Free Downtown Concert Series Starts Friday, November 10
Lively Evenings Downtown Offer Chance to Shop and Dine, See Progress of Connected Plan
Last updated 11/1/2023 at 9:28pm
A series of free downtown street concerts will enliven evenings downtown over the coming months, thanks to an alliance between the Lake Wales main Street, Lake Wales Arts Council, and the City of Lake Wales. The shows kick-off with the Outta Hand Band on Friday, November 10.
"Lake Wales Live" will offer residents good reason to visit the downtown area, and perhaps get a sneak peek at the ongoing transformation of the area as the Lake Wales Connected plan proceeds, according to organizers.
"We're proud to be part of an event that supports our beloved downtown and brings our community together in the most vibrant way," said Tommy Frank, director of the Arts Council. "Lake Wales Live is a reflection of our commitment to the Lake Wales Connected project and promoting a vibrant arts community in Central Florida."
The events will be hosted on Orange Avenue between Market Street and Scenic Highway. They will be offered on select Friday evenings and will run from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm. They will include musical acts, local food trucks, and a vendor marketplace.
Future plans include a December 8 performance of holiday favorites with the Lake Wales Jazz Connection. Black Eyed Soozie will bring their lively rock show on January 19.
Other free performances planned include The Jam Band on March 15, B. Haven on April 5, and a May 3rd performance by the Gnarbuckles.
"Lake Wales Live is an exciting addition to our thriving downtown," said Ronni Wood, director of Lake Wales Main Street. "This event encapsulates our vision for an economically strong and diverse core in Lake Wales. We're thrilled to see our community come alive with this series."
The core areas of Lake Wales' historic downtown district are undergoing a phased streetscape renovation that includes a variety of improvements. The first, and perhaps most dramatic, transformation is already underway as Park Avenue is completely replaced with a new brick-surfaced street, wider sidewalks, dense landscaping, and new lighting and benches.
The entire plan, expected to cost over $20 million, will eventually include portions of Orange, Crystal, and Central Avenues, along with a long stretch of First Street. Maintaining business activity and reminding people that the area remains open for business during the transition of construction is the primary motivation behind the shows, according to organizers.
"The City of Lake Wales has worked diligently to minimize disruptions for downtown business and visitors during this construction period," said City Parks and Recreation Manager Stephanie Lutton.
While traffic detours may be in effect as the project progresses eastward along the street, continuous access to downtown businesses is a top priority during the construction period, according to city officials.
"Sidewalks will never be shut down during business hours," Lutton affirmed.
Local taproom owner Jessica Garrett said that business owners are "thrilled about this event and are prepared to provide top-notch experiences for our patrons."
Organizers expressed gratitude to businesses that are helping to sponsor the events, including Duke Energy for providing the generators and equipment needed to power this event, as well as Visit Central Florida and the Florida Division of Arts & Culture.
Event details are being posted on a special Facebook page link here.