 10 a.m. & 12 p.m.
Where: Mulberry Phosphate Museum
What: Mulberry Phosphate Museum will host two family-friendly close encounters with Florida’s wildlife and Tim Williams as a way to gain school supply donations. Reserve your place at mulberryphosphatemuseum.org. For admission, please bring two school supply items to donate.
Contact: 863-425-2823
 
Stuff the Bus
Stuff the Bus is Central Florida’s largest back-to-school campaign. In addition to the traditional school supplies that are needed such as pens, pencils, wide rule paper, folders with prongs, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue and erasers, you may also donate copy paper, facial tissue, index cards, highlighters, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and pencil boxes.
 
Bartow: Through Friday, August 19
Lakeland:Saturday, August 6, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Walmart (US Hwy 98 N)
Lakeland: Wednesday, August 10 at Hall Communications
Winter Haven: Saturday, August 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Walmart (7450 Cypress Gardens Blvd.)
 
 

Camp READY! dates are set for Summer 2016.
 
If you have a rising or repeating kindergartner, make sure they’re prepared for academic success by enrolling them in the Learning Resource Center’s annual kindergarten-readiness program. On average, Camp READY! students have shown growth of seven months from pre- to post-assessment in just four weeks.
 
Learning Resource Center summer Camp READY!
Through hands-on, experiential learning centers lead by qualified teachers, students will experience learning that is fun!
 
With art, music and movement, cooking, and reading-readiness centers, Camp READY! builds pre-reading skills while also providing a safety net to allow children more time to continue motor, social and cognitive development. Teachers will engage students in themed rich language-laden lessons, while also providing learning opportunities for parent involvement at camp and at home.
 
The program is designed for students entering or repeating kindergarten in August 2016.
 
This year, Camp READY! is scheduled to take place at ten campsites throughout Polk County. Each camp will last a total of four weeks, Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (with the exception of Poinciana & Ft. Meade) Dates vary by camp. (See below)
 
The cost of camp is $25 for the month and includes a shirt. If this fee causes a financial hardship, please call LRC at 863-688-9477 to discuss scholarship options.
 
To register your child before spots are filled, please visit lrcpolk.com/programs/camp-ready or call LRC at 863-688-9477.
 
 

Camp Locations and dates:


 

 
 

Are you looking for 2015 holiday events in Polk County this December? We’ve compiled a list of fun, holiday events throughout the county that the entire family can enjoy. Have your calendar ready to mark the events your interested in, and scroll through the list of events categorized by ongoing, library, city and county, college, local theater, and attraction events below.
 

If you’re looking for 2016 events, please click here.


Happy Holidays!
 

Ongoing Events:

Festival of Wreaths
Date: Friday, November 20-Saturday, December 12
Location: Polk County History Center, Bartow
Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Details: Decorated wreaths will be displayed in the History Center from Nov. 20 through Dec. 12 at this fifth annual event. This event promises to be fun and festive for both decorators and bidders alike. Wreaths with exceptional decorating themes will be recognized with the Santa’s Choice designation during the display period. For more information, contact the History Center at 863-534-4386.
 
Winter Walking Tours
Date: Friday, November 27-Sunday, January 3
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 2:00 p.m. Sunday
Details: Volunteers lead visitors on an hour-long winter walking tour, sharing information about the flora and fauna and guiding visitors through the Gardens from the Visitor Center to the Singing Tower. Included with general Gardens admission.
 
Elves Shelves Gift Shop
Date: Saturday, November 28-Sunday, December 6
Location: Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; 1:00 p.m.-5:00 pm Sunday
Details: This special secret shop is for children only! Gifts will be reasonably priced for children to purchase holiday items for family and friends. Elves Shelves fun includes a wrapping station. Admission is free. Prices vary per item.
 
1930’s HoliDAYS
Date: The following Tuesdays: December 1, December 8, December 15, December 22
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Details: Be sure to see the vintage Model A’s outside Pinewood Estate, meet historical characters from the 1930s, and catch a few surprise personalities from the past. Tuesdays throughout December. Included with general Gardens admission.
 
BeFly Bike Tours – Christmas Lights Tours
Date: Fridays & Saturdays: December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19
Location: Beginning at Concord Coffee, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.- 8 p.m.
Details: Light lovers can enjoy a magical experience with opportunities to “ooh” & “ahh” over gorgeous holiday displays, much good cheer, and creatively-decorated bikes (and cyclists). Tours cost $30 per person and are limited to 7 adults per group. Bring-your-own-bike is open to all. Reservations required.
 
Lights of Lakeland
Date: December 4-6; December 11-13
Location: Highland Park Church, Lakeland
Time: 6:30 p.m.- 9 p.m.
Details: Lights of Lakeland 2015 is the TENTH ANNUAL, free walk-thru Christmas experience that the whole family can enjoy! Experience an evening of excitement and wonder filled with your favorite holiday sights, smells and sounds. With over 500,000 lights on display, your family will be able to enjoy: The Grinch, Santa’s Workshop, a reindeer barn, pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus, food trucks, the Sweet Shoppe, a Bethlehem experience with live animals, the General Store for children to Christmas shop on their own and photos with cartoon characters.
 
Christmas Bricktacular
Date: Saturdays and Sundays: December 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27;
Monday, December 28-Wednesday, December 30
Location: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (December 20; 26-30)
Details: Bring in the holiday season with a 30-foot tall LEGO Christmas tree made of 270,000 LEGO bricks, life-size LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh, festive decorations, LEGO build activity, a LEGO Santa Scavenger Hunt, holiday entertainment and nightly fireworks. LEGO Santa and LEGO Toy Soldier make daily appearances in the Park providing a perfect family photo opportunity.
 
Florida Flywheelers Christmas in the Village
Date: Friday & Saturday: December 11-12; December 18-19
Location: 7000 Avon Park Cutoff Road Fort Meade, FL 33841
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: The best kept Christmas secret around…the Florida Flywheelers bring a holiday village of sparkling lights, refreshments, & Santa & Mrs. Claus to their tractor site located between Avon Park and Fort Meade. Families can journey through the village on a tram pulled by a tractor while enjoying fun Christmas displays. There are also stops for free hotdogs, cookies, hot chocolate, eggnog and cider along the way. Admission is a monetary or toy donation.
 
Holiday Workshops
Date: Saturday, December 12; Saturday, Dec. 19; Monday-Wednesday, Dec. 21-23
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. or 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Details: Decorations and holiday fun for kids of all ages. On December 21-23, children can choose to attend Santa’s Workshop at 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and/or Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen at 1 p.m.-3p.m.
 
Season’s Screenings
Date: Saturday, December 12; Saturday December 19; Tuesday, December 22
Location: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Details: Bring your chairs and blankets for Haines City’s Christmas-themed movie series in the park. Popcorn and drinks will be available for purchase.
December 12- A Christmas Carol; December 19- Elf; December 22- The Polar Express
 
Winter Ice Skating
Date: Sunday, December 20-Sunday, January 3
Location: The Lakeland Center (George Jenkins Arena)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: Public ice skating returns to The Lakeland Center this winter with morning, afternoon, evening, and late evening sessions on various days. Click the title link to see times and dates.
 

Library Events:

Milk And Cookies With Santa
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bartow Public Library (Pamplin Art Gallery on second floor)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: Stop by the Bartow Public Library on Saturday, December 5 to meet with Santa Claus and share some milk and cookies to celebrate the holidays.
 
Polar Express Pajama Party
Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: Lake Wales Public Library
Time: 4 p.m.
Details: Wear your pajamas, and come join us for the movie, crafts, and hot chocolate.
 
Holiday Fun
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Lakeland Public Library & Larry Jackson Branch, Lakeland
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Main Library); 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (Larry Jackson)
Details: Family fun with a special story-time and crafts.
 
Elf Party
Date: Tuesday, December 22
Location: Mulberry Public Library
Time: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Details: Join the library for the Elf movie and Elf-themed snacks and fun.
 
Christmas Movie Extravaganza
Date: Tuesday, December 22; Wednesday, December 23; Saturday, December 26
Location: Winter Haven Public Library
Time: 2 p.m.
Details: Watch Christmas movies at the library during the week of Christmas. The lineup of movies includes Arthur Christmas (Tuesday), Polar Express (Wednesday) and Home Alone (Saturday).
 

City & County Events:

Holiday Tree Lighting Party
Date: Thursday, December 3
Location: Downtown Auburndale
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join the City of Auburndale in kicking off the holiday season with refreshments, entertainment, tree lighting, Christmas lights and more.
 
First Friday – Holiday Hometown
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Downtown Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Free holiday-themed family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art reception, car show, and more.
 
Holiday Tree Lighting Party
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Eloise Resource Center (710 Snively Avenue, Eloise)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation holiday family event will feature sweet treats, arts and crafts, coloring contest, and a family movie.
 
Jingle Bell Rock Party
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Wabash Community Center (1230 Southern Ave., Lakeland)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation community holiday event is for the whole family. This event will feature sweet treats, a hot chocolate bar, games, arts and crafts, and a family movie.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Auburndale
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Auburndale Civic Center
Time: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Details: Auburndale Parks and Recreation presents the annual breakfast with Santa event. Admission is $8.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Bartow
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Carleton Hall of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Bartow (500 West Stuart St.)
Time: 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
Details: The annual Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus will be presented by the Zonta Club of Bartow and the Women’s Care Center. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet children. Free craft activities for children included with the pancake breakfast. Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.
 
Glitter, Glisten & Snow
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: This fun-filled event appeals to all ages and features lights, activities, Santa, reindeer, snow slides, and entertainment including Sisaundra Lewis from season six of NBC’s The Voice.
 
Carols in the Park
Date: Saturday, December 5; Saturday, December 6
Location: Central Park, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday; 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Details: Find free photos with Santa (2-4 p.m.). a candy cane corner, kids crafts, train rides, games, holiday music, Elves Cafe, handmade items, and more at this 27 year Winter Haven holiday tradition.
 
Holiday Party
Date: Friday, December 11
Location: Wilfred Smith Resource Center (135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven)
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: This free Polk County Parks and Recreation holiday event for the whole family. Families will enjoy sweet treats, arts and crafts, coloring contest, and a family movie.
 
Breakfast with Santa – Haines City
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Egg City, Haines City (35510 US Hwy 27)
Time: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Details: Join Haines City Parks and Recreation at Egg City where Santa and Mrs. Claus will great the children and pose for pictures. Admission is included with the purchase of a meal. Bring your cameras.
 
Breakfast with Santa at the Y
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Fontaine Gills Family YMCA, Lakeland (2125 Sleepy Hill Road)
Time: 9 a.m.
Details: Join the YMCA of West Central Florida for the annual FREE holiday event at the Fontaine Gills Family YMCA featuring professional pictures with Santa, bounce houses for toddlers and school-age children, cookie decorating, crafts and more.
 
Christmas Notes
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Homeland Heritage Park (249 Church Avenue, Homeland)
Time: 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join Polk County Parks and Recreation for live music, photos with Santa, refreshments, a holiday kid zone, outdoor movie, and more. Admission is free.
 
Winterfest
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Downtown Davenport (Lake Play & Bay Street)
Time: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Winterfest festivities will include a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, electric night time parade, cookie decorating, lighting of Lake Play Park, and a cruise-in with classic cars, vendors and SNOW.
Classic Car Cruise In – 4-8 p.m.
Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus – 4:30 p.m.
Lighting of Lake Play Park – 6 p.m.
Nighttime Electric Parade – 7 p.m.
 
Holiday Extravaganza
Date: Thursday, December 17
Location: Winter Haven Recreational & Cultural Center
Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Join us for a fun-filled night that the entire family can enjoy. The event which is open to all ages will feature holiday crafts, gingerbread house making contest, musical chairs and more! Refreshments will be served.
 
Snow Central
Date: Thursday, December 17
Location: Central Park, Winter Haven
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Bring the family downtown to frolic in Winter Haven’s very own winter wonderland. There will be 70 tons of snow making up the snow slide and snow pile for children and adults to enjoy. After the kids are done visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus, they can take a train ride, jump in the bounce house, and enjoy all the other activities that will be available.
 
Dixieland Christmas
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Dixieland, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Don’t miss the opportunity for free photos with Santa at Access Church (6-8), live music and holiday drinks at Concord Coffee (6-9), adult coloring at Art Centric Studio (7-9), a special Christmas raffle at A Kind Place (6-8:30), and special deals and desserts at Fat Maggie’s, all located in Dixieland (6-8:30).
 

College Events:

Symphony Guild: ISO Christmas Concert
Date: Thursday, December 3
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: Contact Polk State College for details on this event.
 
SEU Christmas Concert
Date: Friday, December 4; Saturday, December 5
Location: Southeastern University, Bush Chapel
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: To celebrate the birth of the Savior, the ensembles and faculty from the Department of Music come together for two evenings of worship on a grand scale. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. You may purchase tickets at the door or online.
 
Over 55 Show Band Concert: “It’s Christmas! – And All That Jazz!”
Date: Sunday, December 6
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: The Over 55 Show Band will perform at the Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre. The cost for the concert is $10.
 
Home for the Holidays: The Christmas Gala
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Florida Southern College’s Branscomb Auditorium
Time: 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Details: The FSC Music Department’s Christmas Gala has become an essential holiday music tradition for the college and greater community. This year’s edition, Home for the Holidays, offers a wonder-filled array of musical favorites performed by music department students and faculty, joined by special invited guests from FSC’s musical theatre program and the Florida Dance Theatre.
 
Polk State College Winter Christmas Gala
Date: Saturday, December 12 & Sunday, December 13
Location: Polk State Winter Haven Fine Arts Theatre
Time: 7 p.m. (Saturday); 2:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Details: Polk State Music will present its annual holiday concerts, and just as audiences have come to expect, the repertoire will feature a mix of traditional favorites and a few surprises, too. Admission for the general public is $7.
 
Florida Dance Theatre Presents: TCHAIKOVSKY’S The Nutcracker
Date: Saturday, December 19; Sunday, December 20
Location: Florida Southern College’s Branscomb Auditorium
Time: 7:30 p.m.(Saturday); 2:30 p.m. (Sunday)
Details: Lakeland’s own professional dance company, the Florida Dance Theatre, brings its celebrated annual production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to the stage of Branscomb Auditorium. Performed with charm and perfection by the dynamic dancers of FSC’s company-in-residence, this breathtaking production features colorful scenery, dazzling costumes, and entrancing choreography. As a special treat, community children join the professional dancers, creating a family-friendly, feel-good performance event.
 

Local Theater Events:

Christmas at the Ramon
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Ramon Theater, Frostproof
Time: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Details: This celebration of the Christmas Season featuring choirs and individual performers, coming together for a family-friendly gathering, with songs and community caroling. Donations of non-perishable items will be collected to benefit the Frostproof Care Center.
 
The Christmas Orange Luncheon
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Ramon Theater, Frostproof
Time: 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
Details: This festive holiday celebration event is guaranteed to bring back back memories of the days when a Florida orange (perhaps from Frostproof) in your stocking was a special treat. Enjoy a light lunch and live “old fashioned” entertainment, an original historical holiday skit with Frostproof at its heart. Tickets: $20
 
A Canadian Brass Holiday
Date: Tuesday, December 8
Location: The Lakeland Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.-9:15 p.m.
Details: The Imperial Symphony Orchestra welcomes the world-renown Canadian Brass to the stage to celebrate the sounds of the season with this Masterworks concert.
 
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Date: Friday, December 11; Saturday, December 12; Sunday, December 13
Location: Lakeland Community Theatre (Lake Mirror Theatre)
Time: Times vary by date.
Details: This is a Theater for Youth production based on the television special by Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson. Cost: $15 Adults; $12 Children (12 & Under)
December 11: 7:30 p.m.; December 12: 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; December 13: 2:00 p.m.
 
The Crystal Nutcracker
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Details: The scenes are filled with creative costumes, exciting dance movement, a variety of rhythm and sounds including Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite, and African drumming. Performed in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Swing, Jazz, African, and, Hip Hop this dance spectacular is not the typical holiday nutcracker. General Admission: Adult $20; Children 12 and under $15
 
HUMBUG! The Musical
Date: Sunday, December 13
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: HUMBUG! features a lively original score by Harnick & Legrand, high production values, evocative lighting, and video projections that bring the audience right into Dickens’s classic tale of redemption and eternal hope.This world premiere re-tells the beloved Christmas story with a tunefulness that highlights its humor, humanity, and heart-warming sentiment.
General Admission: Adult $15; Ages 5-12 $10; 4 and under free
 
Johnny Dee & The Starlights Christmas Sock Hop
Date: Tuesday, December 15; Wednesday, December 16
Location: Theatre Winter Haven
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: Rock out while this incredible band takes you back to the 50’s, Christmas style featuring the music of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Ronettes and much more. Advance tickets: $27; Subscribers: $24
 
Dinner and a Movie: Christmas Vacation
Date: Saturday, December 19
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: Dinner: 6:30 p.m.; Movie: 7:30 p.m.
Details: HUMBUG! features a lively original score by Harnick & Legrand, high production values, evocative lighting, and video projections that bring the audience right into Dickens’s classic tale of redemption and eternal hope.This world premiere re-tells the beloved Christmas story with a tunefulness that highlights its humor, humanity, and heart-warming sentiment.
Tickets are $20 for dinner and the movie. Movie-only tickets will be available for $5 at the door the night of the showing. General Admission: Adult $15; Ages 5-12 $10; 4 and under free
 
Thelma Kells Christmas Organ Concert
Date: Sunday, December 20
Location: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Details: The 1st Annual Thelma Kells Christmas Organ Concert with Guest Artists.
 
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Date: Wednesday, December 30
Location: The Lakeland Center
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: The ultimate holiday tradition for the youngest to the seniors in every family, seeing Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker creates holiday memories that last a lifetime. The renowned, award-winning principal dancers and corps de ballet thrill audiences with their expertise, dramatic expression and stunning leaps, drops and turns.
 

Attraction Events:

Children’s Holiday Workshop during Downtown Holiday Walkabout
Date: Friday, December 4
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Decorations and holiday fun for kids of all ages while parents work on their shopping list during the Downtown Holiday Walkabout.
$12/members; $15/non-members; Pre-registration/pre-payment required
 
Bartow Ford Winter Wonderland
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bartow Ford
Time: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Details: Bartow Ford and 97 Country have teamed together to create a FREE Winter Wonderland event featuring a 30 foot snow slide and snow play area, free photos with Santa, the Polar Express train, musical guests Elsa, Anna and Olaf, a bounce house, face painting, food from Uncle Mike’s Barbeque for purchase, and more.
 
Santa’s Workshop with Family Fundamentals
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Family Fundamentals, Lakeland (1021 Lakeland Hills Blvd.)
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Details: Enjoy a traditional Christmas experience with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event will include photos with Santa, hands-on holiday activities, and holiday storytime. Santa will also hand out books to the children.
 
Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert
Date: Saturday, December 5
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 6 p.m.
Details: Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon as they perform together during one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Families and friends are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and experience a magical evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain. $20 adults / $8 children (5-12) / $18 members
 
Caroling with Kerry A Tune
Date: Monday, December 7
Location: Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Details: Stir up the holiday spirit! Families are invited to a music lesson snippet with Kerry, followed by caroling together.
 
Holiday Home Workshop
Date: Saturday, December 12
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Details: Local artist Catherine Price leads a workshop designing beautiful holiday décor using palm fronds to create “boondoggles.” $15/person. Supplies included. Reservations are required.
 
Carillon & Chorale Concert plus Holiday Home Tour Open Late
Date: Sunday, December 20
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Details: Enjoy an hour-long carillon concert with a live choir under the evening stars. Before or after the concert, visit Pinewood Estate for a special nighttime tour complete with hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a unique opportunity to visit the Gardens after normal operating hours. Enjoy a light dinner at the Blue Palmetto Café before the concert for an additional fee. Last entry to Pinewood Estate is at 9:30 p.m. Concert Only: $5/person; free for members. Concert & Home Tour: $13/person; $7 for members.
 
Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens
Date: Friday, December 25
Location: Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales
Time: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (Last admission at 5 p.m.)
Details: Bok Tower will distribute 1,000 time-specific tickets for the Holiday Home Tour on a first-come, first-served basis on Christmas day. Enjoy the café, gift shop, Holiday Home Tour, gardens and carillonneur Geert D’hollander. Regular Gardens admission rates still apply.
 
Kids’ New Year’s Eve
Date: Thursday, December 31
Location: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Details: Celebrate New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND Florida where the giant LEGO brick drops at a very kid-friendly midnight KST (Kid Standard Time) – otherwise known as 7 p.m. EST. Other event elements include fireworks and a dance party DJ.
 

Are you looking for all the fall fun this weekend through early November? You’ve come to the right place! Take a look at Polk County’s Halloween happenings and autumn festivities below.
 

Click here for Fall 2017 events.


 

Multiple-Date Events:

Friday, October 23-Saturday, October 24

2015 Polk County Sheriff’s Office Haunted Jail Tour
Where: Lawrence Crow Jr. Center, Bartow
Time: 6:00-11:00 p.m.
Details: This is a family-friendly event, and your chance to visit the “old jail” that’s haunted. Food and drink will be available for purchase. You’ll also find bounce houses, trick-or-treat locations, and fun for the whole family. Proceeds benefit the United Way of Central Florida. The cost is a $5 donation or $7 “kid’s package”.
 

Saturday, October 24-Sunday, October 25

Pioneer Days Festival
Where: Lake Wailes, Lake Wales
Time: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday; 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Sunday
Details: There will be live entertainment on stage both days. Living history re-enactments, artisan and tradesmen demonstrations, pony rides, children’s activities, a Historic Architecture Carriage Tour, and an Antique Car Parade will showcase the weekend’s festivities.
 

Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31

Rocky Horror Picture Show
Where: Polk Theatre, Lakeland
Time: 12:00 a.m.
Details: Let’s do the TIME WARP again…
The Polk Theatre celebrates the 40th Anniversary of ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. A portion of the proceeds from this event will go toward a dance scholarship for Florida Dance Theatre students. The cost is $15. Prop Bags will be available at the door for the same $5 price as previous years, and contain lots of fun stuff for audience participation during the movie. Doors open each night at 9:00 p.m. for music and pre-show activities. The movie starts at midnight. Costumes are encouraged, so come dressed as your favorite character!
 

Friday, October 30-Sunday, November 1

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Where: Theatre Winter Haven
Time: 7:30 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 2:30 p.m. Saturday & Sunday
Details: This suspenseful musical is filled with a variety of songs that fit the bill: “A Superstitious Yankee Folk,” “Ghost in the Graveyard” and of course, “The Headless Horseman.”
 

Friday, October 30-Sunday, November 15

Little Shop of Horrors
Where: Lakeland Community Theatre
Time: 7:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays; 2:00 p.m Sundays
Details: This PG-13 Lakeland Community Theatre production features the story of the meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn who stumbles across a new breed of plant he names “Audrey II” – after his coworker crush. This foul-mouthed, R & B-singing carnivore promises unending fame and fortune to the down and out Krelborn as long as he keeps feeding it, BLOOD. Over time, though, Seymour discovers Audrey II’s out of this world origins and intent towards global domination!
 

Through Friday, October 30

Zombie Farm Paintball Hayride
Where: Smith Family Ranch, Lakeland
Time: 7:00-10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Details: Zombie Farm Paintball is a 20 minute hayride, in the dark, that takes you through Zombie Farm’s infectious zones. There have been reports of the living dead lurking in the night, especially around swampy areas. The ranch will supply you with a paintball gun for your protection against these creatures. Admission includes live zombies to shoot at, use of a paintball gun, 200 rounds of ammo and a narrated hayride. The cost is $30 per person. www.smithranchlakeland.com/zombie-farm.html
 

Through Saturday, October 31

Brick-or-Treat
Where: LEGOLAND Florida, Winter Haven
Time: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays & Sunday
Details: Ghouls, ghosts and goblins descend on Miniland USA transforming it into a haunted adventure with a scavenger hunt in search for these scary creatures that have invaded our famous cities. This spooky event takes place weekends in October, and features trick-or-treating along the brick or treat trail, super brick build activities, the largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern in the world, Halloween entertainment and an all-kids costume contest with brick-tastic prizes! florida.legoland.com/planning-your-visit/special-events/brick-or-treat-event/
 

Through Saturday, October 31

The Shallow Grave
Where: Winter Haven
Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Details: The Shallow Grave is a highly detailed spine tingling scarefest that brings the Central Florida area something they have been missing. An intimate in your face, fear filled environment with custom themes and movie quality sets to put you in the midst of terror unlike anything you have experienced before. The cost is $15-$40. www.theshallowgrave.com
 

Through Sunday, November 1

CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival
Where: Smith Family Ranch, Lakeland
Time: 3:00-6:00 p.m. Saturdays, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Saturdays, 12:00-6:00 p.m. Sundays
Details: Join the Smith Family Ranch for a fun-filled day at CornFusion Crop Maze & Fall Festival. where you will find about 20 acres of fun for all ages including a pumpkin patch, 8-acre Egyptian Wheat maze, corn box, corn cannon, country store, cow train, miniature mazes, pony rides, and farm animals. www.smithranchlakeland.com/cornfusion-crop-maze-and-fall-festival.html
 

Through Sunday, November 15

Harvest Holler Corn Maze
Where: 950 Tavares Road, Polk City 33868
Time: 4:00-8:00 p.m. Fridays; 12:00-8:00 p.m. Saturdays; 12:00-5:00 p.m. Sundays
Details: Admission includes an interactive corn maze, hayride, hay fort, corn cribs, tire swings, cow train, corn hole and pumpkin patch. The cost is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $8 youth (4-12 years). Kids 3 and under are free. www.harvestholler.com/
 

Single Date-Events:

Saturday, October 24

Ghouls’ Night Out
Where: Downtown Winter Haven
Time: 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Details: The City of Winter Haven will be hosting Ghouls’ Night out which includes candy from area businesses, a hayride, food vendors, a DJ, and lots of fun activities for people of all ages.
 
Halloween Water Ski Show
Where: Lake Silver, Winter Haven
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Details: Free Halloween-themed Cypress Gardens Water Ski Show immediately following Ghouls’ Night Out. Hot Food Concessions available from 5:30 p.m.
 

Sunday, October 25

 
Fall Festival
Where: Lake Eva Park, Haines City
Time: 3:00-6:00 p.m.
Details: You will still see your same favorite free elements and a few extras: inflatables, food, more games, train ride, Ident-A-Kid, Fire Department exhibits, demonstrations by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office SWAT and Rescue teams, and plenty of candy.
 

Thursday, October 29

 

73rd Annual Crickette Club Parade & Carnival
Where: Downtown Bartow & Mosaic Park, Bartow
Time: 4:00-8:00 p.m.
Details: Bartow’s favorite family tradition is now better than ever featuring new rides for tots and teens, expanded food selections including food trucks, new games, costume contest for store-bought and homemade, crickette club’s famous cake walk, drawing for $500, $300, and $100 Visa cards, Bingo and more. All proceeds benefit the Bartow area Girl Scouts and the Bartow Community. Parade is free with the Carnival to follow at Mosaic Park.
 
Safe Haven Halloween
Where: Freedom Park, Polk City
Time: 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Details: Spooky fun for the entire family featuring food, games, prizes and two Halloween classic cartoons for “Movie Night in the Park”.
 
Halloween Harvest
Where: Downtown Auburndale
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Details: Find entertainment, food, crafts, monster trucks, trick-or-treating and a costume contest at Halloween Harvest. The costume contest will begin at 6:00 p.m.
 

Friday, October 30

 
Boo! Bash
Where: Explorations V, Lakeland
Time: 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Details: Pre-school costume party with pumpkins, parade and carnival games perfectly sized for little hands and feet.
 
Fall Fest
Where: 601 Lemon Street, Auburndale
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Details: Find trunk-or-treating in a safe area to collect candy, games, booths, prizes, face painting, music, food, a bounce house, dunk tank, photo booth and cake walk.
 
Halloween Trick-or-Treat Party
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, Winter Haven
Time: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Details: Polk County Parks and Recreation presents this free Halloween party featuring music, light refreshments, arts & crafts, coloring contests and costume contests.
 

Saturday, October 31

Safe Place to Trick or Treat
Where: Lewis Matthews Complex/Gene Carroll Field, Davenport
Time: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Details: Enjoy free hot dogs and drinks, cotton candy, popcorn, a haunted house, maze, costume contest and activities.
 
Annual Dundee Fall Fest
Where: Dundee Community Center
Time: 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
Details: Bring the family out for games, hayrides, food and candy.
 

Saturday, November 7

 

Kathleen Area Historical Society’s Fall Festival
Where: Heritage Park, Kathleen
Time: 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Details: Enjoy this longtime Kathleen area tradition. They may not do it the old-fashioned way with a horse or mule, but they still have a lot of fun preserving and promoting the pioneer skill of freshly manufacturing sugar cane syrup, which will be available for purchase. Entertainment will include Brian Bracey on trumpet (patriotic music in a Veteran’s salute), Dave Anderson (gospel and traditional), Green Swamp Cloggers, Union Academy Bluegrass Band, and The Sweet Teas. Other activities to be offered include:
Cane Grinding/Syrup Making; Pioneer Life Exhibit; Rummage Sale; Children’s Activities; Breakfast & Lunch; Cake Walk & Baked Goods Sale; Vendors and other non profit organizations will also be in attendance. FREE Parking & FREE Admission.
 
 

A look at LRC’s 2015 Summer

 
Every June brings an incredible array of educational adventures to the always-open doors of LRC. Some are long-time traditional classes, and others are brand-new opportunities to meet the academic needs of the community. Summer 2015, too, is appropriately unique in its offerings.
 
Here is an overview:
 

Nine Camp READY!’s

Campers aged 5-6 years old participate in LRC’s award-winning month-long activity-based program designed to increase their success in Kindergarten. Sites for 2015 are Frostproof, Lake Wales, Winter Haven, Haines City, Poinciana, Bartow, Ft. Meade, North Lakeland, and South Lakeland.
 

Super Summer Success  

Elementary school students perfected their reading and math skills in engaging projects and participatory activities. The classes were hosted at Highland City Elementary School for four weeks.  Parents were invited to celebrate completed projects and learning gains.
 

Study Habits for Highly Successful Students

Middle School and High School students identified and practiced strategies to improve organization and time management skills, test-taking techniques, critical thinking, listening and focusing tips, and effective communication in a week-long class at LRC Offices.
 

ACT, SAT, GRE, and TOEFL Test Prep

LRC is offering test preparation to students with myriad needs this summer. Students hoping to secure a Bright Futures Scholarships or college acceptance are enrolled in classes at the LRC Center. Students studying with the Galindo Tennis Academy are working with English vocabulary and grammar in classes held on Florida Southern College campus.
 

Community-based Education

Two new initiatives through Heartland for Children take LRC teachers to Auburndale and Sebring. IRACE, an initiative to involve underserved youth, has partnered with LRC to offer intensive math tutoring, study skills, and Florida Virtual School coaching.  Hansen House, a residential program in Highlands County, is the scene for one-to-one tutoring.

 

Related Posts:

Gear Up For a Summer of Success
Camp READY! Prepares Kindergartners for Achievement
Catch the Summer Spirit with Super Summer Success
Eight Fun Facts about Camp READY!
Master the ACT or SAT with LRC Test Prep
Camp READY! 2015 is “On Go”
Begin Your Journey to Success with College Success Planning
Acquire the Study Habits of Successful Students with LRC

1. 2015 marks LRC’s 40th year as a non-profit providing high quality academic programs designed to help all students maximize their learning potential.

dc8a0a12-a5db-4770-8c82-3d32f6d1aad8

2. LRC offers services to Polk County and other surrounding counties.

3. LRC employs over 500 certified teachers who provide countywide services to more than 4,000 students ages five through adult.
4. LRC is accredited by AdvancED’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

AE_logo-1
5. Kindergarten through adult students can participate in year-round One-to-One tutoring designed to meet each student’s individual academic needs through personalized, convenient schedules.

6. LRC hosts 14 summer programs (in addition to One-to-One tutoring) geared towards kindergarten through high school students.

 

7. In summer 2015, LRC hosted nine kindergarten learning camps known as Camp READY! at locations in North and South Lakeland, Ft. Meade, Haines City, Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, Frostproof, and Poinciana.

camp_ready_logo

8. On average, Camp READY! students who attend the full program demonstrate learning gains of SEVEN months in vocabulary development from pre- to post-assessment—quite an accomplishment for a five-year-old.

 

9. With support from United Way of Central Florida, grants, and generous contributions from private donors, LRC ensures that any deserving student who needs and wants academic help can receive it by offering scholarships and a Sliding Fee Scale.

 

10. LRC holds community partnerships with United Way of Central Florida, Polk County Public Schools, GiveWell Community Foundation, Publix Supermarket Charities, Heartland for Children, and the Lakeland Rotary Club.

six logo snip

In the month of May, Learning Resource Center students received 1,040 hours of tutoring bringing the Year-To-Date Total to 12,069 hours. New and ongoing students tutored during the month of May equaled 255 students, with the Year-to-Date Total at 800 students.
May 2015 Tutoring Hours Infographic (1)

 

Thanks to all of our tutors and students for your time, efforts, and hard work. It’s paying off!