Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Fort Rock Festival preview 2018

As Spring Break Fever starts to fill the air, there's one event that is worth marking your calendars for in southern Florida.  Fort Rock will be April 28 and 29 at Markham Park in Sunrise, FL, a two-day event that will feature a plethora of bands.  Saturday will feature Halestorm, Underoath, Bad Wolves...



Five Finger Death Punch



Bullet For My Valentine

Texas Hippie Coalition

Power Trip

On Sunday, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Stone Temple Pilots, Killswitch Engage, Hollywood Undead, Toothgrinder...

Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde

Breaking Benjamin

Stone Sour


Pop Evil

Red Sun Rising

There's still time to get VIP packages at, as well as package deals that include hotel accommodations or commemorative Zippo lighters.  People can buy military tickets by verifying status at GovX, and they can earn a free ticket or swag by selling tickets through the Ambassador Program:

Marisa Williams earned her Master's in Writing at the Johns Hopkins University.  She is the author of more than 100 books, a multimedia journalist, a professor in Florida, and a licensed real estate agent in both Michigan and Florida.  For more by Marisa, visit

Exotic Car Show in Lakewood Ranch, FL

How many car shows have a marching band?  In Lakewood Ranch, the high school marching band roamed through the Exotic Car Show, adding an element of style and class.  With flags twirling and pom-poms shaking, the drums of the marching band had intense flames that matched some of the exotic cars.

From Lamborghinis and Maseratis, to Jaguars and McLarens, there were so many cars to ogle.  Famous movie cars lined the streets, from the long, red and white Ghostbuster’s car, to the original Batmobile, there were life sized cardboard cutouts next to some vehicles, where people could pose next to it, pretending to be with the stars from the movies.  Being able to feel as if in the movies only added to that special spark in the air; with all the exotic cars, it felt as if the place had transformed the Hollywood.

As if transformed to a bygone era, there were classic cars that were rare to see.  Unlike regular classic car shows with Fords and Chevys, this pocket of Sarasota County, Florida, featured the upscale models like Bentleys and Rolls Royces, with models showing the progressive timelines of the vehicles.  Not only were there models from centuries ago, but they had the brand new models without a speck of dust on them.

Plush interiors, many were custom, with raised emblems on the headrests.  From two-tone leathers, to outlandish colors that most people would only dream about, just a glance inside of the vehicles could send one to a dream-like state, mesmerized, fantasizing about taking a little cruise – or maybe picturing flooring the pedal to the medal to see how fast these beauties would go.  Like a kid in a massive candy store, the only problem is deciding which one is the best to select as the ultimate dream car.

Slick curves on the exterior of these vehicles can be better than the curves of the human body.  While many people stand patiently to capture the perfect picture, others are simply standing in awe, jaws dropped.  “So, that’s what a Bentley looks like in person; wow, did you ever think you’d see one?”

Overhearing the conversations of people passing by, people comment on the clean engines that looked as if there had never been a splash of oil or any other contaminant.  There’s nitrous hooked up in some, and people comment how much faster that would make the cars go.  Others marvel at the custom paints, gathering inspiration of what they could do to their own vehicles.

Of course, the police were there.  They had their tactical vehicles there on display.  That way, people could lust in their hearts about playing grown up cops and robbers, being able to plow over a plethora of terrains in order to make a daring rescue when required. 

It’s not very often that there’s a car show of this caliber.  One cannot even imagine how many millions of dollars of vehicles were on display in one location.  These were truly the best of the best of exotics.

As this was the Second Annual Exotic Car Festival, one can only wonder how it might be topped next year.  Presented by the Ferrari Driver’s Group and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, rare vintage Lotus, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, and McLaren were just some of the brands on display.  Though it had free admission for spectators, all of the proceeds from the event were to benefit the North Pole Foundation; the “Flight to the North Pole” is an annual Christmas event providing goodwill and compassion to families with a child suffering from a life-threatening illness or special health problem:
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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Cruise to Englewood's Classic Car Show

Get revved up the first Saturday of each month at the Englewood car show.  Located on Dearborn Street, coming from I-75, take the River Road exit, and follow River Road until it turns into Dearborn Street.  The closer you get to the Gulf of Mexico, the more you will feel as if you are in a time warp.

Classic cars cruise up and down the street, along with outlandish motorcycles, each one cooler than the next.  Between the cars parked along Dearborn and the constant cruisers, you might have to worry about whiplash, as your head will be ping ponging back and forth.  There’s so many cars and bikes to take in, it’s hard to pick a favorite; just as soon as you found a favorite, there will be another one.

Loud engines that sound like boats from the finely tuned machines will cause you to rubberneck, taking in flawless paint jobs that have ghost flames and exotic decor.  One Cadillac trunk has Elvis’ ring-adorned hand reaching out with a note dangling between the massive fins on the back.  Other cars are towing replica golf carts that perfectly match the color and design of the 1950’s, creating the perfect duet.

There’s the coffin rat rod, a custom designed wood coffin-shaped car with spiderwebbed paint and skull emblems.  The fat tires in the back beg to squeal out and show you how powerful the motor is under the hood.  That car was found inside of the classic car shop located on Dearborn called Velvet Hammer Motorcars, which houses a number of cream puff originals that can be purchased by car lovers.

The gamut ranged from softly purring original vintage engines to heart pounding, erratic, finely tuned street cams.  Glance under the hoods to check out the nitrous, and imagine the g-forces making your cheeks peel back when racing the one of a kind classics.  Unique glossy paints show the love put into restoring these muscle cars, which makes for an awesome trip down memory lane when those muscle cars were commonly cruising the streets.

To rest, duck into one of the open-air cafes.  The streets are lined with throngs of admirers and owners eager to share the details of the many hours they have put into their rides.  From cars that were once piles of junk salvaged from farms and lovingly restored, to classics kept in mint condition over the years, the pride and love of ownership of these unique machines is more than evident from small conversation.

Cruise on over, smoke the tires, and squeal out to Dearborn Street the first Saturday of each month.  This is a free event, so it is worth sauntering over to hear the oldies music.  There are prizes given away for people who can identify songs and other contests, making for a good time to be had by all.

If you're more into the exotics, the 2nd Annual Exotic Car Festival will be held Saturday, Feb. 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, FL.  More than 100 exotic cars, including rare Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Lotus, Rolls Royces, McLarens will be on display, along with a display of Swat Team Tactical vehicles from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.  To show your exotic car, contact or (941) 356-4626.

For more by Marisa, visit