Historic Groups Participating

Oldtimer? Pioneer? Maybe Old Coot?

Gather up your old photos and newspaper clippings to share with other OldTimers at the reserved, middle-of-the-event, shaded and close-to-food-and-drink reserved area at History Day in the Park tomorrow Sat March 25! 10-5, com when you wish, stay as long as you like. FREE… $5 suggested donation for parking… donations to the future Interpretive History Center of 6000 Years on the Creek deeply appreciated!

Lots of cool “pioneers” coming: see some of them over on Facebook and here too.

Dast I say

A Taste of History, Participants

In days of yore….

3-24-23 Poor Anne! Broken foot and sprained knee means we’ll be missing her on History Day! Best wishes for a swift recovery, Anne! Yes, that’s right, Southwest Florida doesn’t have centuries of recorded history. But that’s okay… lots of other places do, and lots of Floridians love to read about olden times. History Day in the Park is pleased to welcome prolific author Anne Easter Smith, whose specialty is Ye Olde England.

And you’ll have plenty to read with all of Anne’s books!


Our Authors

A wide variety of Florida authors will be on hand during History Day in the Park, for chatting, selling, autographing their books.

Some of our authors will be in the Keith Mansion Library (along with our Raffle Prizes, our speakers, our dolls and toys evaluators/displayers/ sellers, living history reenactors and Historical Resources), and some will be in the exhibits field. Don’t miss a single one!

Let’s start with Jeff LaHurd, whose presence is being sponsored by the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation. Jeff is also a director of the Historical Society of Sarasota County, a prolific author and beloved repository and presenter of our local history. Catch him at the SAHP booth in the exhibits field fronting on Tamiami Rail.

Jeff LaHurd

Richard Cronin is the author of more than 20 books on central Florida history, and will be launching his latest, To Sarasota, with Love, Orlando, during History Day. Look for him in the exhibits field, where every hour on the quarter hour, he will present a different “Snippet of History”, a quick 10 minute voyage into happenings you probably didn’t know about Sarasota County.

David John Turner became fascinated, as a docent at Selby Garden, on just how this marvelous garden came to be, on some of the most valuble lnd in downtown Sarasota. Follow the story, presented in a smooth-flowing, almost novel-like narrative, and meet the author of Land of Selby Gardens.

Author Henry Duggan has written Silver’s Odyssey,  telling the story of a 1622 Spanish shipwrecked soldier. After being thrown off the Atocha galleon in a hurricane off the Florida Keys, he must survive a 4-year trek through wilderness Florida enroute back to Spain.

Anne Easter Smith ventures back in history and Across The Pond. She is an award-winning historical fiction novelist with a series of six books set in the Wars of the Roses. She is first and foremost a storyteller, whose passion for her period makes an emotional connection with her characters, both real and imaginary, as she brings history to life.

DL Havlin’s credo:  I endeavor to create characters that are someone you’d like to meet, someone you’d despise, someone you’d fear, someone you’d root for…someone you can emotionally identify with, yet are characters that have realism emanating from them. His motto, when writing, is “Open Minds, Open Books” and as such, he writes all sorts of fascinating books, ranging from history to horror. His book, Blue Water, Red Blood won the Florida Writers Association, Royal Palm Literary Award.

Brenda M. Spalding is a prolific award-winning author. She is a past president of the National League of American Pen Women- Sarasota Branch, a member of the Sarasota Authors Connection, Sarasota Fiction Writers, Florida Authors and Publishers, and a co-founding member and current president of ABC Books Inc. Braden River Consulting LLC was formed to help other authors on their creative journey.

From a veteran of the political wars waged inside the U.S. government comes an intricately plotted story of a revenge-fueled terrorist determined to destroy America and the only man who can stop him. Kevin Kuhens, author, is a retired supervisory special agent for the US Department of Defense and the author of Terror’s Sword, A Kyle McEwan Novel, the first of his thrillers involving the elite counterterrorism case officer.

And you can help support the Friends of Gulf Gate Library, who will be selling donated gently-used books, in the Keith Library. Featuring books about Florida or by Florida authors, any purchase or donation you make goes directly towards their mission of financing ongoing programs and talks which so enhance our community.

If you love a good book, and love, as our authors do, the idea of supporting the formation of our Interpretive History Center of 6000 Years of Life on the Creek in the Historic Keith Farmhouse, come on out, meet the authors, and purchase their books directly from them on Saturday March 25, 2023 from 10am to 5pm! All book sales go directly to the author.

Historic Groups Participating, Participants

Have you ever seen a clown… become a clown?

History Day in the Park is so honored that ChuckO the Clown has donated his most-requested appearance… how a clown makes himself up… to the cause of raising funds to create the Interpretive History Center of 6000 Years of Life on Phillippi Creek in the historic Keith Farmhouse.

Find out all ChuckO does to bring joy to this world!

On Saturday March 25 2023, ChuckO will show us just how a clown becomes this most iconic and beloved of circus performers. Be sure to come early, grab some lunch at the food trucks, and watch Chuck become ChuckO the Clown at 1:30!

Historic Groups Participating

Restore, don’t bulldoze.

Our speakers in the Mansion during History Day in the Park have a theme. It’s one I call Restore, don’t bulldoze. Renovating, repurposing, and fighting to save the flavor of Sarasota are the topics these experts will address. Each talk will be about 45 minutes and will include a question-and-answer opportunity. When you enter the Mansion, turn left into the Edson Keith Dining Room.

Here’s our lineup for the day:

11am – Kelly Caldwell of Caldwell Trust Company: The Way It’s Meant To Be/ Mansion
[Lunch Break]
1pm – Ronald Kashden and Lorrie Muldowney, Past, Present, and Future of the Van Wezel / Mansion
2pm – Tony Souza, Ins & Outs of Historic Preservation/ Mansion
3pm – Brian Leaver on restoring a 1874 Sarasota house/ Mansion
4pm– Erin DiFazio, Preservation’s Power Tool/ Mansion

At 11am, setting the tone for our series, Kelly Caldwell will talk about Caldwell Trust’s journey taking a beloved local building and proving that it can be repurposed for the 21st century. Caldwell Trust is also a sponsor of History Day in the Park and celebrating its 30th anniversary serving the area, so you know they are earnest about preserving local history.

Learn about Caldwell Trust.

At 1pm, a most-pressing discussion on the Past, Present, and Future of the Van Wezel by Ronald Kashden and Lorrie Muldowney. Ron Kashden is uniquely qualified to talk about the theater business: the former auditor of New York’s Shubert Theatre Group, which operates most of the Broadway theaters. Ron served as CFO of a private equity investment group, and he has three decades of experience in fund accounting, business valuation, and economic modelling. He moved to Sarasota in 2012, and owns a historic home in downtown Sarasota. And Lorrie has been a preservationist in our area for many years, serving multiple offices including as General Manager of the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources and is currently a leader at the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation.

Click for a quick quiz on the Purple People Seater.

At 2pm, Tony Souza will talk about the Ins & Outs of Historic Preservation. He’s been a passionate lover of preservation, so much so that his hobby, painting, sometimes focuses on the beauties of interior decotr, historically speaking. These beauties were spotted at the Members Show at Art Center Sarasota recently. The Art Center itself is an example of historic preservation that serves us today.

At 3pm, Brian Leaver, a local businessman, will take you on a journey he and his wife Katherine took, restoring a 1874 Sarasota house. You will be amazed at how they did it all while honoring the original look of this home.

Thinking of restoring a home or commercial building? At 4pm, Erin DiFazio will address an exciting new program that the Sarasota Alliance has begun. Easements can be Preservation’s Power Tool, says Erin, and she invites you to learn more on the SAHP website and looks forward to answering your questions on the process.

Explore easements on the SAHP site.

It’s Barbie’s day to shine!

Edit 3-21-23 Unfortunately, our friend Marl has broken her arm! She will not be able to attend History Day in the Park. March 9 is National Barbie Day! In 1959, an 11-inch tall bombshell made her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York. Designed by Ruth Handler, the co-founder of Mattel Inc., Barbie was created to allow girls to imagine what their lives could be like in the future. She’s had a slew of careers, from a registered nurse to an astronaut. And she’s done it all with a companion. Barbie was a single lady for all of 2 years. But in 1961, overwhelming demand caused Handler to release a boyfriend for her — Ken. (Verdict’s out if he’s ever going to put a ring on it.) On National Barbie Day, we celebrate all things Barbie. From Nationaltoday.com

Bring your Barbies for appraisal, or fill in your collection at the Marlbe.com exhibit within the Mansion on Saturday March 25. We will have appraisers and dealers in toys and playthings of the past, so plan to come to History Day in the Park from 10-5.

Historic Groups Participating, The Park

Who Knew?

Who knew March is officially Florida Archaeology Month?

I’ll bet several of our historic groups who’ll be here on Saturday March 25, from 10 to 5, knew… and maybe they’ll bring artifacts and tell us even more amazing things about not only locally, but simple day-trips away! Be sure to visit the Time Sifters Archaeology Society and Reflections of Manatee folks if ancient stuff is fascinating to you and your family.

And if we’re lucky, our country archaeologist will be leading tours of Phillippi Estate Park’s very own archaeology site during our day. (YES! People lived on this very ground on which you’ll walk 6000 years ago!) He hasn’t given us times yet, but stop by in the Mansion at the county’s History Center display and they’ll let you know!

Here’s the website for the official Florida Archaeology Month if you want to get started right now.


Calling all participants and supporters!

Are you one of our historical groups or one of our vendors or food trucks? Or, maybe you just love the whole IDEA of a day devoted to highlighting local history.

Maybe you’re a group that can’t come because Sat. March 25 is a busy day at yourplace. Or maybe you used to live in Sarasota/ Manatee/ Desoto/ Charlotte county and want to help show “the way things used to be.”

Well, here’s a way you can help. Download our flier and print it, share it via your email list, or simply use it in your social media. The more the merrier! AND the more, the closer we can get to making the future Interpretive Center of Life on the Creek, our planned museum in the Historic Keith Mansion, a reality.

Click the image to get the flier.

Thanks for anything and everything you can do.

Sincerely, the crew doing all this.

Historic Groups Participating, Supporters

Come chat with local treasure Jeff LaHurd

We’re looking forward to greeting Jeff LaHurd on Saturday March 25, 2023. He loves to talk history, so bring your questions… or your books for him to autograph!

Jeff LaHurd is a historical resource behind a dashing moustache.

He’s written more books than I can count, but here’s just some of them:

Jeff’s most recent book, The North Tamiami Trail: A Drive Through Sarasota History, was commissioned by the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation to highlight the rich history of this stretch of the Tamiami Trail and help familiarize readers with its evolution as the premier gateway to Sarasota. This 66-page narrative is rich in historical pictures and stories that memorialize many of the Trail’s landmarks and businesses. Also included, a map of the points of interest to facilitate self tours by readers. It will be avaiable for purchase at the SAHP exhibit during History Day in the Park.

A Taste of History, Participants

Making history… and rum

History Day in the Park is all about history, right? And you know what’s cool about history?

We’re always making it.

Each in our own way. Here’s a fellow who’s making it (and racking up the awards along the way): Troy Roberts with his Siesta Key Rum.

Troy Roberts, as seen at siestasand.us

And guess what? Siesta Key Rum will be at History Day in the Park! There will be all sorts of wonderful, award-winning infused rums… and we hear tell, too, that there’s a rum-bottle dog toy available. Let’s hope there will be some for our four-legged companions, who, as you know, are always welcome on the grounds of Phillippi Estate Park.

There’s even recipes on the website.

Our thanks to siestasand.us for the portrait of Troy. Read their story about the history of the distillery here.