Tuesday, January 23, 2018

History in a Glass: The Grand Finale.

The Orange County Regional History Center (65 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801) hosted three previous History in a Glass competitions.  At the final installment of the 2017 History in a Glass series, the winners from the previous competitions competed for bragging rights by creating one-of-a-kind libations. The drink recipes were inspired by the theme of “The City Beautiful.” Guests learned how Orlando chose our nickname as they enjoy great food and music, plus three hand-crafted cocktails.

Pom Poms Teahouse and Sandwicheria (67 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803) catered the event and the food disappeared in an instant. The caterer returned to their restaurant and made a second batch of sandwiches to the sold out crowd. A hand crafted trophy was created by the History Center art department. The trophy consisted of a model of the lake Eola Fountain with a swan perched on top. Above the swan, was a pig and a bottle of whisky. The entire tower was painted gold. Each item referred to the stories told in past History in a glass competitions. The swan was based on Billy the swan who murdered his mate. The pig was from "Hog Wild" which told the story of how Winter Park had to pass an ordinance banning wild hogs from it's streets. A similar ordinance was passed last year banning artists from the streets of Winter Park. The whisky bottle referenced the story of the murder in the San Juan Hotel in which a man a man was given a bottle of whisky which was then offered to the woman he was trying to impress that evening. She died after one sip.

The History Center Chief Curator, Pam Schwartz entertained the crowd by explaining how Orlando became "The City Beautiful. Once referred to as Mosquito County, the Central Florida region was considered a nightmarish place my many of the early explorers who couldn't stand the bugs and insane heat. They denouncing the region as a “hideous,” “loathsome,” “diabolical,” “God-abandoned” mosquito refuge.

In 1908, an Orlando beautification drive inspired city leaders to find a more suitable name than “The Phenomenal City.” Residents planted trees and shrubs, and a contest was announced to find a new nickname. A number of candidates were submitted, including “the Queen City,” “the Magic City,” “the Picturesque City,” and “the Health City.” But Jessie Johnson Branch, formerly from South Dakota, won the prize with “the City Beautiful.” The new name sparked a wave of interest in beautification that soon made the Orlando an even more fitting setting for its name.

With an event like this I always hope to sketch the winner. I sketched Dan Lynch in his baseball cap and bib overalls, and he did indeed win the coveted trophy for his delicious "City Beautiful" cocktail. 

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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