WINTER HAVEN – Snow Central started in the mid-1990s, with tons of man-made snow blown on the street around Central Park, close to where the Bank of America building is.
“Ever since then, the event has been offered to the community annually,” Winter Haven Assistant to the City Manager Donna Sheehan said.
That will hold true this winter, albeit a bit delayed.
The event, which is usually held in December and was originally scheduled for Dec. 14, was postponed not once, but twice, by threatening storms last month.
But city staff refuses to let a little bad weather rain on the tradition, and this year Snow Central has been renamed “Winter Wonderland” and scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Chain of Lakes Complex.
Over 70 tons of snow will be placed in a covered batting-practice area at the site, allowing area residents to get a small taste of what it feels like to live in places that aren't called the Sunshine State.
In addition to playing in the snow, there will be photo opportunities with special guests, cookie decorating, bounce-houses and a variety of food trucks present.
Adults cost $2 each and kids are $1 each for the event, which will run until 9 p.m. Parking is free.
In years past, the food trucks were placed just south of the parking area, along with a large snow slide where residents can slide down the snow on tubes. Around the stadium area, city staff normally set up thousands of lights that lead to the batting cage and a giant pile of snow.
Attendees normally have a certain amount of time to play in the snow before a sound goes off, allowing for the next group to get in on the fun.
The City of Winter Haven, Bright Smiles of Winter Haven, Boswell & Dunlap and Whitehead Construction have sponsored the event in order to keep costs low.