In the 1960s and 1970s, if you had visited Southeast Florida doctors, dentists, accountants and other professionals’ waiting rooms, chances are you spent some time checking out the wall art — Florida landscapes were most common.
And it’s a good bet that many of those paintings were by one or more members of a group of 26 African-American artists — men and women — known as the Highwaymen. These Fort Pierce-based folk artists started painting and selling in the 1950s, trained by famed Florida painter A.E. Backus. They traveled the East Coast of Florida, selling their paintings door-to-door, mostly to small businesses and office dwellers.
A few of the original Highwaymen are still painting, traveling, wheeling and dealing, and make several appearances and sales events every few weeks in Central Florida.
Seven of them recently displayed their current and vintage work, June 3 at the Orange County Regional History Center, downtown Orlando.
Curtis Arnett, Arnett, Al Black, Mary Ann Carroll, James Gibson, Issac Knight, Robert Lewis, and Roy McLendon held forth, fielding questions and making deals on their classic Floridiana.
Al Black with one of his early-1970s landscapes.
A classic folk-art tableau by Al Black.
Robert L. Lewis does a live demo June 3 at the Orange County History Center.
Isaac Knight displays his work at several art shows through the year.
Grayscale Indian River-scape, by Isaac Knight.
Two Questions for Al Black:
Q1) “How many paintings have you done in your lifetime?”
Answer: “I have no idea. They said 200,000.”
Q2: “How many do you paint a week now?”
A: “About 10.”
Three Questions for Isaac Knight:
Q1: “How long have you been painting?”
A: “About 60 years.”
Q2: “How many of these shows do you do in a year?”
A: “Quite a few. My wife, Lillie helps me get around.”
Q3: “That grayscale painting really stands out — what promted you use black & white?”
A: “My son has a friend who takes black & white photographs. So he [son, Cedric] asked me, ‘Can you do that?’ ”
A current exhibit in the area is at
DeLand’s Stetson University’s Homer and Dolly Hand Art Center, 139 E. Michigan Ave.
Photographer and author Gary Monroe narrates a walking tour of the show, “The Florida Highwaymen: Art Innovators in a Civil Rights Epoch,” through July 29. Visit www2.stetson.edu/hand-art-center, or call 386-822-7271.
This show features more than 30 paintings from private collections throughout the state, many of which have never been shown publicly. “Each work is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of these struggling artists and bears witness to the beautiful unspoiled Florida landscape,” exhibit organizers said.
Orlando has ten main street districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one. If you haven’t explored one of these main street districts, you should most definitely take some time to check out each one. This week: The Milk District. (Check out our last community spotlight on Ivanhoe Village)
The Milk District is the newest addition to the Orlando Main Streets program, officially becoming a main street district only late last year. However, this unique neighborhood has been an established area for good food, good fun, and some retro flare for a years now.
Aptly named for the TG Lee Milk Factory that defines the district, the Milk District is made of established Orlando favorites and new up and coming businesses with Locksmiths In Phoenix that are helping define the neighborhood.
1. Great Daytime Eats Spots:
If you are looking for the perfect spot to grab lunch, the Milk District will give you ample choices to choose from. Grab some Double Ds at Gringos Locos and load them up with some hot sauce.
Gringo’s ProTip: Happy Hour is every day from 4pm to 8pm. Free chips and salsa, $5 burritos, $2 tacos, and great drink specials!
Sandwich lover? The Milk District is the perfect place to explore! There are so many sandwich inspired places to choose from, it just depends on what you’re in the mood for, and if your friends or families are searching for activities that you can do to bond try NYC escape games.
Eat the best steamed roast beef sandwich in town at Orlando almost 49 year old mainstay, Beefy King. If you are in the mood for gourmet chef created sandwich fare, wander over to food truck turned sandwich shop Bad As’s Sandwiches.
If you want a twist on tried and true classics, head over to Pom Pom’s Teahouse to grab a cup of tea and try Mama Ling Lings Thanksgiving sandwich or the Spicy Elvis for a twist on a PB&J. [Editor’s note: Pom Pom’s also makes a FANTASTIC Lavender Tea!)
2. Relaxed Late Night Fun:
No need to dress to the nines to enjoy a night out in The Milk District. Throw on a fun t-shirt, your favorite pair of jeans and enjoy a fun, relaxed night out full of good drinks, fun atmosphere, and great music.
For an Orlando classic, grab a strong drink at Whiskey Lou’s (don’t forget to bring cash!). The Milk Bar is the perfect spot if you want to sip on craft beer or wine while enjoying local art and poetry.
A diverse crowd hangs out at Sandwich Bar to enjoy a beer and hear some great underground tunes.
The best thing about the Milk District is there are new businesses popping up all the time as the area grows like installing a custom home theater. Look for the Iron Cow, a new restaurant and hang out spot to open in the summer of 2017. It’ll be the only bar on Robinson with a full liquor license and will have an awesome event space to feature local performers.
3. Event Central:
The Milk District is quickly becoming place to find great local events to enjoy any day of the week. Along with all the regular late night spots to have fun at in the district, there are plenty of fun alternative things to do too.
Grab your skate board and learn a new trick at Orlando Skate Park. Head over to Colonial Lanes and enjoy that old school bowling feel. Another Orlando staple, these lanes have been in Orlando since 1959. (PBA Bowler Jason Couch’s dad is the General Manager!) On Friday Nights you can sing karaoke in the bar or enjoy a couple of hours of cosmic bowling featuring black lights and loud pop music.
Drive by on a random weekend and you might see a festival to explore or a live community concert at Festival Park. Of course, don’t forget to check out all the great live performances you can catch at the The Plaza Live.
There’s practically something to do every night of the week in The Milk District. For Bingo lovers, the Elks Lodge has bingo each Monday. You don’t have to be a member because the event is is open to the public.
Tasty Takeover Tuesdays happens weekly. Come hungry and enjoy a rotating group of food trucks that takes over the area each Tuesday night. You can sample all types of flavors at the event then head over to one of the area’s local bars or shops. Many of them participate with weekly specials to coincide with this event.
In the near future look out for Thrifty Thursdays where visitors will be able to purchase vintage wares from vendors weekly.
If you would rather get your activity outside, rent or buy a bike at Kyle’s Bike Shop. Alternatively, grab a group of friends and head out to Festival Park to play a round of sand Volleyball or Basketball.
Green thumbs can get a plot in the community garden at the park where you can grow your own healthy crop. For a quick nourishing juice to sip on, grab a drink at Juice Bar.
5. Retro Alternative Community
There is definitely a community of alternative fashion and retro vibe that lives in the Milk District. If you have an old soul and love self expression, you’ll find a lot of ways to help your personality shine in the Milk District. Define your style at Etolile Boutique where you can find a collection of both handmade items and vintage finds. In this place you will definitely not find any video games with ELO Boost services.
Update your collection with a rare record from your favorite band at Retro Records who have been providing beats to the area since 1980s. Get some custom ink done at Little Joe’s Primrose Tatoo Parlor. The gentlemen can enjoy the old school barber haircut and straight razor treatment at Jusincredible Cutz, and Liberty Barbershop. If you love self expression and want to express your unique identity, the creative alternative community in the Milk District will help you shine.
Attention change-makers, activists, established and rising stars in the non-profit world, or anyone else who is passionate and dedicated to a cause they actively champion. A new initiative called The Collective is here to help cultivate the caused based leaders here in Orlando. The Collective is a free program that will meet monthly to discuss topics that are important to those who actively work to make the world a better place in some way. People who have also experienced being at the Colorado rehabs can also avail this program as it has already been launched to them for them to divert their attention from their addiction.
What is The Collective Anyway?
The Collective is an initiative from the minds of collaborators Change Everything; Jon Busdeker–Digital Storyteller and former reporter at WESH 2 News; and CT-Social–a digital marketing agency dedicated to non-profit work here in Orlando (and the agency behind Central Florida Top 5’s big makeover in 2015!).
The idea grew out of a desire to build a network of support to those who dedicate themselves and their time to important causes. “We want to find people who are really passionate about social change. They can be passionate about the arts, social reform, homelessness, whatever it is,” Jon Busdeker explains. “We want to create a community and give them a space so they can become better at what they do.”
How Will it Work?
The Collective will meet once a month, with their first meeting to take place on March 29. Each meeting will focus on a different topic affecting those who work in cause based spaces. Some of the topics covered will be: media relations for causes, donor relations, emotional health and self-care for cause based work, and dealing with stress.
Meetings will also include expert guest speakers and group discussions. The goal is to build and cultivate leaders who are doing the hard work in the various causes they care about. Members will learn not only from experts but from each other. “We want to give people the tools to do what they’re most passionate about,” Busdeker said.
Who Should Apply?
The Collective is for anyone who is dedicated to making an impact on a cause they care deeply about.
Non-profit leaders or rising stars in the non-profit world.
Government employees who work tirelessly to make their community a better place.
Dedicated activists who are organizing groups to enact change.
Business leaders who champion causes in their free time because it’s important to their values like Lee S. Rosen.
Ready to Join?
The Collective is accepting members into this inaugural group. There is no cost to attend. If you are interested in joining and feel you’d be a perfect fit for this group, please apply on-line at http://collective.change-everything.com.
Orlando has ten main street districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one. If you haven’t explored one of these main street districts, you should most definitely take some time to check out each one. This week: Mills 50 District. (Check out our last community spotlight on Ivanhoe Village!)
The Mills 50 Orlando Mainstreet District is named aptly for its prominent intersection; Mills Avenue and State Road 50 (also known as East Colonial Drive). Its home to Colonialtown, Lake Eola Heights, and Park Lake Highland neighborhoods. Although this district might feel like it’s just a drive by area, there is so much culture and interesting sites to see as this district quickly changes from one block to the next—making it one of the most varied districts in town. Mills 50 is also one of Orlando’s quirkiest areas.
The corner of Mills and 50 features two murals by local artist Andrew Spear, one dedicated to the victims of the Pulse tragedy on June 12, 2016.
Mills 50 Art Projects, Murals, and more
A large mural by artist Mark Ghmeling on the side of Snap! Space in Mills 50
Most of the Mills 50 district is composed of buildings that are older, mid-century strip malls. Because these boring cinderblock buildings, while functional, don’t offer much aesthetic appeal, artists have been commissioned to use the sides of the buildings like blank canvases to make their mark. These murals has given the area new life and vibrancy, and it is easy to spend your weekend exploring the neighborhood to fill up your Instagram with these beautiful and fun pieces.
Not only will you find epic murals on the side of buildings, but you will also see smaller pieces on everything from drains to electrical boxes, fences, and even dumpsters receive this special artistic touch. Most of the art has a street art aesthetic to it, adding to the urban vibe of this fun neighborhood.
Great Cheap Eats and Dive Bars
Outside of Will’s Pub in Mills 50
The Mills 50 district is one of the best places to go for a fun night out followed by some good, cheap eats. It’s no wonder this district is a favorite of the 20-something crowd as it is easy on their wallet and their dollar can go just a bit further.
For cheap eats you can check out King Bao, Tako Cheena, Lazy Moon, Pig Floyds, Pho88, Little Siagon, or one of the dozens of other Asian resturants that line the main strip. If you have $10 and an empty stomach you’ll be able to find something yummy to eat while avoiding fast food drive throughs.
Mills 50: An Orlando Mainstreet District
Mills 50 is the most eclectic of all the main street districts. While the busy intersection of Mills and State Road 50 define the center of the district, only a few hundred yards away you will find quiet brick roads lined with homes.
The businesses in this district are varied too! The District at Mills 50 is a new addition, which is a mini-market of sorts featuring 30 different local artisans and their creations. You can also find a violin store, a print shop, multiple salons, many ethnic markets to explore, small art, hobby, and photography studios, tattoo shops, smoke shops, pop-up events, a costume store, and so much more. The eclectic nature of this district means you never know what kind of business you might wander in upon.
This “Red Bull” mural can be found at Mills and Lake Highland. Artwork by: Andrew Spear.
Cultural diversity permeates Mills 50 everywhere you look – and it’s wonderful! There are many different cultures represented through business owners who come from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, and England just to name a few.
Central Florida businessmen Terry Smith, Tracy Dent, and Dana Flugel opened on Track Shack on North Mills in 1977. In the years since, Track Shack has hosted many events, training programs, and has become a leader in road race management.
#WelcomeHome, City fans! Kickoff Week is over, and your time is finally here! For those living under a limestone rock, Orlando City Soccer, Orlando City B, and Orlando Pride all have a new home in the Historic Parramore community – Orlando City Stadium! And if you thought City matches at Camping World Stadium were loud and rowdy, just wait until you experience this brand new, state-of-the-art stadium for yourself! Did we mention the natural grass pitch?
(BTW, how fantastic is the Welcome Home collage above by Derek Gores?!)
Here’s what the seating chart looks like:
Last week on our Facebook page, we showed you a very quick inside view of this gorgeous, very purple addition to the Downtown Orlando cityscape. In case you missed it, check it out here…
Here are 5 things we think you should know before leaving home:
1. SunRail WILL be running on Sunday!
2. Orlando City Stadium has a Clear Bag Policy
You’ll see this A LOT as people become familiar with the new Stadium’s rules. Each ticket holder (including kids) will be able to carry a clear bag no bigger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ AND a small clutch type bag. (Click here for ADA information.)
You can bring a blanket, just carry it over your shoulder but no seat cushions. Diapers, wipes, additional clothing, small cameras, binoculars, cell phones, etc. are all okay as long as they are in an approved clear bag. (Exceptions for medical items will be made.)
Also, there is no storage for prohibited items. You’ll be asked to toss said item(s) or take it back to your car so make sure you and your purple fam are covered beforehand! Here’s a list of Orlando City Stadium prohibited items;
3. The LionNation App is AWESOME! Paperless Tickets!
Exclusive team access, live coverage of practices, interviews with your favorite players, get pre-sale access to team merchandise, complete ticket management right from your phone (paperless tickets & season passes!) – you can even order concessions from your seat (if you’re sitting in sections 133, 134 or 135)! This app is truly a new or seasoned Supporter’s best friend.
[Using Pine Street as a guide] If you have seats on the South side of the Stadium, use Gate A. East side seats, use Gate B. North end seats, use Gate C. Supporter section has its own gate. Club seats and Suites use Gate D (opposite side of Gates A, B, C). Click here to see all the transpo info, and click here to see road closure info!
5. Don’t miss the Season Opener Pre-Game Party on Wall St.!
Orlando has ten Main Street Districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one.
The Ivanhoe Village District lives in the north quarter of Orlando and runs on Orange avenue along Lake Ivanhoe, all the way over to Princeton Avenue and snakes up towards Mills Avenue and up to Mills Avenue on Princeton Ave. It’s the quirky cultural district defined by artists, antiques, and oddities. Some of the most unusual spots in Orlando are tucked away in this neighborhood! (Check out our last community spotlight on Audubon Park!)
1. Artisans and Craftsman, and Oddities
There are many different places to find beautiful handcrafted wares in Ivanhoe Village and they range in variety from elegant and one of a kind to weird and macabre. If you’re on the hunt for something one-of-a-kind, Ivanhoe Village is the perfect place to go.
Paper Goat Post
Many craftsmen and artists make their home here and there is a lot of variety to choose from. For paper goods, check out Paper Goat Post. Boom-Art features brightly colored décor and is owned by Glenn Rogers, a former circus clown, who creates these unique, handcrafted pop art pieces.
Cloak and Dapper have hard-to-find men’s clothing, grooming products, and artisan accessories for men who want good solid craftsmanship. If you’re looking for the odd or unique, check out Curio Curiosity Shoppe. Weird finds like a two-headed calf skull, or a preserved pig fetus can be found here. If you are into the creepy and macabre or anything bizarre, this is the place to check out. Living Morocco is the place to find interesting imported Morocco finds.
2. Antique Row
If your style calls back to a different decade or century, and you want to find the perfect piece of furniture to express your style, you can explore one of the many antique stores that pepper Ivanhoe Village. Once upon a time, the Ivanhoe Village district was just a warehouse district with old antique shops and the paso robles sign company. If you are having a difficult time finding something, it is most likely to be in one of these local stores. So do not be afraid of exploring a little bit, you may even find something useful that your were not even looking fo rin the first place.
While the district has become much more hip and relevant more recently, the antique shops in the area give the area a rooted feeling and calls back to the time before the area’s revival. The mattress warehouses have also been around for a while, but if what you need is a mattress topper, then check out these memory foam mattress reviews.
A & T Antiques
A&T Antiques has been around since 1975. The 20,000 square foot showroom has a large variety of great antiques and a wide selection of stained glass pieces. If large eclectic pieces of furniture appeal to you, Washburn Imports is worth checking out. The owners travel the world and bring back one of a kind pieces that you can find in their shop. Visiting
Visiting Golden Phoenix Antique, you might feel like you’ve taken a trip to your grandmother’s house where delicate pieces of furniture, china wear, and antique hats and purses around the store. 1618 Something Different really has finds that you might not see anywhere else. If you are into midcentury design, this shop is definitely worth a look.
Editor’s Note:In high school, I spent many, many hours searching for rare vinyl from The Police, Michael Nesmith, and The Monkees in two places; East West Records & Tapes (now East West Music & More) on [the other side of] Orange Avenue and Ivanhoe Village’s Rock & Roll Heaven. I’m still convinced, you can find ANYTHING in Rock & Roll Heaven!
3. Cultural Haven
The cultural hub of Orlando makes it’s home in Ivanhoe Village. On the far eastern corner of the Ivanhoe district lives the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center, the Mennello Museum and the Shakespeare Theater. A bit further down Princeton near Orange Ave, you will also find the home of The Orlando Ballet.
In addition to these large cultural mainstays in Orlando, Ivanhoe Village is home to other small theaters and art houses. In May each year, theatre groups from all over the world come to participate in the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival which takes place in Loch Haven Cultural Park.
4. Lakefront Aesthetic
Small one and two-story storefronts neatly line the one side of the street on the half-mile stretch of Orange Ave from Lake Highland to Virginia drive. The other side of the street is Lake Ivanhoe which lines the Ivanhoe District along the North end of the area. Lake Ivanhoe stands as the focal point of the neighborhood and many of the nearby residents use the park for many different activities.
On the weekends, you might catch a few boaters or paddle boarders enjoying the lake on a hot summer day. A walking path runs along the lake with stopping points where you can do additional physical activities to ensure a good workout. The lakefront park offers a bit of natural landscape in the middle of a very industrial city area with companies with the best results in industrial properties thanks to Results Engineering BMS and the https://naimormetalfabrication.com/services/router-cutting/ products.
5. Interesting Eats and Drinks
The quirky, eclectic attitude of Ivanhoe Village also extends to the food in the area. There are a lot of unique and special places to get a bite to eat or drink. The most notable mainstay in the area is White Wolf Café which has been on Orange Avenue since 1991. Not only is there an expansive menu with lots of choices for both breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s also a lot of décor on the wall that will keep your eyes wandering.
If you are looking for a fun place to eat with friends, The Hammered Lamb has you covered. With ample outdoor seating that overlooks Lake Ivanhoe, it’s the perfect place to spend Sunday Funday brunch!
The Imperial at Washburn Imports
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary for date night, skip dinner and make a reservation at Better Than Sex Dessert restaurant. Then head over for an after dessert drink at The Imperial at Washburn Imports. The quirky furniture store turns into a place to kick back and relax with a drink in the evenings.
Or find a more traditional neighborhood bar at the Thirsty Topher. There are so many different places to choose from in Ivanhoe Village district, you won’t be able to hit everything in a single visit!
Orlando has ten Main Street Districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one. (Check out last week’s spotlight on Thornton Park!)
If you haven’t explored one of these Orlando Main Street Districts, you should most definitely take some time to check out each one. This week: Audubon Park!
The Garden District (Audubon Park) is the hidden jewel of Orlando’s Main Street districts. The Main Street area on Corrine Drive feels like you’ve wandered into Small Town America, and you might forget that just a mile away cars are speeding by on I-4. The vibe here is upscale bohemian. With quirky little coffee shops, second hand stores, and even one of Orlando’s last remaining record stores, there’s a lot to see in this beautiful little district.
1. Leu Gardens
Image Credit: Harry P. Leu Gardens
Audubon Park is nicknamed The Garden District with good reason; At the north end of Corrine Drive lives Harry P. Leu Gardens. Take a stroll around the 50 acre gardens and make sure to stop to smell the roses when they’re in bloom. If roses aren’t your thing, Leu Gardens has the third largest collection of Camellias in the United States which bloom in January.
The Gardens were donated by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane, and was turned into public gardens back in the 1961. The Leus traveled the world and brought back exotic botanical findings to their garden estate. Years later, these exotic findings can still be enjoyed by the public along with many local varieties of Floridian plants too.
Monthly, the Gardens have a movie night where movie goers can snuggle up on the main lawn with a picnic dinner and some wine while enjoying a flick under the stars. Want to get in touch with your horticultural side? Find out what’s in bloom year round at Leu Gardens here. Go further and attend one of the many monthly society meetings at Leu Gardens! Orchids, and Ikebana, and Oranges – oh my! (We also hear dinosaurs are taking over very soon…)
Top 5 ProTip: Take advantage of Leu Gardens’ First Mondays, where admission is free! 2017 dates: January 2, May 1, June 5, July 3, August 7, September 4. FYI: The Leu House Museum (or as we affectionately call it, The Leuseum) will be closed in July for restoration.
2. East End Market
There might be replica markets in town where local small businesses gather together in a co-op space to sell their goods, but East End Market is the #LivingLocally and Good Food Movement OG here in Orlando. The first floor of the market is filled with some of the best food and drinks you can get in town.
East End Marketplace hours: Monday – Thursday, 8am to 7pm, Friday – Saturday, 8am to 9pm, and Sundays, 11am to 6pm.
3. Hipster Haven
With the 47 year old home of some, the trust of allStardust Coffee on one side of Corrine Drive, and 32 year old indie land of music Park Ave CDs and a bright, young whipper snapper bar with rotating drafts called Redlight, Redlight making their homes on the other side, Audubon Park offers an eclectic old school vibe that makes you want to grab a book, throw on a hand-made knit hat (even in 80 degree temps), a quirky t-shirt, and spend a few hours reading a Hemmingway novel while drinking a craft brew or exploring the vinyl section of a record store for some rare indie find just like when you were a teenager.
On Monday nights, Stardust hosts a market where you can pick up some locally grown food or artisan wears. [Keep an eye on their Event Calendar here.] On weekends or during special events you can even catch a good food truck or two in the neighborhood to enjoy.
4. Cute Walkable Main Street
When this neighborhood says they have the best main street in America, they’re not exaggerating their claims. Audubon Park won the 2016 Great Main Street Award! What makes this Main Street so special is how much of a small town vibe Corrine Drive gives off with lots of little shops and merchants to explore.
On Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll often see a gaggle of bikes sitting outside of Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux, owned by longtime locals Jen and Darrell Cunningham, while their owners enjoy a leisurely breakfast and conversation after a their weekend long ride.
Top 5 ProTip: Reserve a bike 24/7 with Juice Bike Rentals! With nearly 40 Juice stations located in and around Orlando, there are no shortage of bright orange Juice bikes to ride around. Visitors pay as little as $8/hour, while locals can also rent as they go or sign up for a monthly membership. More at orlando.socialbicycles.com.
Audubon Park is an extremely bike friendly area with the entrance to the Cady Way Trail just a quick bike ride away. Its main street is even home to two bicycle shops: Winter Park Cycles and Ace Metric Cycles. With the construction of Bumby Avenue almost done, which will include a bike lane, cyclists in Audubon Park will be able to enjoy even more connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods and some people like to train there for big sports events like the Cycle Gran Canaria (Spain) where people participate or visit the country to watch it, for this construction working there will be many materials and tools involved and hammers, screwdrivers and electric chainsaws that are even better that the normal ones, since people ask How good are electric chainsaws, they work more efficiently and faster.
Orlando has ten main street districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one. If you haven’t explored one of these main street districts, you should most definitely take some time to check out each one. First up: Thornton Park!
The Thornton Park Main Street District lives in the heart of Orlando and includes some of the most iconic local Orlando spots. It’s home to both luxury apartments and bungalow style homes giving the feel of both a hip modern metropolitan city and turn of the century Florida. For family and friends that wants fun activities to do for your bonding, checkout NYC escape games.
The Thornton Park District website calls it “Downtown for Grownups” and that is definitely the feel of this district. As one of the most walkable districts in Orlando, Thornton Park’s luxury shops, resturants, and events attracts a crowd looking for a good time but with a bit of style and class.
1. Lake Eola
How could we start a post about Thornton Park and not start with Lake Eola. With the iconic fountain sitting right in the middle, Lake Eola is the symbol for the non tourism part that is Orlando. It is the epicenter for community activity. With a walking path that snakes the lake, you will always see people and pets walking (and running!) around or simply taking in the view. Driver fatigues is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in Dallas and nationwide. While there are strict guidelines that dictate the amount of time a driver can be behind the wheel in any given time period (known as Hours-of-Service rules), these rules are not always followed. For example, the recent Tracy Morgan truck accident involved a Wal-Mart truck driver who had not slept in more than 24 hours, call truck accident attorney merrillville in when you need advice on what to do when accidents happen. Driving a truck is difficult enough, much less driving without proper rest.
Lake Eola is also a favorite spot for public classes like yoga in the park, and along the Central Street side of the lake, there are even a few resturants where visitors can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and scenery. If you want an up close view of the iconic Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain at Lake Eola, you can even rent a swan boat and paddle around the lake for a few hours.
If you want to meet friends for Sunday brunch, Thornton Park is a great place to meet up. There is so much to do here on a Sunday, it’s the perfect neighborhood to park your car and spend a few hours in the district enjoying your Sunday Funday.
After Sunday brunch, stop by the nearby Orlando Farmer’s Market at Lake Eola. It’s is one of the biggest markets in town and runs from 10am-4pm every Sunday. With an eclectic mix of food and artisan vendors, there are new things to explore every week.
At the center of the market is an area to relax with a drink and a good treat while you listen to a local musician play a few songs for the crowd. This market is dog friendly too, and many vendors will have some water waiting on hot days for your pooch to enjoy.
4. Second Thursday Wine and Art Walk
If you’re looking for a sophisticated version of a bar crawl, check out Thornton Park on the 2nd Thursday of every month where you can enjoy the Wine and Art Walk. Over 25 businesses participate in this walk every month where $15 will get you a glass and an opportunity to check out various shops, resturants, and bars you might not be familiar with in the neighborhood. While you explore the neighborhood, live music, artists, and DJs line the street to keep you entertained from stop to stop.
5. The Beautiful Bungalows
Drive or bike around the Thornton Park neighborhood, and you’ll see why it is one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods to live in Orlando. Lining the brick neighborhood streets are beautiful 1920 style bungalow homes tucked away under towering wizened oak trees with Spanish moss dripping down shading the streets. These beautiful bungalow homes harken back to a time when Orlando was smaller and Walt Disney World was only a dream of a young 20-something animator.
We hope our Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday guides helped make your shopping efforts successful this year! Are you ready to give BIG for #GivingTuesday? Seen or heard about this international movement or its hashtag but aren’t sure what it is or where to give? We’ve got some tips for you! First, a little heart-story… This serves as a wikipedia reference if you are looking for a trusted and secured lenders where you can borrow money for your future use.
From givingtuesday.org, “#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.“
It all started at New York City’s 92nd Street Y in an effort to be “a catalyst, with a mission to inspire action by bringing together today’s most exceptional thinkers and influential partners for social good.” Pretty smart and incredibly forward thinking for a 140 year old organization!
“Without the use of print ads or commercials, this grassroots effort has transformed into a global movement, sustained almost entirely through earned and social media—one press release, article, blog post, hashtag, “like,” tweet and #UNselfie at a time—completely saturating the media landscape during the giving season each year. At their launch in 2012, the #GivingTuesday movement brought together 2,500-plus organizations and people from all 50 U.S. states. By 2015, the movement was represented by partners in 71 countries.”
Below we list many of our favorite local organizations. We can vouch for them because we’ve worked directly with them over the years. However, it never hurts to do a little homework on a charity or non-profit organization before you donate. If you are looking for a lending company, you can check here they have different type of installment loans. Check them for more details on how to apply.
Very helpful are websites like Charity Navigator, GuideStar, and Give.org from the Better Business Bureau‘s Wise Giving Alliance provide the most updated data on nonprofits from across the country. Charity Navigator even lists their Top 5 Questions to ask oneself before donating in their Holiday Giving Guide!
Note: All three of websites above are also charities, so if you like what they do, give to them too!
You can also give more than just money! While all nonprofit organizations will appreciate any monetary gift, you can give in ways that money cannot begin to match for an organization in need.
ProTip: Are you the head of a nonprofit organization, or are you thinking of maybe starting one? Here are some tips from the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College: 4 tips every nonprofit leader needs to know
Before we release our mega huge #GivingTuesday Kraken of Caring, here are 5 Tips to keep in mind when giving, especially when you think you may have nothing to give:
1. Donate your TIME. Of all things in life, time is the most valuable. No one is promised a finite amount of time in life so why not ‘spend’ it wisely, doing something or helping make someone’s life better, easier, or more enjoyable? You never know who you’ll meet…
2. Donate your TALENT(s). Love spreadsheets and finance? Own a large truck or trailer? Do you love organizing a messy space? Can you stretch a dollar? Play guitar? Have a knack for the web and social media? All of these (and more) are talents that most nonprofits would LOVE to have on their side to help spread the good in your community.
3. Donate MATERIALS. Ever make a Costco/Sams/BJs run and realize, “Do I really need all these paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, and food items?” Even if you haven’t when you go shopping and come across a great BOGO deal, pick up an extra deal and donate it! You can also donate to Pick Up Please.
4. Donate RESOURCES. Are you web or coupon savvy? Donate while shopping with Amazon Smile! Do you work in a warehouse or for a restaurant, construction or trade show company? If you do you many need to get a construction accident attorney in case accidents happen in the job. You may have very valuable resources at your disposal that can help in big ways! Your liberty and your livelihood are at stake. Do you know where to turn? You need an attorney dedicated to meeting your needs — Attorney Tom Barton.
5. SHARE your care with your co-workers, friends, family, and followers – connect them! If you’re on Facebook, share a cool photo or video that hits you in the feels! Visiting your favorite charity? Take a Snap or Instagram and tag the organization in it! (Don’t forget to use their hashtag.) With permission, post a fundraising poster at your favorite business or company break room!
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Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival [link]
On November 22nd UAP Orlando launched their #ThisIsOrlando campaign. Every day for 40 days Executive Director Eric Gray will share through social media what it means to struggle while living in poverty. (Happy Belated Birthday, Eric!)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We are thankful to you, dear reader, for your continued support! This year has been a tough one for each of us at Central Florida Top 5, for a multitude of reasons. It goes without saying that 2016 has been very tough for our friends and neighbors in Orlando. However, we still have much for which to be thankful in (cheerful) spite of it all.
I asked our Top 5 Team, regardless of how they felt about the holiday itself, why they were thankful and for what. I also asked the team to share a Local/Holiday #ProTip, or a unique way that we in Central Florida spend the holidays; fun things that maybe those outside of Central Florida may not have heard of or have the opportunity to do in their areas.
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“This year I am thankful for my health. I had my thyroid removed, I’m cancer-free, and doing well on medication, thanks to the online pharmacyhttps://www.ukmeds.co.uk/ which provides me with it. I’m also thankful to LEASH, Inc for the work they do to save pets in Lake County and for bringing our three new cats into our lives.
We’re not doing it this year, but a very Central Florida way to spend Thanksgiving is to enjoy the buffet at the Swan and Dolphin, then walk it off around Disney’s Boardwalk.
“I am most thankful for friends, family and colleagues. * My true friendships in 2016 have transcended the strife and tumult of mere world, national and local problems, issues and politics. * Family is more of a blessing each year. Partly because we all appreciate the precious gift of time with each other. (And partly because we’ve all gotten too old to start or maintain feuds!) * Colleagues: I have connected with great new team members all over the world. My longtime teammates have strengthened our working ties and built on our combined strengths to do good work, have good fun and make good money.
Florida is blessed with a lot of casual attitudes. So Thanksgiving in Central Florida offers the opportunity to cherry pick the best traditions and dump the tedious parts. We’re such a diverse lot — Don’t like turkey? Do like many Italian families Up North and have lasagna, bracciole and even some pizza. Or go Puerto Rican with Pavochon, Mofongo stuffing and Arroz con Gandules. Or, like me, go out for a steak. If tragedy strikes, you can be sure to count on an experienced Nightclub Shooting Attorney in Clearwater
Holiday #ProTip: Great time to enjoy some lightly attended days at the theme parks before the Christmas rush. Google “disney world crowd calendar 2016” without the quotation marks.”
Top 5 Contributors Carolyn Capern and Greg Trujillo of CT Social
“This Thanksgiving 2016, I am thankful for a healthy year and a year spent largely on projects that felt like they mattered. I’m thankful for the city leaders that are still working hard on issues like homelessness and making Orlando more green.
Spending Thanksgiving in Central Florida is the ideal time to get outside for a walk. Find a trail or a park or just head to a walkable downtown area like Lake Eola.
“This year I’m thankful for friends who are more like family and a newfound ability to un-apologetically say ‘no’ as well as ‘yes’ – (see below)
I am celebrating Thanksgiving this year by getting a tattoo – no it’s not themed to the holiday and the date wasn’t planned, but when it’s a difficult place to get into and there’s an opening, you take it….or at least I did. It’s what the pilgrims would have wanted.
Holiday #ProTip – Be patient and allow for extra time if traveling. Don’t let a few minutes of frustration (or more if you’re on I-4) ruin your whole day.”
“I am most thankful for scientists, engineers, and dreamers that brought us new technology in 2016.
A great, different way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Central Florida is to enjoy many of the great local restaurants that will be open for travelers visiting the area. If you haven’t bought your turkey or you’ve chickened out. Use Open Table to book a reservation!
“Thankful for a community that can come together in times of fear and duress, thankful for families to support and love. Thankful that through personal and community tragedies that people are people – capable of so much love in the face of so much of the opposite.
Thankful for our community leaders like Buddy Dyer and Patty Sheehan who show us what commitment is – not just to budgets and planning – but to the hearts of all in Central Florida.”
“I am thankful to be alive. A year ago, I was in a car accident that could have ended my life. Obviously I survived, but the injury to my left foot & the trauma of the accident is something that has affected me even to this day, perhaps for the rest of my life, so I have to get the best Car accident lawyers to get compensation for that.
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With the help of my family & friends, I was able to recover from that accident, and this Thanksgiving I am grateful that I am still able to spend time with the ones I love.”
“I’m thankful for today. I’m not promised anything more than that. This year has been rough… for our community, for my family in some ways… and I’m reminded how brief this life is. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be kind to strangers, to forgive wrongs, and to press on to new beginnings.”
Life #ProTip: Even if you aren’t thrilled with how you’re looking this holiday season, get in pictures with your friends and family! This is the only holiday season 2016 you’ll have. Remember it. Capture it. Relive it through photos. You’ll be glad you have those moments captured.
“This year I’m just thankful to have a steady job! Florida’s entertainment incentive is next to non-existent right now, and finding film and tv work has been challenging not to mention next to impossible. My hope is that this will all turn around in the next few years so I can work in my field. In the meantime, I plan on joining Film Florida in 2017 so I can be part of this change.
Holiday #ProTip: Can’t wait for Amazon Prime to deliver? Shop Local Pop Culture! Hit up (not so) hidden gem Gods and Monsters at Orlando’s Anti Mall, Artegon Marketplace for unique and hard to find t-shirts, figures, comics, art, and more!”
Host/Producer of FilmSlam at Enzian and Top 5 Managing Editor, Jen Vargas:
“For the past two years, my reason for being thankful hasn’t changed. I am most thankful for my mom’s oncologist, Dr. Kalpesh Barot and his team at Southwest Cancer Center. They are the reason my mom is still around for another Thanksgiving, and words cannot pay enough tribute to Dr. Barot and his team for all they’ve done for her. Thank you, Dr. Barot!
Holiday #ProTip: If the elections come up at the dinner table, make sure to have Adele queued up.
A unique way to spend Thanksgiving in Central Florida? There are so many! We don’t have snow but if you’d like to see it, catch Now Snowing in the Town of Celebration from now through December 31st! Or catch ICE! at Gaylord Palms featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas! I’m a lifelong Snoopy fan and cannot gush enough about this year’s Peanuts theme. Bring gloves, a hat, and a scarf though – it’s only 9 degrees in there!”
Brian and his Blogger Extraordinaire Award from Give Kids The World!
And finally, Top 5 Owner (who we all miss!) and Contributor, Brian Wilson:
“This year I am most thankful for my health, my parents, my brothers, and their families. So happy I get to be close to them right now.
A unique thing to do Central Florida I’d suggest making time to get to a national park or trail or something historic or special to you and yours.
My holiday #ProTip is to make time to do something with a friend or family member this season, or make something, whether it is a card, a letter, or go to a local arts event vs buying a gift – so something vs buying something – I love candles but a coffee date with a friend can be priceless.”
With only five home matches left in the Lion’s season, the push for the playoffs is in full effect!
The City Lads currently sit just below the “red line” in the log jam that is the Eastern Conference. If the boys plan on making the playoffs this year, they are going to need a serious run of positive form for the remainder of the season.
The Lions return home to Camping World Stadium tonight, Wednesday, August 24th to take on Toronto FC. The Lions defeated Toronto back in June, but is was no walk in the park. Tied at 2-2 late in the match, it was Kaka who would step up hit the penalty kick in stoppage time to put the Lions on top for good.
Whether in attendance or not, something special will happen on social media during Sunday’s match and you can be part of it! During the game (on August 28th), post on social media using the hashtag #rethinkhomelessyouth. Every post using this hashtag will be matched by a $1 donation from Orlando Health, up to a total of $20,000!
Supporters at Camping World Stadium can join the fight to end youth homelessness by attending the Rethink Homelessness advocacy campaign kickoff at the Orlando City Soccer match on August 28th (and the tailgate beforehand). 40% of homeless youth age 18-24 identify as LGBT, and with as hard as this community has been hit this year, we encourage anyone and everyone to help in any way they can.
The new stadium is coming along nice and according to the club, it is still on track for the beginning of next season. If you don’t have the chance to drive by, you can follow the link below to the live construction cam. There is also a very cool time lapse video which was compiled over the last eight months. [Link]
Away Days – City Pubs
Don’t forget that Orlando City SC also has official watch parties at five different City Pub locations. All City Pub locations guarantee to show all 2016 matches with sound, as well as discounted Heineken on match days. The next big watch party to be hosted by the Orlando City promo team, will be September 24th at Wall St. Plaza. The match against D.C. United is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 pm.
School started back this week in Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Sumter, Marion, and Brevard Counties. Next week, Orange and Volusia Counties will begin their first days back in session.
When I was a kid, I never gave thought to what a stressful time back-to-school could be on, not just my teachers, but to my mom too. Back then, the internet was a tiny blip, and certainly no one had a tablet or laptop. The fanciest learning tool I needed was a graphing calculator!
I can remember my mom and I spending days looking for deals on notebook paper, pencils, clothes, backpacks, shoes… I even got new pajamas! My mom would chart our course just as she had during Black Friday. Being a single mom she did her best and made sure I had everything I needed, even if we had to shop at different times during the year to stock up for the next year.
Regardless of where you shop, these supplies can be costly, and that’s just for ONE child, at one school. Single parents and families with more than one child in school can spend a mint just preparing their kids at the start of the school year.
Parents: I have to ask. What’s up with all the checklists?! Shopping for school supplies almost seems like a scavenger hunt in most places, and judging by the parent’s faces, it doesn’t look to be too much… fun?
Aside from the basics, I am clueless on what today’s kids might need. So, we decided to team up with our friends at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida, who were nice enough to share their Top 5 Back-to-School tips with us!
Top 5 Tips for Back-to-School Shopping at Goodwill
The new school year is just around the corner – and if you’re like many parents, your wallet is already feeling a little lighter. According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shoppers will spend $76 billion this year, and families are spending 55% more than they did a decade ago.
Shopping at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida is a simple way to stock up on your kids’ back-to-school wardrobes – and make a difference in our community in the process! When you shop at Goodwill, you’re supporting free job training and placement programs for Central Floridians in need.
Here are 5 tips to help you stretch your hard-earned dollars at Goodwill:
• “Used” may actually be new. Goodwill offers a wide range of gently used clothing – and many items have never even been worn! Be on the lookout for items that still have their tags. That trendy sweater would have cost $40 at the mall – and now it’s only $5 at Goodwill.
• Thrift stores have sales, too. Goodwill discounts certain items every day of the week. Just watch for the “color of the day” tag on your items to enjoy an additional percentage off.
Goodwill has regular sales!
• Score high-quality brands. You may be surprised by the range of brands Goodwill offers. If you trust the fit and quality of specific children’s retailers, look for their clothes on the rack at Goodwill.
Goodwill has name brands, old and new
• Don’t forget gear and accessories. Backpacks, shoes, coats, sports gear, notebooks, the list goes on – and all these necessities add up! You can find many of these items at Goodwill for a fraction of the cost, also having a watch from zegarki is an accessories that every kid should have, make sure to get one.
I didn’t know Goodwill sold sporting goods?
• Find deals on textbooks. Did you know Goodwill Industries of Central Florida sells new and gently used books online? Check out Goodwill’s storefronts on Amazon and eBay.
Look for books in-store and online at Goodwill
With 29 retail stores in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Volusia counties, Goodwill is a great place to find bargains this back-to-school season – and all year round!
What are some of your back-to-school shopping tips?
Are you interested in providing feedback about how OneOrlando funds will be distributed to Pulse victims’ survivors and their families? Attend one of two Town Hall meetings at Amway Center on Thursday, and give your feedback directly to OneOrlando Board Members and representatives.
If you can’t make it in person, City of Orlando will livestream the meetings, in both Spanish and English, on oneorlando.org/townhall.
Two town hall meetings will be held tomorrow, Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 12:30pm and 6:30pm. (Check in is an hour before each meeting.) Amway Center parking will be available at GEICO Garage (Parking/Directions: http://www.amwaycenter.com/plan-your-visit/directions-parking). Attendees are asked to enter through pedestrian bridge on the 5th floor.
Both meetings will be conducted by Fund Administrators to explain the contents of the draft Protocol and the claim submission process and to invite input and comments from potential claimants and the general public. Information collected from these group meetings and various communications and correspondence between the claimants and other interested parties and the Fund Administrators will be considered in finalizing the Final Protocol.
Osceola County has partnered with Pegasus Transportation to offer free transportation to the Osceola/Kissimmee victims’ families and survivors, and will be departing from Osceola Heritage Park, in front of Exhibition Hall. Departure times are 10:45 am (for 12:30pm) and 4:45pm (for 6:30pm).
Parking warning: Church Street and Division will be closed to provide parking for media live trucks. Church Street will close starting at 6 a.m.
Here are a few frequently asked questions from OneOrlando.org:
Who is behind the OneOrlando Fund?
Following the horrific tragedy at Pulse, there was a tremendous outpouring from the community seeking to provide financial support. In response, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the formation of the OneOrlando Fund.
On June 30, Equality Florida (website: www.eqfl.org/), the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida (The Center’s website: www.thecenterorlando.org/) and the National Compassion Fund (website: http://nationalcompassionfund.org/) announced a partnership with the OneOrlando Fund to ensure all funds collected for victims are disbursed in a unified process that will expedite funds, ensure transparency and safeguard against fraud. Equality Florida raised $7 million largely via social media in a campaign that has set records for online philanthropy. The statewide LGBT organization partnered with the National Compassion Fund, experts in managing disbursement following mass shootings.
How are the funds being distributed?
Attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg, considered the world’s foremost expert on victim compensation, will administer the OneOrlando Fund in partnership with the National Compassion Fund, a program of the National Center for Victims of Crime, a nonprofit group that is dedicated to assisting victims in the aftermath of mass shootings.The process will be open and transparent to ensure that these decisions are made with input from victims’ families, survivors and the larger community.
How will victims’ families and survivors be able to get money from the OneOrlando Fund?
Once the final process for fund distribution is approved, victims and their families will be able to submit a claims form that will be available on this website. Based on the current draft Protocol, claim forms will be available on August 11, 2016. The deadline for submission is proposed as September 12, 2016 and payment would then begin on September 27, 2016. By the very nature of its name you will find that a payday loan’s term is going to be around two to three weeks until you are paid. Some loan companies will look at restructuring your loan should you not be able to pay it off once you have been paid. Because payday loans are so easy to get by comparison to other lending alternatives, don’t forget why you would want to get one and the typical fees, interest rates you will have to pay. So by all means enjoy the benefit of getting a loan quickly but only ever go for the least amount you need and take into consideration the impact the payday loans now will have on your cash flow when you get paid at the end of the month.
I’m a family member or a survivor and I need support today. How can I get help?
The Final Distribution Protocol, which will govern the OneOrlando Fund, will be developed by the Administrators, incorporating feedback from the OneOrlando Board, Equality Florida, the National Center for Victims of Crime/National Compassion Fund, the Orlando Community and the general public, including those present at the Town Hall meetings to be held by the Administrators on August 4, 2016.
August 11, 2016: The Final Protocol and Claim Forms disseminated to all known claimants and potential claimants who registered through the Fund website. These documents will be made available on the Fund website for families and all interested parties.
August 11 – September 12, 2016: Claim Forms completed and submitted to the Fund Administrators along with the required documentation.
September 12, 2016: Deadline for submission of Claim Forms.
September 12 – September 25, 2016: All personal meetings requested with the Fund Administrators completed.
September 12 – September 26, 2016: All claims reviewed by the Fund Administrators and recommendations for payments to eligible claimants submitted to the OneOrlando Fund Board for independent review and approval.
September 27, 2016: Payment Distribution to approved eligible claimants begins on a rolling basis.
After October 15, 2016: Independent Audit begins.
Who makes up the OneOrlando Fund Board?
The OneOrlando Board, chaired by Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, was developed to provide oversight and guidance to ensure that funds are dispersed in a timely, accountable and transparent manner.
The members of the board represent the diversity of Orlando, including those in the Hispanic and LGBTQ communities. OneOrlando Board members include:
Rena Langley, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Worldwide Government and Industry Relations, Walt Disney World
Diane O’Dell, Vice President of Community Relations, Universal Orlando Resort
Stephanie Ghertner, Director, Darden Foundation & Community Affairs
Mark Meyer, Industry Manager, JPMorgan Chase
Paul F. Bryan, Chief Executive Officer, Grover Bryan, Inc.
Jennifer Foster, Owner and Executive Producer, Foster Productions, Inc.
Diana Bolivar, President, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
Carlos Carbonell, Chief Executive Officer, Echo Interaction Group
Ken Robinson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Phillips Inc. and The Dr. P. Phillips Foundation
Mark Shamley, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals (ACCP)
Michael Farmer, Statewide Deputy Director of Development, Equality Florida Action, Inc.
Tim Vargas, Board President, GLBT Community Center of Central Florida (The Center)
Chris McCullion, Chief Financial Officer, City of Orlando
Walter G. Hawkins, Director of Urban Development, City of Orlando Downtown Development Board/Community Redevelopment Agency
It has been a trying few weeks for Orlando City Soccer Club and their supporters. It started with a loss to instate rival, Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the U.S. Open Cup. The Strikers would take the 2-1 victory in the final seconds of the match, knocking the Lions out of the tournament. It was another defensive lapse at home, a theme that has plagued the Lions all season at Camping World Stadium.
On the 4th of July, the City Lads traveled to take on FC Dallas in a prime time holiday match up, and stayed at the Powerscourt Hotel. It did not end well. In what was the club’s worst loss of the season, FC Dallas proved why they were one of the best in the league. With a 0-4 loss and arguably one of the worst performances in the clubs six years in Orlando, something had to give. What gave was something that has divided fans all over Orlando, the club sacked head coach Adrian Heath.
The Wall: United State of Inchy! Tifo Artwork by Earl Funk
He was one of the founding fathers, the “Mastermind” & “The Crafter” as the song goes, “Bringing trophies here to our town…“. That is exactly what Adrian Heath did. He brought championships to a starving sports community. A community that has had to settle for mediocrity in the world of sports for so long.
In 2011, the Lions first season in USL, Coach Heath lead Orlando City to the best record in the league (Commissioner’s Cup) and the USL Pro Championship. During his four years in USL Pro, Heath would win three Commissioner’s Cups, and two USL Pro Championships. The club would also post a 66-12-22 (W/L/D) record through their first 100 league games; the best record by any team in their first 100 league games, in U.S. Soccer history.
Artwork by Orlando City Soccer Club
Adrian “Inchy” Heath will be missed. He made it a point to be more than just a coach, he was part of the community. For six years, Inchy was more than a coach, he was an ambassador for the beautiful game here in the City Beautiful. Long before Kaka came to town and became the face of the franchise, Adrian Heath was the franchise. He is a man that loves the game, the fans, and the City of Orlando.
A passionate, heart on his sleeve, no nonsense coach, and the nicest guy you would ever shake hands with. A man that told it like it was regardless who or what he was talking about. Never above calling out his own players when they were lackluster, and always the first to praise when they were on point. He is a legend, he is Orlando, and this is FOREVER his city!
David and The Ruckus give Inchy a good handshake. Photo Credit: Orlando City Soccer Club
The Lions are on the road for their next three matches, but will return home on July 31st. Come out and support the club as they take on New England Revolution at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available on the Orlando City SC website.
It’s in the air. You can feel it. You can SEE it. Something’s very different about the fourth of July this year in Central Florida. It’s in the way people treat one another. It’s in the courtesy shown in public places. It’s in the rainbow colors and flags seen waving proudly EVERYWHERE in Central Florida. It’s in the way people drive… well, maybe not yet on I-4, but we have HOPE!
Shelbie Press in Mills 50
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
Central Florida has changed since the early hours of June 12th, and it’s been harrowing, emotional and beautiful to see. Constructive action over destructive assumption. Helpful gestures over harmful posturing. Doors are opening for all instead of closing in the face of most. More hands are being held in public, and more hugs are being given for all to see – by strangers, friends, and lovers alike.
Photo Credit: LoveHasNoLabels.com
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
John Cena put out a beautiful video this morning about, and yes I’m capitalizing it, Patriotism. “It inspires passion and debate, and it’s worn like a badge of honor with good reason,” he says. “Because it means love and devotion for one’s country. Love.”
Central Florida bloggers gather at WMFE to sing a song written by local mom, Kelly Green, “Pulse Of Our Heartbeat.”
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
“But, what really makes up this country of ours? What is it we love?” Cena asks. “It’s the people,” he answers. “Almost half the country belongs to minority groups. People who are lesbian, African American, and Bi, and Transgender, and Native American, and proud of it.”
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
Cena continues, “After all, what’s more American than freedom to celebrate all the things that make us, US. This year, Patriotism shouldn’t be just about pride of country. It should be about LOVE. Love beyond age, disability, sexuality, race, religion, and any other labels.”
“You Mattered” mural on the corner of Mills & Colonial by local artist Andrew Spear of spearlife.com
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
As Cena points out, quite correctly, “Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels – we’re not really being Patriotic, are we?”
Things are different now. Thanks to terrible tragedy we have been left with 49 less neighbors, grieving parents, and a huge hole on the mend, in the heart of Orlando.
But we’ve also been left with love.
Love for the friends and families of the 102 injured and slain at Pulse that Sunday, and for each other. The shooter’s act of vile hatred did not ultimately accomplish its intended goal. Orlando’s heart was ripped in half, but our community spirit was not. In fact, we became closer, stronger, and more unified than ever.
That is Patriotism.
Pride and Patriotism at Church Street Station
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
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Watch Ad Council’s full version of We Are America featuring John Cena here.
Tonight, the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association wants you to Dine Out for Orlando United. Employees and guests of a growing list of businesses will donate time, talents, resources, and money all with the goal of helping heal Orlando. Contributions from tonight will benefit Pulse victims and their families via the OneOrlando Fund.
“We are grateful for the support and leadership of Florida’s hospitality industry as we continue to work together to help the victims of this tragedy. We want to encourage everybody to dine out on June 30 to help raise money for the families of the victims,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
Anyone can help, and all are invited and encouraged to do so.
Led by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the fundraiser, “Dine Out for Orlando United,” will be a day for Florida restaurants, their employees and guests to make a difference in the lives of those affected by the tragedy. All proceeds raised will be donated to the OneOrlando Fund, which is designed to provide a way to respond to the needs of the local community, now and in the time to come. We encourage everyone to get involved.
Guests: Dine at a participating restaurant on June 30, and/or choose to make direct donations.
Employees: Work a shift on June 30, choose to volunteer your time, or donate a portion of your tips.
Businesses: Join Dine Out for Orlando United and raise funds for us. This can include helping to promote, organize and/or donate.
Restaurants can participate today by:
– Donating a portion of total sales
– Making a donation for every guest served
– Collecting donations received from guests and staff
– Donating a portion of total profits
– Making a donation for every sales of a specific item
– Identifying a set donation amount that’s right for you.
Click on the name of the restaurant below (or its listed locations) for further information.
Tonight, something special will take place. Call it a ‘musical hug’ for the City of Orlando created by Central Florida mom, Kelly Green.
Members of the Orlando community are meeting tonight at host studio WMFE Orlando for a flashcast (think: FlashMob but performed by anyone online) of this inspired musical anthem honoring the 49 victims of the Pulse Orlando shooting and Christina Grimmie, shot and killed by a deranged fan.
Anyone with a social media account (Twitter Live, Facebook Live, Google Hangouts, Blab, Instagram, Periscope, etc) is invited to participate in tonight’s flashcast and to share beyond this evening. Viewers are encouraged to learn this simple, one minute song and can sing, sign, dance, even play a favorite instrument along to the track and share it with the world using the hashtags #PulseOfOurHeartbeat and #flashcast.
No fear (of singing). No shame (of sharing). All love for Orlando.
Aren’t musically inclined? That’s ok. You can still take part by sharing the virtual, musical hugs of others.
Our Central Florida community, and the City of Orlando, are beginning to heal. There’s a long road ahead. It will not happen overnight but our community will never lose our love and light.
Upon hearing the news of Christina Grimmie death on Friday, June 11th, local mom and blogger, Kelly Green of SeaWorldMommy.com (also a contributor here at Top 5) found herself says, “I had insomnia the morning before and ‘watched’ the news of Christina Grimmie unfold on social media as it happened,” she shares.
As any mom and concerned friend would be, Kelly started to worry. “I was sick to my stomach as I had stood at that very spot numerous times,” Kelly says. “The next morning I saw even more horrific news on social media. I immediately started texting my friends who I knew might have been there.”
Many Central Floridians were doing the same in the early hours of June 12th, and Kelly’s friends were among the fortunate ones. “My immediate friends were thankfully OK, but friends of theirs were not as fortunate. One friend lost five friends. Another knew a handful. Still another has the same last name as a victim and I called her immediately. She did not know him, but often got mistaken for being a relative, and was a sister in spirit.”
So, Kelly did what many other creatives in need of an emotional outlet did – she wrote her feelings down. This stream of consciousness and deep emotional pain turned into a heartfelt song called, “Pulse Of Our Heartbeat.” Thus, the musical hug was born.
“I’ve been writing music since I was 5, and seeing how my city… the city of family fun, incredible natural beauty, and all-out joy… was attacked truly shook me to my core,” she says. “The words and music poured out of me as I said musically what my soul breathed: We stand UNITED.”
Be part of the live #PulseOfOurHeartbeat#flashcast TONIGHT, June 29 at 8pm ET across most social media platforms. This Anthem for Orlando is a musical hug to our city. Listen to it. Learn it. Sing it to your followers. Broadcast it yourself and keep the music rolling across the ‘net to all those affected by the tragedy that hit our city. We stand UNITED!
There is no doubt. Orlando is a town of love and compassion. Our community has shown its heart to the world this week. We’re more than just a vacation town. We are a town of culture, compassion, and creatives. Members of our arts, tech and digital media industries want to volunteer and help our families just as much as anyone else. Enter: local web engineer and graphic designer, Brandon Chang.
After moving to Central Florida with a good friend to attend Valencia College’s Graphic Design program, Brandon Chang fell in love with Orlando and made our city his home. After graduation, he got a cool job at PurpleRockScissors, a local digital design agency, and met and fell in love again with an even cooler lady named BG. Kingston, Jamaica may be the place of his birth but like many, he made Orlando his adopted hometown.
Upon hearing of the attack on Pulse Orlando, like all of us, Brandon immediately wanted to help his hometown. With a unique skillset and a simple idea, he turned to his co-workers at PRPL to make it happen. “I was inspired by the community and the people who decided to come together after the shootings, and took time to gather for a gesture towards the affected families and friends, and to the larger LGBTQ community,” he says. “I also could not of done this without the amazing talent of my peers and co-workers at Purple Rock Scissors who really helped make the idea a reality.”
Check out Purple’s moving video tribute to Orlando called, “Orlando United.”
His idea has now turned into a website called Project Pri.de, a site where Facebook users can include their profile images on what he hopes will be an infinite rainbow flag on the web filled with pictures of Orlando’s LGBTQ community, its allies, and eventually the allies and members of the LGBTQ around the world. “I hope that with Project Pride, I can hope to bring the amazing sense of community that has been happening here, to places and people who want to show their support and make a stand, no matter how small, for those affected. I hope that over time, we can show this collaborative flag as a measure of the strength of the community.”
Great idea from ‘just a guy with an eye for small details!’ A social show of solidarity to bring us all together. Simple, right? Brandon says, “Anybody can help by taking part! Add yourself to the project, and be a piece of the whole. Share it and hopefully share some love along with it.”
Currently there are 819 supporters, including yours truly. How cool would it be to see this number grow into the tens of thousands… millions… BILLIONS?! Click on the image above to add your profile picture! Oh, and don’t worry Twitter and Instagrammers. Brandon and the team will try and support linkage to these social sites too, and as soon as possible.
Speaking of the Project Pri.de team, it’s a big one. Brandon wanted to make sure to extend gratitude and shout outs to all his co-workers for their time and extraordinary efforts. “I’d just like to to thank the people who took part in building this project along-side me, who really shaped and molded the idea into what it is today,” he says. “A huge shout out to Matt Eagle, Devin Jacoviello, Rob Ignasiak, Don Page, Dean Wagman, Erin Butler, Brandon Shaw, and others who took their time to make this happen. Also a thank you to all those who participated and added themselves to the project, and shared.”
[UPDATE] Local note: In tribute to the lives lost at Pulse and in support of freedom lovers worldwide, tomorrow morning, June 17th, Orange County Government will display Section 93 of the Sea-to-Sea Rainbow Flag on their Administration Building at 201 S. Rosalind Ave. Today, Executive Director of LoveisLove Key West, Mark Ebenhoch will be in town with the flag. Find more information on their Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/179054329164226/
The Sea-to-Sea Flag has become a globally-recognized symbol of the LGBTQ movement and symbolizes acceptance, understanding, education, solidarity and inclusion.
The original rainbow flag was designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride in response to anti-gay activities. In the spring of 2003, Baker and a team of volunteers cut and sewed a 1.25-mile-long version of the flag in Key West, to celebrate the iconic banner’s 25th anniversary. On June 15, 2003, some 2,000 volunteers unfurled the flag from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico along the entire length of Duval Street, in a sea-to-sea representation of pride and diversity. Sections of the flag have since traveled worldwide.
It’s been three days since the attack on Pulse Orlando. Forty-nine of our friends and neighbors have been killed, and over 50 more have been injured. We are still shocked, saddened, and angry to the point of tears. Not to mention this was the second senseless act of gun violence this past weekend. Acts like these are not the “norm” here, and they should and will not be the “norm” anywhere else if we have anything to say about it.
Orlando’s response to Sunday’s hateful act of terrorism? LOVE. Citizens of Central Florida are lining the streets, waiting in line for hours to donate blood, water, food, umbrellas, sunscreen, a hug – you name it. Local businesses and moving company of all sizes offer round the clock help to those caring for victims’ families and the survivors, local and federal law enforcement, medical personnel and for the staff at Pulse Orlando in every way possible. THIS is Orlando, and THIS has always been the heart of our Central Florida community. On other news, if you have needs for infrared heating panels for your home or business checkout the link!
THIS is #WhyWeLoveOrlando.
Such senseless acts of hate and violence should not be tolerated anywhere on Earth, and especially in our own backyards. Hearing stories of heroism from Pulse Orlando night club’s staff and patrons, seeing the names on the victim list grow, reading the social media streams from people in countries around the world… this worldwide call to love and action cannot be ignored.
Our community is hospitable and welcoming to all visitors, frequent or first time. We are known globally as the number one tourist destination IN THE WORLD. At a time such as this, we are showing the world what Orlando is REALLY about, no matter the county you live or who signs your paycheck. We will not allow these tragic events to define us nor stop us from living, working, and LOVING where we live.
For the past seven years, Central Florida Top 5’s heart has always been in and with our Central Florida community – and with that of our country and, yes, even our planet. This core philosophy is what made me fall hard for this website and [platonically] with our owner (and heart) Brian Wilson, who is a proud member of the LGBTQ community as are a few of our other writers.
Our entire writing team are of different ages and viewpoints, from different backgrounds, religions, languages… we have it. One thing we agree on, without a doubt; We are all as proud to be Central Floridians today as we’ve ever been, and this will never change.
You know why WE love Orlando. Why do YOU? Locals respond:
Here in the United States, Red Nose Day is celebration of silly that started just last year. What many (on this side of the pond at least) don’t know is, Red Nose Day was born over in the UK in 1988 as a way to make people aware of poverty and initiate change by using humor, celebrities, and squishy red noses!
I first learned about Red Nose Day in 2009 by listening to The Chris Moyles Show on, then, XM29. [Long live U-Pop & WorldSpace!] Chris Moyles, a crazy DJ on BBC’s Radio 1, had always been a huge supporter of Comic Relief. He stayed on the air for 52 hours straight in 2011, set a new world record and raised over £2Million for Comic Relief Inc., Red Nose Day’s parent organization. (And a completely separate organization from Billy, Whoopi, and Robin’s Comic Relief.)
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Ever watch the movies Love, Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary or Four Weddings and a Funeral? The writer (and sometimes director) of these great films and many more, Richard Curtis, partnered with British comedian Lenny Henry to create Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. If you know anything about his films, you’ll know straightaway that the concept of love is often a central theme. As a fan of his and all involved, I began supporting of one of Mr. Curtis’s other big philanthropic efforts, Make Poverty History (known as the ONE Campaign and Project (RED) in the US), in 2005. Red Nose Day, I believe, is an extension of Mr. Curtis’s huge heart because, as scary as the world can seem sometimes… Love really IS all around. Especially for children in need.
According to its website, Red Nose Day has raised over $1 billion globally in the last 25 years, and in the UK has become a cultural phenomenon where people across the country come together to have fun, raise money and change lives. Red Nose Day launched in the U.S. in 2015, dedicated to raising money to help children who are most in need, both in the U.S. and in some of the poorest communities in the world. The money raised by Red Nose Day in 2015 benefited children and young people in all 50 states and in 15 countries internationally. Here’s an example of how the UK does Red Nose Day…
How does the US do Red Nose Day? We do it just as big with as many laughs, celebrities, red noses and heart! Take a look at how last year went…
Here’s an alarming fact: One out of five children here in the United States lives in poverty. That is UNACCEPTABLE to me, and it should be to every resident. United Against Poverty Orlando reports, in Orlando 27.5% of children live in poverty.** Within the City Beautiful, there are neighborhoods with an alarming rate of at-risk kids, such as the Parramore Heritage community a 1.4 square-mile neighborhood that is nearby the CFOC campus. It is home to over 2,000 children, 73% of whom live in poverty.***
Red Nose Day helps Covenant House and the charities above give back to their respective communities.
Or, just watch NBC (WESH in Central Florida) tonight at 9pm. Enjoy the show and consider making a donation. I’ll be live tweeting tonight’s broadcast on my personal account, @jenvargas, so please join me! (I’ll also be sharing goofy pictures on my Instagram page.)
Shout out to all Central Floridians rocking a Red Nose today. Thank you for helping change lives here in the United States AND in countries around the world! Don’t have a Red Nose? Head over to your local Walgreens and buy a nose for $1! Walgreens also has some awesome Red Flair – you can even buy a Red Nose for your car!
Watch how the kids and parents of Champions Gymnastic Club in Jacksonville and their local Walgreens are supporting Red Nose Day!
Happy Red Nose Day, Central Florida!!
Stats from United Against Poverty Orlando:
*UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES,
POVERTY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA REPORT BY JAMES D. WRIGHT AND JANA L. JASINSKI, 2008.
**CITY OF ORLANDO EITC COMMUNITY CAMPAIGN PRESENTATION, 2009.
***CITY OF ORLANDO PARRAMORE KIDZ ZONE PRESS RELEASE, 2008.