July 17th: All About Your City - Take us on a tour of your city. It can be the city you were born in or the city you live in now. Just tell us everything there is to know about where you call home.
So, I've never actually named where I live on this blog.... and, for various reasons, I won't change that today. However, based off my description below, it won't be difficult to Google, if you are so inclined.
Let me just say, I love my hometown. I've lived here my entire life and wouldn't change that.
I'm between Tampa and Orlando.... and, being in such close proximity has its benefits. I'm on what is called "The I-4 Corridor." While most people think beaches and theme parks when they think of Central Florida, my city (and county) is more of "real Florida." We're The South. We're The Bible Belt. We're a pretty large city, with a very small town feel.
Anyway.... Things that make my city unique (and/or that I just love).........
Swans are a pretty big deal here. Like, a huge deal. Don't mess with a swan. They're protected and everything, lol.
We don't just have live swans.... We have turned swans into art and a fundraiser....
We also have a Swan Derby, where there are swan boat races a week before the Kentucky Derby. It's also a major fundraiser for a local charity. I have raced in this event and it is NOT easy.
BTW.... That black swan is my company's swan.... Isn't it pretty?
Being raised here, parks were just an everyday part of life. We have a ton. Nice ones. Clean ones. Safe ones. I always am surprised/amused when someone comes into town and is shocked by all the parks. We even have one of the largest accessible parks in the country. No kidding, city developers from other states have come in to see it.
We are home to Publix. Not just, "Oh, we're Floridians, so we love it."
We are actually it's home. It was founded here and remains. Publix is our largest employer. There is a high school named after its founder. His remaining family (and their various last names) can be seen pretty much all over, as they've helped fund half the town.
My favorite? The "Publix Birthday Cake"..... It's a water tower that is on its distribution center property.
A lot of the exterior portions of the film were filmed in my town. Specifically, the shopping center that appears in quite a bit of it.
Frank Lloyd Wright
We are home to the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright construction, which includes a covered walkway that expands a mile and a half around the college campus on which it sits. Random tourists that love architecture actually visit just for the buildings.
In case you have no idea who FLW is..... He's a rather famous architect, who is probably best known for his design of the Guggenheim museum in NYC. He also was really short and designed really, really short ceilings.
Otherwise known as, "Jess is tired of finding pictures of her city...."
Lakes - You pretty much can't throw a rock in my city without it landing in a lake. There are 38 named lakes and many other unnamed lakes.
Running - We have a HUGE running community. That is probably thanks to the several lakes that have walkways all around. Our main runners' club was recently named one of the Top 10 Running Clubs in the country.
'The Waterboy' - Parts of it were also filmed here. Mainly the classroom shots.
Red Lobster - It was also founded here. The very first one was still open until about 15 or so years ago.
Large Corporations - Besides Publix, we actually have several large corporations which have distribution/regional headquarters here. GEICO, Rooms To Go, and Fed Ex are three of the largest. We just got an O'Reilly's distribution center and Amazon is building a ginormous one, as well.
Detroit Tigers - We are the Winter Home of the Detroit Tigers. In fact, that Kevin Costner movie a while back (For the Love of the Game) featured our city. Well, it claimed that what they were showing was us. They weren't. It was Hollywood's version of what it thought we should look like. Regardless, busloads of older people come in every Spring Training.
Downtown - Throughout time, our downtown area has had waves. Sometimes, it's been a thriving little area of our community. Other times (like when I was in high school), it was a dump. For the past ten years, it's been growing and becoming more charming every year. There are restaurants, events, etc. It's precious.