5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, December 19

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, December 19.

(1) Stephen Peterson receives home

Army Private First Class Stephen Peterson will receive a mortgage-free, net zero energy home in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

During the Republican National Convention in August, the National Association of Home Builders and Operation Finally Home awarded Peterson with the home. He was injured in Afghanistan, losing his right leg below his knee.

The home at 1771 12th Avenue South Peterson will receive is ADA compliant and certified by the Florida Green Building Council.

Peterson is scheduled to receive the keys to his new home at 11:30 a.m.

(2) Columbia Bank sign re-creation installed

A re-creation of the historic Columbia Bank sign will be installed on the USAmeriBank's Ybor City branch in Tampa on Wednesday.

The new 11-foot-tall neon-lighted sign is inspired by Columbia Bank's original Lady Columbia sign of the 1940s and 50s. Columbia Bank opened in 1936 in the building USAmeriBank currently operates in.

"Columbia Bank was an important Ybor institution, and this sign further represents USAmeriBank's mission to preserve the history of the building, with a look to the future," said Shari Middleton, Senior Vice President/Branch Manager.

USAmeriBank renovated the vacant 11,800-square-foot Columbia Bank building and officially opened in March.

(3) Prayer vigil for Newton

The Ministry Center at Oak Grove United Methodist Church will be holding a Prayer Vigil for the families of Newton, Connecticut on Wednesday night.

The prayer vigil will take place on the front lawn of the church beginning at 6:00 p.m. The church is welcoming people of all faiths to join them at the vigil.

The vigil will be held in conjunction with the church's Heaven' Kitchen feeding ministry, which serves those with marginal incomes.

Oak Grove United Methodist Church is located at the corner of Waters and Habana Avenues in Tampa.

(4) Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park Christmas Celebration of Lights

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in Homosassa opens up their annual Christmas Celebration of Lights event on Wednesday.

The seven-day event features a synchronized light and sound display in the Garden of the Springs by Sebastian Hawes.

The Celebration kicks off with a toboggan slide and six tons of snow. Zero Gravity Band will perform in the Garden of the Springs.

The Christmas Celebration of Lights will be open tonight through Christmas Eve and on December 26. The park will open each night at 5:30 p.m. and remain open until 9:00 p.m.

Additional special events will occur each evening during the Celebration. For more information, call the park office at (352) 628-5343, ext. 1002.

(5) Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl Beach Bash

Sirata Beach Resort hosts the annual Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl Beach Bash on Wednesday afternoon.

Football players from the University of Central Florida and Ball State University will attend the Bash. There will be chicken wing eating, hula hoop and belly flop contest.

The Beach Bash runs from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

UCF will take on Ball State in the Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl at Tropicana Field on Friday night. The game will be televised on ESPN. Kick off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

For more information on all Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl events or to purchase tickets to the game, visit www.stpetersburgbowl.com .

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