Unique, Diverse Women of Pensacola's Past: Genvieve Ham 1750-1852
Posted: Feb 17, 2020 3:15 PMUpdated: Feb 17, 2020 9:44 PM
Genvieve Ham was a former slave who earned her freedom, and for the remainder of her life lived in Pensacola as a free woman of color. She is listed in the 1820 Census of Pensacola as a Pardo (a person of mixed racial ethnicity). A talented seamstress, she prospered—buying property, building a home, and furnishing it with an extensive inventory of furniture and housewares. She also purchased Zelina, a domestic slave, as her servant. In her will, Genvieve left her major possessions to the children of a local family to whom she had close ties. In addition to her house and lot, she left them her furniture and kitchenwares, along with her silver ladle and silver spoons. In her will she freed Zelina, to whom she bequeathed all of her clothing—an inheritance of considerable value at the time. You can visit the grave where Genvieve Ham is buried in historic St. Michael’s Cemetery in downtown Pensacola at 6 N. Alcaniz Street. A Catholic cemetery dating back to 1807, St. Michael's is an open-air museum, part of Pensacola's rich history and a place full of stories. The cemetery was dedicated as a state park in 1949 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The earliest surviving above-ground markers in St. Michael’s are associated with Pensacola’s Second Spanish Period (1781-1821). A weathered gravestone marks the spot where Genvieve Ham was laid to rest in 1852. It represents her age as 102 years, but she is believed to have been around 85 years old when she died. …Still, a long and successful life that saw many changes.[Special Thanks To: Margo Stringfield, UWF Archeology Institute]
Your Downtown Guide to Mardi Gras
Posted: Jan 29, 2020 7:19 PMUpdated: Jan 30, 2020 8:31 PM
The good times are rolling in Downtown Pensacola with Pensacola Mardi Gras. Grab your beads, masks and all things purple, gold and green and get ready to celebrate Carnival. Mardi Gras celebrations are taking place throughout the month of February and the weekend before Fat Tuesday, you can check out three back-to-back celebrations featuring colorful floats, lights and music. So grab your bag, and get ready to stock up on moon pies, candy and lots and lots of beads.  THE BIG THREE: The Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Parade will roll through Downtown Pensacola on Friday, February 21. This is the only nighttime Mardi Gras parade and all the floats will be decked out in colorful lights. Parade-goers can also dance to live music and try to catch all the throws. It starts at 7:00 p.m. on the corner of Spring and Garden Streets and winds through downtown.   On Saturday, February 22, it’s the big one. The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade is the largest and most extravagant parade of the year with over 6,000 participants and often over 100,000 spectators. It starts at Palafox and Garden Streets at 2:00 p.m. and runs for four hours! Get your spot early and prepare for a festive crowd. If you are looking for a family-friendly spot, there is a designated children’s viewing area.  Finally from February 23-24, you can take part in the Fat Tuesday Priscus Celebration to close out the festivities and see a new King and Queen Priscus revealed to all in Downtown Pensacola. MOVE OVER MOON PIE, GIVE ME KING CAKE: It’s a delicious tradition that shouldn’t be skipped during Mardi Gras Season: King Cake! If you don’t want to take a road trip to New Orleans, several bakeries are serving up the sweet treat right here in Pensacola. However, you may want to call ahead to make sure the king cakes are available and some businesses require you to place an order before pick-up.Bluejay’s BakeryAdonna’s Garden Street Cafe and BakeryEnd of the Line CafeEmerald Coast Bread Company Downtown restaurants are also attracting revelers with special Mardi Gras fare. Jackson’s Steakhouse is serving Mardi Gras inspired dishes for both brunch and dinner on February 23. Come enjoy the cajun cuisine from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. GET YOUR MARDI GRAS GEAR: Are you parade ready but still need beads and throws? Have no fear, Pensacola Parade People, have you covered.  It's the only store in Pensacola dedicated to parade supplies. Located on West Government Street, the shop has a huge selection of beads of all sizes, hats, cups, novelties and throws. Make sure you check them out before you hop on a float or join the starting line for this year’s parades. [PHOTO CREDIT: LAURA BOGAN PHOTO]
Laugh Your Way into the New Year at the Pensacola Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival
Posted: Dec 31, 2019 3:19 PMUpdated: Dec 31, 2019 3:33 PM
From January 2-5, the 2020 Pensacola Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival will bring lots of laughter for Pensacola’s first ever comedy festival. Presented by the Indie Art Council Pensacola, this is a dynamic gathering of comedy legends and stars such as Gilbert Gottfried, Donnell Rawlings and Orny Adams along with many others. Pensacola’s premiere comedy festival will feature stand-up, improv, sketch comedy, films, stage productions and comedy workshops across four days of comedic revelry in many entertaining forms. More than just a comedy festival, the 2020 Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival offers a truly hilarious opportunity to laugh, reflect, educate and laugh some more with the festival’s impressive variety of comically crafted, local and one-of-a-kind comedic materials. The 2020 Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival will feature the legendary talents of comedy icon Gilbert Gottfried, known for his contributions to “Saturday Night Live,” “Fairly Odd Parents,” “Aladdin,” and many other TV and movie performances. Gottfried will perform at the Saenger Theatre on January 5 and bring on the laughs with his repertoire of boundary-pushing jokes as well as his truly unique voice. Also performing on January 5 will be a co-headlining act starring the talents of Donnell Rawlings and Orny Adams at the Saenger Theatre. Known for his work on “Chappelle’s Show” and “The Wire,” Rawlings now performs across the country with his new show “2Soon.” Active in both stage and film, Rawlings holds comedy roles in the recent “The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” film and Kevin Smith’s “Hollyweed.” Comedy veteran Orny Adams holds a record of late-night show appearances and comedy specials and starred as Coach Bobby Finstock from the series Teen Wolf. Questioning everything in life, even himself, Adams presents a brutally honest and energetic performance that will leave the audience laughing long after. There’s more to this festival than famous faces, however. From January 3-5, grab a drink and check out the clever and entertaining performances of the festival’s regional stand-up comics performing across Downtown Pensacola in venues such as Perfect Plain, Chizuko, Casks & Flights, and O’Riley’s Irish Pub. Check out Pensacola’s own talented sketch comedy troupe Kitty Get a Job and local improv group Improvable Cause and be ready to split your sides with their first-class performances and unexpected storylines that will leave you clapping for more.  With Mardi Gras approaching, the Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival is collaborating with Pensacola Mardi Gras and murder mystery dinner theatre company Improbable Cause Mystery Theatre to debut its newest show, “Murder Gras” at the Palafox House from January 2 to 4. Local krewes with Pensacola Mardi Gras will present the January 2 showing. This interactive and exciting dinner/murder mystery show for all ages will include a fully catered meal and special prizes for the attendee who discovers the identity of the murderer.  Pensacola’s first comedy film festival will be held at the Rex Theatre January 3 and 4, featuring a short film competition, workshops, panels and more. Film showings include Pensacola-based feature “Wasted Hours,” television pilot “Scam County,” a live production of WSRE’s “Nightmare Theatre,” and a special screening of the classic short film “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.” The festival will host a diverse lineup of comedy workshops, panels, podcasts, and game shows! These hands-on activities will be held at locations such as Vinyl Music Hall, Palafox House, and the SCI Building, featuring more interactive activities and even a behind the scenes look of “Evil Dead: The Musical.” Don’t miss out on Pensacola’s premiere comedy festival with its star-studded lineup, exclusive comedy workshops, hilarious comedy performances from artists both far near. There’s a bit of everything for everyone to laugh and enjoy at the 2020 Indie Fringe and Comedy Festival! Tickets:Weekend passes start at $40 and include admission to all workshops, panels and day-side entertainment, sketch, improv and film festival screenings at the Rex Theatre, and all standing venues (excluding the Saenger Theatre). Tickets for many events are also available a la carte and a limited number of VIP packages including seating to all ticketed events and other perks are available. Tickets for are on sale now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pensacola-comedy-festival-tickets-82681331087. 
The 2019 Downtown Holiday Gift Guide
Posted: Dec 10, 2019 6:15 PMUpdated: Dec 10, 2019 6:21 PM
'Tis the season of giving, and if you’re still looking for that perfect, thoughtful gift for your loved ones, look no further. Downtown Pensacola contains a myriad of local boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars, fitness spots and more. And best of all, if you submit your downtown receipts to downtownpensacola.com/alliwant before Dec. 23, you could win $1,000 to spend downtown! What are you waiting for? For the person who never sticks to their new year’s resolution:Make 2020 their year by helping your family and friends start the new decade right. If you know someone with a desire to learn a new instrument or get back into making music, Schmidt’s Music can make the holidays magical and musical. For those looking to get back in shape after the indulgent holiday season, we recommend a gift card or membership at one of our many downtown fitness locations. There’s plenty to choose from, including Disko Lemonade, Gracie Downtown, Ride Society, Pure Pilates and the YMCA. For the art aficionado:Check out Blue Morning Gallery for an abundance of unique, local artwork to choose from for your special someone this holiday season. Quayside Gallery is another suitable solution for your art-loving friends and family – whether they prefer sculptures, photography, paintings or other artistic mediums. Love creativity, but lack the wall space? Why not support local galleries by gifting someone you love with a membership at Artel Gallery and Pensacola Museum of Art. You can also check out the weekly Palafox Market (every Saturday from 9am-2pm) for a plethora of handcrafted items and local artwork. For the history buff:This holiday season, help others relive the past and the stories that define Pensacola by gifting blasts from the past. At the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum gift shop, you’ll find a vintage Pensacola postcard puzzle replica postcard puzzle inside a gorgeous tin box for a gift that is both timeless and fun. Looking for something that one can take anywhere? Historic Pensacola offers stylish silk oblong scarves printed with a panoramic view of historic Pensacola for those who seek to incorporate Pensacola into their outfit. For gifts that will please the whole family, UWF Historic Trust also offers private, guided group tours of the Historic Village featuring buildings and homes so they can learn more about Pensacola history. For the fashionista:Deck the halls and wardrobes with Downtown Pensacola’s clothing and accessories from the many boutiques that offer showstopping apparel for all seasons. Head over to Bluetique to try their selection of classic chic handbags and step into The Market and Mainly Shoes for Southern style that looks good all year round. For flashy winter blouses and tops, Gray Boutique offers clothing that prioritizes quality, comfort and classic style. Don Alans carries a variety of men’s fashion apparel and accessories, including wallets, cufflinks and other men’s accessories that embody style and utility. Be the ultimate Secret Santa and give your friends a custom Santa hat from Melobay. Stop by Scout Boutique for high fashion apparel from brands such as Diane Von Furstenburg and Helmut Lang curated by the boutique’s owner, a former fashion executive with extensive knowledge of design. For those who enjoy the outdoors, make sure you purchase one of South Outfitters’Pensacola sweatshirts that are both stylish and comfortable. Bundle up this holiday season with the best of Pensacola fashion!  For the bejeweled diva:Why should holiday lights get all the attention? Give the gift of sparkle to your special someone this holiday season. Choose from Susan Campbell Jewelry’s collection of charms and other unique jewelry for a special and personal gift this season. Go classic with Elebash’s Jewelers and shop their fine gifts collection of fine china, crystal and sterling flatware, all of which are perfect for any occasion. Rock Hard Design House’s collection of modern jewelry features non-traditional and custom-made jewelry pieces. At Jeweler’s Trade Shop, diamonds aren't just a girl’s best friend, they’re also the perfect gift for the holiday season. From David Yurman to A. Jaffe, shop the perfect gift for an unforgettable Christmas surprise.  For the craft beer lover:There’s plenty of options for the craft beer connoisseur in your life. From the newly opened Odd Colony and Emerald Republic Brewing to the tried and true Perfect Plain, Pensacola Bay Brewery and Big Top Brewing. Grab a growler of Perfect Plain’s Durnford English Mild Ale or Odd Colony’s refreshing Holocene Saison. Pick up a gift card so your friends and family can sample Emerald Republic’s Brittle is the Bone Brown Ale or Pensacola Bay Brewery’s Blackbeard Stout. And for those who crave a little more variety, we suggest a Cask & Flights gift card that will grant your loved one with access to a vast array of wines, beers and mead! For the interior design fanatic:Do you know someone who’s just moved into their new place or is always looking for new ways to brighten up their homes? You won’t be searching too long for the ideal gift at Urban Objects; purveyors of modern home fixtures and innovative home gadgets. And be sure to head next door to Rusted Arrow Mercantile for beautiful, seasonal décor, lifestyle gifts and more. You can also find lots of great kitchen and home products at So Gourmet for those who love hosting dinner parties or simple get-togethers.  For the person who loves to be pampered:For that special someone who believes the average bath should last at least an hour, you should grab something special from Belle Amé. This store offers handmade products ranging from bath bombs, soaps, scrub bars and more. Be sure to also stop by Bodacious Bookstore and Café to pick up the perfect bath time book. Take it to the next level and arrange a spa treatment for your loved one at Stay the Spa. You can choose from individual treatments and curated packages that will leave your loved ones feeling refreshed for the new year. For the night owl:For those who can’t get enough of Downtown Pensacola, get some tickets to a live show at Vinyl Music Hall or a performance at the Saenger Theatre or Pensacola Little Theatre. There’s also plenty of award-winning and eclectic dining spots downtown including Khon’s on Palafox, Jordan Valley, Jackson’s Steakhouse, Skopelos at New World, Angelena’s Ristorante Italiano, Nom Sushi Izakaya and Global Grill to name just a few. And for those who can’t resist a creative cocktail, we suggest treating them to a few at Wine Bar, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar or the newly opened Kennedy Bar. For the world wanderer:Give the gift of travel this holiday season with a tailored trip from Travel Leaders and equip your nomadic friend with the perfect pair of sunglasses from Terrezza and some adventurous apparel from Innerlight Surf Shop. Alternatively, if you know someone who can’t come to Pensacola, bring Pensacola to them with a special gift from The Pensacola Merchant. You can choose from Pensacola-themed clothing, décor and more! For the kids:Downtown Pensacola offers a bunch of fun options for the little ones. Check out Sparkle Boutique and Properly Posh Baby Boutique. for some cute, colorful clothing. Pick up a sweet stocking stuffer from Bubba’s Sweet Spot or a Christmassy cupcake from Bluejay’s Bakery. Try something experiential with an escape room at Escape on Palafox or make memories together at the Pensacola Children’s Museum. For those who treat their pets like kids:Some people are impossible to shop for, but you can always get them a little something for their ‘fur babies’. At Palafox Market, you’ll find local vendor, Doggy Dough offering a variety of handmade organic dog treats and Snuggle Pillow with the perfect, plush pillow for keeping your friends’ pets warm and comfortable throughout the winter months. There’s no shortage of gift inspiration available in and around Downtown Pensacola (and we’re certain we’ve missed a lot of great spots from our list). Our best suggestion is to come and stroll around the downtown district, visiting the places that catch your eye and see what great things you find![PHOTO CREDIT: RUSTED ARROW MERCANTILE]
Celebrating Downtown Pensacola’s Female Entrepreneurs
Posted: Oct 15, 2019 4:18 PMUpdated: Nov 27, 2019 8:10 PM
 October is more than a time for getting into the Halloween spirit and preparing for cooler fall days; it’s also the National Women's Small Business Month. According to recent statistics, women own 42 percent of U.S. businesses which generate $1.9 trillion and employ 9.4 million workers, making female-owned businesses an essential part of the economy. In Downtown Pensacola, many of your favorite businesses are owned and managed by local female entrepreneurs whose efforts and expertise make Pensacola a great place to live, work and play! Dress up with downtown shops offering fashionable and functional clothing and accessory choices as well as home décor. Shop and get styled at Scout, founded and owned by fashion designer Julia Ussery with her unique and individualized clothing selections. The Market and Mainly Shoes is a shop for women, by women offering trendy clothes and timeless accessories. Owned by two sisters, Anne Frechette and Peggy Woolverton with their mother Tish Childs, this downtown staple has been a thriving business for over 35 years. Check out Susan Campbell Jewelry for truly unique pieces, exhibiting her artistic flair and business acumen. Stop by Rusted Arrow Mercantile, where owners and founders Ruth Rose Cornelius and Samantha Breedlove offer a plethora of furniture, home décor and boutique gifts perfect for your home or loved one. And, if you’re looking for contemporary home appliances, lighting and décor, Urban Objects is another ideal option, locally owned by Sarah Gillette. If you’re looking to dress down and have a relaxing night, you’d be remiss to forget about Belle Ame’, owned by Yvette Crooke-Avera, this vibrant store offers many bathing and shower products to help you feel pampered and relaxed. Satisfy your hunger with food offerings from female bosses. Start with Carmen’s Lunch Bar, known for its cozy interior and menu full of savory and electric flavors. Owner and founder Mari Carmen Josephs began her restaurant after winning the 2012 Pensacola Business Challenge, growing Carmen’s into an integral part of the Downtown Pensacola experience. South Market is another woman-owned dining spot for delicious options. The contemporary American restaurant offers a range of appealing classic dishes from the award-winning market meat loaf to shrimp and grits. Get a taste for Bluejay’s Bakery’s Instagrammable offerings that are as delicious as they are expertly crafted. Trained at the International Culinary Center, owner and founder Justine Gudmundson-McCain’s culinary creations include cupcakes, tarts, cake pops, macaroons and wedding cakes. For late night drinks, wind down at Old Hickory Whiskey Bar. Owned by Katie Garrett, this spot that boasts more than 650 whiskeys and cocktails in a location inspired by Pensacola’s past with past President Andrew Jackson. Be sure to try the newly opened The Kennedy, another of Garrett’s businesses inspired by American leadership that serves classic drinks from the past infused with the flavors of today. The recently opened Asher & Bee, Apothecary and Tea House is owned by Marni Woodson and is the perfect place for some natural healing with their various teas, food and herbal offerings.  As Downtown Pensacola continues to thrive, you can be sure that these real estate professionals are working to make our downtown a more vibrant place. NAI Pensacola CEO DeeDee Davis has created a powerful team of sales and marketing associates to best serve their commercial real estate clients. Downtown Pensacola historian and realtor Deborah Dunlap has also invested heavily in and managed properties in the downtown area for more than 20 years and has been at the forefront of downtown development and growth while serving on various community boards including Downtown Improvement Board. Since 1982, Realtor of the Year recipient Sandra Ward has also specialized in commercial and high end residential real estate across the Pensacola area from her downtown office.                                                                                    Shopping at Palafox Market is a great opportunity to support local women-owned businesses as well. Taste your way to hummus heaven with Hummus Lady and try Kelly Peraino’s organic creations with flavors such as Roasted Grape & Jalapeño and Citrus & Date with spicy walnuts, available at the market and local groceries. We also encourage you to try Mrs. Jones Coffee, a concentrated brew which originally began for founder Stephanie Jones as a way to quickly and conveniently prepare coffee in the early mornings. Over time she perfected her recipe and began to share with friends and family what is now a regular fixture at Palafox Market and sold locally across many Pensacola groceries.  With Pensacola being such a strong destination for talented female leaders, we’re certain we've missed  a few people from our round-up and our local leaders show no signs of slowing down. So, here’s to the ambitious women of Downtown Pensacola. You’ve taken risks and earned success in making Pensacola a better place for everyone and continue to inspire our future leaders.