Join us in celebrating our 85th anniversary with up-close-and-personal experiences at the Gardens. We will be open free of charge on Saturday, February 1 in honor of our Dedication Day ceremony and events.Bok Tower Gardens commemorates its 85th anniversary with free admission and a special Dedication Day ceremony on Saturday, February 1 with former U.S. Senator Bob Graham. Your Story Is Our Story is the theme of the day’s event from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The National Historic Landmark was dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge on February 1, 1929 as a gift to the American people from Pulitzer Prize-winning author, humanitarian and world peace advocate Edward Bok. Bok’s grandmother told him to “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it,” which he did throughout his lifetime – and it still guides the Gardens’ mission today.
Crossing the Moat – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.One of the Gardens’ most popular special events, “Crossing the Moat,” gives visitors a rare opportunity to pass through the historic iron gates that surround the Singing Tower for a closer look at the Great Brass Door. Designed by renowned master metal worker Samuel Yellin, the Tower’s imposing door weighs approximately 1,100 pounds and features 32 brass panels depicting the Biblical story of creation.
Dedication Day Ceremony – 11 a.m.Japanese drummers will perform at 10:15 a.m. to invite all present to the Singing Tower for a ceremony featuring the presentation of the colors by the Lake Wales High School JROTC, followed by the singing of “America the Beautiful” by Amelia Updike, community volunteer and friend of Bok Tower Gardens.
Father Tom Seitz, Jr. from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Wales will give the invocation, and the City of Lake Wales will present a proclamation declaring the first week of February as “Bok Tower Gardens Week.”
Former U.S. Senator Bob Graham will speak about the rich history and passion of Edward Bok and the historical importance of Bok Tower Gardens to the State of Florida. This will be followed by a major announcement affecting the future of the Gardens.
Dundee Ridge Middle School “Select Choir,” directed by Cathy Montero, will perform together with Geert D’hollander on the Singing Tower carillon. Complimentary refreshments will be served immediately following the ceremony.
Tree Planting – 2 p.m.In keeping with Edward Bok’s enduring interest in nature, the Gardens will host a special tree planting ceremony at 2 p.m. The trees serve as a memento of the anniversary and a tangible way to follow the advice given to a young Edward by his grandmother to “make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.”
Other February 1 Activities:
- Free Pinewood Estate tours from 10 a.m.to 5 p.m.
- Free greenhouse tours from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Free conservation tours at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 p.m.
- Distribution of 2,500 longleaf pine seedlings for visitors to plant at home
- “A Look Back” exhibit in the Visitor Center featuring lesser-known facts, stories and photographs from throughout the Gardens’ 85-year history