Mr. Florida. The Father of Florida’s Tourism. Mr. Skiing. The Salesman of Sunny Florida. These are just four of the many nicknames commonly used to refer to Dick Pope, Sr. — Florida’s original Walt Disney.
Before the Happiest Place on Earth was even a thought in Walt’s head, there was Dick Pope Sr.’s Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park.
Dick Pope Sr., founder of Cypress Gardens + Winter Haven City Commissioner | Photo via Florida Memory
Nestled on the banks of Winter Haven’s Lake Eloise, sat the theme park, founded by Dick and his wife Julie in 1936. The main attraction? Its botanical gardens, which a few thousand visitors saw for the very first time for 25 cents a pop during its early days.
Fast-forward to the 1940s, when Julie proposed the addition of young women dressed in antiquated garb to the gardens, as well as a water ski show — deeming Cypress Gardens thewater ski capital of the world. Now, that title has been passed to Winter Haven as a whole.
Acrobatic water skiers at Cypress Gardens, c. 1950 | Image via Florida Memory
The boom led to an increase in ticket prices from $1 to $1.25, and again in ‘53 to $2. Then, in 1963 two worlds collided when Walt Disney himself began scouring Central Florida for a nice plot of land, landing him an invite to Cypress Gardens.
Coronavirus ○ICYMI: As of April 5, Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his executive order to allow any individual aged 18 or older to be vaccinated (16+ for the Pfizer vaccine). At this time, 170,668vaccines have been distributed to Polk County Residents. Click here to learn more about eligibility for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. ○Starting tomorrow, Florida Southern College students have the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson single-shot will be available to current students at 10 a.m. No appointments are necessary, however, doses are limited + Mocs are asked to arrive with their student and state ID. ○ On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Health announced 5,885 new cases of COVID-19 and 42 deaths in Florida. That brings FL’s total number of cases to 2,096,747 + the total deaths to 34,476. See Lakeland + Polk numbers here. ○Monitorthe Florida Department of Health in Polk’s websitefor the latest information regarding vaccines.
Regional ○ Hey Disney fans, The Mouse recently updated its mask policythis week stating that guests may now remove their masks while taking outdoor photos. The update is official today + requires any photo-taker to remain stationary and keep a physical distance from others. 📸 (The Ledger)
List ○Oranges, blueberries, papaya, and carrots are just a few of the fruits and vegetables that are in season during the month of April here in FL. To keep your homemade meals as fresh as possible, check out this complete list of fruits and veggies that are currently in season. 🍊 (Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services)
Listen ○New music alert. Local artist Day Bit’s single, “Teach Me How To Sing” was released at 12 a.m. on Spotify and Apple Music. The single is the fourth song to be released off his upcoming indie-pop project.
If you’re looking for a relaxing Saturday, look no further. Enjoy a 50-minute flow suitable for all levels and a glass of Keel + Curley wine at the farms (5202 Thonotosassa Rd.) this Saturday at 9 a.m.
Do you have a go-to yoga flow? Whether it’s goat yoga, hot yoga, or yoga and wine, we’dlove to hear about your favorite way to namaste.
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Network ○ Career Fair| Thurs., April 8 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | RP Funding Center | Free | Meet one-on-one with recruiters + hiring managers to land your next job.
ForKids ○ LakelandPAL Mobile Outreach| Thurs., April 8 | 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Christ Memorial Baptist Church, 2929 Hardin-Combee Rd. | Free | Snacks + games will be aplenty as kids can learn about the Lakeland Police Athletic League.
Family ○Family Fundamentals Class | Thurs., April 8 | 9:30-11:15 a.m. | Family Fundamentals, 109 N. Kentucky Ave. | Free | Classes for parents and children (babies-age 5) are available on weekdaysas part of Success By 6’s ongoing children’s initiative.
Show ○ Seashore Steel Live| Thurs., April 8 | 8:30 p.m. | The Pink Piano, 1015 S. Florida Ave. | Free | Masks will be required inside the venue.
ForPets ○ Pups and Pints Night| Thurs., April 8 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Union Taproom, 245 W. Central Ave. | Free | #ProTip: Tell a host about your pet and you will enter a raffle for Orchid Springs Animal Hospital.
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
The 90s are back, baby. Everlane’s best-selling ‘90s cheeky denim is made of 100% cotton and has a cool, rigid vintage look. Plus, they have an extra-high rise, an easy straight leg, and a butt-boosting rear fit. 👖
They’re available in four classic hues and two new ones, each inspired by OG ‘90s jeans. Shop them for $78to be on-trend for all your spring fashion looks. Ⓟ