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Lake County BCC
315 West Main St.
P.O. Box 7800
Tavares, Florida 32778

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For immediate release - December 28, 2005

Lake County city to celebrate its railroad history Jan. 6

TAVARES — A unique railroad display of art and artifacts is coming to Lake County during the month of January.

Railroad history and art in Tavares

The City of Tavares, in partnership with Inland Lakes Railway, are presenting an opening reception of an interactive and historical retrospection showcasing railroad history and art on Friday, Jan. 6, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Tavares City Hall display, located at 201 E. Main St., will feature railroad-themed, deco-period artwork and historical railroad memorabilia. Accompanying the display at the opening reception are half-hour train rides at nearby Wooton Park at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

“We have such an extensive history with the railroad that runs through Tavares,” said Tammey Rogers, Administrative Assistant for the City of Tavares. “The railway, from the late 1800s to the 1960s, was an integral part of transportation in those days moving citrus, food and goods. It’s an important part of the City’s history, and City Administrator Dottie Keedy thought we should embrace this part of the City’s history.”

The free reception is open to the public and will include refreshments and live entertainment provided by a fiddler. A highlight of the opening reception is the nominally priced train adventures, $5 for adults and $3 for children.

“Guests can expect a special surprise during the train rides,” Rogers said.

The City’s storied history with the railroad industry began with the Tavares & Gulf Railroad, which was a small branch line that ran from Winter Garden and Ocoee to Tavares from the 1890s until 1969. The railway transported products to and from the citrus groves, quarries and manufacturing plants that were located along the line.

The art and railroad memorabilia display will feature vintage Tavares and Lake County postcards, some dating to the early 1900s, and photographs of the City’s old train depot. Other pieces of railroad memorabilia are items such as lanterns, signage and stepping stools.

The three participating artists for the exhibit are oil painter Polly Podolsky, watercolor painter John De Petrillo and photographer Bonnie Roof. Podolsky has conducted local painting workshops and portrait demonstrations as well as private instruction. She has exhibited her works at major festivals in Central Florida, winning awards and recognition in shows including Winter Park and the Disney's Festival of the Masters.

De Petrillo is the Exhibits Coordinator for Orange County. His watercolors depict the beauty of the steam locomotive of yesteryear. His paintings reflect his passion for history and historic preservation. Roof, a Lake County resident for more than 25 years, is an accomplished digital, print, Web and multimedia graphic artist. She often uses her own digital photographs in her work and is a published amateur photographer and writer.

For more information about the railroad exhibit or reception, call Tammey Rogers at (352) 742-6413.


Contact information:
Christopher Patton
Public Information Coordinator
Office: (352) 343-9609; Cell: (352) 455-0445

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