Artist of the day: Evelyn Madonia
You've seen her on TV. You know you have. And you've wondered: Who is the woman from the Red Rose Inn?
Evelyn Madonia is the face of the Plant City hotel, a little slice of Branson in eastern Hillsborough County. She used to work for her family's tomato business, but in recent years she has been responsible for bringing glamour back to the land of the strawberry. She schedules live lounge-style performances at the Red Rose most nights, and on weekends the dance floor is packed. She contacts talent agencies to bring in doo-wop groups, Motown singers and celebrity impersonators.
On weekends, after the sun sets and the fiber-optic "stars" shoot across the lounge ceiling, Madonia is in her element. "The music makes you want to dress up," she said. "It makes you want to be fine. All the gentlemen wear tuxedos. They have class. I love music."
In 2009, tbt*'s Jessica Vander Velde profiled Madonia; click here to learn much more about her. And tbt*'s Stephanie Hayes recently checked into the Red Rose Inn for a couple of nights. Click here for her travel guide to Plant City, including details on the live music scene there.
Photo: Skip O'Rourke, tbt* (2009)