News and Events

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County Sponsors the Annual Sebring Soda Festival
April 9, 2023

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County was thrilled this year to have the opportunity to be the Entertainment Sponsor for the 2023 Sebring Soda Fest hosted by the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce and the Sebring Soda Shop. The Sebring Soda Festival is an exciting family-friendly 3-day festival, and 2023 was its sixth year in downtown Sebring. It is a unique opportunity to showcase the small town feel of the beautiful downtown Sebring area while promoting a family-friendly event that everyone can enjoy. With hundreds of craft sodas available for sampling, along with a classic car show, live entertainment, art/craft vendors, pop-up retail storefronts, a variety of food options, and kid zones, it is truly a perfect event for people of all ages!

The Partnership has sponsored this event in the past several times, in fact, after the first year, the Chamber of Commerce signed a tobacco free event policy for all chamber events. Since then, they have been very supportive of tobacco free event and venue policies. Having the Chamber of Commerce be an extra voice in favor of these policies is very helpful when approaching others to follow suit. They have access to a multitude of businesses, community leaders, and others who may either be interested in adopting a tobacco free organizational policy, or who can champion for these policies. In addition, the exposure this event receives is a great outlet for the Partnership and SWAT to increase awareness of the dangers of tobacco/vape use and welcome the support of community members willing to become involved in the movement towards a healthier community.

For the past few years, creating a safer environment by pushing for more tobacco-free events in Highlands County has been at the forefront of our focus. In fact, the Tobacco Free Partnership worked with the Greater Sebring Chamber of Commerce at writing and implementing a tobacco-free events policy, along with a tobacco-free worksite policy. The Chamber hosts a multitude of events every year in which thousands of community members in Highlands County attend. This tobacco-free event policy states that all chamber functions and events will be tobacco-free. “The reach of this policy is incredible,” said Jessica Carlson, Community Health Advocate for QuitDoc Foundation. “Not only does it benefit thousands of people that attend these events, it is also a great way to showcase the value tobacco free event and venue policies, ultimately encouraging other organizations and venues to follow suit.”

Tobacco Free Events provide endless benefits to community members by allowing them to enjoy an event with the worry of being exposed to secondhand smoke or vapor, providing an environment that shows youth, tobacco use is not the norm, and by supporting those that have made the difficult decision to quit the use of tobacco.  Tobacco is the number preventable cause of death and disease and Tobacco Free Events send a very important message that the community’s health and well-being are a priority.  Together, we can reduce the toll of tobacco on our community through Tobacco Free Events.