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Olmsted Day Festival Offers Fun For the Family in Lake Wailes Park March 23

Local Arbor Day Celebration Honors City's Olmsted and Bok Heritage

A day of free fun for the entire family is offered in Lake Wailes Park on Saturday, March 23 as the annual Olmsted Day event takes place.

Courtesy Lake Wales Heritage

Plenty of activities for kids will keep them occupied learning about nature and our special place in it during Olmsted Day in Lake Wailes Park.

The event is the Lake Wales observance of Arbor Day and takes place in the shade of the historic Olmsted Oaks in the park.

Entertainment, exhibits, games, musical performances, and food trucks form part of the attraction, along with vendors offering live plants and trees and a wide range of other products.

Special exhibits will be offered by the Nature Conservancy, Florida Gardeners, Polk County and the City of Lake Wales, among others. The activities will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m.

Courtesy Lake Wales Heritage

A special solar-viewing telescope will offer kids and adults a chance to see actual sun spots and solar flares moving across the face of the sun. Astronomer Ron Poller will host the free activity.

The day is hosted by Lake Wales Heritage, an Olmsted conservancy dedicated to plating trees across the city in pursuit of the completion of the city's original landscape plans created by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. even as he was working to design the more-famous gardens at Edward Bok's Singing Tower, now Bok Tower Gardens.

Gail Crum

Robyn, the Talking Tree Storyteller, shares stories with rapt young listeners at Olmsted Day, teaching them about the beautiful trees that shade the park, and the men who put them there. The storytelling is a project of the Lake Wales Family Literacy Academy.

The annual event is designed to share information about the city's landscapes and build support for the efforts to beautify the community. Lake Wales was founded with the intent that it be "A City in a Garden," a motivation for Bok to fund Olmsted's creations as well as the first plantings.

The day offers plenty for both adults and children. An always-popular story-telling tree, along with games, contests, and prizes, will keep the kids busy. Among the rewards will be free ice cream from Labor Solutions.

Courtesy Lake Wales Heritage

Vendors, plant sales, food trucks and musical entertainment will make for a great day to share the park and the shade of the historic Olmsted Oaks on Saturday, March 23.

For adults, brief presentations by experts on topics ranging from gardening and horticulture to nutrition will also be offered during the seven-hour event. A line-up of live music is also planned for the day.

Organizers Chanda Bennett and David Thurlo of Lake Wales Heritage have additional space available for vendors and suggest that anyone wishing to add to the event contact Heritage at 863-455-4925.


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