Ashley Edwards has lived in Orlando for the past 20 years. Like many of us transplants, he often thought of leaving town but something about The City Beautiful keeps him here. Ten years ago, he launched a blog about his love-love relationship with Orlando called Pulse of Central Florida. After a quick hiatus, he’s back with a vengeance.
What inspired you to start blogging about Central Florida? We’ve actually been around for over 10 years. Someone recently made a reference to our blog as “one of the OGs of Central Florida” and I really like the sound of that and will take it — with very much honor! That being said, we went dormant for a couple of years but are back and excited about our city more than ever. The quest is BIG but simple: To showcase The City Beautiful for the fantastical place is it, through my own perspective and unique voice, but in a meaningful way that provides valuable insight and information.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the last five years? So much — but the growth of our culinary scene stands out. So many good restaurants, quick-service joints, food trucks, and private chefs have appeared on the scene in the past five years or so.
What are you most excited about for Orlando’s future? The physical development and growth of the city. The growth in the past couple of years alone has been exciting, shocking, intriguing, and promising. I honestly feel like Orlando is becoming the city I’ve always wanted it to be.
What are you most proud of in our city? I’m most proud of our pride. I know that sounds like a little murky of an answer, but everyone I know — including those who have been here for years and years and relatively new transplants — is so proud they live here. Even more so after the Pulse events of 2016, there’s just a tremendous sense of “I live in Orlando, I’m part of Orlando, and I’m contributing to what’s making Orlando a fantastic place to call home.”
Take us on your go-to tour of Orlando on any given Thursday. First, there’s coffee. We love supporting local peeps, so it’d likely be a visit to Credo in College Park or North Quarter. After that, we’d head to Winter Park for the scenic boat tour. After that, we’ll head over to Maitland and grab lunch at Eden Bar at Enzian. Perhaps we’d even stick around for a movie. Next, we could head to someplace downtown and grab a cold beer (preferably outdoors). Then we’d finish the night at Prato in Winter Park for dinner.
If you could bring something back in Orlando, what would it be? I really, really miss @ILoveDrip (the live performance art show off I-Drive that closed in early 2018). It was one of my favorite things to do here in Orlando, but to also introduce to new people. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
We’ll be changing up our Monday Makers series soon, but have no fear, we’ll still be spotlighting folks in the community doing awesome work. Is there someone that you want to give a shout out to in our newsletter? Drop us a line at [email protected] and tell us why. Maybe they’ll see their name in print.
A question of enforcement. In a 4-3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by an education advocacy group arguing that the state falls short of its constitutional requirement to provide a “high-quality system of free public schools.” The justices wrote that there was no way for the court to enforce an adequate level of education funding because that matter is the responsibility of the legislative branch. (Orlando Sentinel)
Buh bye, red light cameras. Apopka is the latest town in Central Florida to say “so long, farewell” to red light cameras, following a vote by the city council to end the program. Other cities — including Holly Hill, Casselberry, Groveland and Clermont — have also recently taken down their red light cameras, saying they weren’t doing enough to improve traffic safety. (WKMG)
Pension approved. An Eatonville police officer who was diagnosed with PTSD in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting will receive a portion of his pension after all. Omar Delgado was six months shy of being vested in the system when he was terminated after reportedly telling a civilian that he was “emotionally disturbed.” (Associated Press)
Ready for a burger binge, Orlando? Orlando Weekly just announced its first-ever Orlando Burger Week — which will technically last 10 days, but whatevs. The event features 30 local eateries serving up special $5 burgers and is scheduled for Feb. 22 to March 3 — giving you plenty of time to forget about those New Year’s resolutions. (Orlando Weekly)
Will run for bacon. Need a way to offset all those burgers? From a superhero fun run to a 5k with unlimited bacon (okay, maybe that one won’t help), Central Florida’s race calendar is packed with plenty of creative events to keep local runners motivated all the way into spring. (Orlando Sentinel)
❄️Thursday, Jan. 10 – Sunday, Jan. 13: Head to the Orlando Fringe Winter Mini-Fest and enjoy 22 shows that are guaranteed to delight (Loch Haven Park)
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🤼♀️ WWE Monday Night Raw is back (Parramore)
🏡 Find out what’s going on in your ‘hood (College Park)
🥃 Are you a bartender or mixologist? Don’t miss this USBG event (Mills 50)
💃 Attend this four-week salsa training (SoDo)
❓ Test your Office knowledge at Tuffy’s (Sanford)
🤣 Wanna get into comedy? Check out this free class (Downtown)
🎥 Watch the childhood classic, “The Gremlins” on the big screen (Maitland)
🧘🏻♀️ Get your namaste on at East End Market (Audubon Park) 🆕
🌾 Get creative making a succulent terrarium while sipping wine (Lake Nona) 🆕
🛍 Shop this local makers market (Sodo) 🆕
🤝 Meet the new Milk Street District director at this hot new spot (Colonial)
🎤 Put a little soul in your karaoke (Downtown)
🎤 See the legendary Diana Ross perform at Dr. Phillips Center (Downtown) 🆕
🤓 Nerd Nite is back with a vengeance (Audubon Park)
🛍 Ladies: shop/swap til you drop (Winter Park)
🚲 Learn about the new Lime Bikes without leaving your chair (Online)
🍷 Sip some wine, buy some art (Thornton Park) 🆕
🍿 Watch Iron Man in the park (Winter Park) 🆕
🎹 Check out this concert pianist duo perform at Timucua (SoDo) 🆕
🎥 Learn about what’s happening in Florida’s aquifer (Audubon Park) 🆕
🌳 Grab the fam jam and head to Leu Gardens (Audubon Park)
💋 Meet Bob the Drag Queen from RuPaul’s Drag Race (Almond Milk District)
🎨 Check out opening night of these local artists’ exhibit (Mills Park) 🆕
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #pulptown on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and COMING SOON add your own events with a Pulptown membership.
Last week, we asked you “theme parks aside, what was your go-to tourist activities“. You know what you guys love? The springs. And honestly, us too. In addition to our abundance of natural springs, Laura Moore said Leu Gardens and Orlando Science Center, Loretta Lynn shouted out Wells’Built Museum, and Dan Towey recommended the Old Spanish Sugarmill in Deleon Springs. All this to say, we like your taste, Orlando.