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Friday, September 30, 2022

Crawlin on the Chain Brings Lakeside Fun Despite Rain 

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Crawlin on the Chain Brings Lakeside Fun Despite Rain

by James Coulter

The Chain of Lakes is Winter Haven’s most valuable asset, which is why their waterfronts need to be kept clean and beautiful. For nearly 40 years, Project Eagle has been maintaining the lakes’ natural beauty with their annual Earth Day clean-up, and their efforts have been facilitated through the annual Crawlin on the Chain fundraiser.

Hosted last Saturday at Tanners Lakeside, Crawlin on the Chain drew in several dozen attendees to Lake Howard for an afternoon of live music, barbecue, and raffle drawings. Despite the heavy rain and wind earlier that morning, the crowds arrived and grew as the sun shone brighter, said event head Melanie Brown Culpepper.

“We had no idea how it was going to turn out, but as soon as the rain stopped, there were a lot of people turning out today. And now it is looking to be better than I thought,” she said. “I think it turned out better than I thought it would. I think the community will come out and support us no matter what. And it takes us all together to make it happen. They keep coming and we will have an after-party after that.”

Melanie has been hosting Crawlin on the Chain for many years. She appreciates the efforts Project Eagle puts forth to “Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful.” For that reason alone, she continues to host this annual fundraiser to assist them and their annual cleanup.

Joey Foley, a local musician from Auburndale, performed live music that afternoon. He has been performing in the area for nearly 40 years, and he is always more than willing to entertain for local events such as this. As a close friend of Melanie’s, he was especially willing to assist her in her fundraising endeavors.

“She does an amazing job,” he said. “It is always honorable, and she makes my job easier making all these people happy. And we are always able to raise a lot of money for a lot of great causes. I am just honored to be here and be a part of it.”

As for the cause itself, as a lifelong Polk County resident, he loves the natural beauty of his home county, and thus he appreciates efforts to preserve that natural beauty through environmental conservation.

“The overall cause is amazing,” Foley said. “I have grown up in Polk County my entire life. This chain is important to all of us. So the whole part of this thing, and also the cardiac it is an honor to be here.”

Also performing that afternoon was Ian Davis with his band Oaklee. Though originally from Alabama, Davis has lived in Florida most of his life and played his music in Winter Haven. He enjoys being able to mingle and interact with close friends and fans, especially for a cause such as this.

“They come and see us all the time,” he said. “So we are proud to be out here for the cause, and also to put on live music…This is a good turnout. This is amazing. The weather got the best of us, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. I have been here most of my life and the Chain of Lakes means a lot to me, and we love tanners, and we hope it grows around here.”

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