Englewood’s Annual Cracker Fair taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 will be featuring a lemon dessert contest, a whip cracking demonstration, a cast net throwing demonstration, classic country music, a Kids’ Zone and swamp cabbage treats.

Every year the nonprofit Lemon Bay Historical Society offers people of all ages an opportunity to step back in time to learn about how Old Florida “Crackers” lived and worked. Although native born Floridians were often called “Crackers” the term can also be traced to the cracking noise made by early Florida cowboys herding cattle.

All can enjoy a one-time whip cracking demonstration taking place at 10:15 a.m. at the Fair. In the late 1800’ two consecutive years of hard freezes doomed Englewood’s lemon crops, but the Historical Society honors their memory by holding a dessert contest. It’s not too late to enter by downloading an entry form at www.lemonbayhistory.com. “Turning the Sour into Sweet” lemon treat winners will be announced at noon on stage at the park, and the four top dessert winners will receive cash prizes. By popular demand, samples costing $1 will be available. Around 3 p.m. a cast net throwing demonstration will take place followed by an “eat a tree” swamp cabbage tasting being offered by Charlotte County Museum Society members who will explain how early settlers prepared an authentic food source from the heart of the cabbage palm tree.

“We are pleased to have the wonderful talent of John Tuff and Friends return to our sound stage this year. Their specialty is Classic Country Music, and new to the Cracker Fair will be singer-song writer Doug Burns who be performing Americana and Alt-Country styles of music. Burns was fortunate to experience Old Florida before it disappeared so country and bluegrass artists helped shape him as a musician. A unique experience will be on hand when James Hawkins performs with songs about Englewood’s rich history, a perfect fit for the Cracker Fair,” explained committee member, Don Bayley. Music by Doug Burns takes place on stage at 10:30 a.m. James Hawkins at 12:30 p.m., and John Tuff and Friends at 2 and 4 p.m.

Throughout the day the Pioneer Days Committee will be presenting a Kids’ Zone: Free Arts & Crafts in a special tent, and local history books including the special “Englewood: the First 100 Years” will be offered for sale at the Lemon Bay Historical Society’s booth. Of course dozens of food vendors, artists, authors, area merchants and community organizations will take part as well.

For an updated list of craft/food vendors and activities go to http://lemonbayhistory.com/cracker-fair-lemon-bay-fest or call 941-861-5000. The Cracker Fair at Pioneer Park Plaza, 200 W. Dearborn St., Englewood.


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