WHAT’S IN A NAME: The term “cracker” as it applies to Florida’s cattlemen has disputed origins. Dating as far back as Shakespeare’s times, it was used to refer to someone offering entertaining conversation, or immigrants and lower-class people. In America’s early years, it referred to the settlers who roamed the frontiers. These “lawless rascals” would eventually roam south to Florida and become the area’s cowboys (or cowhunters or cowmen.) The term now holds pride for those who associate with folk culture, but it is also associated with the cracking of the whip used by herdsmen.
THE ORIGINAL COWBOYS: While cowboys are most often associated with the wild, wild West, Florida has the longest history of cattle ranching in the U.S. Cattle herding in Florida dates back to the 17th century, but it became a way of life leading up to the Civil War. Because of the harsh conditions the cowboys survived (think living in bug-infested, humid Florida without AC), the gritty and wild way of the cracker cowmen was a lifestyle that many were proud of.
IN OTHER WORDS: Florida crackers were originally Scots-Irish people who came to the Americas to evade the political circumstances of the “old world”. They originally settled in the Carolinas before making their way to the south and eventually Florida. When they first started populating Florida, these roaming settlers were considered unruly and ill-mannered and a bit irritating to people like Florida’s governor, who wrote in some documents, “We don’t know what to do with these crackers — we tell them to settle this area and they don’t; we tell them not to settle this area and they do.”
CONTROVERSIAL COW PIES: During the Seminole and Civil Wars, some of Florida’s cattlemen profited from selling beef, hide and other products to soldiers, particularly those in the Confederate army. Some of the trade’s most famous leaders, such as Jacob Summerlin — aka the King of the Crackers and one of Orlando’s founders — were slave owners who supplied provisions to Confederate troops. Emerging from these rougher parts of the history, however, is the cultural sense of rustic survival and free-spirited roaming that Florida’s original cracker cowboys possessed.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Raising cattle is still one of Florida’s biggest industries, coming in third for the largest number of cattle of any state east of the Mississippi. For Central Florida, the majority of the Florida crackers can be found in Osceola County.
Do you have a story about Florida crackers? Or the significant history of the Wild Wild West of The Sunshine State? We want to know. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doubling down. Blue Origin, the rocket company owned by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, has announced plans for a second multi-million-dollar facility on the Space Coast. The $60-million testing and refurbishment complex is estimated to create about 50 high-paying jobs; it will join the $200-million rocket factory that’s expected to open in Exploration Park early next year. (Orlando Sentinel)
Presidential visit. President Trump will be in town on Monday to speak at an international law-enforcement conference at the Orange County Convention Center. “The president will speak about the work of the administration to protect American communities by restoring law and order, supporting local law enforcement and securing the border,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. (Orlando Sentinel)
We need mew. Feral cats are an ongoing nuisance around Central Florida, and volunteers are needed to help bring the problem under control. Along with educating their neighbors about the issue, residents can help organizations by trapping cats and bringing them in for spaying and neutering. (WKMG)
Under the sea. The Weeki Wachee mermaids have been part of Florida tourism since long before Mickey and Minnie showed up, but they’ve never appeared in Orlando — until now. Hourly performances at Sea Life Orlando are slated for every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 21. (Orlando Weekly)
Takin’ it to the streets. Mixtape, the annual concert benefiting Page 15, returns tonight with a full lineup of local musicians performing crowd-pleasing cover songs at Wall Street Plaza. The party starts at 7:30 p.m. — don’t miss this chance to get down with your neighbors for a good cause. (Orlando Weekly)
🇩🇪 SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6 Meet us on Wall Street for an afternoon of Oktoberfest-themed fun, from a stein holding contest, to pretzels and brats to all the Oktoberfest beer your heart desires. (Downtown)
🎩 WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17 Join us for the 5th Annual Yelper’s event at Orlando Science Center. It’s a night full of 45 of Orlando’s finest restaurants, bars, entertainers, and brands with 1,200 of your neighbors, all in their finest garb. (Loch Haven)
Want to partner with us? Here’s how that works.
🚙 Learn all about rethinking your commute at this What’s Up DTO event (Downtown)
🍽 Show gratitude for this exquisite dinner and wine pairing (Downtown)
🤓 Nerd out at this 1st Thursday (Loch Haven)
🍷 Wine, cheese and chocolate, oh my (Mills 50)
🍻 Peep the 1st Thursdays Night Market at Dead Lizard (Millenia/Universal)
🎵 Support nonprofit Page 15 at their annual benefit concert (Downtown) 🆕
🌮 Celebrate National Taco Day with the best chips and guac in town (Mills 50) 🆕
🍳 Show your support for the Orlando Rep over breakfast (Loch Haven) 🆕
🧐 Ever wanted to preserve your family photos? Now’s your chance (Downtown)
🇩🇪 Check out this authentic Oktoberfest event (Casselberry)
🎵 Jam out to this local’s favorite band at Will’s Pub (Mills 50)
🍷 Change it up and head over to First Fridays (Baldwin Park)
🤓 Looking for a new gig? Check out this big job fair (Downtown)
📷 Budding photographers, don’t miss this intensive workshop (Mills 50)
📚 Been looking for a book club? OMA’s got you (Loch Haven)
🙀 Watch the frightening classic Poltergeist at Leu Gardens (Audubon Park) 🆕
📚 Don’t forget your ticket to Booktoberfest at Orlando Public Library (Downtown) 🆕
🌅 Pitch in on cleaning up the lake (Ivanhoe) 🆕
🍽 Farm-to-table with a twist, it’s all vegan (Mills 50)
📷 Check out this preview event of the upcoming Snap! Event (Downtown)
😂 This comedy show will have you on the edge of your seat (Downtown)
🍷 Grab your adult friends and head to the science center (Loch Haven)
🇩🇪 Don your lederhosen and head to this Oktoberfest pub crawl (Downtown)
🏈 Cheer on the Knights against SMU (UCF)
🎀 Grab your breasties the inaugural breast cancer scavenger hunt (Downtown)
🎃 Check out this Zombietoberfest and night market at Audubon (Audubon Park) 🆕
🍻 Celebrate days past at Ivanhoe Park Brewing (Ivanhoe) 🆕
🛍 Shop the Fall Art Market at Orlando Brewing (SoDo) 🆕
🌅 Let’s clean up Lake Formosa (Ivanhoe) 🆕
🍳 Grab the girls or make new friends at this brunch event (Ivanhoe) 🆕
🎵 Sing along to the blues over brunch with Eugene Snowden (Mills 50) 🆕
🍳 Test your comfortability at this monthly brunch (Mills 50) 🆕
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to email@example.com or tag #pulptown on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and COMING SOON add your own events with a Pulptown membership.
Apparently, today is National Taco Day, so if that doesn’t put you in a good mood, we’re not sure what will. Early on in Pulptown’s history, we did a taco roundup of our favorite places and Black Rooster Taqueria and Hunger Street Tacos came in hot. Did we include your favorite?
Also, just a head’s up that if you work in downtown Orlando, Fuzzy’s is offering $1 dollar tacos all day.