For those who prefer to start the year in shorts, T-shirts and sandals, Central Florida may be your ideal starting point. 2023 is shaping up to be especially sweet, with the return of Polk County's barbecue festival season and other special events.
Attractions and Events:
Polk County in Central Florida offers many unique attractions and events for visitors to enjoy. Below you'll find some of the top events on all there is to see and do in the sweet spot of Florida.
• Pirate River Quest is coming to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort on January 12, 2023!
Set sail with a rowdy crew of LEGO® pirates on the Captain's orders to explore the murky waters and recover lost treasure, stolen by a troop of mischievous monkeys. Journey through the unknown waters of legendary Cypress Gardens and discover the secrets that guard its canals as this all-new story unfolds brick by brick in a family-friendly treasure hunt.
• Alafia River Rendezvous: Open to the general public from January 20 to 21. Step back in time and experience the largest pre-1840 living history camp in the Southeast. The event includes approximately 1,000 participants in period clothing and hundreds of historically correct homes, plus music, games, and craft demonstrations.
• PirateFest Weekends at LEGOLAND Florida: Join in the pirate invasion fun with exclusive character meet and greets, pirate-themed shows, LEGO® building activities and more. January 21-22, 28-29 and February 4-5, 11-12, 18-19.
• Lakeland PigFest: January 27 and 28, Lakeland barbecue festival.
• Smoke on the Water BBQ Festival: February 3-4, Winter Haven BBQ Festival.
• Ribs on the Ridge: February 18, barbecue festival in Haines City.
• Detroit Tigers Spring Training: February 25-March 26. The 2023 spring season will mark the 58th consecutive season for the Detroit Tigers playing at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, aka: Tigertown.
• The Saturday night rodeos at Westgate River Ranch Resort are a longstanding tradition for many families visiting Central Florida. This award-winning rodeo features tricks, bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing and rodeo clown antics.
• Free water ski shows on the third Saturday of every month, performed at Lake Silver in Winter Haven by the world famous Cypress Gardens water ski team.
In case you missed it:
• Bonnet Springs Park: Just opened in October, Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland is a 168-acre urban oasis that brings the natural beauty of Central Florida to life, with a wide range of wonderful amenities. Bring the whole family, including your dog! Highlights include the new Florida Children's Museum, Kiwanis Kid's Treehouse, Hollis Family Welcome Center, Ag America Heritage Garden, plus concerts and outdoor events. Entrance to the park is free.