For the past 17 years Englewood has been celebrating Old Florida with a Cracker Fair. This year the tradition continues. It is said the term Cracker comes from the cracking of the whip that Florida cow hunters used to herd cattle. Florida was the first cattle producing state in America. The Cracker Fair is the Lemon Bay Historical Society’s gift to the community. It is the culmination of an entire week called “History with Zest, the Lemon Bay Fest” presented by the Englewood libraries.
There will be food vendors, artists, authors, merchants, crafts, music, cracker demonstrations and the ever-popular lemon dessert baking contest.
Historical Society Board member Don Bayley says there will be several great musicians at this year’s fair. “We are pleased to welcome back John Tuff and Friends. This very talented group of musicians will provide music consisting of classic country hits, the kind many of us grew up with on the radio. Good music, good times and great fun!” Starting out as a duo performing for a fundraiser at the Englewood United Methodist Church, the John Tuff group is now in its 11th year singing all over Southwest Florida in a variety of venues.
Also on stage will be James Hawkins. His specialty is crafting and performing songs about our rich local history. A perfect fit for a celebration of Old Florida.
New this year is Paul Chantey. He grew up in New England, hanging out in seaport towns. As a sailor, Chantey was drawn to sea music and chanteys and played and sang in a sea chantey/Irish band for almost 20 years. After moving to Florida, Chantey started writing and singing his own songs, just for the fun of it. Like most things in his life, he tries not to take anything too seriously. Which may be why Paul, born Paul Elliott, calls himself Paul “Chantey.”
The 2020 Cracker Fair will also welcome Bucket List — The Acoustic Version. Rick Holt and Bill Lundgren have both been playing guitar for most of their adult lives. They also both share a love for classic and blues-based rock. They have been in several all-electric bands together since moving to Englewood. More recently, they have taken their favorite electric music and adapted it to acoustic guitar, which makes for a rather interesting acoustic repertoire.