Many people have not heard of the Florida Flywheelers. We are here to tell you it’s a great little trip. And the Christmas season might be the best time to see it.
We were invited out to their sprawling 370 acre site last year and had a wonderful time. They have a full slate of facilities including; a 70 building village, a tractor-pull site, a huge flea market area and a gazebo where they have a number of fun and wild competitions.
However, most of those activities come to a stop each December when they decorate for Christmas. Because this is an antique engine club, you might expect the experience to be a bit different – and you’d be right.
A Tour of the Village
We were fortunate enough to get a pre-event tour of the village from Marly Warner – one of the caretakers of the facility. Each of the 70 buildings have individual owners. We could see that they had spent no small amount of time draping them with lights, putting out lighted figurines and otherwise decorating for the holiday season.
This was no small task. There literally are miles of wire and tens of thousands of bulbs. Those who follow us know we love nostalgia. There’s just something wonderful about old buildings, vintage cars, trucks and tractors that draws us. The Flywheelers is an epicenter of just that.
There are many different kinds of buildings in the village. You can find a feed store, an agriculture museum, several garages, a saloon, a tobacco & contraption shop and a feed store. We also saw a sheriff’s office, jail and a church.
Marly told us that most of the buildings are for display only. However, there are weekly services at the church. Later, volunteer Patty Kitchen showed us a loom that was part of the operation at the quilt shop where rugs were being made.
Flywheelers have told us their first weekend Dec. 13 & 14 was a big hit. The second and final will be Dec. 20-21. There will be trams that carry visitors up and down the streets to see the displays. Each of the vintage trams will be pulled by an antique tractor. And for those who have mobility problems, there will be a few handicapped-accessible golf carts as well.
We learned that some of the trams had worked at theme parks in their former lives. There was one marked Boardwalk & Baseball and some others reportedly originally had been used at Walt Disney World.
It’s More Than a Ride
As fun as the ride around the Florida Flywheelers park will be, it’s more than that. Marly told us that a couple of stops are planned. One will be at Kracker Bob’s where visitors may pick up some hot apple cider. Another will be at the Ullrich Building, where there will be Hot chocolate and Santa Claus.
We loved that the Ullrich Building has a series of displays that reprise the department store windows of old. At Christmastime, they had moving figures and all the hot items for the holiday season.
The best part of the preview for us was when the sun began to set. The lights came on. That’s when we got a small glimpse of what 5,000 to 7,000 people will see over the next couple of weekends.
What You Need to Know
The Florida Flywheeler’s Christmas will run Friday and Saturday. It will be Dec. 20-21. The trams will run from 6-9pm. Admission is a canned good or non-perishable food item, an unwrapped toy or cash donation. The park is located at 7000 Old Avon Park Cutoff Road, Fort Meade. For additional information you may call 863-285-9121 or visit their website at www.floridaflywheelers.org
We give this place five stars. And if you cannot make it for Christmas, attend one of their other shows.