Silver Spurs Arena
Osceola Heritage Park
I recently had the opportunity to enjoy the Cheech and Chong show at the Silver Spurs Arena, one of the premier venues at Osceola Heritage Park. Along with Cheech and Chong, 1970’s rock and soul band, War, also performed. Not only was the show a flashback to a simpler, more mellow time in our nation’s history, but the intimacy of the venue allowed each patron to truly believe they were in a time warp!
I want to begin this blog with a short synopsis on Osceola Heritage Park itself. Opened in 2003, OHP, as it is locally referred to, is a 120 acre multi-purpose complex that features five main structures:
- The Extension Services, a joint venture between Osceola County and the University of Florida to handle the agricultural issues of the community, whether that consists of plant life, fruits/vegetables growing or small animal concerns.
- The Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show (KVLS) Pavilion, which hosts large animal events and annually produces the Osceola County Fair.
- The Exhibition Building, home to trade shows, banquets and sporting events, among other activities.
- The Silver Spurs Arena, a 10,000 seat building where rodeos, concerts, conventions and sporting events are the typical occupants of this great building. And,
- Osceola County Stadium, Spring Training home of the Houston Astros for 30 years (renovated in 2003), as well as an additional five field complex for the Astros minor league programs and amateur tournaments.
The Silver Spurs Arena is a unique building, as it was built primarily as a rodeo venue for the local Silver Spurs Riding Club, but has continued to host a plethora of different types of events during the past 11 years. From major conventions, such as the Jehovah Witnesses annual regional gatherings to political rallies for national candidates to amateur sporting events, including wrestling, basketball, weight lifting, gymnastics, cheerleading and martial arts, the Arena has also showcased its share of major performing artists. Opening with Lynyrd Skynyrd and following with acts such as Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Don Henley, Def Leppard, Hall and Oates, Nora Jones, Pearl Jam, Maroon 5, Van Morrison and funny man Jeff Dunham, the Silver Spurs Arena has proven it can handle any event small or large. What makes it adaptable, is the special curtaining system that can reduce the show area and seating down to 1,000 chairs and up to any number from there to just over 10,000.
For the Cheech and Chong show, the seating was right around 2,000 and was just short of a sellout. Tommy Chong’s wife, Shelby, opened the show with her own stand-up comic routine before introducing the two headliners. After a brief question and answer period with the audience, Cheech and Chong then did a couple of their famous routines. War then came on stage and started performing some of their hits, such as Summer and Cisco Kid. Then Cheech and Chong returned to do more comedy bits, then War again performing Spill The Wine, Low Rider and more of their tunes from the 70’s. The show continued in the same vein, with Cheech and Chong taking turns with War on stage. Cheech Marin brought the house down with his parody of Bruce Springsteen’s hit, Born in the USA, with his rendition entitled Born in East L.A. The climax of the show was everyone together on stage performing Why Can’t We Be Friends. All in all, it was a very entertaining two and half hour show complete with video screens highlighting scenes from the 1970’s that included historical events, tv sitcoms and movies from that era. My personal favorite of the evening was Cheech and Chong doing their Santa Claus and His Old Lady routine, explaining how Mrs. Claus made special brownies for the elves and the magic dust that Santa used to get the reindeer off the ground!
Prior to the show, my party had the opportunity to experience the Heritage Club for pre-show food and beverages. The Heritage Club is a fantastic new addition to the Silver Spurs Arena that allows guests to enjoy a private area to dine in prior to and during events at the Arena. There is a full service bar in the center of the room, high cocktail tables and chairs throughout and beautiful photographs adorning all the walls depicting many of the acts and events that have been held at Osceola Heritage Park. Also, there are large television screens everywhere that can show live feeds from events on the complex or other videos. During the pre-show for this event, most of the screens were showing clips from Cheech and Chong’s various movies, while others had the college football games of the day. When there is no event at the Arena, the Heritage Club can be rented for corporate meetings, wedding receptions, holiday parties, etc.
Having been part of the opening of Osceola County Stadium 30 years ago, its renovation 17 years later and the opening of Osceola Heritage Park in 2003, I am extremely proud of all the events that have been hosted over the years and the economic impact that these events have brought to Osceola County. While we are currently exploring a strategic plan that will continue to improve the operations of OHP, I must admit that the Heritage Club is our latest crown jewel to the complex. The class and beauty of the room immediately puts a smile on your face and, as Tommy Chong would say, “it’s far out, man!”