Polk hosts diverse slate of meetings and events

Polk hosts diverse slate of meetings and events

Contestants from the 2019 State Science and Engineering Fair mill during a mixer held at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Contestants from the 2019 State Science and Engineering Fair mill during a mixer held at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Planners and shooters and pageants, oh my.

For a diverse menu of events, look at the recent slate held in Polk County.

In the span of a week, the efforts of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing staff paid big dividends for the county:

  • 2019 State Science and Engineering Fair held at the RP Funding Center from March 26 to 28. Nine hundred students from around the state, as well as 400 judges and advisors, converged on Lakeland for an estimated $1 million economic impact. The three day event, where $1.2 million in scholarships were awarded, this year included a Student Mixer Night held at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, including food and drinks, a DJ, games and a photo booth.
  • CityWorks(X)po Florida held in Winter Haven April 3-4. A combination of TEDTalk and urban planning, the fourth CityWorks(X)po Florida featured more than 20 presentations over its two day program. Speakers included an activist-minimalist from Orlando, an urban planner from Asheville, North Carolina and a software engineer discussing the future of automation in the workplace.
  • USPSA SIG Sauer Multi-Gun Nationals held from April 3 to 7 at Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof had 180 shooters competing across twelve stages. The shooting distances ranged from five to 415 yards. In November 2019, USPSA Nationals will bring 400 competitors and 100 officials into the area for a seven-day competition. The 2020 USPSA Three Gun Nationals, to be held in April, have been secured as well. In total, both upcoming events have an estimated $1.4 million economic impact. VCF and USPSA hosted IPSC Range Officers President Dino Evangelinos to discuss future IPSC opportunities.
  • And the Miss Florida Sweeps Competition held at Nora Mayo Hall April 6. The sweeps competition – a pageant comprised of all the runners up from other pageants – gives young women one last opportunity to make the final field for Miss Florida.


Another Run 863 is in the books

With nearly 1,000 participants, another year of the Run 863 series has been completed. The PCTSM creation featured four races – The Carillon Classic 5K Run and Walk at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales; the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in downtown Winter Haven; the Safari Wilderness Run in Lakeland and the annual Tiger Trot 5K held in conjunction with the Lakeland Flying Tigers – saw more than 800 competitors and 40 runners who earned the coveted medal.


With more than 270 teams, this year’s RussMatt Florida Invitational Collegiate Baseball Tournament was bigger than ever. With nearly 30 more teams participating this year than last. PCTSM analysts feel confident that the event – which brings nearly 5,000 people to Polk County for five weeks, will exceed its previous high of a more than $25 million in economic impact.

Lakeland VW Classic

Classic Volkswagen Bugs, Vans and even a Thing or two made their way back to Polk County for the annual Lakeland VW Classic. With more than 1,600 participants and 5,000 spectators over the three day event, it is projected that the show’s economic impact exceeded $3.6 million.