Festival names replacement after Steven Tyler cancels
Steven Tyler and the Loving Mary Band are no longer performing their March 3 concert at the Florida Strawberry Festival.
The band announced Sunday that the show was to be cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances.” Anyone who purchased tickets can get a refund at their point of purchase or, in the case of ticket purchases made by credit card, will get an automatic credit to their account.
The festival announced Wednesday afternoon the opening left by Tyler will be filled by cover band Pitbull Toddler, of which Tampa-based radio personality Mike Calta is a member. The Pitbull Toddler show is free with paid gate admission.
Elks donate $2,625 to Everyday Blessings
Thanks to the Plant City Elks Lodge, 28 children and five caregivers can go on a small shopping spree.
The Elks donated $75 gift cards, totaling $2,625, to those in the Everyday Blessings program on Feb. 12. Everyday Blessings works with abused and neglected children and allows siblings to stay together.
“The children were so excited when told they could spend their money on anything they wanted,” Judy Wise said. “God bless them. They have had a rough time in their short lives.”
Optimist Club hosts Oratorical Contest
The Plant City Optimist Club’s annual Oratorical Contest was held Feb. 18 and tasked area students with answering the prompt, “Is there a fine line between optimist and reality?”
Participants gave presentations from four to five minutes in length to an audience of more than 20 people. Lily Batley won first place and Mary Catherine Stephens was runner-up. They will advance from the club level to the Zone 6 contest, which will take place March 18 in Plant City and see Batley and Stephens take on the top finishers from the Lakeland and Winter Haven areas. The top two finishers from that competition will move on to the Southwest Regional Contest on April 13, also to be held in Plant City.
Competitors in the event can win college scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500. Nine speakers from Plant City have won scholarship money since 2001 and the two most recent winners, Caroline Brummer and Katelyn Yarbrough, also advanced to the contest’s World Championships.
Free swim lessons at the Y
The Plant City Family YMCA and nine others in the Tampa Bay area are offering free swim lessons from March 18-21, hoping to turn around a disturbing trend.
According to the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, 11 children drowned in Hillsborough County in 2018 — more than any other county in Florida and more than the 2016 and 2017 totals combined. The YMCA and Florida Blue Foundation are trying to reverse the upward trend.
The Y’s Safety Around Water program is a free event open to children of members and non-members. Kids age 3-12 can learn skills to get comfortable in the water and reduce their risk of drowning with the four-day course. Participants must bring their own swimsuit and towel and must be present on the first day of the program to continue.
Pre-register at tampaymca.org/programs/swimming/water-safety.