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Not turkeys in the sky, but some avid divers

Competitive skydivers make the leap at Skydive City's annual Thanksgiving Boogie and Turkey Meet.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 24, 2000

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Most people eat turkey over Thanksgiving weekend. Or watch football. Or go shopping. Or start decorating for Christmas.

But skydiving?

That's what a group of avid thrill-seekers from all over the world will spend time doing during Skydive City's annual Thanksgiving Boogie and Turkey Meet.

The event, held near Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, has been going on since Monday and will continue through Sunday.

Among the planned events are high altitude jumps from 22,000 feet and a variety of organized skydiving competitions. Some of the competitions feature up to 16 divers at a time in one formation.

"It's a lot of skydivers in one place doing a lot of jumping all at once," said Tracy Karcher, an employee at Skydive City. "It's good fun."

Karcher said despite the planned skydives throughout the weekend, the annual event isn't a festival with vendors and such. Still, people are invited to come watch, Karcher said.

Skydive City has been in business in Zephyrhills since 1990. In 1998, the business set a new world record with 188 skydivers forming two separate formations on one skydive.

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Headline: Exhibit features native tools

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ZEPHYRHILLS -- The latest exhibit at the Zephyrhills Depot Museum highlights a group of American Indians that were around long before the Mayflower ever touched American soil

The exhibit, "300' x 35 Miles: Corridor to the Past," examines archaeological discoveries in Hillsborough County along the stretch of what now is I-75.

Artifacts recovered from the sites show the evolution of early Indian stone technology from about 12,000 through about 4,000 years ago.

Fran Paarlberg, traveling exhibits coordinator for the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, said the exhibit focuses on a slice of Florida history most residents don't know about.

"So many people don't realize the environment that was in Florida in those early prehistoric days," Paarlberg said. "They have no idea the state was much larger. The coast extended 100 miles west of St. Pete. It was a very different landscape."

The exhibit includes artifacts such as spear and arrow points, scrapers, choppers and other stone technology. Paarlberg said the display has been popular since it was created in 1986. It arrived in Zephyrhills at the end of October and will stay through the end of August.

Kathleen Burnside, director of library and museum services for the city, said the exhibit has a great amount of local appeal.

"I think it's great because it's something from this area. A lot of people are into the history of the area," Burnside said. "People relate to what's around here, and I think that's what's great about it."

She said the museum will be closed for Thanksgiving weekend but will resume its normal hours, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Tuesday. The museum, located near the railroad tracks at 39110 South Ave., is open every Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.

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