Zephyrhills’ Main Street is rallying merchants, community activists and citizens for its 108th Founder’s Day celebration on March 10.
Gail Hamilton, of Zephyrhills Community Development, and Anna K. Stutzriem, Main Street coordinator for Main Street Zephyrhills, are in the midst of planning festivities for the daylong event.
Stutzriem hopes this year’s event will help restore the glory of the community’s time-honored Founder’s Day event.
The goal is to provide hands-on opportunities, so visitors can see how the city got to where it is today. This year’s theme is “Moonshine, Turpentine & Timber.”
Plans include a morning race to kick off festivities. People of all ages are encouraged to take part. They can choose from a one-mile run/walk; a 5K race or a 10K race.
An old-fashioned Florida parade is planned as well, with Greg First serving as the master of ceremonies.
The parade will take place on Fifth Avenue at 10 a.m. A number of awards will be given for categories, including best costumes, best walking/marching unit, best of theme, and more.
Warren Earle, who was named citizen of the year by The Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce, will be the grand marshal for the parade.
The 90-year-old volunteer is known for bringing fresh doughnuts and a bouquet of flowers on Monday morning for the workers at City Hall, when he arrives to make preparations for City Council meetings. He’s been volunteering in Zephyrhills for 15 years, and has worked tirelessly in supporting the Zephyrhills Little League, the Zephyrhills High School band, the Zephyrhills Color Guard, the Zephyrhills ROTC, the Zephyrhills Fire Rescue Cadets, the Elks Lodge Project, and the renovation of the historic Howard B. Jeffries House.
Following the parade, there will be a ‘Community Picnic Table,’ similar to the old-time “Dinner on the Ground,” available from the south side of Eighth Street, extending along Fifth Avenue.
The elongated table will be adorned in a classic red gingham cloth where folks can converse, savor the local food from area restaurants and vendors, and enjoy entertainment provided by local dance studios on the nearby Eiland Band Stage.
New this year, vendors will be placed near the median along Fifth Avenue. To facilitate safety and comfort for the anticipated crowds, a police officer will be stationed on each city block of the parade.
Hayrides will be available from the New Era 4-H Club of Zephyrhills, pulled by draft horses with a host narrator in vintage costume who relates accounts of Zephyrhills history, including a few morsels from the past.
New Era 4-H will host a downtown petting zoo for children and families, as well.
Zephyrhills Brewing Company will blend a pre-prohibition beer recipe for Founder’s Day. Proprietors Terry Hilferding said that she and her husband, Robert, have collected recipes throughout the years and will concoct a batch reminiscent of the 1911 timeframe.
An Open House at the Howard B. Jeffries Home at 38537 Fifth Ave., in Zephyrhills, will include “Tales on the Porch” from noon until 4 p.m.
The Hopkins Family Porch was recently renovated by Dwight Hopkins who donated materials and volunteered labor to replace the porch.
Speakers will deliver informal anecdotes about pioneer life starting at noon, and guided tours will be available of the historic home.
Arts and crafts booths, as well as food and merchandise vendors, will be stationed along Fifth Avenue.
Old-fashioned kids’ carnival games also will be offered by Boy Scout Pack 72.
And, the Women’s Club of Zephyrhills will host an open house.
In addition, there will be a Beard and Moustache Competition at 2 p.m. Categories include: natural beard, styled beard, longest beard and mustache.
Numerous other activities are planned, including a Master Gardener Booth, where you can learn more about Florida plants and ask gardening questions. Master Gardeners Diana Williams and Jeannine Thompson will be on hand.
Meanwhile, at the Zephyrhills Airport, Zephyrhills Noon Rotary, with Mike Fike coordinating, will host a Skydive Exhibition beginning at 4 p.m.
T.K. Hayes, of Skydive City, will facilitate a multi-person jump to be followed by a flag ceremony. Subsequently, a concert series will culminate in fireworks at the airport at 7:45 p.m.
Planning to attend the parade?
Be sure to arrive well before 10 a.m. to find parking. Bring a folding chair and place it along Fifth Avenue, or nearby.
After enjoying festivities downtown, you can go to the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, at 39450 South Avenue, around 4 p.m., to see a Skydive exhibition, enjoy music and watch fireworks to cap off the day.
Want to run or walk?
People of all ages are encouraged to take part in the one-mile run/walk, 5K or 10K. Those interested can sign up at FoundersDayRace.com.
‘Ryals ’n Shine’
Sip a taste of the vintage recipe entitled ‘Ryals n’ Shine,’ on March 10 at the 108th Founder’s Day in Zephyrhills. Robert and Terry Hilferding of Zephyrhills Brewing Company, who collect recipes and brew up signature beers that date back to colonial times, will salute the community’s past with a pre-prohibition ‘recipe’ they have coined for Stanley Ryals, a Zephyrhills businessman who was recognized for citrus, ranching, building, lumbering and moonshining.
By Madonna Jervis Wise
Published February 28, 2018