Pickin' in the Park

The 20th season of Pickin in the Park starts Friday. Band members include Judy Jarvis, left, Eddie Bruner, Nat West and Squire Smith.

WINTER HAVEN – In 1999, Winter Haven resident Nat West, his wife Jane and neighbor Eddie Bruner started playing music in Central Park in an effort to try and get more people downtown.

Retail and foot traffic was often sparse downtown in those days, unlike the increasingly vibrant scene downtown currently.

Much credit has been given to the vision of Six/Ten staff for the downtown turnaround, as well as city staff and commissioners. Last year, though, Winter Haven Assistant City Manager T Michael Stavres additionally credited people such as Nat and Jane West who add value to the investments made in Winter Haven’s downtown district.

“(Nat) is constantly doing something down there,” Stavres said. “All of those things work together, all integral parts of making downtown vibrant.”

On each Friday this October, there will be music in Central Park from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Nat West and his Pickin' in the Park Band will be kicking the season off this Friday.

On Oct. 11 and every second Friday through Jan. 10 is “Praise in the Park” with local church bands. On Oct. 18 and every third Friday through Jan. 17 is Nat West and The Musical Hammers, who will perform on hammered and mountain dulcimers. On Oct. 25 and Jan. 24, Grant Piche and the Jug Brother's Band play on fourth Friday nights.

Other upcoming Music Friday Night concert dates include Stavres' band Coastal Acoustic Barefoot with Duke Burr on Nov. 1.


Nat West at the library

In addition to musical talent, Nat West retired as vice president of Winter Haven Hospital after 20 years of work at the hospital.

He is also a past Banker’s Cup recipient and was honored for his community work with a statue of a boy reading in Central Park. He runs the Career Connection program and is active with the Public Education Partnership of Winter Haven.

On Wednesday Oct. 9, West will review “Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons from the World’s Happiest People” by author Dan Buettner. The book is about, “strategies that all of us can use to find more satisfaction in our everyday lives,” according to a press release.

“Buettner discovered three strands of happiness—pleasure, purpose, and pride—that can add joy and meaning to our lives. This review will include a video presentation.”

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library Book Review Series, the book review is in conjunction with Chat and Chew’s October 25 Blue Zone event at the Ritz Theatre.


Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.


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