Posted on May 22nd, 2013 by Rebecca Thompson
Each month, Catch Central Florida features sports venues across Polk County. Check out this month’s spotlight on Polk Lake Eva Park. Then, look for June’s feature on The Lakeland Center.
May is here, and summer is fast approaching with local citizens and tourists alike looking for something to do outdoors in the Florida sunshine. If that sounds like you, look no further than Lake Eva Park located in the heart of Haines City. Since its grand opening in 2009 and under the operation of Haines City Leisure Services, Lake Eva Park has quickly become one of the premier parks in Central Florida. With an array of activity options and events for people of all ages, Lake Eva has become one of the must-see places for anyone living in or visiting Polk County.
Located in downtown Haines City, Lake Eva Park features a banquet hall, a bandshell and lawn area for concerts, bicycle and running trails, a competition pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, and playgrounds. Depending on what activity you have in mind, Lake Eva Park offers something for everyone. The banquet hall, located along the scenic banks of Lake Eva, is one of the most versatile indoor venues in Polk County for hosting weddings, banquets or meetings with a capacity for more than 700 people. The facility has been used for numerous functions in recent years, including the Visit Central Florida Tourism Week Breakfast in 2010 and the Central Florida Development Council’s Annual Meeting on multiple occasions.
The swimming pool and aquatics center provides a place for children and adults to cool off while enjoying some Central Florida sunshine on those hot summer days. The pool is competition-sized and can not only be used for birthday parties and recreational purposes, but also small competitive swimming events as well. It recently was most recently utilized for the swim portion of the IronKids Florida event on May 18, 2013. The aquatics center also features an area suited for smaller children, which includes multiple water slides, wading pools, and splash pads guaranteed to keep kids busy for hours upon hours. The pool and aquatics center is always fully staffed with certified lifeguards and operates on a seasonal basis.
Looking to get some exercise or perhaps play a pick-up game of tennis or basketball? Lake Eva Park features both indoor and outdoor basketball courts suitable for tournament-style or recreational games. The facility also features hard surface tennis courts, along with a pro-shop available to those looking to rent a court or perhaps fine-tune their equipment. The facility also boasts an indoor fitness facility available to city residents looking to get in a workout, along with bicycle and running trails for those wanting to get some physical activity outdoors.
For those looking to just hang out and relax, the facility features pavilions located throughout the park where families can enjoy an outdoor picnic or, perhaps, host a birthday party. Two playgrounds are located within the park and are suitable for children of all ages to play at, while adults may enjoy a concert or activity by the bandshell and great lawn area.
Lake Eva Park has quickly become one of the top event facilities that Polk County has to offer. The park recently hosted the Ironman 70.3 Florida event for the second consecutive year, with more than 1,800 athletes competing in a 1.2-mile swim in Lake Eva, a 56-mile bike ride that started and finished in the park, and a 13.1 mile run loop that took competitors around the park and through the heart of town. The event will return in 2014 and promises to remain one of the top triathlon events offered in the state of Florida.
Lake Eva Park is also home to Polk County’s largest Fourth of July fireworks display, the annual Thunder on the Ridge event that features fireworks, concerts, food vendors, and activities throughout the day on July 4th. The park’s Ribs on the Ridge Barbeque Competition has been one of the Florida Barbeque Associations’ fastest growing events over the past three years, taking place each February at the facility. This year, more than 100 competitive teams traveled to Haines City to compete in the culinary competition.
For more information on the facility or any events, please visit CentralFloridaSports.com or VisitCentralFlorida.org. Also, be sure to “like” Polk County Sports Marketing on Facebook at CF Sports and “follow” on Twitter at CentralFLSports for all the latest event information at Polk County’s great facilities.