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Focus On the Chili Cookoff
Holiday Hours
Lights Out – Soon
Post-Holiday Glow
Dancing in a Winter Wonderland
For the Birds
S’More of What You’re Looking for
Find Fitness – At a Broward County Park
Seven Signs Your Holiday Tree Has Been Up Too Long
Lecture Circuit
Extension Education Helps Prevent Diabetes
Quote of the Month
Special Attractions
Mission Statement
Your Opinion Counts!
SWIM Central
Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Focus On the Chili Cookoff

What do Trace Adkins, Alabama, Jason Aldean, the Band Perry, Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Dixie Chicks, Florida Georgia Line, Vince Gill, Gloriana, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, LeAnn Rimes, Taylor Swift, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, Wynonna, and the Zac Brown Band have in common?

If you answered that they are or have been among the top names in country music for the last quarter of a century, you’d be only partially correct. They’re also just some of the dozens of acts that have appeared, often multiple times, at the Chili Cookoff over the years.

The combination food competition and country concert started off modestly back in the mid-1980s. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Charlie Daniels Band pretty much took turns being the headliner for the first few years, when the show was held at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach.

The music component of the event really took off in 1994, when the concert was a superstar double bill of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. By then the show had shifted to C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines, where it has been held ever since, attracting thousands of fans to the park’s outdoor special event field.

The 29th Annual 99.9 KISS Country Chili Cookoff is scheduled for Sunday, January 26. The headliner is Rascal Flatts, the top-selling trio that has been racking up awards in country music for more than a decade and whose most recent CD was 2012’s Changed (featuring the #1 single “Banjo”). Other acts include Brantley Gilbert (Halfway to Heaven), Thomas Rhett (It Goes Like This), Joe Nichols (Crickets), and Cassadee Pope (“Wasting All These Tears”), the West Palm Beach native who in 2012 became the first female winner of TV’s The Voice.

Tickets are $48 (not including service charge) from CompleteTicketSolutions.com, which also offers parking passes for $5/each for the Pines Boulevard lot (open at 1 a.m.) and the Taft Street lot (open at 6 a.m.). Handicapped parking will be available at the Johnson Street lot with an official handicapped parking placard only. Concert gates open at 8:30 a.m., and the concert begins at approximately 10 a.m. Other ticket outlets include Pet Supermarkets in Broward and Miami-Dade, and four locations of Sedano’s Supermarket: North Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines (17171 Pines Blvd.), Miami (16255 S.W. 88th St.), and Homestead.

This is a rain-or-shine event, meaning no refunds will be available. Also, no cans, coolers, bottles, video cameras, flags/flagpoles, weapons, umbrellas, backpacks, or pets allowed. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Chili from the competition cannot be tasted by the public unless the contestant has a registered food vendor permit.

For additional information, visit  wkis.com. C.B. Smith is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #3, #5, #7, #23, and 95 EXPRESS.

Holiday Hours

All regional parks, nature centers, natural areas, and neighborhood parks will be open on Tuesday, December 31, as well as Wednesday, January 1 (New Year’s Day), and Monday, January 20 (Martin Luther King Day). The exception is Deerfield Island Park,which will be closed. The schedule for special attractions (Butterfly World, AllGolf, Ski Rixen USA, etc.) varies; contact the individual attraction for additional information. The regional parks’ regular holiday gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect on January 1 and 20.

Lights Out – Soon

Just a few more days are left to see Holiday Fantasy of Lights at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek. The drive-through light show, under the management of Brandano Displays, runs through Saturday, January 4 and is open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.

Admission is $14 per vehicle, $35 per bus carrying 15 or more passengers. For more information, visit holidaylightsdrivethru.com or email HFOL@Brandano.com.

Post-Holiday Glow

The disc golf course at Easterlin Park in Oakland Park will again be aglow on Friday, January 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. That’s when the park continues its Disc Glow Golf Series, a tournament in which the participants guide themselves through the course using flashlights. (Bring your own flashlights and discs – the park will not provide them.) The program is designed for ages 13 and up, and ages 13 to 17 must have a parent/guardian with them to participate. Fees are $5 per person if you preregister, $8 per person if you wait until the night of the program. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5190. Easterlin is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14.

Dancing in a Winter Wonderland

Adults 18 and up with developmental disabilities are invited to Quiet Waters Park on Friday, January 17, when the park, in conjunction with the Parks Special Populations Section, will host a free Winter Wonderland Dance, from 7 to 10 p.m. Activities will include music, dancing, socializing, and refreshments. The event will be held outdoors, so participants are urged to dress appropriately.

Registration is required at least seven days prior to the event by calling Special Populations at 954-357-8170 or emailing SpecialPopulations@Broward.org. The park is accessible via Broward County Transit Routes #14 and #48.

For the Birds

Two very different parks offer Bird Walks this month. Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 4, Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach will host a program focusing on the island park’s distinctive resident and migratory birds. Space is limited and preregistration is required. Sturdy shoes and binoculars are recommended, and you must be at the dock at Sullivan Park by 8:15 to catch the boat shuttle to the island. The fee is $3 per person. To sign up, call Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach at 954-357-5100.

Then on Saturday, January 18, also at 8:30 a.m., there will be another walk at Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium in Lauderhill, a park better known for its athletic facilities. But the park is also home to burrowing owls and other species, as you’ll learn at this free guided program. The park’s regular weekend gate entrance fee of $1.50/person (children 5 and under free) will be in effect.

S’More of What You’re Looking for

You’ve made it through the holidays. Now treat yourself to an old-fashioned Family Hayride and Campfire, complete with one of the ultimate comfort foods, s’mores. The events take place on Fridays from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

There’s one such event on Friday, January 3, at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park, another on Friday, January 17, at Quiet Waters Park, followed by one on January 24, at Easterlin Park, and another at the very end of the month, on January 31, at Plantation Heritage Park. This month Tradewinds Park & Stables joins the lineup with an event on January 10.

Tickets are $3.50/person (ages 3 and up) and include one hayride and a bag of fixings to make s’mores. Advance purchase is required. For more information, call the park of your choice: Easterlin (accessible via Broward County Transit Route #14) at 954-357-5190; Plantation Heritage (Route #30) at 954-357-5135; Quiet Waters (Routes #14 and #48) at 954-357-5100, Tradewinds (Route #34) at 954-357-8870, or T.Y. (Routes #3, #12, and #17) at 954-357-8811.

Find Fitness – At a Broward County Park

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to shed those few pounds you might have picked up over the holiday season, back up your good intentions with a visit to one of our parks. Whatever your activity of choice, there’s a park for you:

· Baseball/softball – Brian Piccolo, Central Broward Regional, Sunview, Tradewinds

· Basketball – Brian Piccolo, C.B. Smith, Central Broward Regional, Easterlin, Franklin, Lafayette Hart, Quiet Waters, Reverend Samuel Delevoe, Roosevelt Gardens, Sunview, T.Y., Vista View, West Lake

· Biking – Brian Piccolo, C.B. Smith, Central Broward Regional, Hollywood North Beach, Markham, Plantation Heritage, Quiet Waters, Reverend Samuel Delevoe, Tradewinds, Tree Tops, T.Y., Vista View, West Lake

· Cable water-skiing – Quiet Waters

· Canoeing/kayaking – West Lake

· Cricket – Brian Piccolo, Central Broward Regional, Tradewinds

· Disc golf – Easterlin, Plantation Heritage, Tradewinds

· Fitness Zone outdoor exercise equipment – T.Y.

· Football/soccer – Brian Piccolo, Central Broward Regional, Sunview, Tradewinds

· Inline skating – Brian Piccolo

· Jogging – Brian Piccolo, C.B. Smith, Central Broward Regional, Hollywood North Beach, Markham, Plantation Heritage, Quiet Waters, Roosevelt Gardens, Tree Tops, T.Y., West Lake

· Mountain biking – Markham, Quiet Waters

· Netball – Central Broward Regional

· Tennis/racquetball – Brian Piccolo, C.B. Smith, Central Broward Regional, Lafayette Hart, Markham, T.Y., West Lake

· Volleyball – Brian Piccolo,C.B. Smith, Deerfield Island, Easterlin, Franklin, Hollywood North Beach, Lafayette Hart, Markham, Plantation Heritage, Quiet Waters, Reverend Samuel Delevoe, Tradewinds, Tree Tops, T.Y., West Lake

· Water-skiing/wakeboarding – C.B. Smith

And, of course, you can engage in those most basic of physical activities, walking and hiking, at any of our parks, nature centers, and natural areas. For more information, visit our Website at Broward.org/Parks.

The latest addition to our fitness lineup is the Memorial Fitness Zone at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park, where you’ll find nearly a dozen pieces of sturdy exercise equipment on concrete pads across from the park office. The equipment, including wheelchair-accessible units, was funded by Memorial Healthcare System, supplemented by additional funding from the Parks Division. The zone opened in December and is designed for ages 14 and up. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8811.

Seven Signs Your Holiday Tree Has Been Up Too Long

1. You’ve taken to using it as a coat rack.

2. The bird that got into your house stayed – and nested.

3. Visitors ask how you’ll be decorating it for the spring holiday.

4. It’s sprouted roots and started growing again.

5. Squirrels gather at your window and look in longingly at it.

6. You can no longer see the carpet through the layers of dried needles.

7. You’ve decided just to go ahead and leave it up for next year.

Few things are as sad as a holiday tree that’s still standing around in someone’s living room well into the new year. If the holidays are long gone but your tree isn’t, it’s time to chip in and donate your used evergreen to our annual Chip-a-Tree initiative. Last year Broward County Parks recycled more than 9,000 trees, representing more than a hundred tons of material that would otherwise have gone to landfills, and this year your tree can join those recyclable thousands.

The free program encourages Broward County residents to remove all decorations from their holiday trees (no decorated trees will be accepted), then bring the trees to a participating park, where they are chipped and used for landscaping throughout the county park system. There is a limit of two trees per vehicle, artificial trees are not accepted, and no commercial vehicles or garbage trucks are allowed.

This season’s program runs from Thursday, December 26, 2013, through Monday, January 20, 2014, giving you plenty of time to take advantage of those after-the-holidays sales before hauling your tree to a park. And remember, the regular weekend and holiday gate entrance fee will not be in effect for recyclers, so there’s no excuse not to do the right thing. Hours vary; call the park of your choice for details.

· Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, 9501 Sheridan St., Cooper City 33024; 954-357-5150

· C. B. Smith Park, 900 N. Flamingo Rd., Pembroke Pines 33028; 954-357-5170

· Easterlin Park, 1000 N.W. 38th St., Oakland Park 33309; 954-357-5190

· Fern Forest Nature Center, 201 Lyons Rd. South, Coconut Creek 33063; 954-357-5198

· Markham Park & Target Range, 16001 W. State Rd. 84, Sunrise 33326; 954-357-8868

· Plantation Heritage Park, 1100 S. Fig Tree Lane, Plantation 33317; 954-357-5135

· Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Rd., Deerfield Beach 33441; 954-357-5100

· Reverend Samuel Delevoe Park, 2520 N.W. Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale 33311; 954-357-8801

· Snake Warrior’s Island Natural Area, 3600 S.W. 62nd Ave., Miramar 33023; 954-357-8776

· Tradewinds Park & Stables, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek 33073; 954-357-8870

· Tree Tops Park, 3900 S.W. 100th Ave., Davie 33328; 954-357-5130

· T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park, 3300 N. Park Rd., Hollywood 33021; 954-357-8811

· Vista View Park, 4001 S.W. 142nd Ave., Davie 33330; 954-357-8898

· West Lake Park, 751 Sheridan St., Hollywood 33019; 954-357-5161

Lecture Circuit

The Anne Kolb Nature Center launches its latest Lunch-and-Learn Nature Series this month with the theme “Florida’s Big Dig: The Intracoastal Waterway From Jacksonville to Miami.” The lecture will be presented from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, January 24 and will feature William G. Crawford, Esq, an author and expert on Florida’s famous waterway.

Future installments in the series will be “Pollinator Gardening” on February 21 and “E-X-P-A-N-D-I-N-G Your Plant Palette: Flowering Trees and Shrubs of South Florida” on March 21. A donation of $7 per person is requested to benefit the Friends of Anne Kolb volunteer group, and preregistration is required. For more information, call the park at 954-357-5161. Anne Kolb is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #12.

Also in January, Secret Woods Nature Center continues its Discovering the New River Lecture Series, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 18. The topic will be “Honeybees and Pollinators,” presented by Aaron J. Mullins, senior biological scientist with the Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida-Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Future installments in this series will be “Early Life Along the New River” on February 15, “Invasive Pests in South Florida” on March 15, and “Plant Ecology of Secret Woods” on April 19. The lectures are free. For more information, call the park at 954-357-8884. Secret Woods is accessible via Broward County Transit Route #6.

Extension Education Helps Prevent Diabetes

More than 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes, and many do not know it. That number is not known for Broward County, although in 2010 it was estimated that 6.8 percent of the County’s adult population had been diagnosed with diabetes (the state averages 10.4 percent).

To address pre-diabetes, Broward County Extension Education’s Family and Consumer Sciences, in conjunction with the University of Florida, joined forces this year with Molina Healthcare and the National Diabetes Prevention Program. The local program included 16 core classes that met weekly, ending in November, and continues with six monthly classes that began in December and run through May.

The program focuses on lifestyle change rather than diet for maximum success. The goals are to lose 5 to 7 percent of body weight and engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Already, half the participants have lost between 5 and 17 percent of their body weight, and 81 percent have been able to achieve the activity goal.

All program participants report changing key behaviors, such as counting calories and fat grams, keeping food and physical activity diaries, planning meals, finding restaurants with healthy menu options, and identifying the triggers that cause poor food choices.

For more information on this program and others like it, contact Extension Education at 954-357-5270.

Quote of the Month

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.” – American first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Special Attractions

Airboat Rides (Everglades Holiday Park)Batting Cages (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Bike America (Quiet Waters Park) –  Butterfly World (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Cable Water-Skiing (Ski Rixen USA at Quiet Waters Park) – Campgrounds (C.B. Smith Park, Easterlin Park, Markham Park & Target Range, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park) – Dog Park (Barkham at Markham Park & Target Range) – Educational Farm (Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Exhibit Halls (Anne Kolb Nature Center, Fern Forest Nature Center, Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center) – Golf Facilities (AllGolf at C.B. Smith Park) – Multipurpose Athletic Fields (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Tradewinds Park & Stables) – Observatory (Markham Park & Target Range) – Riding Stables (Tradewinds Park & Stables, Tree Tops Park) – Skate Park/Track (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Target Range (Markham Park & Target Range) – Tennis Centers (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome, C.B. Smith Park) – Velodrome (Brian Piccolo Park & Velodrome) – Water Playgrounds/ Waterslides/Swimming (C.B. Smith Park, Central Broward Regional Park & Stadium, Quiet Waters Park, T.Y. Park)

Mission Statement

The Parks and Recreation Division is dedicated to providing a countywide park system with diverse facilities and recreation opportunities, along with natural area conservation and research-based educational outreach, to enhance the well-being of residents, businesses, and visitors.

Your Opinion Counts!

We’d like to know what you think about our programs and facilities. Please take a moment to tell us how we’re doing by filling out this survey.

SWIM Central

Broward County Commission's primary resource and referral service for available swim programs in cooperation with various cities and nonprofit organizations. Call 954-357-SWIM (7946).

Founded in February 1956 and accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies, Broward County Parks and Recreation Division manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities. Hours and fees vary by location. For more information, visit broward.org/parks

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations in order to participate in programs, services, and activities must contact the Special Populations Section at 954-357-8170 or TTY 954-537-2844 at least five (5) business days prior to the scheduled meeting or event.

Broward County Board of County Commissioners

Sue Gunzburger
Dale V.C. Holness
Kristin Jacobs
Martin David Kiar
Chip LaMarca
Stacy Ritter
Tim Ryan
Barbara Sharief
Lois Wexler

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Parks and Recreation is a service of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners.