In the past few months, The Highlands Tea Party has been moving forward with great vigor. In addition to the weekly guests – both in person and via Zoom presentations, the Tea Party has engaged in a number of different events. 

Memorial Day is a very special day, and three dozen of our members turned out for a Memorial Flag Wave on Highway 27 in front of the Fairmount Cinema Square shopping plaza in Sebring. Organized by Wayne Sisson, it is the first of a number of public, patriotic demonstrations.

It also was the first appearance of our new white pop-up tent, and Wayne brought out the Tea Party float. Our thanks to Alan Boyd for bringing his vintage Jeep as part of the display.

In April, it was our pleasure to present Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Karen Healy with a plaque honoring her predecessor, the late Penny Ogg, with a plaque commemorating her service to Highlands County. It reads, “Lifetime Recognition Award in Memory of Penny Ogg; ‘In remembrance and Honor of Your Selfeless and Timeless Dedication to the Citizens of Highlands County as Supervisor of Elections 2013-2021’ Presented by the Highlands Tea Party.”

It now hangs over the front desk at the Highlands County Supervisor of Elections Office.

We only were able to get one event off in the month of March – Javita McKinney, Linda Montalbano, Mary Romer, John Larsen along with Sandra and Barry Foster spent a very windy two days at the Heritage Festival located at the Edna Pearce Lockett Estate. It was difficult to keep things on the table at times – but the group reached a lot of folks.

Outreach Committee braves the wind at the Edna Pearce Lockett Estate.

It was a very busy February, We started the month by spending ten days at the Highlands County Fair. We ended up with a double booth, shared by the Tea Party, Americans for Prosperity and The Heartland Herald. We appreciate all the members who came and staffed the booth during the exposition.

Our members decorating the double booth.

It was a great experience. We met and spoke with supporters who knew all about us, people who had heard of us and wanted to hear more, and those who had not heard of us and were interested in hearing our message. It also was the site of our first official TikTok video which can be seen here.

We ended the month with many of our members accompanying members of Americans for Prosperity to meet a number of friendly legislators in Tallahassee. The AFP really has served as the action arm of the Highlands Tea Party. The AFP makes calls to citizens and legislators about pending statewide legislation and has leadership courses that help our members to be prepared, informed and ready to preserve, protect and defend ourselves and our children.

It has become a great partnership

Highlands Tea Party Chairman Barry Foster talks with Florida Representative Kaylee Tuck in Tallahassee.

The Highlands Tea Party, in cooperation with Ridge Florist and Ridge Water Filter Systems, started the year by presenting the movie “In Search of Liberty,” There were two showings – at 5pm and 7pm at The Champion for Children’s Circle Theater on the historic Circle in downtown Sebring.

The film shows how our U.S. Constitution: is one of three milestones of freedom in human history. It depicts how in 1787 and the U.S. Founders concocted a form of government that exists for the purpose of serving its citizens. It began with The Declaration of Independence where our Founders wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In Search of Liberty is a relatively short film (about an hour an a half) that is fun for the whole family. We are hoping to screen it again for a wider audience.

We ended 2021 in December as number of our group including Chairman Barry Foster and his wife Sandra, Treasurer Nadine Tedstone, Events Chair John Larsen, Rapid Response Committee Chair Randy Surber and others rode out to Sarasota National Cemetery to place wreaths on the graves of veterans who paid the ultimate price, as part of the annual Wreaths Across America program.

Highlands Tea Party members participated in the annual Wreaths Across America.

Thanks to members Wayne and Pat Sisson, the Float Committee constructed a trailer which we took through the Avon Park Christmas Parade, delivering a Merry Christmas message from the Highlands Tea Party.

We have had opportunities to dine together. That began with a great get-acquainted mixerback in Apil. Later, we gathered for a summertime barbecue dinner sponsored by The Americans for Prosperity.

More than 70 Highlands Tea Party members gathered for a barbecue and fellowship sponsored by the AFP.

We have had a number of flag waves as well. One of course was for Flag Day, the other, was to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack that felled the Twin Towers in New York, damaged the Pentagon and resulted in the deaths of civilians in a field in Pennsylvania. That one may well have been our most successful to date. Despite the hot weather, nearly four dozen of us met in front of Boom Boom Guns & Ammo and were greeted by a chorus of car and truck horns accompanied by many thumbs-up.

We also had a Veterans Day Flag wave, thanks to efforts of our membership, in addition to the American Flags we had flags from all the services including; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Space Force.

Dozens of members of the Highlands Tea Party gathered to commemorate Veterans Day,

   Thanks to a grant from the Alan Jay Automotive Network, the Highlands Tea Party o copies of the obtained a thousand copies of the United States Constitution. Of those, 800 were given to Highlands County senior high school students for use in their government classes. The balance will be given out to the general public at no additional charge.

Tea Party Vice Chair Bob Gilmore presents 800 US Constitutions to Highlands County School Superintendent Brenda Longshore with a representative of the Alan Jay Automotive Network.

In fact, our Hospitality Committee gathered at a local Independence Day celebration to hand them out to those arriving to enjoy the fireworks and America’s birthday.

  Crowds for the Highlands Tea continue to grow They have been packing the meeting hall with between 70 and 90 individuals on any given evening. Many of the new attendees have found that our meetings are a great place to meet new people of like mind, to discuss the topics of the day, find great projects which to enjoy, and make new friends.

Discussing politics is the order of the day at the Highlands Tea Party.

The Highlands Tea Party meets Tuesday evenings at the Vietnam Veterans of America Hall, 33565 Grand Prix Drive in Sebring (behind the Wal-Mart). The meetings commence at 6pm with a social time at 5:30. Doors open at 5:00pm.