Answered: Which day in Lakeland’s history would you relive?

Which day would you go back to again and again?

A vintage postcard with an illustration of Downtown Lakeland and Lake Mirror from an aerial view

How far back in Lakeland history would you go? | Photo via Florida Memory

As Punxsutawney Phil was seeing six more weeks of winter in our future last month, we were looking back into the past. Inspired by the movie “Groundhog Day,” we asked our readers which day in Lakeland’s history they would relive. Plug these answers into your time machine and let’s go for a spin down memory lane.


We’d pay $1.50 for this iconic performance. | Photo by Jerry Perkins courtesy Laura Milton, Polk Theater

Readers Michael S. and Michelle W. would slip on their blue suede shoes and see Elvis in concert again. The rock ‘n roll superstar visited the Polk Theatre on August 6, 1956 to perform his new hit song “Hound Dog” — you may have heard of it. You wouldn’t have to save up for this concert either, since tickets were only $1.50.

That’s not the only concert that has our readers reminiscing. Reader Buzz W. still remembers the Florida Sunfest that took place in April 1977. Over 90,000 music fans flocked to the Lakeland International Racetrack to hear Jimmy Buffett, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Canned Heat, and more. If you’ve got memories of this event, we want to hear all about it.

Lakeland rail yard circa 1890

Lakeland resident M. Theodore Anderson + at the Lakeland rail yard circa 1890. | Photograph via Florida Memory

All aboard. Reader Carol O. is punching her ticket for the arrival of the first passenger train. Lakeland founder Abraham Munn persuaded Henry Plant to add a stop on his South Florida Railroad in 1884, effectively putting our town on the map. Today, you can hop on an Amtrak train, and SunRail is considering adding a Lakeland stop.

The band Air Supply performing onstage at the former Lakeland Civic Center

Air Supply performed at the Lakeland Civic Center in 1983. | Photo via Florida Memory

Do you remember the days of dressing up for a big show at the newly-opened Lakeland Civic Center like Reader Mary Ann C.? Her favorite band to see was KISS, who stopped here on tour in the 1970s. Don’t miss these upcoming performances at the RP Funding Center, formerly known as the Lakeland Civic Center.

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