Celebrate Palafox Market's Anniversary Downtown
Posted: Apr 16, 2018 1:30 PMUpdated: Apr 16, 2018 1:32 PM
Palafox Market began eleven years ago as a loosely-organized seasonal farmers market with a handful of vendors. It is now open every Saturday year-round and has more than 150 vendors showcasing products from cold brew coffee to organic beauty products and anything in between. To celebrate the market — and thank its vendors and thousands of loyal customers — Palafox Market will hold an anniversary celebration on May 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the usual market offerings, visitors will enjoy an expanded kids’ area, live music, celebrity chef food tastings featuring fresh vendor ingredients and much more.Set between Wright and Garden Streets along the crepe-myrtle lined Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, Palafox Market is a hub for visitors and residents, drawing crowds of up to 7,000 to downtown Pensacola on Saturdays rain or shine. The market has an artisanal spirit, with vendors curated to provide an eclectic mix of items: locally grown and produced dairy products, bakery items, chef prepared foods, produce, cheeses, eggs and more—and hand-wrought, hand-designed and hand-made jewelry, paintings, metalworks, soaps and more.Palafox Market’s success is no coincidence. The market is built upon the passions of its eclectic vendors, who range from military veterans to high school anatomy teachers.For some, it’s been an avenue to grow their family businesses. Fifth generation farmer Mark Fortune has been a vendor for five years but his Laurel Hill farm — Big Creek Farms — has been in the Fortune family for over 150 years. Other vendors have been able to make their dream job a reality since joining the Palafox Market community. “We founded our mom-and-pop bee operation in 2007 based on a daydream,” said Cheryl Kittrell of local honey company, Kittrell’s Daydream Apiary. “We began participating in local farmer’s markets in the area when Palafox Market began and there were 18 vendors.” Eleven years later, the honey-makers have a list of award-winning products and a thriving business.Seventeen-year-old Ben Kent of Citrus Coldfusion sells acrylic pour paintings to fund his college education. Crystal Caraballo of Straight Up Cake started selling slices of scratch-made cake at the Palafox Market six months ago and often uses her grandmother’s recipes. “I went from working at a hospital to staying at home with my two girls and baking,” said Caraballo.Many Palafox Market vendors have serious accolades under their belts. LA Gourmet’s barbeque sauces have been featured on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” show. The all-natural handmade soaps crafted by Harmony Creek Farms can be found in Ritz-Carton hotels around the country, and owners Ruta and Ali Qureshi were chosen to make custom soaps as part of a special package for former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration. Career military officer-turned-children’s book writer Sandy Meyer’s books are read in schools throughout the country, and one of his books is currently being considered for an animation. Sandpiper Studio’s noted maritime painter, Gary Partin, has sold his paintings at the market for about five years, but his art can also be found on the cover of fishing magazines, calendars and even in the historical library of late Congressman Robert L. F. Sykes.Celebrate the impact that these vendors and the market have had on downtown Pensacola at Palafox Market's anniversary celebration. You don't want to miss this!Palafox Market Anniversary CelebrationWhen: May 5, 2018, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.Where: N. Palafox St., between Wright St. and Garden St.Admission: FREE
Ferry System Coming to Downtown Pensacola May 2018
Posted: Mar 28, 2018 9:05 PMUpdated: Mar 30, 2018 5:11 PM
In just a couple of months, locals and visitors can travel by ferry to three must-see destinations— downtown Pensacola, Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach. The ferry system, owned by National Park Service and formally named Pensacola Bay Cruises, is planned to begin operating on May 18, just in time for the summer months.  Prices are projected to be no more than $20 per adult for all day hop-on, hop-off tickets. Pensacola Bay cruises will serve all three locations daily through August, and will then maintain service through October.  Named Pelican Perch and Turtle Runner in a naming contest by local elementary school students, the double-decker catamarans will seat up to 150 passengers each and boast shaded upper decks and climate-controlled enclosed lower decks. Passengers will enjoy the beautiful views while en route to their destination — all while experiencing onboard amenities that include snack bar, flat screen TVs and bike racks.  Share your ferry adventures with us on social media and use #DowntownPensacola! See below for the tentative ferry route schedule. Downtown Pensacola to Pensacola Beach·      Depart 9 a.m., arrive 9:40 a.m.·      Depart 12 p.m., arrive 12:40 p.m.·      Depart 3 p.m., arrive 3:40 p.m. Pensacola Beach to Downtown Pensacola·      Depart 11 a.m., arrive 11:40 a.m.·      Depart 2 p.m., arrive 2:40 p.m.·      Depart 5 p.m., arrive 5:40 p.m. Fort Pickens to Pensacola Beach·      Depart 10 a.m., arrive 10:45 a.m.·      Depart 1 p.m., arrive 1:45 p.m.·      Depart 4 p.m., arrive 4:45 p.m. Pensacola Beach to Fort Pickens·      Depart 10 a.m., arrive 10:45 a.m.·      Depart 1 p.m., arrive 1:45 p.m.·      Depart 4 p.m., arrive 4:45 p.m. Downtown Pensacola to Fort Pickens·      Depart 9 a.m., arrive 9:35 a.m.·      Depart 12 p.m., arrive 12:35 p.m.·      Depart 3 p.m., arrive 3:35 p.m. Fort Pickens to Downtown Pensacola·      Depart 11 a.m., arrive 11:35 a.m.·      Depart 2 p.m., arrive 2:35 p.m.·      Depart 5 p.m., arrive 5:35 p.m.[PHOTO: National Park Services] 
Three Days of Majestic TALL SHIPS April 12-15 at Plaza DeLuna
Posted: Mar 21, 2018 4:15 PMUpdated: Mar 21, 2018 9:43 PM
Considering Pensacola’s celebrated maritime history, the announcement by Tall Ships America® that it is bringing the first official TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Gulf Coast to downtown Pensacola in April isn’t surprising. Pensacola is one of only three host ports—and the only Florida port—included in the Gulf Coast series of Tall Ships® races and port festivals happening over a three-day period from April 12-15 at Plaza DeLuna, in partnership with Visit Pensacola. The grand event includes onboard tours, sail away adventures, VIP viewing parties and receptions, entertainment, food and vending booths. TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® is an annual series organized by Tall Ships America to promote the sail training experience, foster international cultural exchange and keep alive the rich maritime heritage represented by the tall ships community. In between visits to a number of maritime festivals the tall ships take part in races, crewed by young people who may never have sailed before, running educational programs that help them to develop both personally and professionally. The fleet of traditionally-rigged ships includes the magnificent, three masted top sail schooner Oosterschelde. Built in 1918, it’s the largest restored Dutch sailing ship and considered a monument for Dutch shipbuilding and maritime navigation. Click here to follow the crew in real time as they sail to Pensacola! [PHOTO: Arthur op Zee / Provided by Visit Pensacola]
Historic REX Theatre Enjoys Its Next Curtain Call
Posted: Feb 19, 2018 6:01 PMUpdated: Feb 19, 2018 6:28 PM
In 2014 crews began a $2 million renovation of the historic REX Theatre at 18 N. Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola. The theatre, believed to be Florida's earliest Art Deco-style theatre, had lain gutted, vacant and empty for nearly 30 years. Now it's a vibrant 400-seat theatre that serves as a home to Generation Church and a venue for community theatre, seminars and other events. The REX, a few doors north of Garden Street, got its start in 1910 as Rhodes Futch Collins Furniture Store, offering the largest showroom in the Pensacola area. After the furniture store changed locations, the structure was converted into a movie theater in the 1930s, operating for several decades before closing in 1977. The REX then went through a succession of owners before Generation acquired it in 2012.Renovating the historic building created work for an estimated 175 construction workers, along with fabricators, suppliers and other vendors. But the project meant a lot more than just work, said Bill Greenhut, president of Greenhut Construction, the lead construction company. “This is the type of project that you can look at in years to come and feel a sense of pride that you played a part,” said Greenhut in a letter to the architects. “...projects such as this are extremely rewarding because they have a large impact on the quality of life in our community. The users and patrons of the facility have a tangible and emotional interest in its future, and that personal investment makes the successful outcome even more satisfying.”The REX is particularly known for its Art Deco façade and memorable connections to Pensacola residents and visitors who attended movies there for decades. Now the outside reflects its heritage, while the inside has been modernized to ensure it's ADA compliant and energy-efficient. PHOTO: Rhodes Futch Collins Furniture Store. 192-. [State Archives of Florida]
Laissez les bons temps rouler, downtown!
Posted: Jan 18, 2018 10:37 PMUpdated: Feb 19, 2018 6:30 PM
Downtown Pensacola's annual Mardi Gras celebration is among the oldest in the United States, and Pensacola is perhaps the first Florida city to observe Mardi Gras, holding its first celebration in 1874. That year a group of leading local socialites formed a Mardi Gras “krewe” called the Knights of Priscus Association to organize the festivities. The name Priscus came from Tarquinius Priscus, the fifth king of Rome who was the first Roman king to wear a purple robe and a golden crown on his head, and who established the circus, a place where games could be held. Pensacola's early Mardi Gras fizzled after a few years but was revived with gusto in 1900. Priscus remained the title of the festival's ceremonial king, and Alexander Clement Blount II was named the first King Priscus of the new group. Today Mardi Gras is Pensacola's biggest celebration, replete with krewes, parades, balls and a Grand Mardi Gras Parade that brings 10,000 revelers to the heart of downtown Pensacola each February. [PHOTO: Visit Pensacola]