Happenings in the Florence Parks and Recreation Department

readyRegistrations for Ready, Set, Run are going on right now for kids ages 8-13 to participate in this uplifting, goal setting, exercise program that we are excited to bring to the shoals area. The Ready, Set, Run program was designed by the National Alliance for Youth Sports and we are excited as the Florence Parks & Recreation Dept. will be teaching this fun program to kids all over the shoals. Registration fee is only $40 and the fee will ensure that each child will receive a Ready, Set, Run T-Shirt, a manual, and the 12 week program. To register- call or come by the Florence Coliseum. The number to call is (256) 718-5088.

Coming up on October 3rd, we will have one more “Music in the Park” for the fall season. The music in the parkBrowns will entertain us with the hits from the 50’s-80’s, they will also throw in some great country tunes, along with some southern gospel. Come on out and to this fun event at Wilson Park. The music will start at 5:30 and will end around 7:30. No admission, Food will be available to purchase inside Wilson Park. The weather will be great and the music even better!

fall festivalOn October 19th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. the annual Family Fall Festival will take place at McFarland Park. Come out and enjoy Fall Festival Games, try your luck with the pirate treasure hunt on the beach at McFarland Park. Jump on the bounce-a-rounds, participate in the cupcake walk, build a scarecrow or watch the pet fashion show! If you would like to register for the Pet Fashion Show, you can do so by going to Pet Depot in Florence and registering to have your pet enter the contest and maybe be this year’s best in show at the fashion show! Concessions will be available for purchase, everything else will be free! So come on out on October 19th- We look forward to seeing you!

Florence Parks & Recreation Department Junior Golf Clinic

Junior Golf Clinic will take place August 5th-8th at Blackberry Trail. The time will be from 9:00-11:00 a.m. and it will be for youth age 6-16. The fee is only $65 for the entire clinic. For more information contact Blackberry Trail at (256) 740-8825. Congratulations to the Florence Swim Team (F.A.S.T.) they were recently crowned regional champs. 47 swimmers from Florence made the trip to the State Swim Meet in Birmingham, Al – where the team finished 5th in the state. The Florence 8-U baseball team recently played in the Cal Ripken Regional Tournament that was held at the Florence Sports Complex. The team made it all the way to the semi-finals game before losing in a very close game. Youth Football, Flag Football, Soccer, and Cheerleading registration is currently underway. For more information visit FPRD.com to register or contact the Florence Sports Complex at (256) 760-6628.

Rising Atlanta Ice Cream Company Finds Temporary Home in Florence

High Road Craft Ice CreamFLORENCE, AL, Monday, June 23:  Keith Schroeder, owner of the Atlanta-based ice cream company High Road Craft Ice Cream, had what anyone might call a good problem. Demand for his chef-designed, hand-crafted ice cream got a boost from coverage in national publications such as Real Simple magazine and The New York Times. Orders were coming in from customers, retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and major airlines. Good! The problem? His four-year-old ice cream company was homeless—at the beginning of the summer ice cream season.

The facility where High Road started four years ago in Chamblee, Georgia, was scheduled for demolition at the beginning of May, so Schroeder and his crew moved out. Construction on a new factory for High Road in Marietta was already in the works, and Schroeder anticipated the transition from the old to the new facilities would be fairly smooth, with only a few bumps as his staff got used to the new factory and equipment. Schroeder and his team of chefs tried to stockpile and freeze enough ice cream and sorbet to last until the company finished its transition into the new factory.

High Road Craft Ice Cream provides ice cream mainly for food service—Delta Airlines, and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas are among High Road’s clients. High Road Craft Ice Cream is also sold by the pint in retail venues such as Whole Foods, Dean & Deluca, Fairway Market, and Rouse’s. Signature flavors include Bourbon Burnt Sugar, Vanilla Fleur de Sel, Brown Butter Pecan, and Strawberry Vanilla. Schroeder uses regionally-sourced ingredients, such as strawberries from South Carolina, sorghum syrup from Tennessee, and honey produced in Atlanta.

Coverage in national media and in food service trade publications for restaurant and hotel chefs created a demand for High Road Craft Ice Cream that quickly topped what Schroeder anticipated. Construction delays put off the transition into High Road’s factory. Schroeder needed to make ice cream, and he had no place to do it.

Schroeder’s team of employees—whom he calls rock stars (traditionally, the door to High Road’s kitchen has had a sign saying “Rock Star Entrance”)—all started looking for solutions, and learned about the Culinary Complex at the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center. Through calls and several trips between Atlanta and Florence, and with the assistance of the team at the Shoals Entrepreneurial Complex, the local and state health inspectors, and relationships with Georgia inspectors, things were moving. Schroeder and his team moved a skeleton crew, one small-batch ice cream machine, a hardening cabinet, and hundreds of pounds of dry ice to Florence. Within two weeks of their first call to Giles McDaniel at the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center Culinary Complex, ice cream was flowing from the kitchen in Florence.

It couldn’t have been sweeter.

“The welcome we’ve had is warm, even right down to the state ag folks that came in to help their neighbor, basically,” Schroeder said. “That was the cool thing about it. They sent people to the rescue immediately to make sure we were up and running.”

Schroeder, who has been a chef for 20 years and has an MBA from Georgia’s Kennesaw State University, hopes he can help other entrepreneurs and start-up businesses in return while High Road is in Florence. “It really inspires us,” he said. “It brings us back to our beginnings and inspires us to be mentors and help other emerging entrepreneurs that we meet in the center and share the experiences that we’ve had in the past four or five years.”

Schroeder hopes High Road’s new factory will be complete in late July or early August. Until then, he and his staff of chefs will continue making ice cream in Florence, and hope to give back and enjoy the local culture. “There’s good food, and the downtown area’s cool for us,” he said.

Parks and Recreation this week

Golf Clinic 6.10.14Coming up June 10th-13th will be the Junior Golf Clinic at Blackberry Trail Golf Course. The time will be from 9:00-11:00 a.m. each day. The price is only $65.00 per participant. The instructor will be Joel Gafford, PGA Pro. For more information on this exciting clinic, please call (256) 740-8825.

In other news with the Parks & Recreation Dept, The Royal Ave and Handy Pools will open on Friday, May 30th from 1:00-5:00. The pools will remain open each day during those times. The admission for the pools are: Royal Ave- $2.00 and Handy- $1.00. For more information on the pools, please call (256) 760-6425. 

Music In the Park

It’s May- the weather is warmer, the grass needs cutting, and there is music coming out of Wilson Park on Wednesday afternoons, That’s right- Music! This year marks the 10th year of Music in the Park, a two month concert series that is held in beautiful Wilson Park each Wednesday from 11:30-1:30. Over the years, the event has seen some of the biggest singers and songwriters from the Shoals area perform in the afternoon concerts. The very first music in the park series was only held for 3 Wednesday’s. The first performers were Johnny Holland, Gary Nichols, and Zac Hacker. It has grown now to 9 weeks of pure entertainment. Held in Wilson Park all of these years, it is a great place to meet friends and family members for picnic lunch and listen to great music. So, find that friend or family member or make a new friend and come down to Wilson Park in the months of May and June for Music in the Park- You will Enjoy it!

2014 Schedule
May 21st- The Cadillac’s
May 28th- Last Chance
June 4th- Renewed/Earnest Davis
June 11th- The Browns
June 18th- Jeff Hornbuckle
June 25th- Gary Nichols
June 27th- The NUTONES- (McFarland Park- 6:00-8:00 p.m.)

2013 Liberty Mutual Insurance National Firemark Nominee

Marine Corps Veteran Dustin Simmons is a young firefighter from Florence, Alabama who has worked tirelessly to serve his community. In only three-years as a firefighter, Dustin has been an active instructor at the recruit school, coached and mentored up and coming firefighters and risked his life to save others. Because of his hard work and dedication, he received Florence’s Firefighter of the Year Award.

Dustin’s passion for the firefighter community encouraged him to coordinate an event to honor firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. Inspired by a commemoration for the 9/11 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice, he started the Florence Memorial Stair Climb. Participants, including firefighters and members of the community, climbed 110 flights of stairs to truly never forget the courageous actions of the FDNY on that day, with all proceeds benefiting the National Firefighters Foundation. 

For his passion towards his fellow firefighters and community, 
Dustin Simmons is a proud nominee of the 2013 National Firemark Award.

To nominate a firefighter for the 2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance National Firemark Award visit: http://www.befiresmart.com/protect-your-community/celebrating-firefighters/national-firemark-award-winners/nominate-a-firefighter/

Article courtesy of Liberty Mutual Insurance

2014 Kids Fest

2014 Kids Fest- This Saturday, May 3rd from 11:00-2:00 at Cox Creek Park. Come out and enjoy Games, Arts & Crafts, The Mud Pit Obstacle Course, The Dryland Obstacle Course, Bounce-a-Round, tips on golf, soccer, and frisbee golf- check out the new additions this year like the Rock Wall Climb, and the Dent-A-Car Activity. Listen the Kids Fest Idol Singing competition. Grab some lunch from our concession stand for a great price! All games and Activities are FREE! For additional questions, please call (256) 718-5088. See you in the Park this Saturday!!!

Special announcement: Come to Florence in May!

We are hugely pleased to have been asked to come to Alabama and participate in Florence Restaurant Week next month from May 9 – 17. The event is organized by Florence Main Street, who explain, “Historic downtown Florence, Alabama, is a unique and wonderful place. Florence Main Street is a non-profit organization designed to keep it that way! Main Street’s mission is to bring attention to the unique character of Florence’s historic commercial district while promoting progressive marketing and retail management techniques.

I first visited Florence and its neighboring cities Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia last year while on my third “circumnavigation” and came home raving about the place. Florence has an absolutely adorable little downtown, full of independently-owned restaurants and shops. Home of the University of North Alabama, it doesn’t quite have a classic “college town” feel – Pegasus Records looks like it goes a little way toward rectifying that and I can’t wait to browse – but it’s sleepy and busy at the same time, with wonderful architecture and good people. Sam Phillips and W.C. Handy were both born here. This town has music in its roots. Across the river – and a downright gorgeous truss bridge – is Muscle Shoals, home of the legendary FAME Recording Studios. (Confusingly, the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where the Black Keys’ excellent album Brothers was recorded, is not actually in the town of that name, but next door in Sheffield…) Plus, you’ve got a children’s museum that we can’t wait to check out, and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. You know how that terrific Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon shut down? They didn’t let that happen here.

Anyway, I like what I’ve seen of this corner of northwest Alabama a lot, and had some very good meals here, and so I’m absolutely thrilled and pleased that we’ve been invited to town along with a few other southeastern bloggers for Florence Restaurant Week, and I sure would appreciate it if you’d click on that link and read a little more about it. It’s a terrific way to support local charities by eating out at locally-owned restaurants, and through the end of April, they’re taking nominations for charities to get a chance to win $5000, courtesy of McDaniel Window & Door Company. Some details continue in the press release below.

We’re taking this opportunity now to spread the word and to encourage our readers to think about visiting the Shoals area next month. During the nine days of Florence Restaurant Week, you’ll be able to enjoy good meals at the fifteen participating restaurants and cast a vote for the charity of your choice each time that you dine. The more times that you eat, the more times you can cast a ballot. And we certainly like to eat. We’ll be there for a couple of days, digging into a few good meals and getting material for what should be quite a few stories to share. And we sure would love to see you there, too! Whether you’re one of our readers, looking for something different to do and a road trip to a new destination, or if you’re one of our fellow bloggers, looking for a new patch of ground to write about, this is a great place to visit, and one that has been overlooked in our hobby for long enough. There is some terrific barbecue here, and lots of interesting restaurants, old and new. We can’t wait to dig in!

So next month, plan to see us tweeting and making Facebook updates as we visit the city and spend a bit more time in one place than we typically do on a trip. I expect that we’ll have a nice bit of content for the end of May to share with you all. I really hope that you’ll think about joining us! Be sure to visit the site for Florence Restaurant Week to see which other bloggers from Alabama and Tennessee will be writing about the Quad Cities, and check them out, too!

Article courtesy of Marie, Let’s Eat!

Exciting Times in Florence, AL

This Saturday- April 12th and next Saturday- April 19th will be the Kids Fest Idol Preliminary round for Kids Fest Idol. The Preliminary rounds will take place at Royal Ave Recreation Center on both days from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Registration Fee is only $5. There will be two divisions- Junior Division- (Ages 6-10) and Senior Division (Ages 11-16). The contestants will be asked to sing one song, either by Karaoke, Accapelia, or with an acoustic instrument. If chosen, the contestant will move on to the Kids Fest Idol which will be May 3rd at Cox Creek Park from 11:00-2:00. The winners in the Kids Fest Idol will be awarded 2 hours of recording time at The Nutthouse Recording Studio in Sheffield, Alabama. For additional information or to register, call- (256) 718-5088. The Kids Fest/Kids Fest Idol is brought to you by The Florence Parks & Recreation Department. Also, Coming up on April 21st-24th  there will be a  Ladies Golf Clinic from 5-6 pm Blackberry Trail Golf Course $65 per person Call Golf Shop for more details- (256) 740-8825.

More Happenings with the Florence Parks and Recreation Department



450 Country Club Drive

(Savannah Highway/Hwy. 20)

Florence – 256-760-6420

***The Club is a drug free, alcohol free facility***


The District 1 Master Games will be June 17, 18, and 19.  Hosted at The Club, Savannah Highway, and at the Billiards Room, Fairgrounds Road and Royal Avenue.  New participants are always welcome!  Requirement:  50+ years old.  Games include Sitting Frisbee Toss, Sitting Nerf Ball Toss, Softball Throw, Basketball Free Throw, Shuffleboard, Checkers, Dominoes Singles/Doubles, Billiards, Horseshoes, Swimming, Golf, Tennis, Table Tennis, Bowling, and a 5K walk/run.

MASTERS GAMES PRACTICE will be each Monday and Friday mornings, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., at The Club.  On Thursday, 12:00 to 2:00 p.m., Shuffleboard and Baseball Free Throw practice will be at Broadway Recreation Center.

THE NUTRITION PROGRAM is a NACOLG/State program which serves lunch each Monday-Friday, at 11:00 a.m., at The Club.  Suggested donation $1.  This program is based on age and not need.  Limited seating (40) available on first come basis.  Must be seated by 10:30 a.m.  Feel free to come check it out.  The only requirements are:  1) must be 60 years of age 2) must sign in and be seated by 10:30 a.m.

BOOMER’S & SENIOR’S SATURDAY NIGHT DANCE & GAMES at The Club, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., each week except holiday weekends.  The doors will open at 6:00 p.m.  $5 per person.  Singles & couples are welcome.  18+ years old.  Music spanning the decades will be performed by The Browns.  For those who may not be dancers but like to play games and enjoy music, here is your opportunity to come listen to some great music while playing your favorite games:  Rook, Rummy, Dominoes, Checkers or the games you bring with you.  Feel free to bring light refreshments.  For more information please call The Club at 256-760-6420, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

BOOMER’S & SENIOR’S DANCE, each TUESDAY NIGHT, continues to bring great people together to dance the night away.  Hours 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.  Singles and couples are welcome.  18+ years old.  $5 per person.  Please join us for a great night of dancing fun with The Browns.

BEGINNING SQUARE DANCE LESSONS (10 weeks) starts Friday, March 28, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Singles, Couples, Families welcome.  All ages.  $5 each week.  Our international Caller is Chuck Bermele.  There are no dancing skills required.  You will enhance your health and longevity with this well sought after dance opportunity.  Two left feet, OK.  NO partner, OK.  Dance with your friends, parents, co-workers.  For more information call Fran at The Club, 256-760-6420.

JOINTS IN MOTION CHAIR EXERCISE CLASS.  Come join the fun on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8:45 to 9:30 a.m.  No age limit-men, women, friends and family are welcome to join us at The Club.  No fee.  Class Leader:  Fran “fish” Davis.

BINGO follows the Joints in Motion Class on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.

BOARD GAMES, ROOK, CARD GAMES, DOMINOES and fun with friends each afternoon at The Club.  12:30 -5:00 p.m.  No fee.  We bring light snacks to share.

FANTASTIC FRIDAY AT THE CLUB will be from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., each THIRD FRIDAY of the month until October.  Our meals will be catered from three different restaurant facilities.  Pop’s BBQ (St. Florian) will have fish or chicken.  Dick Howell’s (Florence) serving BBQ or quartered chicken.  The Bonnet Café Elegant Country Cooking (Lexington) with Sunday type meals, menu will vary each time.  Please try to purchase tickets ahead of time.  You will enjoy the great food, music, games, dance opportunities, horseshoes, and have a fun time at the “FUN Raiser!”  All proceeds will go towards the local and state Master Games for persons 50 year and older.  Regularly scheduled square dancing will follow Fantastic Friday each time.



Humana Penny Auction, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Meal catered by The Bonnet Café, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

(Pre-buy your meal by Thursday, April 17 if possible)

 Music by the NuTones, 4:00-6:00 p.m.


On FRIDAYS, the Seniors wear RED to show support for our service men and women.


FYI: Coming soon – AARP Tax Aid Counselors will be available at The Club where you can have your tax returns prepared.  Times to be arranged.