Lakewood Ranch residents are accustomed to gathering at live music events, shopping at the neighborhood farmers' market and working out at local gyms. With most of those activities curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, neighbors are finding a new place to get together: online. Lakewood Ranch has begun posting a number of livestreams that showcase different activities and individuals, as a way of keeping people in touch when they can't meet up in person.
"We're such a social community," says Monaca Onstad, Lakewood Ranch's director of community relations and the brainchild behind the new video initiative. The events have been streamed on Lakewood Ranch's Facebook page, and residents can also join in via Zoom. According to Onstad, it's not just Lakewood Ranch residents who are tuning in. People in other parts of the country are also logging on, and anyone is welcome to join in.
The neighborhood produced its first full slate of programming last week. The lineup included a virtual happy hour with local musicians performing in their homes, fitness tips from local trainers, guided meditation sessions and, on Sunday, an emotional gospel brunch performance. "I was tearing up by the end, the music was so good," Onstad says. "I needed to be uplifted a bit." Most of us do, too.