Imperial Symphony Orchestra

Since 1965, the Imperial Symphony Orchestra has been educating, entertaining and inspiring central Florida audiences. What began as a group of 30 passionate volunteer musicians has grown to a paid, per-service orchestra serving Polk County and neighboring communities.

Symphony Guild of Winter Haven Holiday Concert

December 9 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

The Symphony Guild of Winter Haven welcomes the Imperial Symphony Orchestra for a celebration of the season at Polk State College Center for Public Safety in Winter Haven.

1251 Jim Keene Boulevard
Winter Haven,FL33880United States

Avon Park Airforce Bombing Range

22 miles of hiking/nature trails available for public use: Lake Arbuckle National Recreation Trail (16 mi.), Arbuckle Nature Trail and boardwalk (1/2 mi.), and the Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge Trail (6 mi.).

HUNTING – Annual Permits
go on sale mid-May and are good from Sept. 1st to Sept 1st of next year, with all hunt seasons included.
The permits are available for purchase on or in the office with Cash, Cashiers check or certified check made out to US Treasury.

All applicants must provide proof of completion of a Hunter Safety Education course. If you have not taken the hunters safety course please visit for more information.
To receive a vehicle decal or pass the operator must provide: a valid drivers license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

We have four stocked ponds on Range as well as many small ponds throughout for fishing. Ponds 1-3 and Tomlin are catch and release only until after the fishing derby. A recreation permit also permits access to the Kissimmee River boat launch. All state fishing license and regulations are enforced on Range. We also host a youth fishing derby each summer open to the public free of charge, a great event for children.

We have three first come, first served campgrounds for the public on range; plus a military campground. All of our campsites are primitive camping. There are pump wells (non-potable), cold water showers, picnic tables and a large pavilion in each campground. Fires are permitted as long as they are occupied and provided there is not a local fire restriction in place. Pets are allowed in each of our campgrounds.

Generators are permitted in designated areas of each campground.
We have a wonderful group of volunteers that assist with this program, please be considerate and leave no trace upon your departure.

Twenty-two miles of hiking and nature trails traversing oak hammocks, prairie, scrub and pine plantations are available for public use. The Lake Arbuckle Hiking Trail (16 miles) is available with a free permit for Florida Trail Association members, obtained from the Outdoor Recreation Office; Building 600.

Avon Park Air Force Range is listed by the Audubon Society as a Global Important Bird Area (IBA) of Florida. It is home to a wide variety of bird species, including some state and federally listed birds such as Florida Scrub-Jays, Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills, Florida Burrowing Owls and Crested Caracaras. Check out the Boardwalk Nature Trail, the Lake Arbuckle Hiking Trail, Sandy Point Refuge, and the Arbuckle Marsh levee to see some of these species and many more. Day-use and weekend recreation permits are available outside of hunt season during open hours for bird watchers (see the Public Recreation Schedule page).

Recreation Only Permits (Non-Hunting):
General Recreation is closed during gun hunting seasons; typically running from Mid September through the end of December.

(Day use permits do not include overnight camping. Permits must be returned to office by close of business on date of issue)
One Day Family $10.00

(Weekend permits are valid for date issued until the Range closes for Recreation for that particular weekend)
Weekend Family $25.00

(Annual permits are valid one year from date of purchase)
Annual Family $50.00
*Family consists of spouse and dependent children under the age of 18; or children under 18 with office parental consent form on file

Hunt permits are usually available mid-May and are good from Sept 1st to Sept 1st of next year.
The permits are available for purchase on or in the office with Cash, Cashiers check or certified check made out to US Treasury.

As of August 1st PRA Hunt and Spouse permits increase $25 (Late Fee).

All hunters must provide proof of completion of a Hunter Safety Education course. Permit sales are limited to 900.
To receive a vehicle decal or pass the operator must provide: a valid drivers license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

Hours of Operation
Avon Park Air Force Range is primarily used for military training missions during the week. Public access is allowed over the weekends but our schedule varies weekly. Please call for details.

Auburndale Speedway Event

WPCV 97.5 / Coca-Cola Gobbler 150

November 25, 2017

Gates Open: 5 p.m.

Start Time: 7 p.m.

Event Information:

WPCV 97.5 / Coca-Cola Gobbler 150

Sunshine State Challenge Series Super Late Models

Also V-8 Bombers, Legends, Q Mini-stocks, Scramblers and Mini-cups !

Ticket Prices:

Adult: $15

Seniors 55+: $13

Child: $5 ages 5-12

Family 4 Pack $32

2 Adults & 2 Kids (5-12)

Pit Passes: $30


There are drinkers and then there are drinkers. We like to think that we fall in the latter category, and as such maintain a strict drink regime for our Thanksgiving celebrations. The key, as any professional will tell you, is not only in pacing but also in variety. To help you along we have mapped out each step of the process, from first thing in the morning through late night reveling, to keep you happy this holiday.

Morning Prep Work

Bloody Mary

We’re going to start things off pretty simply. It’s first thing in the morning and you’ve got to get that bird in the oven, but first, drink. Bloody Marys are not only boozy, but also nutritious (tomato juice and celery, guys!). Here’s what you need:

1 lemon, juiced
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
3 drops tabasco sauce
1 pinch celery salt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Celery sticks, to garnish

SALT the rim of a tall glass by wetting it first with lemon juice and then dabbing it into a small pile of salt.

ADD ice to the glass.

MIX vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and celery salt in the glass, stirring thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with a celery stick.

Turkey Is in the Oven

Celebration Shooter

You did it! The turkey is in the oven and you’re on schedule to having the food on the table at a reasonable hour. You deserve to celebrate, but don’t over do it quite yet. Whip together this quick shooter, knock it back and continue with your preparations – that table isn’t going to set itself!

Dash of whiskey
Dash of amaretto
Dash of cranberry juice (substitute cranberry sauce to really make things festive)

CHILL a double-shot glass in the freezer for a few minutes.

COMBINE one part whiskey, amaretto and cranberry, as the glass will allow. Shoot it back.

Guests Arrive


Alright, it’s game time: People are actually starting to show up. You’ll want to get the party going, but undoubtedly still have tons to do. The Negroni is a classic, a crowd pleaser, and a totally easy drink to make:

1 ounce Campari
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth

PLACE ice in a short glass, or tumbler.

COMBINE all ingredients. Serve.

Turkey Time

Something Red

Once the food hits the table, it’ll be high time for wine time. A meal like this will traditionally call for a red, typically something like a Zinfandel or Pinot Noir. However, if you want to try something a little different, consider adding a dry rosé or Lambrusco to the mix.


Fortified Wine

Now that we’ve got our wine game on, let’s keep the ball rolling. As Thanksgiving is not a time for holding back, a sweet wine to go with your pumpkin and pecan pies is definitely the move. We would recommend a port or sauternes. But remember, this stuff is super sweet, so short pours are a must.

After Dinner

Fernet and Coke

There will eventually come a time when you physically cannot eat anything else. But you will, of course, still have room to continue drinking. At this point, we recommend a little something to help settle your now gorged self – which is where Fernet comes in. Fernet is an Italian liqueur made from a mix of herbs and is traditionally served as a post-dinner digestif. The taste can be a bit different, but if you mix it up with a little bit of Coca-Cola classic or, if you can get your hands on it, some of that imported Coke made with real cane sugar, you’ll be well on your way to the perfect post-feast beverage.

1 ounce Fernet
½ ounce Tuaca
2 ounces Coca-Cola

MIX Fernet, Tuaca and Coca-Cola in a glass with ice, and stir well.

STRAIN mixture into a separate glass without ice. Serve.

Late Night


Finally, after the dishes are done, the leftovers put away and the overly-chatty great-Aunts departed, you can really get your drink on. At this point, all that should be left are your old college buddies and their respective significant others, so we’ve got two words for you: Party. Time. Finish strong by taking things up a notch with this New Orleans absinthe classic:

1 sugar cube
½ ounce absinthe
2 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Dash of simple syrup
Dash Angostura bitters

CRUSH the sugar cube at the bottom of short glass or tumbler.

POUR in the absinthe and swirl around the glass so that it coats all sides, then discard anything leftover.

MIX ice, rye whiskey, simple syrup, Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters in a separate glass.

STRAIN into tumbler. Serve.



The savvy homeowner’s 5-point outdoor winterization checklist

BPT) – As temperatures drop, you’re reminded that Old Man Winter will soon rear his ugly head. Before the first flurries fly, it’s important to take some winterization steps to ensure your home is ready for whatever the season brings.

This five-point checklist will help safeguard your home against winter’s woes for another year. For additional winterization ideas and detailed project plans, visit Real

Inspect windows

Inspect each window from the outside to see if any gaps or cracks are present. These small openings let in cold air and are also inviting to small critters looking for protection from the cold.

If you find some gaps, it’s important to seal them quickly. Apply caulk to the openings to prevent cold air from seeping in, helping to cut down on heating bills. Plus, you won’t have to worry about bugs making your home their hibernation haven. Note: never caulk above or below the window and door openings, as this may block moisture drainage.

Prep the deck

The amount of work you have to put into winterizing your deck depends on your decking material. For example, a durable, long-lasting material such as Western Red Cedar requires the least amount of maintenance. That said, all decks require some upkeep.

To preserve your deck’s luster, start by cleaning it with a warm, soapy solution and a soft-bristle brush. Do not power wash as this can damage the wood. It’s important that you remove all dirt and debris from the surface as well as in between the boards to improve ventilation.

Next, inspect the deck for mold. If present, wash the deck with a mild oxygen bleach solution and leave on the surface for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Finally, remove anything that might leave marks on the deck’s surface such as furniture, planters and mats.

Protect planter boxes

The majority of planter boxes are made with Western Red Cedar. That’s because the wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects; and therefore, doesn’t require treatment from potentially dangerous chemicals that can leach into soil and plants. But like all garden beds, real cedar planters need protection during the winter months.

Start by removing all soil and cleaning the boxes as you did the deck. Then, if possible, store emptied planters in a garage, shed or under the porch. If you don’t have the space to store them this way, then cover them with a water-repellent tarp to protect from moisture buildup, but don’t seal the tarp. As with decks, it’s very important that you allow for proper ventilation.

Trim trees

Look for weak trees or those with dead branches, particularly those near your home. As snow accumulates, the weight may bring down a tree or branches, potentially damaging your house.

Eliminate this risk by removing any dead trees or dangerous branches now before the first snow. Be safe by using the proper equipment for tree trimming and removal, or, consider hiring a pro to do so. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and handling this issue now could prevent costly damage to your home down the road.

Clean the roof

Your roof is a large portion of your home, and it also holds a lot of snow over the winter. To prevent ice dams and other roof problems when freezing temperatures arrive, it’s important to clean gutters and check your roof for problems now.

Start by taking all debris out of gutters to ensure free flow for water. Next, walk around your roof and inspect it for any damage. Repair loose shingles and make sure the chimney and vents look intact and secure. Your roof takes on a lot of weight from ice and snow during the winter months and you want it to be as strong as possible.

A few simple steps now can mean a cozy, safe winter for you and your entire family. Add these five steps to your winterization to-do list for this weekend and give yourself valuable peace of mind.

Theatre Winter Haven

November 30 – December 17, 2017

A Musical by Sean Grennan & Leah Okimoto
Co-Produced by:
• Alan Jay Automotive Network


Karol, a disillusioned social worker, is trudging home one cold December night when she encounters an old man sitting on a park bench. Mistaking him for homeless, Karol offers the stranger some food — a seemingly innocent gesture, until he turns up in her apartment claiming to be Santa Claus. Thanks to a malfunctioning security system, Karol finds herself trapped with “Mr. Claus” and forced to confront her feelings about Christmas once and for all in this touching musical battle between cynicism and belief.

“…roaringly funny, yet chockful of thoughtful commentary on the season, people and what Christmas really means.” – ROBERT L. MCKINNEY

Theatre Winter Haven

210 Cypress Gardens Blvd.

Winter Haven, FL. 33880


A New Type of Farm Is Letting Us Grow 100 Times More Food

Farming has been a cornerstone of civilization for a long time — even before sewer systems. As humans have evolved, so has farming. Thanks to drones, CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, and a host of other innovations, we have come farther than we would have ever thought possible — including reaching new heights with vertical farming.

The pinnacle of modern agriculture can be found in Kearney, New Jersey at Bowery farms. The farming company claims it has the capacity to grow 100 times more per square foot than average industrial farms. This might be because the vertical farm calibrates “synthetic” parameters for its produce. Thanks to indoor LEDs that mimic natural sunlight, and nutrient-rich waterbeds that are easy to stack from floor to ceiling, Bowery is able to grow over 80 different types of produce. Bowery will begin selling its produce, — including popular salad fixings such as kale and arugula — in NYC come March 6th, at around $3.99 per five-ounce package.


What’s so remarkable about Bowery is that it underscores the next generation of agriculture. While traditional farming is unlikely to disappear anytime soon, vertical farming showcases increased automation, reduced emissions, and all-around reduced costs.

Automated machines efficiently move water around the plants using a proprietary software known as FarmOS. The unique operating system adapts to new data, adjusting environmental conditions to the warehouse. Trays are optimally stacked to the ceiling and crops are produced year round, increasing the overall efficiency of the process.

Traditional farming reduces soil productivity, wastes water, can foster the growth of pesticide-resistant insects, and increases levels of greenhouse gases. The practice itself is quickly becoming unsustainable, as there’s less land available for farming: since the 1970s, almost 30 million acres have been lost to urbanization.

While traditional agricultural methods may endure, it might be prudent to acknowledge the global and local benefits of vertical farming with so many new companies cropping up.

2016 Rotation Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon

Type: Red

Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Nose: Sweet, overripe heirloom tomatoes, Black tea and your mon’s linen closet, fresh and clean

Palate: Medium body clad with tannin that sticks to the back of your mouth.

More about this wine from Napa, California:
Did you know that Cabernet Sauvignon is actually a hybrid of red Cabernet Franc and white Sauvignon Blanc? And that this hybrid occurred out of complete happenstance? And that this happy coincidence became the most widely planted grape varietal for most of the 20th century?! Well it’s all true, and this Rotation Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful example of what this sturdy red grape is capable of.

This wine smells like taking a deep, chest-expanding breath while sitting perched high on a cliff. Wet, grass-stained bramble berry notes laced in the smell of fresh open air. It tastes like violets that have been set on fire by the snap of a bonfire with floral bright raspberry notes. A sizable body ties it all together, making this an all-around banger of a wine.

How to drink it:
While feeling the first fall breeze brush still tanned shoulders
Listening to Sam Hunt’s Make you Miss Me.
Eating This is a wine that screams for a clam pasta with lots of butter and oil, this wine is comfort food.

How to Carve a Turkey

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means one thing: turkey. Preparing, and especially carving, a turkey for loved ones at Thanksgiving is a task often assigned to the family patriarch. Roasted flesh, sharp knives, popping joints — it just doesn’t get much more virile than that! Rather than fumble around and end up with a disorganized and mangled platter of bird flesh, impress your friends and family by masterfully carving and plating your turkey with cleanly cut and sliced pieces.

How to Carve a Turkey — In Text and Pictures

Let the bird rest. 

After you take the turkey out of the oven, you want to let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start carving. If you start carving too early, the juices from the bird will run all over the place and your turkey will dry out. Also, letting the turkey rest and cool will reduce the chances you’ll scald yourself with delicious but molten hot turkey juice.

Separate the leg and thigh from the body.

Take a sharp knife and cut the piece of skin in between the body and the leg. Once you have some separation, grab the body of the bird in one hand and the leg and thigh of the turkey in the other, and start pulling them apart to expose the joint that holds the leg to the turkey. You know you’ve reached it when you hear a pop. Carve around the joint until you don’t get any resistance. Pull the leg and the thigh away from the body of the turkey all in one piece. Repeat on the other side.

Separate the leg from the thigh.

Holding the drumstick, stand the thigh and leg piece up on its end. Take your knife and cut between the drumstick and the thigh bone. When you meet some resistance with the thigh bone, move your knife around it a bit until you don’t get any resistance. Make the final cut and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Place the drumstick on the platter so the kids can start fighting over who has dibs on it at dinner time.

Cut the thigh meat.

You’ve got some great meat on the thigh bone. Don’t let it go to waste by just hacking away at it. There’s one bone in the thigh meat and your goal is to separate the meat from the bone. Grab the end of the thigh bone, and take your knife and carefully start scraping the meat away from the bone. If you’re really careful you can take the thigh meat off in one piece. But if you need to separate it in two pieces when cutting it away from the bone, it’s no big deal. Once you get the meat separated from the thigh bone, you can carve it up for your platter.

Separate the wing from the body.

Our next step is to separate the wing from the body. The wing is attached to the turkey by a ball joint. Cut the area between the wing and body until you get to the joint. Once you get there, grab the wing and pull it away from the turkey until you hear a pop. Once you hear that pop, take your knife and start cutting through the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint until you separate the wing from the body. You can serve the wing whole on your platter. Repeat on the other side.

Carve the turkey breast.

You have some options on how you carve the turkey breast. The traditional way is to carve small slices off the side of the breast. There’s nothing wrong with this way, but it does tend to dry the meat out. Also, if you get the wrong kind of knife, you can tear the meat and it won’t look as good when you serve it.

Another way you can carve the breast meat so that you maintain juiciness is to cut the entire breast off the turkey and then carve it up into smaller slices. Find the breastbone in the middle of the turkey. Pick which breast you’re going to carve first, and make a cut right next to the breastbone on that side.

Continue cutting down the side of the breastbone. It helps to use your hands to peel the breast away from the bone as you’re cutting. Keep making small slices with your knife until you can separate the entire breast from the turkey.

Once it’s off, grab your large carving knife and slice the meat against the grain starting at the small point of the breast. You can make the slices as thin or as thick as you want. If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire breast, just cut what you’ll use, and wrap the rest of the breast in plastic wrap. It will stay nice and juicy for later.


From The Art of Manliness

Brett | November 10, 2017

Lakeland’s Best Biking Spots

I’ve spent the week scouring different locations, and can now offer you not only five different places to go, but also pictures from each place.


Spot No. 5: Lakeland Highlands Scrub Area


The Lakeland Highlands Scrub Area is a wild and open wilderness area on the South Side of Lakeland. To get there, go south on Lakeland Highland Blvd. until you run out of road. You should be there by that point.

The area is on the edge of old phosphate property, and you can see the remnants if you look close. An old railbed makes for a good grassy path that runs near the boardwalk, and there’s also very sandy parts where you’ll huff and puff to get through if you aren’t on a low gear.

Our recommendation? Stay on the grass areas and the boardwalk for starters. If you want to brave the sand, be sure to clean your bike later. Nobody likes a gritty gearshaft.

This testosterone-packed experience not enough for you? Go try some biking in the Green Swamp, 20 miles north of town.

Spot No. 4: Lake Mirror

People taking in scenic views at Lake Mirror in Lakeland, Florida

If you’re looking for a more relaxing experience than the open wilderness, there’s no better place than downtown at Lake Mirror.

A wide and well-paved path circles the lake, which gives you easy access to the restaurants and shops downtown, and also to Hollis Gardens and Barnett Park.

Sounds like a great date night, but I haven’t got a bicycle like this one yet.

Spot No. 3: Fort Fraser Trail

If you’re a rail trail junkie and you think that the Van Fleet Trail is the best 40 miles that ever happened to the biking community, then you’ll eat up the Fort Fraser Trail.

The trailhead is just after Winter Lake Road on Bartow Road, but they kinda forgot to build a parking lot there. So, you can either hop the curb and park in the dirt, or park just down the road at the PSC trailhead parking lot.

This trail curves and canters its way along U.S. 98 (Bartow Road) down on its way to, you guessed it, Bartow. The trail is not built on the old railbed itself, but is still set a nice distance from the road. It dips and climbs like a rollercoaster along the way, and is paved very well.

Spot No. 2: Carter Road Park

Our choice for the wildest, most extreme biking experience in Lakeland is out at Carter Road Park (they’re trying to get us to call it “Loyce Harpe Park” these days.) off of South Florida Avenue.

The area is mostly for mountain biking. Please do not bring a road bike. You will end up muddy, bloody, and bruised.

Like the Highlands Area, this place is on old phosphate land. There are three territories that I could find, and for all I know, there could be more out there.

Area one is right in front of you as you stand at the entrance to the park. It’s a short-warm up area that leads to the right. You’ll pass across a dirt road into area two, where the pace picks up a bit.

Eventually you’ll come to another dirt road, which leads back into an area with all kinds of jumps that loops back round to the sand dunes. Come prepared to be adrenalized.

Directions: Turn left at the light right before the Superwalmart and you’ll see the park ahead on your right. The biking part is all the way in the back.

Spot No. 1: Lake Hollingsworth

Our top pick for the best place to bike in Lakeland is naturally Lake Hollingsworth. With an exterior loop for fitness and an inner one for leisure, this 3-mile lake provides a relaxing time or a good workout, depending on what you’re looking for.

There’s also the lake-to-lake path that goes past Florida Southern and hooks up with Lake Mirror. If you’re wondering why they haven’t done something like this for Lake Morton yet, it’s because the geese keep mugging the bikers.

That’s all for this post– Happy Trails!