A Backyard BBQ and Classic Car Show has been set for Independence Day weekend, in downtown Zephyrhills.
The Zephyrhills City Council cleared the way for the event, by granting a special event request from the Zephyrhills chapter of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles.
The downtown event, set for July 3 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., will require the closure of some downtown streets.
The streets that will be closed from noon to 10 p.m. are:
- Fifth Avenue, from Seventh Street to Ninth Street
- Eighth Street, from Fourth Avenue to Sixth Avenue
Alcohol will be available in a designated area, with off-duty Zephyrhills Police Department officers on hand throughout the event.
City staff recommended approval of the request, which council members approved unanimously at their June 14 meeting.
An online flyer of the event promotes vendors, hot rods, prizes, live bands, barbecue contests, a full bar and more.
While council members expressed enthusiasm for having the event during the Independence Day weekend, they also advised event organizers that in the future they must coordinate downtown events in advance through Main Street Zephyrhills Inc., and the Zephyrhills Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
Such coordination is intended to help prevent scheduling conflicts with other downtown events and to control the closure of roads, which could affect surrounding businesses and properties along Fifth Avenue, they said.
Council Vice President and CRA Board President Jodi Wilkeson made those issues clear during the meeting.
But she added: “I think this is a great opportunity for the Eagles to promote the downtown community.”
City Manager Billy Poe addressed the councilwoman’s concerns directly.
He explained now that Main Street has just filled its director position with the hiring of Faith Wilson, staffers will be more insistent with local organizations wishing to host downtown events to follow proper communication channels.
That said, Poe suggested the council go ahead and approve this latest request from the Eagles.
“What the Eagles are putting on is what we want downtown,” Poe said, noting their prior events have attracted visitors from Lakeland and other locales.
Council President Alan Knight added he’s “very happy” to see the downtown barbecue and car show come about.
But Knight wanted assurance from the organization that attendees limit alcohol consumption to a specified block, and not throughout the entire event.
“We just don’t want (drinkers) wandering around or running through town,” Knight said.
Zephyrhills Eagles representative Reed Sutton said the group is amenable to each of the council’s requests and accommodations.
“We are a nonprofit organization, and we are here to help downtown Zephyrhills to grow back up and be something exciting,” Sutton told council members.
“We will do whatever we have to do to work with you city members…and whatever you need from us, we’re here, and we’ll back ya’ll and do whatever we have to do,” Sutton added.
The Zephyrhills Eagles run their charity operation out of a two-story former bank brick building, at 38421 Fifth Ave., in Zephyrhills
Their regular events and programming include bingo, darts, pool, card games, karaoke, live music, line dancing instruction, and more.
The international nonprofit organization was founded “on a premise of proud, caring, people helping people with a passion for community service.”
Published June 30, 2021