Cracker Fair 2024



Zesty Lemon Treats: Turn the Sour into Sweet!


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Come and enjoy live entertainment, Cracker Whip & Swamp Cabbage demonstrations, food vendors, authors, artists, crafts and the ever-popular Lemon Dessert Baking Contest. Admission is FREE.
This is the Lemon Bay Historical Society’s annual gift to our community. The Cracker Fair is the culmination of the week-long Lemon Bay Fest—“Englewood History with Zest!

Times are approximate, there may be some changes.

10:00  Welcome and overview of events, vendors and sponsors

10:00 to 11:00am  Entries Accepted for Lemon Dessert Contest

10:15  Bit of Hope Ranch Cracker Whip Demonstration

11:00  James Hawkins (singer, songwriter, featuring songs about our local history)

12 noon  Lemon Dessert Contest Winners announced

12:45  Frank Desguin Swamp Cabbage Demonstration

1:45  Vinyl Recall (a wide range of rock, pop, soul, country, blues and R&B)

2:45  Kindred Band (folk, blues, country, bluegrass, Americana)

ALL DAY (10 to 4) – Photo Booth. crafts, food vendors, artists, authors, music, and more.

— New editions of Englewood history books will be on sale at the Historical Society tent


The LEMON DESSERT BAKING CONTEST is sponsored this year by the GFWC Rotonda West Woman’s Club. There will be 8 categories: Cakes, Cupcakes, Lemon Bars, Pies, Cookies, Cheesecake, Beverage, Other

Entries must be submitted at the big tent between 10 and 11am.
Prizes for the top desserts in each category will be gift cards from local restaurants. New this year: a children’s contest for each category.
There will be 8 judges: Jill Hemmes – The Waverly, Sue Atamanchuk – Lock ‘n Key, Charlotte Sao – Landy’s, Sandy Catalano – Isabella’s, Sarah Libertore – Libee’s, Maria Laforge – Mango Bistro, Lisa Carpenter – Vino Loco, and Merrill Hollinger – Englewood’s on Dearborn.
Laurie Farlow – Farlow’s on the Water, will not be able to attend but is providing supplies. A new, larger tent for the contest will be sponsored by Michael J. Looney Electrical Contractors.
Applications can be picked up at the Library or downloaded HERE. MORE CONTEST INFO
Just after the Fair opens at 10am there will be a Cracker whip demonstration by Suzanne Park and crew from Englewood’s Bit of Hope Ranch. This is the only time this will be presented so don’t miss it!
Historian and columnist Frank Desguin will be at the Fair with his famous swamp cabbage and we hope he’ll show us how it’s made.
The Lemon Bay Historical Society booth will have brand new, updated editions ofEnglewood Then & Now” andThe History of Early Englewood.” These books will be for sale at their booth.  R. J. LaBadie Construction is sponsoring a Photo Booth.
Other booths will feature food, vendors, authors, artists, crafts and more.
We are pleased to present the following line-up of live entertainment on the Dignam Family Stage at Pioneer Plaza:
James Hawkins

A unique experience will be on hand when James Hawkins performs songs about our rich local history.

“I am a singer/songwriter from Venice, Florida. For about 10 years I have knocked around the Florida Folk scene performing in many different venues from coffee houses to a couple of concert halls.

“Some folks have described my music as a mix of Woody Guthrie and Harry Chapin but I leave that judgment up to you. ” James’ major project is called “Turn Back Time” which deals with Florida History through stories and songs and brings traditional Folk music and stories to the classroom.

Vinyl Recall

Paul Quinn

Paul Quinn has lived here in Englewood since 2016. He combines rhythm and lead guitar playing, favoring simplicity and groove over flashiness. He plays a wide range of rock, pop, soul, country, blues and R and B with Vinyl Recall and The Panicmasters. He is involved with community charitable organizations and is a member of the Englewood Creative Coalition for the Arts.


John Munn

John Munn arrived in Englewood in 2016. Love of music started early in this one in choirs and musical theatre. He picked up the bass at age 13. In Englewood, he created and hosted both Groovin’ In The Gallery (An Open Mic) in 2018 and Wednesdays@5 (Community Supported Concert Series) in 2023. The Vinyl Recall Band is his first band and only band, though he plays music with almost anyone.


Jeff Dillon

Jeff Dillon is a native Floridian and has been involved in the Creative/Performing Arts for all of his life. Drumming since his teens, he plays in a broad set of styles and genres. Jeff has produced and directed various musical and theatrical projects. His other bands include Jill and the Shills and The Kerry Drake Jazz Band. Jeff is the Director of Community Alliances for Englewood Creative Arts, providing Arts Education and Arts Support to the Greater Englewood Area. He is pleased to be working with John and Paul and being the drummer for Vinyl Recall.

Vinyl Recall has played at Pop’s Sunset Grill, Tomahawk Tiki Bar @ CoolToday Park, Englewood Moose, Englewood Eagles Club, Englewood VFW, The Back Yard, Libby’s Sports Bar and Grill, Rumours Wine Bar, AllStar Bar and Grill, Salty Jim’s Bar and Grill.

Kindred Band

David and Joni Romano

David and Joni Romano are multi-instrumentalists and singers from the Niagara area in Canada. They have been singing and playing together for 40+ years. Their current band Kindred, back in Canada, consists of 3-5 members that play “roots” based music (folk, blues, country, bluegrass, Americana).
David has also played in a British Invasion Band, Classic rock band and is currently in a local country band while snowbirding in Englewood.

Craig Manning

Craig Manning, a Massachusetts guitarist who winters in Englewood. He plays both electric and acoustic guitars in many styles, including finger-style, rock and jazz, smooth jazz, country, Gypsy, folk and bluegrass, and uses open tunings frequently. He began playing at the age of 12, listening to Chet Atkins, the Ventures, and Duane Eddy.




For the past twenty years Englewood has been celebrating Old Florida with a “Cracker” Fair. This year the tradition continues. It is said the term “Cracker” comes from the cracking of the whip which Florida cow hunters used to herd cattle. Florida was the first cattle producing state in America — not Texas, not Missouri – Florida. In the early 1500s Spanish conquistadors landed on the shores of Florida and attempted to colonize the area. Unsuccessful, they abandoned their quest, leaving behind horses, hogs and Andalusian cattle they had brought by ship: this was the first livestock in North America.

“Cracker Cowboys” by Frederick Remington

The Florida livestock bred and ran wild for centuries. Prior to the Civil War, a rugged brand of individuals settled along Florida’s central corridor. They relied on bullwhips to flush cows out of the palmetto scrub. They used 10-to-12-foot-long whips made of braided leather. The snaps of these whips would break the sound barrier making a loud CRACK. Thus these early settlers became known as Cracker Cowmen, Cow Hunters, or Florida Crackers. They provided food for the Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and also rounded up cattle for shipment to Cuba. The Cubans loved Florida beef and paid for the cattle with gold doubloons. Today the term Cracker is used to refer to anyone who is a true native Floridian.

Don’t miss the 20th Annual Cracker Fair, Saturday, February 10 at Pioneer Plaza, Dearborn St., Englewood from 10am to 4pm.