We are cancelling the February and March First Friday events due to the recent appeal from the Polk County Healthcare leadership to avoid unmasked gatherings.  The Lakeland City Commission is scheduled to approve a resolution at its January 15th agenda study to ask the community to refocus efforts on stopping the spread of Covid-19, as the test positivity rate has recently climbed to 16% and healthcare services are strained. First Friday is a social gathering and the themes – Mardi Gras for February and Foodie Fest for March – tend to draw large crowds.

Instead, we are focusing on more socially distanced promotions that encourage visitors to shop and dine in Downtown Lakeland in their own way and at their own pace.  The Farmers Market, however, will remain open to the public. (I explain our reasoning for keeping the Farmers Market running in detail in my letter to the mayor linked here.)

During the week before Valentine’s Day, we will have a week-long Shop, Text, Win: Valentine’s Day Edition shopping promotion. Customers will text the LDDA their receipts for any purchases made in Downtown retail stores between February 8-13. They will receive one entry per every $10 spent. Multiple winners will be chosen to receive Downtown gift cards.

In order to encourage customers to eat at Downtown restaurants, we will have a “March Munch Madness” promotion. One Downtown restaurant per day will be featured on social media, and the general public can enter daily text message contests in order to win gift cards to the featured restaurants.
Finally, we plan to have a weekly Downtown Picture Pursuit–a self-directed scavenger hunt in Downtown Lakeland with prizes for winning teams.
All of these will be promoted with details on this website and social media in the next week or so.
Julie Townsend
Executive Director
Lakeland Downtown Development Authority