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Serving Oviedo & All Surrounding Areas
Serving Oviedo & All Surrounding Areas
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The chickens who roam the historic downtown of Oviedo, Florida, lend a rural personality to the city. Like the chickens (and their accomplices, the occasional peacocks), Oviedo residents enjoy their town’s reputation as a representation of quaint southern charm and early Florida history. To maintain that reputation, one non-profit organization, the Oviedo Preservation Project, has taken on the task of retaining the town’s history by sharing it in surprising ways with residents and visitors.
The organization’s mission is to entice, even coax, the community to learn about and preserve Oviedo history. To do so, it creates hands-on opportunities for people to recognize and appreciate the town’s roots. Two of these events are the Citrus & Celery Cook-Off and “the Rising.”
Citrus & Celery Cook-Off
Why celery? Why citrus? Both products put tiny Oviedo on the map. One early settler, in particular, helped transform the city’s agriculture industry. Dr. Henry Foster paid for a railway link to the city. He also founded the Lake Jesup Steamboat Company. By giving Oviedoans the means to transport produce, Foster jumpstarted Oviedo’s growth and prosperous economy. A settler named Butler Boston did his part, too. In the late 1800s, he successfully grafted tangerine bud wood to grow tangerines. He also managed to establish Jamaica’s “Temple” orange in some Oviedo fields. Celery Capital of the World in the 1940s, Oviedo maintained its agricultural industry for many years, but commercial development took over as the top industry after World War II.
In the cookoff event, people from the community turn out in hordes to judge up to thirty-two home-cooked dishes in either the citrus division or the celery division. Dishes are generally very creative and range from pie to sushi—and everything in between. Tasting tickets can be purchased, and proceeds support local charities.
A second event sponsored by Oviedo Preservation Project is called “the Rising.” The annual event starts with a 5k event that purposefully goes past ten historic sites that are eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places. While completing the route, participants can listen to narration from a podcast that gives the background of the sites. After the 5k is over, participants and spectators satisfy their appetites with a homemade pancake breakfast and enjoy some unusual live entertainment: back from the grave, for only a day, are none other than Oviedo’s founders, who aspire to educate people on the town’s history and describe what it was like to live in Oviedo’s earliest days.
Those same historical figures show up during an evening “twilight tour” of the Oviedo Cemetery. Topics of celery, snakes, suicide, and the Civil War bring history alive to the participants—a unique and unforgettable kind of history tutoring in Oviedo!
Oviedo tutors and teachers who teach history to local students can piggyback off of Oviedo Preservation Project’s efforts bring alive—and instill the importance of—early Florida history.
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