All Aboard the Orange Blossom Special!
Posted: May 18, 2018 3:11 PMUpdated: May 18, 2018 3:11 PM
This past holiday season, Pensacola Winterfest brought the “Winterfest Express” miniature train to downtown Pensacola as a part of their holiday-themed festivities. Visitors and locals alike immediately fell in love with the mini-train, leading the Winterfest team to explore ways to utilize the train throughout the year. Thus, the idea for Winterfest’s Orange Blossom Special experience was born. The mini-train offers rides at the Pensacola Children’s Museum in downtown Pensacola every Saturday from May 5 to November 10 with rides departing every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 each for children and include one free adult ride.  Winterfest has tailored the program to foster memory and observation skills. The program begins with a fun, interactive history of the Orange Blossom Special and railroading in Pensacola, led by an early learning music specialist with the Escambia County. Children will also experience music, sing-alongs and magic tricks followed by a train ride through historic downtown Pensacola.  The original Orange Blossom Special started running on November 21, 1925 and was the brainchild of S. Davis Warfield, who wanted to capitalize on booming development in Florida at the time. Warfield believed Florida was a land of opportunity, and that with fast, luxurious trains he could lure influential business leaders to the Sunshine State. Spurred by the success of Henry Flagler and his rival Florida East Coast Railway in attracting travelers, the Orange Blossom Special became famous in its own right. It was renowned for its speed and luxury.  While Winterfest’s Orange Blossom Special isn’t quite as fast as the original, the train ride is sure to cool you down from the summer’s heat and bring a smile to your little one’s face!  When: Every Saturday from 5/5/18 to 11/10/18. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Where: Historic Pensacola Village and Downtown Pensacola, departing from T.T. Wentworth MuseumCost: $5 per child, one adult rides free with one child
Gallery Night is "Taking Art to the Streets" of Downtown Pensacola
Posted: May 16, 2018 3:01 PMUpdated: May 16, 2018 3:18 PM
For one Friday evening each month, one of America's "10 Great Streets" closes to traffic and transforms into an outdoor festival of art, music and food. Gallery Night, a hugely popular event dating back some 25 years, is held in the heart of downtown Pensacola and, for the thousands who head to Palafox Street each month, it's the perfect opportunity to experience downtown Pensacola's thriving art scene and eclectic mix of sights, sounds and flavors. From Garden to Main Streets, Palafox is closed to traffic beginning at 5 pm, giving visitors a chance to explore downtown's unique shops and galleries, eat and drink, and take in the energy of Gallery Night's ever-changing line-up of street performances, live music, curated artists and live demonstrations. There's no charge to attend Gallery Night, and many businesses even offer light refreshments. The "gallery" portion of Gallery Night lasts until 8 pm, when the Gallery Night After-Party begins. Palafox Street remains closed to traffic until midnight.Since late 2016 Gallery Night has been presented by Gallery Night Pensacola, a non-profit organization whose mission is to offer an "engaging cultural event that takes the 'Arts to the Streets' where visitors can connect with the unique culture of Pensacola."  UPCOMING 2018 GALLERY NIGHT DATESMay 18June 15July 20August 17September 21October 19November 16December 21
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
Ferries Coming to Downtown Pensacola this Summer
Posted: Mar 28, 2018 9:05 PMUpdated: May 16, 2018 3:05 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 in June, 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]