This piece I am offering today is a bit different in the way of my normal story formats. Last week was a busy (and interesting) one, and this coming week looks to have some small amount of adventure on the docket as well. I intend to make my written portion small so that the editor can place all three pictures along with it. The first picture that I will speak of came from the Weeki Wachee tourist attraction. The park just celebrated its 75th-year landmark, and along with this passing in time, they have gone in on a partnership with the Hernando Chamber of Commerce, the Fine Arts Council, and over two dozen artists to create and display 28 mermaid statues. These statues are currently being shown at the Weeki Wachee park (for now), but after a year of this viewing, they will be placed throughout the county at different locations. Just as Marion County (and the City of Ocala) have their “painted horses” ( through a similar collaboration for their area), this will be yet another landmark event that carries a historic value to it. The reason I would recommend seeing the display now, as compared to after their dispersal from the park, is that they are still all together. So if you are tight for time or have friends in from out of town that are not staying long, they can all be seen at once. This venue also hits close to home for us, as my wife’s sister was a mermaid performer in the ‘60s, and a close friend of ours (Ms. Diane Liptak) and an artist named Steve Krou designed and painted one of the statues.
The second part of this past week’s travels took us just over the Pasco County line, to the Heritage Days celebration, on the north side of Dade City. It showcased the history of our pioneer families and had many great craft and lifestyle scenarios. One of the themes centered around sugarcane processing (making sugarcane syrup). There were also makers and sellers of moonshine that were part of the venue, and if you wanted to try a sample taste (and if you were of age), there was a sampling booth set up with a great many different tasting concoctions. It was an educational, as well as entertaining, afternoon for me, as I have recently started growing sugarcane and am curious as to its processing.
By the way, the picture from this event is of a cane press (or wringer) that was powered by a mule or horse (or maybe even an ox). The juice would be squeezed from the cane through a set of steel “wringers” and then would be funneled down to a barrel (pictured directly behind me). It would then be put into big boiling pots (that resembled giant cooking “woks”) and reduced to the syrup that they then bottle.
The third picture is actually taken from the website of the Florida Flywheelers Association, dealing with antique machines based on steam power. A few years ago, a friend of mine (and our wives) took in this event down in the Ft. Meade area, and it was well worth the time and money. It gives a great insight into how life (and the various workplaces) were impacted by steam-powered devices (as compared to everything being run now with electricity). The interesting thing about this get-together is that if we (the world we have today) were to lose our power due to a solar disturbance or an enemy EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) weapon, these century-old devices would once again be in demand! The Florida Flywheelers 35th Annual Swap Meet starts on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and runs through Saturday, Jan. 21st. Gates are open 8 am to 4 pm. Next month they will host the 30th Annual Antique Engine and Tractor Show Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, through to Saturday, Feb. 25th. Also, (if my memory serves me right) they do a very entertaining tractor sled pull as well. Those that wish to camp on-site need to call 1-863-285-9121. They also allow pets and “standard-sized” golf carts. The Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club is located at 7000 Avon Park Cutoff Rd, Fort Meade, Fla. 33841. You can find the club on Facebook:
or their website:
These are but a few of the many interesting venues that the Mid-Fla. area has to offer. You just need to get a carload of friends together ( find a comfortable pair of walking shoes), and don`t forget your cameras! God bless, and have a good (and interesting) week!