This section will provide general information about the west central part of Florida and specifically Pinellas County, where the majority of Lithuanians have established their vacation homes or permanent residences.
The Florida peninsula of Pinellas is surrounded by water on three sides, including the Gulf of Mexico on the west and Tampa Bay on the east and south. In addition, Boca Ciega Bay divides the beach communities from the rest of peninsula. Most wellcome area for Lithuanians is the southern part of Pinellas county encompassing cities such as St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, So. Pasadena, Gulfport, Seminole and of course St. Petersburg itself.
Pinellas County also is a host to three major league baseball team's spring training camps, several professional golf tournaments, greyhound racing at Derby Lane and auto racing at Sunshine Speedway. Cultural respite is provided by various museums including world famous Salvadori Dali Museum. One can enjoy theatrical performances and concerts at Eckerd Hall, Mahaffey Theatre downtown or dance to famous bands at the Colliseum Ballroom.
For those who enjoy their leisure, the area has 250 recreational parks (most popular being Fort DeSoto Park), 49 golf courses, 623 tennis courts, 135 marina and and boat facilities, and 34-mile paved Pinellas Trail for walking, biking and inline skating.
As a beach hot spot the area is unparalleled, with white sand pristine beaches that stretch uninterrupted for more than twenty miles from a tip at Pass-a-Grille past St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Redington Beach, Bellair Shores up to Clearwater and further north. For a shopping pleasure there are several good size Malls: Tyrone Mall, Seminole Mall, Countryside Mall etc, and a huge Ellenton Outlet Mall some 40 minutes away.
At night the county goes from a peaceful beach venue to an exiting hot spot with plenty of clubs and fine restaurants to amuse even the most wordly of travelers. Vinoy Renaissance Resort in St. Petersburg and Don Cesar Resort "the Pink House" in St. Pete Beach have no equals in the country.
In addition, Pinellas County has more than 1,200 manufacturing companies including 107 medical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The county also has 80 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, 16 high schools. Other well balanced academic environments include St. Petersburg Junior College, University of South Florida Campus, Stetson University College of Law and several Institutes and University extensions.
No one really knows how many Lithuanians live in the area. Some count in hundreds, others believe, truer figure might be a few thousands. Lithuanian- American Club boosts over 500 dues paying members alone. But no one disputes that warm sea breezes and warm sunshine (Pinellas county guarantees 360 sunny days in a normal year) of one of the nature's most attractive climates, makes it a pleasure to live and enjoy leisure lifestyle almost year round.
World famous tourist attractions such as Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, Universal Studios are some two hours away, and Busch Gardens and Adventure Island is just across the Bay of Tampa. Very convenient and modern Tampa International Airport, gateway to any part of the world, is only 35-40 minutes away.
Community dinners are being served every Sunday after the Mass (approx. at 2:15- 2:30 pm).A regular sumptiuos dinner plate costs $10.00 per person. Coffee and a slice of raisin "babka" or sweelroll is included. Tickets are sold at the door or prior reservations can be made by contacting Laimute Alvarado, (727) 360-1064 . Following the dinner, secretary introduces all the first time visitors at the Club. Then the president reads the announcements of the coming events, introduces special speakers, performers or, if available, shows short film clip from Lithuania on a huge TV screen.Every Sunday one can meet people from around the States and Lithuania. And the final Sunday treat is the presentation of News Summary from Lithuania (selected from Lithuanian papers and News Services). The main Club hall can accamodate approx. 250 people. There are two smaller rooms which can hold up to fifty persons each. During the week and Saturdays Club can be rented for special events by contacting Vilius Juska - telephone: (727) 368-0523
The Holy Mass in Lithuanian is being offered every Sunday at 1:00 pm. Lithuanians in St. Petersburg area don't have their own Church building but lease facilities from a Gulfport parish - thus the late hour for the Lithuanian Masses. The Lithuanian Franciscan Father's have established St. Casimir's Mission in St. Pete Beach and provide priests to cater for the Lithuanian religious needs. Franciscans have a vacation home and a small Chapel at 555 68th Ave. , St. Pete Beach, FL 33706-2004. Daily Masses at the Chapel are offered at 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning. To support Mission St. Casimir Mission Committee was formed (Vilius Juska - president) which collects donations from church members and is responsible for payments of obligatios,supplies and other incured costs.
The Consulate is open Thursdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Phone messages left on an answering machine will be answered in a most timely way.Electronic mail can be sent by using following address: LTconsulFL@bayprintonline.com
A monthly bulletin published in Lithuanian describes past events, provides information of coming events and has a page or two of advertising. Due to a small subsribtion, in 2010 bulletin was discontinued.