Yep, you read that right. It’s not a typo. It was an Octoberfest held at the Bok Tower in Lake Wales. Last weekend we decided to check it out. I had been wanting to go see Bok Tower for the longest time. Now that family is visiting Florida, it seemed like the perfect time. Driving onto the grounds, I was excited to see the Tower in the distance. Of course, the first thing we saw from the parking lot was all of the tents and vendors for the Fest. It seemed that most of the vendors were selling plants. Even so, I do wish I had taken more photos of the plants I saw that I really liked as possibilities at my house. Oh, well, I probably wouldn’t have bought any anyway since my brother was driving and it was his car! Anyone interested in learning more about Bok Tower and the gardens can click here.
There is a Visitor Center that has loads of information and displays. The picture below is from the Exhibit Hall. There are historical displays about Edward Bok’s life, as well as the history behind the Singing Tower and Gardens.
I was pretty disappointed at how the pictures I took of the Tower came out. But these were all taken with my iPhone 5 so I can’t expect professional quality! Naturally, with the Fest going on, the grounds were pretty well occupied.
The marble, stone and tiles that were used in building the Tower are beautiful. It’s hard to try and describe with words.
The various sculptural details represent themes of nature, humanity, the Bible and philosophy. The picture below depicts a man sowing a garden.
The sundial on the south side of the Tower was set in place on October 26, 1928. The gnomon, which indicates time by casting a shadow on the dial face, is made with a bronze rod supported by a bronze snake – the ancient symbol of time. The hours are marked by the 12 signs of the zodiac. A correction table for different periods of the year is located at the base of the sundial. The carved writing reads:
This singing tower
with its adjacent sanctuary
and presented for visitation
to the American people
by Calvin Coolidge
President of the United States
February the First
Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Nine
The Great Brass Door on the north side of the Tower depicts the Book of Genesis, starting with the creation of light and ending with Adam and Eve being ousted from the Garden of Eden.
The plaque below reads:
Edward Bok born October 9, 1863, at Den Belder, The Netherlands, died within sight of this Tower January 9, 1930. At his request, his family placed his grave in the lawn in front of the Great Brass Door. Coming to the United States as a poor immigrant boy of six, he achieved success as a writer and editor. Late in life he created the sanctuary as a place of repose for the human spirit, built the Tower with the great carillon as its central accent, and presented them to the American people for visitation as the thanks for the success they had given him.
As a side note, I did not realize that he had been the Editor of The Ladies Home Journal for 30 years!
The picture below is of the original carillon keyboard. The Tower has 60 carillon bells.
I have never in my life seen such huge lily pads — nor did I even realize anything like these existed! I made the remark that they didn’t look real and was quickly informed that they definitely are real!
There is so much more. We ran out of time and energy and didn’t see all there was to see. I plan on going back and walking some of the nature trails and maybe even picking up a plant or two.
My last two photos are of a HUGE spider that had spun a web between two trees and was not far away from the Tower. Even with my zoom I couldn’t get as close a shot as I wanted. In the photo on the left, if you look hard enough, you can just make out the shadow of his web. Let me just state again — this spider was BIG!!