Happy Holidays From Central Florida!

What’s Happening this Winter in Florida’s Sweetest Spot, Central Florida’s Polk County

Auburndale, FL (December 21, 2022) – If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, Central Florida may not be the place for you. But if you’d prefer to ring in the new year in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops, this could be your sweet spot. Cap off the holiday events with a kid-friendly New Year’s Eve at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort or count down to midnight at one of the other New Year’s celebrations in balmy Central Florida. And 2023 is shaping up to be especially sweet, with the return of Polk County’s barbeque festival season and other special events.
“Visiting a state park is a great way to get outside, enjoy nature and welcome the new year with family and friends,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
Attractions and Events:

Central Florida’s Polk County offers many unique attractions and events for visitors to enjoy. Highlights are listed below but check out the tourism and sports event calendars for the most up-to-date information on all there is to see and do.

· Pirate River Quest is coming to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort on Jan. 12, 2023! Set sail with a rowdy crew of LEGO® pirates on Captain’s orders to explore the murky waters and retrieve the lost treasure, stolen by a troop of mischievous monkeys. Journey through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens and discover the secrets protecting its canals, as this all-new story unfolds brick by brick into a family-friendly treasure hunt. 

· Alafia River Rendezvous: Open to the general public Jan. 20-21. Step back in time and experience the Southeast’s largest pre-1840 living history encampment. The event includes approximately 1,000 participants in period clothing and hundreds of historically correct dwellings, plus music, games and artisan demonstrations.

· PirateFest Weekends at LEGOLAND FloridaJoin the pirate invasion fun with exclusive character meet-and-greets, pirate-themed shows, LEGO® build activities and more. Jan. 21-22, 28-29 & Feb. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19.

· Lakeland PigFestJan. 27-28, Barbecue fest in Lakeland.

· Smoke on the Water BBQ FestivalFeb. 3-4, Barbecue fest in Winter Haven.

· Ribs on the RidgeFeb. 18, Barbecue fest in Haines City.

· Detroit Tigers Spring Training: Feb. 25 – March 26. The 2023 spring season will be the Detroit Tigers’ 58th consecutive season of playing at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, alias: Tigertown.

· RussMatt Central Florida Baseball Invitational: Mid-Feb. through late March. Dates TBA.

On-going events:

  • Saturday Night Rodeos at Westgate River Ranch Resort are a long-standing tradition for many families visiting Central Florida. This award-winning rodeo features trick riding, bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and rodeo clown antics.
  • Free Water Ski Shows on the third Saturday of every month, performed on Lake Silver in Winter Haven by the world-renowned Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team.

In Case You Missed It:

Bonnet Springs Park: Just opened in October, Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland is a 168-acre urban oasis bringing Central Florida’s natural beauty to life, featuring a vast array of wonderful amenities. Bring the whole family including your dog! Highlights include the new Florida Children’s Museum, the Kiwanis Kid’s Treehouse, the Hollis Family Welcome Center, the Ag America Heritage Garden plus open-air concerts and events. Admission to the park is free.

Looking Ahead:
SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo and Fly-InThe 49th annual SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo will take place March 28 – April 2, 2023, at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and will feature the U.S. Navy Blue Angels. SUN ’n FUN, Florida’s largest annual convention, is the second largest event of its kind in the country – and attracts more than 200,000 pilots and aviation enthusiasts to Central Florida annually, from around the globe. www.flysnf.org   

Discounts and Deals:

Central Florida Craft Beer Pass (New) visit the featured craft breweries around Polk County and check-in on the pass to redeem special offers and qualify for prizes. Visit and check-in at all the locations to be entered to win a quarterly drawing for a $100 gas card. 

Polk Savings Pass exclusive discounts and special offers for local restaurants, shops, accommodations and more.

For more information on all that is happening in Florida’s Sweetest Spot, go to VisitCentralFlorida.org and follow us on InstagramFacebookPinterestTwitter and YouTube. Please contact Kelly Rote at kelly@visitcentralflorida.org if you need more information, photos or further assistance. A broad selection of photography can be downloaded directly from our image library on imagerelay.com.

About Visit Central Florida:

Visit Central Florida (known locally as Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing) is the official destination marketing organization for Polk County, Florida, and specializes in helping visitors plan a fun-filled Central Florida vacation. Polk County is Florida’s Sweetest Spot… ideally situated between Orlando and Tampa, the Gulf and Atlantic beaches and close to all of Florida’s major attractions. www.VisitCentralFlorida.org

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