For years families have come together to share picnic blankets, listen to music, and celebrate Independence Day with Lakeland’s Red, White, and Kaboom event. In 2009, the economic downturn found the event without a major sponsor and the city commission had no choice but to call the show off for lack of partnership funding. The day the event was canceled, Tom Mims called the City of Lakeland and told them to keep moving forward with the plans for the celebration. He and his wife, Paula, could not bear to let the festivities die, particularly at a time when so many needed free, fun outdoor activities. Tom and Paula, long supporters of community events, wanted to continue the tradition of families coming together to celebrate our nation’s history and show support to our troops and their families. “We love our country and our community and wanted a time for families to come together and celebrate,” remembers Tom Mims, President of T. Mims Corp, the event’s title sponsor, who has now sponsored the event for 10 years.

Chow For Now, the brainchild of Patrick Mims, was inspired by a dear family friend who thought it would be great to have a canned food drive associated with the event. Everyone who comes to Red, White and Kaboom is encouraged to bring a canned food item or two and turn it in to the multitude of teen volunteers pushing grocery carts around the event. VISTE, Volunteers In Service to the Elderly, is the recipient of the cans. “VISTE does an amazing job of helping the elderly members of our community who have many unmet needs, including a severe lack of nutritional support,” says Paula Mims. Additionally, all monetary donations will go to VISTE. The exclusive purpose is to fight hunger in the greater Lakeland area.

From watermelon eating contests, live music, and food vendors, to voter registration and community fellowship, Red White and Kaboom is the ideal way to spend a fun evening outdoors with family and friends. Be sure and bring your canned food and come enjoy the festivities!