ON THE ROAD


| November 2004



FC_V7_I4_Nov_2004_12-2.jpg

This building at Flywheeler Park

The Shows Will Go On

Florida groups rally after hurricane double-header; Flywheelers', Zolfo shows to be held as planned

Two large Florida shows will go on as planned this winter, each rebounding from a late-summer hurricane double-header. Representatives of Pioneer Park Days at Zolfo Springs and the Florida Flywheelers at Fort Meade say events will proceed as planned.

'We'll be having our show in November,' says Flywheelers President Harry Swank, referring to the club's Fall Fuel-Up, Nov. 11-14. 'We're cleaning up the grounds, and contractors are already here working. We've gotten a lot of calls, people asking 'Are you going to go ahead and have the show?' There's no question. We'll be here, and we don't want to discourage anyone from coming.'

That message was repeated at Pioneer Park. 'The show will go on,' declares Hardee County employee Jane Long, looking ahead to the March 2-6 event at Zolfo Springs. Pioneer Park's 100-foot metal building, home to show entertainment, 'was wadded up like a tin can,' she adds. 'But they tell me we will have a new entertainment building by March. If it's not ready, we'll just use a big tent like we did years ago.'

Zolfo Springs, about 17 miles south of Fort Meade, is just 45 miles northeast of Punta Gorda, the Florida coastal community hammered by Hurricane Charley. When Charley proceeded northeast from Punta Gorda on Friday, Aug. 13, it whipped through both Zolfo Springs and Fort Meade. Then, on Sept. 4, Hurricane Frances lumbered through from the southeast.

'Flywheeler Park had not been hit by a hurricane before,' Harry says. 'In fact, central Florida had not had a hit like this for 40 years. Usually down here, storms hit the coast, then they lose their strength.'

But there was nothing anemic about these storms, whose paths intersected at Lake Wales, just northeast of Flywheeler Park. 'Charley came through here from Punta Gorda,' Harry says. 'We were right on the eye of the storm, and were hit by several tornadoes. It moved real fast, and we just got about 4 1/2 inches of rain. Then Frances came from the other direction, on the east coast. It was slower moving. We ended up getting about 12 inches of rain, on buildings that had no roofs left after the first storm.'