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Okeeheelee Park Wins Venue of the Year From the Florida Sports Foundation

The Florida Sports Foundation, which is the official sports promotion and development organization for the State of Florida, recognized one of Palm Beach County’s premier parks during the annual Florida Sports Summit. The Florida Sports Foundation presented its annual awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their efforts to cultivate sports tourism in Florida. The awards were presented at the annual Florida Sports Summit, which was held November 8-10.

Okeeheelee Park, which is a Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation venue, has been named the 2021 “Large Market Venue of the Year” by the Florida Sports Foundation. This award is presented annually to Florida’s small, mid, and large market venues that excel in fostering sports development while creating tourism impacts within the state.

Okeeheelee Park is one of the largest parks in south Florida, which covers over 1700 acres. Okeeheelee Park is a catch-all for traditional and action sports. One of the most versatile venues in Palm Beach County, Okeeheelee Park includes eight tennis courts, six pickleball courts, five lighted youth baseball diamonds, four lighted softball diamonds, and four lighted multi-purpose fields that are ideal for soccer, lacrosse, football, rugby, and more. Okeeheelee Park not only contains a 27-hole public championship golf course; it is also one of the few venues in the region with an 18-hole course for disc golf. Five expansive water-skiing lakes allow for professional water-skiing competitions. One of the nation’s premier cable wakeboarding facilities, Shark Wave Park, also resides within Okeeheelee Park. The site also features a premier equestrian venue in the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center and the top-ranked BMX track in Florida, Okeeheelee BMX.

Okeeheelee Park was a launching pad for sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation partnered to host a diverse collection of sports events at Okeeheelee Park over the past year. The first youth sports tournament to take place in Palm Beach County, during a post-Covid-19 era, happened at Okeeheelee Park through baseball. During the year, a variety of youth baseball events, girls fastpitch softball tournaments, soccer showcases, and tennis contests filled the venue while providing an economic and tourism benefit to The Palm Beaches. Okeeheelee Park was also home to a national BMX event in addition to professional and amateur water ski events. The Jim Brandon Equestrian Center hosted national equestrian showjumping events and provided a stage for the Kids Fitness Festival of the Palm Beaches, which introduces Palm Beach County’s youth to a variety of sports.

“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation have an incredible partnership, which sparked a sports tourism recovery in The Palm Beaches,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “Okeeheelee Park is one of Florida’s most comprehensive and resourceful venues with a sprawling footprint that is a setting for a multitude of sports. Together, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation utilized Okeeheelee Park to deliver sports tourism products over the past year. We are extremely grateful to the Florida Sports Foundation for recognizing Okeeheelee Park as Florida’s Large Market Venue of the Year.”

“I am very honored that Okeeheelee Park was selected as Sports Venue of the Year by the Florida Sports Foundation,” said Eric Call, Director, Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. “The park was master-planned in the ’70s-’80s as Palm Beach County’s central park and designed to offer recreation and sports opportunities for both amateur and professional athletes. We’re very proud of the relationship we have established with the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and look forward to collaborating on many more events at Okeeheelee Park in the future.”

Power of Parks: Surface 71

Welcome to Power of Parks, a podcast produced by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, where we share inspiring stories from people who have benefited from nature, parks and recreation. Episode 11 features Emily Briceno, Jemma Currie, and Marina Barto. They’re students who lead a group called Surface 71, a non-profit organization that helps keep our oceans and communities clean by raising awareness of plastic pollution, hosting and participating in cleanup events in parks and beaches, and working to get other students involved in their efforts.

DUBOIS PIONEER HOME VIRTUAL TOUR: Skip & Geri Gladwin

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, Skip and Geri Gladwin, siblings who lived in the home as kids, talk about some of their favorite memories from living in Jupiter area in the mid-1900’s.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour Fireside Chat: Skip & Geri Gladwin

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, Skip and Geri Gladwin, siblings who lived in the home as kids, talk about their experience living in the home and area.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 6

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode Six, docent Denise Vogel talks about the bedroom and some interesting items from the time period, including a rope bed, early 1900’s sewing machine, and an armoire.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour Fireside Chat: John Alden DuBois

The DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour – Fireside Chat series brings you short stories from relatives and friends of the DuBois family. In this episode, John Alden DuBois, the grandson of Harry and Susan DuBois, shares a story about how his grandfather came to Palm Beach County, built the home, and settled in Jupiter in the late 19th century.

DuBois Pioneer Home Virtual Tour: Episode 2

In this six-part series, DuBois Pioneer Home docents present virtual tours about the historic home, located inside DuBois Park and operated by PBC Parks. Each episode briefly covers a different topic; in Episode Two, docent Lynn Desy takes us through the living room and shares some interesting facts about the DuBois Family and their history.

Palm Beach County Celebrates Marine Life Protection Under Blue Heron Bridge

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On Thursday, April 11, Palm Beach County and scuba diving enthusiasts joined together for a celebration of marine life protection at Phil Foster Park under the Blue Heron Bridge in Riviera Beach.

“We were able to do this and preserve a really important part of Palm Beach County – the County has invested a lot here and we wanted to help them protect that and make this resource available for everybody,” said Dr. Thomas Reinert, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Regional Director.

The event celebrated recent changes by the FWC that prohibit the collection and possession of marine life fishery species (species collected and managed for the tropical aquarium trade) within Phil Foster Park and surrounding waters.

The changes will maintain high-quality snorkeling and diving opportunities and contribute to the conservation of species under the Blue Heron Bridge and at Phil Foster Park. The Blue Heron Bridge area is internationally recognized by scientists, scuba divers, underwater photographers, and snorkelers for its abundance of unique marine life and was named one of the 50 best dive sites in the world by PADI Sport Diver magazine and referred to as Florida’s “best shore dive” by SCUBA Diving Magazine.