Clermont, FL (Community Profile)

Clermont is one of the fastest growing communities in Central Florida. Located 22 miles west of downtown Orlando in Lake County, Clermont has grown from a small rural town of around 7,000 people in 1990, to over 32,000 people today. It has become a hot spot for new development in the past decade or so, offering all the suburban conveniences yet far enough removed from the heavy tourist areas.

A popular spot for young families looking to find great, affordable homes as well as retirees. Clermont has recently been named “Best Places to Retire” by both Forbes and Money magazines, and is home to several premiere 55+ Active Lifestyle Communities. If you like fishing, boating and water sports, the Clermont Chain of Lakes covers all your aquatic needs.

Don’t worry, you are still right around the corner from Orlando area attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World.  This could be just the community for you!

Check out our video profiling the Clermont area…

Minor League Baseball Returns to Orlando!

The Florida Fire Frogs are the newest professional sports franchise in the Orlando area.  The Brevard County Manatees relocated to Kissimmee following the 2016 season and will play it’s first season at Osceola County Stadium this Spring. Read More

Continue reading “Minor League Baseball Returns to Orlando!”

Awful Weatherman Returns!

He’s back folks!  Remember the viral internet sensation the Awful Weatherman?  Well, Louis Badalament has been living here in the Orlando area and he’s given us another broadcast of the local weather that will not disappoint.

Don’t forget your umbrella!

 

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

January 2017 Events in Orlando

Mark your calendar…Below is a schedule of some great upcoming Orlando events January 2017!   

Winter Music Series

January 07, 2017 – January 28, 2017

Location: Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Clermont, FL

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Each Saturday afternoon during the month of January, Lakeridge Winery holds its famous Music Series, featuring live bands on the outdoor stage. The musicians selected are all fantastic performers, hand-picked from the wealth of talent located throughout Central Florida. Lakeridge wine, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food is available for purchase, along with complimentary Winery tours and tasting.

MLK Jazz and Blues Cookout

January 7, 2017

Location: John H. Jackson Center 1002 Carter St., Orlando

LINK: CLICK  

Description: Join Commissioner Regina I. Hill of District 5, Drop D No Limits Foundation and the Downtown Development Board Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m. for the 4th annual MLK Jazz & Blues Cookout at the John H. Jackson Center. 

Wicked (Musical)

January 11, 2017 – January 29, 2017

Location: Dr. Phillips Center – Walt Disney Theater

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Back by popular demand! Variety calls Wicked “a cultural phenomenon,” and it continues to break box office records and sell out in record time. Winner of over 100 international awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, Wicked is “Broadway’s biggest blockbuster” (The New York Times). Long before that girl from Kansas arrives in Munchkinland, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One—born with emerald green skin—is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these two grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for “the most complete — and completely satisfying — new musical in a long time” (USA Today).

Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus Xtreme

January 12, 2017 – January 16, 2017

Location: Orlando’s Amway Center

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Features artists who redefine the word extreme in everything they do, magnifying traditional elements of the circus and combining them with never-before-seen spectacles, original fast-paced performances and incredibly hilarious moments.  The multi-year tour offers extreme thrills, exotic animals and extraordinary performers that add up to the ultimate family entertainment experience.

Dinosaur Invasion at Leu Gardens

January 13, 2017 – April 30, 2017

Location: Harry P. Leu Gardens

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Discover what life was like millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth!  This one-of-kind, outdoor exhibit features life-like prehistoric creatures throughout the 50-acre botanic garden.  Creator Guy Darrough, an accomplished fossil expert and collector, meticulously crafts each dinosaur carefully for authenticity.  The beauty and scientific replicas range in size from 14 inches to a massive 33 feet.

12th Annual Otronicon

January 13, 2017 – January 19, 2017

Location: Orlando Science Center

LINK: CLICK

Description: Experience the latest, greatest and retro favorites at Otronicon. A spectacular display of interactive technology, games and simulation. Whether you are in the tech industry or just have a passion for learning, Otronicon engages guests of all ages to imagine the possibilities of the ever-growing and diverse digital media industry.

Lewis Black Live: Rant, White & Blue (Comedian)

Saturday, January 14

Location: Hard Rock Live Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Lewis’ live performances provide a cathartic release of anger and disillusionment for his audience. Lewis yells so they don’t have to. A passionate performer who is more a pissed-off optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon, Lewis is the rare comic who can cause an audience to laugh themselves into incontinence while making compelling points about the absurdity of our world.

SW Orlando Jaycees Downtown Orlando MLK Parade

Saturday, January 14

Location: Northwest Lawn 512 East Washington Street Orlando

LINK: CLICK

Description: Martin Luther King, Jr Parade featuring prominent community and civic organizations, leaders and dignitaries. A caravan of our local small and minority businesses and teh nations most talented marching bands. The theme for the 2017 King Day celebration is “Remember, Celebrate, and Act….King’s Legacy of Peace with Justice for Our World.”

Praise Wave Music Festival

Saturday January 14, 2017 –  January 28, 2017

Location: SeaWorld Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: With the return of Praise Wave®, guests can celebrate Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Uplifting, live concerts from the hottest names in Christian music will light up the stage at Nautilus Theater. Guests can also enjoy SeaWorld’s thrilling rides, shows and attractions.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile

January 20 – February 19, 2017

Location: Mad Cow Theatre, 54 W Church St, Orlando, FL

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Einstein and Picasso walk into a bar. Sounds like an opening of a classic joke…In the hands of comic-genius-turned-playwright Steve Martin it becomes so much more: an exploration of creativity, physics, and one-night stands played out in hilarious and thoughtful fashion. Ostensibly set in 1904 Paris, in th moments before Einstein and Picasso’s geniuses blossom, their worlds collide in the most commonplace of fashions… and the 20th century is born. What’s next? Believe it or not, the play has that answer too!

2017 Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza

January 20, 2017 – January 22, 2017

Location: 2929 S Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The Lake Apopka Wildlife Festival & Birdapalooza is a weekend event that is perfect for birders visiting Florida or locals wanting to learn more from well-known, knowledgeable birding guides. You can add to your life list while exploring a unique birding area.

Brahms Symphony No. 3

January 21, 2017

Location: Bob Carr Theater

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The Philharmonic honors John Adams with performances of two of his most well-known works. Eighteen year-old American Carmen Knoll will perform Rachmaninoff’s spectacular Third Piano Concerto. The program ends with the first Philharmonic performance of Brahms’ Symphony No. 3.

2017 Monster Jam

January 21, 2017

Location: Camping World Stadium

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Monster Jam® is the most action-packed live event on four wheels where world-class drivers compete in front of capacity crowds in both monster truck racing and freestyle competitions. Celebrating 25 years of adrenaline-charged family entertainment, Monster Jam combines spontaneous entertainment with the ultimate off-road, motorsport competition. Monster Jam features the most recognizable trucks in the world including Grave Digger®, Max-DTM, El Toro Loco®, Monster Mutt® and many more. Monster Jam events leave you on the edge of your seat as these competitors thrill fans with jaw-dropping displays of gravity-defying feats.

The 5k Zombie Run Orlando

January 21, 2017

Location: Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S Hiawassee Rd, Orlando

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Run for your life from flesh hungry Zombies through a 3.1 mile trail run where ZOMBIES are the obstacles!

Florida Wedding Expo 2017

January 22, 2017

Location: Orange County Convention Center

LINK: CLICK 

Description: The First and Biggest Wedding Expo of the Year!!! Find everything for your wedding… all in one place, in one afternoon!

In the Mood (Musical)

January 27, 2017

Location: Dr. Phillips Center

LINK: CLICK

Description: Hop aboard the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” to “Tuxedo Junction” and get “In the Mood” to hear a “Moonlight Serenade” performed by a 13-piece Big Band and six singer-dancers with some hot boogie woogie! In The Mood is a fully staged tribute to Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, The Andrews Sisters and big band greats of the ’40s. Complete with period costumes and choreography, In The Mood celebrates America’s greatest generation who listened and boogied to up-tempo big band rhythms and danced to intimate ballads. Experience the jazzy, brassy, sentimental and patriotic music of the World War II era.

Celebration of Harry Potter

January 27, 2017 – January 29, 2017

Location: Universal Studios Florida

LINK: CLICK 

Description: Be a part of A Celebration of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort™. It’s the only official event where you can celebrate your love for Harry Potter™ and discover more about the Wizarding World. Take part in film talent Q&A sessions, access special panels and demonstrations, and discover many more surprises.

NFL PRO BOWL: AFC vs NFC

January 29, 2017 ** Week Long Events

Location: Camping World Stadium

CLICK: LINK

Description: A week long of fun football events leading up to the big game

** Click this link to see additional Pro Bowl events getting “kicked off” January 24th!! 

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Photo courtesy of http://www.hercampus.com

Alabama-Clemson Have Deep Ties to Florida

In just the third season of the College Football Playoff system, Alabama and Clemson will both play in the National Championship Game for the second time.  Both schools defeated their opponents handily in the Semifinals:  Alabama beat Washington 24-7 in (Chic-a-fila) Peach Bowl and Clemson beat Ohio State 31-0 in (Playstation) Fiesta Bowl.

Alabama edged out a 45-40 victory against Clemson in last year’s game, setting up what should be an exciting rematch.  These two powerhouse programs will face off for the title on Monday, January 9 at 8:00pm (ESPN) in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium.

There are numerous players on both teams that have ties to the Sunshine State.

Two starters on Alabama’s top rated defense are Florida natives, Defensive Backs – Eddie Jackson (Lauderdale Lakes) and Ronnie Harrison (Tallahassee) as well as Wide Receiver – Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek).

Clemson’s roster is loaded with Florida natives (14 players in total), including most of their Receiving core:  Artavis Travis (Clearwater), Deon Cain (Tampa), Ray Ray McCloud (Tampa) and Tight End Jordan Leggett (Navarre).

You can also find ties to Orlando on the Clemson roster.  Deshaun Watson’s backup QB, Freshman Tucker Israel is a graduate of Lake Nona High School and Tight End Garrett Williams is a graduate of The First Academy.  The Bevelle twins (Kaleb and Kelby), both Defensive Ends,  are graduates of Apopka High School, played their first season at Southeastern University (Lakeland).

Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney and the Bevelle twins father, Willis Bevelle were both walk-ons at Alabama in 1989 and played on the Tide’s 1992 National Championship team.  Clemson Offensive Tackle Jake Fruhmorgan (Tampa) is also putting his father, former Alabama offensive lineman John Fruhmorgan, through the similar stress of choosing to root his son’s team (Clemson) or his alma mater (Alabama).

Many will remember Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban’s two year stint as Head Coach of the Miami Dolphins (2005-2006).  Saban finished 9-7 his first season, but dropped to 6-10 in 2006.  In the days following the 2006 season, Saban made the announcement he was signing on with Alabama, in what turned out to be an historic event.

While it is true that both schools maintain bitter rivalries with Florida State (Clemson) and Florida (Alabama), you will find plenty of alumni and fans of both schools when traveling throughout Central Florida.  Clemson recently defeated Virginia Tech at the ACC Championship Game in Orlando and Alabama plays Louisville in the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando this September.

This will be the first College Football National Championship Game ever played in Tampa.  Perhaps given the high profile games played in Orlando in recent years, a future bid for the big game may not out of the question.

Written by Brian Koss of Team Koss, Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Classic in Orlando.  Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Bowl Season in Florida (2016-17)

Florida is the home of College Football from mid-December to the early part of January. No state in the nation will see nearly as much college football action during the annual bowl season.  Post-season has a long history in the Sunshine State.  The Orange Bowl, is the second longest standing bowl game, dating back to 1935.  The Gator Bowl / TaxSlayer Bowl (1946) and Citrus Bowl (1947) are also among the oldest annual games.

In the Bowl  Championship Series (BCS) era, four of the BCS National Championship Games games were played in Miami.  This year, the third National Championship of the College Football Playoff era will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Here’s the full list of Florida bowl games for the 2016-2017 bowl season:

December 17

Autonation Cure Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, 5:30 pm / CBSSN

Matchup:  UCF (American) vs Arkansas State (Sun Belt)

December 19

Miami Beach Bowl, Marlins Park (Miami), 2:30 pm / ESPN

Matchup:  Tulsa (American) vs Central Michigan (MAC)

December 20

Boca Raton Bowl, FAU Stadium (Boca Raton), 7 pm / ESPN

Matchup:  Western Kentucky (Conference USA) vs Memphis (American)

December 26

 St. Petersburg Bowl, Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg), 11 am / ESPN 

Matchup:  Mississippi State (SEC) vs Miami – Ohio (MAC)

December 28

Russell Athletic Bowl, Camping World Stadium (Orlando), 5:30 pm / ESPN

Matchup:  Miami (ACC) vs #16 West Virginia (Big 12)

December 30

Capital One Orange Bowl, Hard Rock Stadium (Miami Gardens), 8pm / ESPN

Matchup:  #11 Florida State (ACC) vs #6 Michigan (Big Ten)

December 31

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, Camping World Stadium (Orlando), 11 am / ABC

Matchup:  #20 LSU (SEC) vs #13 Louisville (ACC)

Taxslayer Bowl, EverBank Field (Jacksonville), 11 am / ESPN

Matchup:  Kentucky (SEC) vs Georgia Tech (ACC)

January 2 

Outback Bowl, Raymond James Stadium (Tampa), 1 pm / ABC

Matchup:  Iowa (Big Ten) vs #17 Florida (SEC)

January 9 

College Football National Championship, Raymond James Stadium (Tampa), 8:30 pm / ESPN 

Matchup:  Winner of Chic-fil-a Peach Bowl (#1 Alabama vs #4 Washington) vs Winner of PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (#2 Clemson vs #3 Ohio State)

If you are in Orlando and looking for more details on our local games (AutoNation Cure Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl or Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl), check out Camping World Stadium and Florida Citrus Sports.

 

Where’s Santa – in Orlando?

If you have young children who are busy making their Wish List for St. Nick, you are likely looking for a place to take the kids to present their Christmas wishes for the man himself. Here’s five festive options for parents looking for those annual photos and holiday memories:

  • Disney Springs is a great place to stroll outside on the grounds of Disney and take the kids to meet Kris Kringle.  Walk up and pick up a pager, walk around to see all the new additions and they’ll buzz you when Santa is ready to visit.
  • Mall at Millennia goes all out with their “Hollyville” set up.  Photo packages are available as well as an option to take your own photos (with a minimum $10 donation to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital).  Check out their website for details about how to get in and their featured video on Santa’s arrival.
  • Florida Mall takes appointments online for meeting Santa.  This is a great way to avoid the long lines and unnecessary stress of the Christmas season.
  • Bass Pro Shop is offering a FREE photo with Santa at all their retail locations nationwide.  Check out the schedule and head down to the Bass Pro at the Artegon Marketplace for kids crafts and other holiday activities.
  • Gaylord Palms has major Christmas happenings, including Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, a Charlie Brown Christmas show and of course pictures with Santa.  Check out their website for a list of all the events and attractions and how to reserve tickets.

December is upon us and the North Pole is getting overloaded with requests. Make sure you get your kids to see the big guy today!

santaflorida
Credit to DF Clifford, Illustrator.  www.dfclifford.com 

2016 Holiday Fun at Orlando Theme Parks

If you are an Orlando local, or planning a trip with the family, there is no better time to visit the Orlando area theme parks than during the holiday season.  Sea World, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World are all being decorated for the season and have many great events taking place from Thanksgiving through New Years.  Here’s a brief overview:

SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration runs from November 25 – December 31 and includes live shows like Shamu Christmas Miracles, a decorated Christmas village and visits from the characters of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  For more details on SeaWorld’s holiday happenings, CLICK HERE.

Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure 

Beginning on December 3-January 1, Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure transforms into Grinchmas.  Catch a live showing of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and listen to the carolers of Whoville.  The New York City tradition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes to the streets of Universal Studios from December 3 – January 1.  Check out the floats, the marching bands and all the excitement that we see on TV every Thanksgiving, here every evening throughout the holiday season in Orlando.

Walt Disney World 

If you’re an annual Disney pass holder or planning a trip to Disney World, the holidays will make your visit extra magical.  If you aren’t planning a trip to the parks, you can always visit Santa and walk through the Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs.  But, rather than rewriting all the great features at the Disney Parks available this holiday season, I’ll defer to the work already done by Disney Tourist Blog.  This article gives you a full scope of all the Christmas time Disney magic your family will need.

disneyxmas

Why Florida is the Most Coveted Swing State

On November 8th, Americans will elect a new President and Floridians will choose a US Senator, members of Congress and many state legislative and local officials.  It could be said that; so goes Florida, so goes the nation.  Here’s a few facts about how Florida is a critical player in national elections:

  • Florida has 29 Electoral Votes, tied with New York for the third most of any state. Only California (55) and Texas (38) have more.  As you may know, the Electoral College (not the popular vote) determines the outcome of the Presidential election.
  • Florida is considered perhaps the most coveted “swing state” in the country.  In the past couple decades, California and New York have leaned heavily Democratic, whereas Texas has leaned heavily Republican.  This leaves Florida’s 29 Electoral Votes as the largest prize for a state that is not locked in for one party.
  • The winner of the last four Presidential elections has won the state of Florida.  President Obama won Florida in 2012 and 2008.  President Bush won Florida in 2004 and 2000.  Many of you will remember the Florida recount in 2000, in which George W. Bush only won by just 537 votes.
  • Florida has a very diverse electorate.  Florida is the retirement capital of the US, meaning over 19% of the state’s population is 65 or older.  These retirees come in from many of the Northeast and Midwest states.  Only one third of Florida residents are native born Floridians and Florida is taking in hundreds of thousands of new residents each year.  23% of Floridians were born outside the continental United States; many of those migrating from US territory of Puerto Rico.  Cuban immigration is also larger (by far) in Florida than any other state.
  • Geographically speaking, the northern parts of Florida (Panhandle and Jacksonville area), tend to lean heavily toward Republicans, where as Southeast Florida (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach), tend to lean heavily toward Democrats. These means the battleground areas are all across Central Florida, otherwise known as the I-4 Corridor. The Presidential candidate who wins Florida will have to convince voters in the greater Daytona, Orlando and Tampa areas that they are best fit to lead the nation.

Absentee and early voting is already taking place across the state.  If you are unsure the whereabouts of your local precinct voting location, or you’d like information on locations for early voting, contact your local county Supervisor of Elections.

Click here for Supervisor of Elections in your county or enter your search your county Supervisor of Elections online:

Lake County SOE

Orange County SOE

Osceola County SOE

Seminole County SOE 

Whatever your candidate, party or preference, if your live in Florida, your vote truly matters!

vote_2016_morris

Orlando, Football City

While you may have seen a lot around town about Orlando City “futbol,” quietly Orlando has become a destination for major college and pro football games.  Most recently, the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced it would be hosting its conference championship game in Orlando at Camping World Stadium (formerly known as the Citrus Bowl) on December 3rd.

campaingworldkickoff2016
 Inaugural Camping World Kickoff  9/5/16                 (Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel)

The ACC Championship will likely include a matchup between top rated teams playing for a spot in the College Football Playoffs.  While there’s still plenty of football to play, if the game were held today, it would feature the #3 Clemson Tigers vs the #17 Virginia Tech Hookies.   The first annual Camping World Kickoff was held on Labor Day this year, where the Florida State Seminoles staged a huge second half comeback against the Ole Miss Rebels.  Next year’s game will feature the Alabama Crimson Tide vs the Louisville Cardinals.  The 2018 game will be an inner state showdown between the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes.

December is a busy month at Camping World Stadium.  After the ACC Championship game, the best high school teams in the state will gather for their respective division’s state championship games.  The Autonation Bowl on December 17, created in 2014, features a matchup between the Sun Belt Conference and American Athletic Conference, with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. On December 28, the Russell Athletic Bowl will feature a big matchup between the ACC and Big 12.  Last year, Baylor defeated North Carolina and in 2014 Clemson beat Oklahoma.  The Russell Athletic Bowl has been played in Orlando since 2001.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl is one of the longest standing College Football Bowl games, beginning in 1947.  From 1947-1982, the game was originally known as the Tangerine Bowl.   For many years, the game has had a tie-in with ranked schools in the Big Ten and SEC.  In last year’s game, the #14 Michigan Wolverines defeated the #19 Florida Gators.  This year, for the first time in the game’s history, it will take place on New Year’s Eve (December 31), rather than New Year’s Day, due to the CFB Playoffs.

The NFL has also taken interest in Orlando.  The Miami Dolphins played a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons in August and the Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando on January 29, 2017, which will include a week of football related festivities.  This attention has sparked conversation about Orlando’s future with the NFL.  Orlando is one of the largest markets in the country without an NFL team, but it centrally located between Florida’s three NFL teams in Miami, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville.  Florida Citrus Sports has been in talks with these franchises about future games.

Orlando public officials and the Florida Citrus Sports will cite the the $207 million renovation of Camping World Stadium in 2014, as to what made this all possible. The stadium holds 65,000 attendees for sporting events, includes 6,000 club seat and 33 luxury suites.  The upgrades have modernized the stadium to bring it on par with similar venues around the country.

The next several years of at-large college and NFL football could bring more attention to Orlando as a big game destination.  The UCF Knights are even in discussion with the Big 12 about potentially joining their plans for conference expansion.  What’s next?  How about an annual regular season NFL game between the Buccaneers/Dolphins, Dolphins/Jaguars or Jaguars/Buccaneers?  What about UCF rotating a home game with Florida, Florida State and Miami and playing it at Camping World Stadium?  A College Football National Championship?  A Super Bowl?  The future for football in Orlando has many possibilities.