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By Cassie Jacoby
Staff Writer 

Vanguard Given Big Kahuna Prize

Crooked Lake Heritage Festival


Last updated 4/10/2019 at 3:45pm

Cassie Jacoby

The Crooked Lake Heritage Festival welcomes crowds at Webber International University

Congratulations to "Team Planktons," winners of the third annual Big Kahuna Paddle Challenge on Saturday April 6 at Webber International University. Team members Jennifer Nanek, Richard Moody, Dan Hurst and Webber students, along with Bill Redmon at the helm, were victorious, but gave the winning prize to their competitor, The Vanguard School of Lake Wales.

It's the third year for Nanek, Lake Wales city clerk, to compete in the event. "The secret to success is teamwork, trusting Bill Redmon to steer us correctly and do whatever Bill says," says Nanek, who adds that paddling the 29-ft. canoe is a great way to tone your arms and body. "You have to be willing to burn calories and find excuses to move."

The event at 9 a.m. kicked off the second annual Crooked Lake Heritage Festival. "This is such a nice event and we love our Lake Wales neighbors in Babson Park. There's so much to celebrate here: The Ridge Audubon Center, churches, restaurants, schools and all our friends in this key community between Lake Wales and Frostproof," Nanek adds.

"It's a great event and is bigger than last year, the weather's gorgeous, it's fun for neighbors to come out and learn more about the fascinating area where we're blessed to live," notes Keith Wade, Webber president and CEO, who started at Webber as a marketing professor after serving as the chief financial officer at Cypress Gardens. "I've never had a job I expected. I only thought I would be here a semester or two and now, 16 years later, we're excited and optimistic about all the new degrees we're offering and courses we're enrolling now and have more to roll out soon. I'm thankful God didn't call me to be a missionary because this is as close to God's work as I'm going to do. It's a privilege to impact thousands of lives and we have more than 50 countries represented here."

The Rotary Club of Lake Wales (noon) members Jane and Gene Saks hosted a booth sharing their international fundraiser for this summer to complete the walls in a primary school in the hills of Jamaica. "It makes us feel so terrific. The principal is so thrilled and thankful. She has raised the literacy rate from 50 to 88 percent." New members are welcome to join the club that meets the second and fourth Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch at the Ouellette Law Firm in Lake Wales.

In addition to Ron Campbell's Vintage Donuts serving homemade donuts and strawberry shortcake with donuts instead of cake plus WTF Food Trucks offering Philly Cheesesteaks and more, the Babson Park Women's Club served chicken croissant salad, strawberry shortcake, chips, dip, pickles and more. "We love it! Last year was such a success and we especially love the history display in the library," says member Kacey Bateman.

Cassie Jacoby

Students help launch the Big Kahuna Paddle Challenge at the Crooked Lake Heritage Festival

Another vendor, Debbie Hunt, offered the handmade jewelry she designs for sale. "I'm retired so this gives me something to do that I enjoy." She shared the booth with her friend, Bunny Wetzel, whose family, one of the founding families of Babson Park and former owners of the Hillcrest Lodge, had historical photos on display in the library exhibit.

Other activities included log rolling in the pool, a fun house slide for kids, volleyball and tennis matches, bees buzzing at Lotta Kay Struthers' honey exhibit, art projects with Anne Rosenvald Moore and environmental displays by Green Horizon Land Trust and Ridge Audubon Center.

To see gallery of photos from Crooked Lake Heritage Festival and Big Kahuna Paddle Challenge click here


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