NEWS: ACLU issues travel alert against State of Florida

The ACLU has issued a travel alert against the State of Florida due to a new immigration bill currently going through the Florida Legislature called SB 168 and HB 527. People of color and immigrants are warned that Florida could begin racial profiling, false detainment of U.S. citizens, and even false deportation if the law passes.

“Last month, a report revealed that in just two years after agreeing to work with ICE, Miami-Dade County records showed that 420 people listed as U.S. citizens had false detainer requests issued against them.”

“As recent cases illustrate, U.S. citizens have been kept in jail away from their jobs and families, and they have faced the terror of being told they would soon be deported from their only home. Many have spent time in immigration jail, and some have even been deported. Local police and sheriffs, in turn, have faced immense litigation costs and damages liability to the U.S. citizens they have held for ICE.”

Lawsuits have filed against cities and counties, with Florida taxpayers ultimately footing the bill for false detainers.

Thomas Kennedy, Florida Immigrant Coalition Director, shares, “Taking precious local resources away from law enforcement to further target Floridian families for deportation comes at an extremely high financial and moral cost. The insidious attacks against immigrants on the national level are being amplified by Florida lawmakers pushing for anti-immigrant policies”.

He continues, “Florida lawmakers need to realize that there will be consequences for attacking our families. The world is watching Florida right now, and what we do next as a state will determine whether people will still want to visit us and if industry leaders still feel comfortable doing business with us.”

Tourism is one of the biggest industries in the sunshine state and any kind of travel impact could be detrimental to the state. 118.8 million visitors (not residents) visited Florida in 2017 according to Visit Florida with 14.4 million of those visitors being international visitors. Visitor spending directly and indirectly supports 1.4 million jobs in Florida.

Tourism growth is currently booming in the state and any slowdown would be a tragic turn of events.

Immigrant and civil rights groups releasing the alert are ACLU of Florida, Alianza Americas, Engage Miami, Faith in Florida, Family Action Network Movement, FL Student Power, Farmworkers Association of Florida, FLIC Votes, Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees, Mi Familia Vota, Miami Workers Center, New Florida Majority, Organize Florida, QLATINX, United We Dream, and WeCount!. National partners include: ACLU, Advancement Project, America’s Voice, Community Justice Project, National Latina Institute, Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund, and UndocuBlack Network.

More information:

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Official Florida Blueberry Festival coming to Kissimmee March 28th-March 31st

Can you feel the sunshine? The official Florida Blueberry Festival is coming to Kissimmee from March 28th to the 31st of 2019 at Formosa’s Garden Event Center. Florida Blueberry Season is from late March to April of every year.

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The festival was founded in 2010 and has built a successful for 7 years in Brooksville before relocating this year to Kissimmee.

Over 60,000 people have attended the festival in the past. The event was originally created as a way to promote the burgeoning Florida blueberry industry.

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The event is now a 4-day festival and will feature a Wine Bar presented by The Island Grove Wine Company, a Beer Garden with both craft and domestic choices, Festival Fare Food Court with food concessions, retail, information exhibitors, as as well as fine arts and crafts.

There will be a Juried Art Show presented by Tampa Bay Magazine with a prize of $6,000 up for grabs.

The festival is outdoors and shirt & shoes are required, but dress for the outdoors.

Food vendors include Blueberry Junction, Cousin’s Maine Lobster, Garrett’s Kettle Corn, Cinnamon City, Wisconsin Fried Cheese, Fried Dough Factory, Barbie’s Ice Cream, Swain’s Pizza On A Stick, Blooming Potato’s & French Fries, and more. Come hungry.

FAQ:

  • Tickets cost $10 for admission and $10 for parking and are now available. There is also a special-rate for RV parking.
  • Kids ages 9 and under are FREE.
  • The event is handicap accessible with ADA handicapped parking and portable restrooms available.
  • 3 locations will be available for private-nursing/baby changing for guests.
  • Blankets and folding chairs are allowed.
  • Beer and wine will be available for purchase with valid identification.
  • Event is rain or shine. No refunds will be given.
  • ATMs will be available on-site for a fee.

There will be Florida Blueberries, Florida Blueberry Pie, Blueberry plants, and other blueberry goods as well as a VIP Hospitality Pavillion.

The event will benefit Florida Blueberry Growers Association, The Community Hope Center, The Sunshine Foundation, Autism Society of Greater Orlando, and local non-profits working as staff.

Event name: Official Florida Blueberry Festival

Venue: Formosa’s Garden Event Center

Address: 3050 Formosa Gardens Blvd. Kissimmee, FL 34747

Date & Time: March 28th, 5PM-10PM, March 29th-March 30th, 10AM-10PM, March 31st, 2019, 10AM-5PM

Cost: $10 admission, $10 parking, Kids ages 9 and under are FREE

Buy tickets: http://bit.ly/2FjQK4F

Entertainment: http://floridablueberryfestival.org/entertainment.php

Rise Rise Up Florida 2019 Music Festival March 15th to March 17th

Reggae Rise Up Florida music festival is Friday, March 15th to Sunday, March 17th at Vinoy Park in Downtown St. Petersburg. Enjoy 3 days filled with music, food, art, activities, and good vibes.

Up to 12,000 guests are expected to attend the festival each day. Limited tickets are still available for General Admission and VIP.

Headliners include Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, and Rebelution.  Other acts include Steel Pulse, Pepper, Common Kings, Ziggy Marley, Method Man and Redman, J. Boog, Tribal Seeds, Trevor Hall, Fortunate Hall, and more.

VIP tickets include an official Reggae Rise Up VIP wristband, expedited festival entry, access to the VIP Lounge, Reggae Rise Up festival lineup t-shirt, Reggae Rise Up festival lanyard, premium viewing areas, VIP area bathrooms, and sponsor swag.

Yoga fans can warm up for the music festival with special yoga sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are currently $25 and now available.

Buy tickets: http://reggaeriseupflorida.com/tickets/

There are plenty of food vendors that are going to be at the festival including vegan options. Some menu items include fresh ahi tuna poke bowls, gourmet grilled cheese, jerk chicken, acai bowls, Hawaiian BBQ, gourmet crepes, churros, empanadas, and more so come hungry:

 

FAQ:

  • Festival totems, flags, and signs are welcome and encouraged.
  • Attendees are allowed to bring chairs and blankets to the festival to relax on.
  • The event is family-friendly and kids ages 8 and under are FREE. Strollers are permitted, but must be searched before entry.
  • Event is rain or shine

Event Name: Reggae Rise Up Florida

Venue: Vinoy Park

Address: 701 Bayshore Drive Northeast, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701

Cost: $60+, Kids ages 8 and under FREE

Buy tickets: http://reggaeriseupflorida.com/tickets/

Ages: All ages welcome

Website: http://reggaeriseupflorida.com/

Event Map:

Tampa listed number 11 place to visit in 2019 by Food and Wine

Downtown Tampa Skyline

Popular food magazine Food & Wine put Tampa, Florida on its list of top food destinations to visit in 2019 at number 11 out of 33 in a major win for the Lightning capital. Tampa beat out San Diego, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Portland in the list…to name a few.

The excitement over our new food halls at Armature Works and Sparkman Wharf seems to have much to do with all the press as well as Rooster and The Till. One interesting inclusion on the listing is King State Coffee which has yet to open its doors (although many local shops sell their coffee).

Check out my list of coffee shops to visit in Tampa

Photo via Reddit User u/thetampa2

Hopefully this attention on Tampa means that people will take a deep-dive into the local food scene we have here as well. Time to get writing.

Guide: Don’t miss these Election 2018 voting discounts

Early voting starts in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County on Monday, October 22nd and will go until Election Day 2018 on Tuesday, November 6th.

This Election Day is important with seats such as the race for Governor, House of Representatives, and Senate on the line as well as plenty of amendments and tax proposals.

Learn more about voting in Hillsborough County: http://www.votehillsborough.org/

Learn more about voting in Pinellas County: http://www.votepinellas.com/

Uber and Lyft are providing FREE rides to the polls on Election Day. No excuses.

Some great local businesses will offering perks to voters who show up with their “I Voted” stickers during early voting through Election Day. 

Here is a list of participating local businesses with discounts I rounded up:

  1. Ginger Beard Coffee – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL 33606
  2. Ybor City Wine Bar – One FREE glass of select wine or bubbles. 
    1600 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
  3. Rooster & the Till – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 6500 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  4. Nebraska Mini Mart – Show your “I Voted” sticker and enjoy at 15-percent ‘Neighborhood Love’ discount. 4815 N. Nebraska Ave., Tampa, FL 33603
  5. Bullfrog Creek Brewing Co. – $1 OFF your craft beer.  3632 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico, FL 33596
  6. The Refinery – 10% OFF per person with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5910 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  7. Surf & Turf Cafe – FREE side of fries when you order a sandwich or salad bowl from the cafe with “I Voted” sticker. 101 N Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33602
  8. Angry Chair Brewing – BOGO beer with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6401 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  9. The Lab Coffee Tampa – $1 OFF any espresso beverage with “I Voted” sticker. 1703 W State St, Tampa, FL 33606
  10. Empamamas (Armature Works) – 10% OFF your order with “I Voted” sticker. 1910 N. Ola Ave., Tampa, FL 33602
  11. Mekenita Cantina – 10% OFF your entire order with “I Voted” sticker. 
    6707 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, FL 33604
  12. Independent Bar and Cafe, Tampa – 15% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    5016 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  13. Sulphur Springs Sandwich Shop – 10% OFF to whoever is wearing their “I Voted” sticker. 9000 N. Florida Ave. A, Tampa, FL 33604
  14. Jet City Espresso Seminole Heights – 10% discount off of all coffee/tea drinks with sticker.6601, 5803 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  15. Leaven Brewing – 10% OFF with “I Voted” sticker. 
    11238 Boyette Rd., Riverview, FL 33569
  16. Heights Pizza – 10% OFF to anyone who presents the “I Voted” sticker on pickup or delivery. 7504 N. Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33604
  17. Snobachi – Buy 1, Get One 50% OFF from Tuesday to Thursday with “I Voted” sticker until Election Day. 2206 E. 7th Ave., Tampa, FL 33605, Tampa, FL 33605
  18. Cigar City Brewing – 10% OFF for “I Voted” Sticker on Election Day 2018 (Nov. 6). 3924 W. Spruce St., Tampa, FL 33607
  19. Brew Bus Brewing – FREE house beer to people with “I Voted” sticker (Election Day only). 
    4101 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603
  20. Hemingway’s (Armature Works) – 15% OFF with your voting sticker from now until Election Day! 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602
  21. Coppertail Brewing Co. – Come with your “I VOTED” sticker and get a FREE beer. We are honoring this during early voting through Election Day (one per person on the day you voted please). 2601 E. 2nd Ave., Tampa, FL 33605

Sponsored: National Dance Like a Chicken Day this Monday 5/14 at Pollo Tropical

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Pollo Tropical. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the sponsor.

 

FREE FOOD ALERT! Celebrate National ‘Dance Like a Chicken Day’ on Monday, May 14th at Pollo Tropical®.

Fun fact: The Chicken Dance was my favorite Dance as a kid. I remember auditioning to perform it in elementary school.

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“The unique restaurant brand, famous for its no-antibiotics-ever chicken that’s citrus-marinated for 24 hours, is offering anyone that does the “Chicken Dance” at Pollo Tropical between 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 14 a FREE 1/4 Chicken with Rice & Beans meal!

Simply by dancing their juiciest chicken rendition in homage to the brand’s famous marinade, guests can earn a free Pollo Tropical® 1/4 Chicken with Rice & Beans!

The offer is valid on Monday, May 14 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., only in the dining room (not valid in the drive-thru).

This offer also isn’t valid in combination with any other offers or promotions.”

National Dance Like a Chicken Day is an annual holiday, listed on the National Day Calendar and taking place every year on the same day – May 14th.

SPONSORED: Blinker app innovates car sales, connects buyers and sellers directly

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Blinker. I have been compensated for my time. All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect Blinker. 

Are you in the market to buy or sell a car? Blinker is an app that can help you buy, sell, and search for cars. The app just launched in Florida and buyers are saving an average of $3,000 per transaction.

Most Americans despise shopping for cars. In fact, I was recently in the car market and it was very unpleasant overall dealing with car sales reps and managers trying to take you for a ride for every dollar bill. The worst is when the sales rep try to rush you into a major purchase decision.

Blinker aims to solve these issues by cutting out the middleman and directly connecting buyers and sellers in the car market.

Blinker has handled the car sales transactions for over $57 million in their first 12 months of operations.

The app introduces financing options for buyers and sellers to help them avoid having to use a dealership to cut the deal.

Buying and selling cars with Blinker is supported in Colorado, Texas, California, and Florida right now.

Refinancing is supported in Colorado, Texas, California, Florida, and Georgia.

Blinker does not charge a fee to sell or buy your car. It is FREE to sell and buy your car with Blinker.

Click to download Blinker for iOS or Android: http://goo.gl/7Nbmgv

For a limited time, when you download Blinker, enter my code CARLOSEATS and list your car for sale, you’ll earn $200 when it sells.

Here are some things sellers will need to sell:

  • Proof of ownership
  • Bank account to link
  • Expectations of scheduling a test drive
  • Expectations to prepare paperwork for sale

Sellers will be paid directly to their bank account.

Buyers must be pre-approved for credit before they can make negotiations with sellers. Blinker runs a soft credit check to see if a buyer can be approved for a loan. Blinker is a state-approved lender for transactions as well through their finance arm. The seller is paid in-full and the buyer makes payments to Blinker, if financing is needed.

Blinker verifies the identities of both buyers and sellers, provides complimentary CARFAX documents, and has a 17-point fraud check as well.

There are plenty of reasons to check out Blinker today.

Download Blinker for iOS or Android: http://goo.gl/7Nbmgv

11th Annual Blueberry Festival wraps up this weekend

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Keel & Curley Winery in Plant City. I have been compensated for my work. Any opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect Keel & Curley Winery.

Keel & Curley Winery’s 11th Annual Blueberry Festival will wrap up this weekend on Saturday, April 21st and Sunday, April 22nd. Last weekend drew thousands to the blueberry farm in Plant City.

Families and friends spent the day out on the farm picking blueberries and drinking blueberry wine and beer as well as food from trucks and vendors. Vendors were selling blueberry butter, blueberry jam, blueberry hot sauce, blueberry grilled cheese sandwiches…to name a few.

Keel & Curley is Florida’s second largest winery and makes over 20,000 case of wine a year. It is essentially Florida’s wine country located just over Interstate 4 on Exit 17 near Dinosaur World.

Joey Fatone from *NSYNC showed up last Saturday at the event and wowed visitors as he cooked up some hot dogs and Brooklyn food aboard his food truck Fat One’s Hot Dogs and Italian Ice. He was friendly and took plenty of pictures with fans and guests alike. The food truck will be back this weekend to wrap up the festival.

Guests can enjoy:

  • FREE ADMISSION
  • U-Pick Blueberries (8AM-4PM)
  • Live Music
  • $10 Blueberry Wine
  • Two Henry’s Brewing Co. Blueberry Beer & Cider
  • Limited-Edition Strawberry Shortcake Wine
  • Food & Craft Vendors
  • Kids’ Activities
  • & more

Event Name: 11th Annual Blueberry Festival

Venue: Keel & Curley Winery

Address: 5210 Thonotosassa Rd., Plant City, FL 33565

Dates & Time: Saturday, April 21st, 8AM-6PM, Sunday, April 22nd, 8AM-4PM

Ages: All ages welcome

Cost: FREE to attend, $10 parking

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/896744867165660/

Hurricane Irma Safety Guide: Be Prepared

Hurricane Irma is racing towards Florida and you should make sure you’re ready in case the storm enter the waters of Tampa Bay. As of Tuesday, September 5th, the storm is a Category 5 Hurricane with 185 MPH winds.

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Here are some resources to help you prepare for the storm:

St. Petersburg restaurant features Trump Tower Burger

Boulevard Burgers & Tap House located in St. Petersburg (not in Russia but Florida) will honor President-Elect Donald Trump with a “Trump Tower Burger” special for the month of January. Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration will occur on Friday, January 20, 2017.

Trump Tower Burger

According to a press release, the burger will embrace the traits of Mr. Trump and “his empire” with features that embody him including: “double patties for “Trump Tower” sky-high height, onion straws that embody Trump’s famous blonde locks, and good ol’ American cheese”.

Donald Trump is a well-documented fast food junkie, often frequenting fast food chains instead of local shops during the campaign trail and has been recorded stating he eats fast food because “at least you know what they are putting in it”.

Like many Americans, Donald Trump is considered overweight and has slightly high cholesterol, according to Bloomberg Politics. Trump’s fast food habit led Esquire to state “large obnoxious man enjoys large obnoxious meals”.

The restaurant claims they want to “Make American Cheese Great Again” as well – whatever that means. Boulevard Burgers & Tap House was opened in 2014 on Gulf Boulevard across from St. Pete Beach and features burgers, craft beer, fresh seafood, and live entertainment on weekends.

Boulevard owner, Marco, has establishments throughout New York and St. Petersburg’s Fortunato’s On Central and the Local 662. The management recently acquired De’Lites Ice Cream next to Boulevard Burgers with a new concept planned for Fall 2017.

Boulevard Burgers & Tap House. 5905 Gulf Boulevard, St Pete Beach, FL 33706. (727) 201-4906. blvdburgers.com