Plus, happy birthday to UCF, Rep. Val Demings is running for Senate, and Kesha's coming to town.
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🏝 Orlando's getting some beachfront property... sorta

Plus, happy birthday to UCF, Rep. Val Demings is running for Senate, and Kesha's coming to town.

By Katie Johnston

Happy Thursday and happy 58th birthday to the University of Central Florida!  

Did you know the university was originally named Florida Technical School? The name changed to the University of Central Florida in 1978. And in more UCF history (it's throwback Thursday after all), the first commencement was in 1970 with 423 graduates. Now the school boasts almost 72,000 students and is one of the largest universities in the country. 

UCF says all it wants for its birthday is some cold hard cash. (Don’t we all?) It recently posted that it’s looking for one-time or monthly donations to help reach its goal of becoming the world’s leading public metropolitan research university and a top 50 public research university in the country. 

Hey, charge on, Knights! 🎉

Alright, let’s talk about Rep. Val Demings, Kesha no dollar sign, COVID-19, and the five floating lagoons coming to Central Florida in 2023 (!!!).

Passed this tree on a walk through Colonialtown South the other day. I definitely hugged it. ☮️ | Wanna see your photo here? Tag either #pulptown or @pulptown on Instagram to be featured as our IG of the Day! 

What Orlando is talking about

📣 U.S. Rep. Val Deming has formally announced she’ll be running to unseat Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in 2022. Whispers about the Orlando congresswoman’s entrance into next year’s elections have been making the rounds for weeks, but she made it official yesterday with a campaign video shared on social media. (Orlando Weekly, Watermark)

📉 ICYMI, Florida is no longer publishing daily reports on COVID-19 deaths, infections, and vaccinations. The latest numbers will instead be shared every Friday on a weekly basis. According to The Palm Beach Post, the policy marks the Sunshine State as an outlier among the most populous states in the U.S., making it “possibly the only one in the country” to not share new information every day. Although the response to the policy change was mixed, Dr. Mary Jo Trepka — the chair of FIU’s epidemiology department — said the move made sense assuming case numbers remain low and no variants of concern emerge. (The Palm Beach Post)

☎️ CVS is now offering mental health services via Telehealth in Florida. In a world where it can sometimes take three months to get an appointment booked with a therapist, the drug store chain can connect someone with a licensed counselor within 24 hours. (WMFE

🏝 We’re about to be floating in lagoons. Not literally, but the Miami-based company Crystal Lagoons says it plans to open public access lagoons in five Central Florida counties including Orange, Lake, Seminole, Osceola, and Sumter with the first three projects opening in Kissimmee, The Villages, and Orlando. Beachfront 2023, baby! (News 13)

🎶 Pop sensation Kesha is coming to the City Beautiful in August, and tickets for her show go on sale today. She and her band will perform at the Hard Rock Live on Aug. 25, and tickets start at $49.50. (Orlando Weekly

🚢 A federal judge will hear arguments today about pandemic-related restrictions that were placed on cruise lines in Florida. The lawsuit was originally led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and is in regards to the “conditional sailing order” originally issued by the CDC back in October. With that said, cruising is on track to resume by mid-summer. (WKMG)

🏨Looking for a career change? Hilton Bonnet Creek is hosting a job fair today. The Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria are looking to fill seasonal, part-time, and full-time positions. The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. (WKMG)

▶️ Join in on the fun

Where can you find this view? And what is it of? That was yesterday's million-dollar question. (📸: @pulptown)

Congrats to Nick B. He’s the only one of you who was able to pinpoint where to find the above image. He even shared some backstory with me! 

The mural can be found at Orlando Game Space, a coworking space for gamers and interactive tech located near Lake Eola. I often pass the mural on my walks around the neighborhood. 

According to Nick, the artwork is called Virtual Visions and was created by friend of a friend and frequent Mural Maze contributor, Chaya Av. And get this: It’s an augmented reality mural — see for yourself here.

Yesterday our members played I Spy. Today they’re getting shoutouts, and tomorrow they’ll be on the receiving end of a specially curated weekend itinerary. 

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Join our Pulptown+ membership program today for just $8 a month (or $80 a year). That’s like one frou-frou coffee a month, y’all. 


🗣Head to Rosen Shingle Creek for the 4th annual Civil Rights Award Ceremony, a yearly event to honor those in the Orlando community who have dedicated their lives to fight for civil rights and equality (Universal

💃 Put your dancing shoes on for "United We Dance", an event to celebrate the resilience of the community through music and dancing as part of the five-year mark of the Pulse tragedy (Downtown)

🎟 Dive in head over heels for this new performance from Orlando Shakes through Sunday (Loch Haven Park)

🍿Pack a blanket and a picnic for "Toy Story 3" in the park (Winter Park)

🗳️ Engage in civil discourse on the topic of gender led by moderator Banks Helfrich (Winter Park/Online)


🗣Got some teens who could benefit from a support group? Get in line for this virtual chat (Online)

🍽️ Celebrate 28 years of Christner's by visiting the longtime steakhouse and knowing your money is going to a good cause! All proceeds today will benefit Aspire Health Partners to support much-needed prevention, intervention and treatment services for our most vulnerable individuals (Orlando)

🖥️ Get tips for preparing for a job interview from the folks at Goodwill(Online)


🛍 Support local makers at this pop-up Father's Day-themed market (Audubon Park)

🛍 Buy local wares from this monthly pop-up market outside of Will's Pub (Mills 50)

💃 Get all gussied up for drag brunch at Island Time — the event's so popular that they made it a two-day affair (Thornton Park)

🍿Grab a friend and head to The Nook for good brews and trashy movies (Milk District)

🔔 Engage in a moment of silence for the 49 bells for 49 souls we lost in a senseless act of violence five years ago (Orlando)

🎶 Celebrate Record Store Day with Swamp Sistas, Beemo, and Ten10 Brewing (Mills 50)

👋 Connect with creatives and learn how to build client relationships at the Small Biz Creative Conference (virtual event, locally-grown) (Online)

🌈 Unite with other Orlandoans at the Dr. Phillips Center to mark the five-year point of the Pulse tragedy (Downtown)

🎶 Head to Will's Pub for a night of hits from the Allman Brothers (Mills 50)


🎉 Celebrate Redlight Redlight's sweet 16 with good beers, good food, and great locals (Audubon Park)

🍽 Sample all the tasty international food trucks in one place (South Eola)

🎶 Relax to the Fernwood String Quartet at Timucua Arts Foundation (SoDo)


☮️ Attend this boss babe meetup and simultaneously learn more about meditation and how to make herbal teas (Winter Park)

🕹 Join FORTMINE, where students ages 7-12 will be immersed in a musical video game (Audubon Park)

🏥 Hear from Jessica Daly, Consumer Health Librarian with Orlando Health, on why men should have yearly checkups and take part in preventative care (online)

One more thing

Be sure to check out Pulptown’s IG story today to see some of what I got up to yesterday. I attended a groundbreaking ceremony in West Lakes, an important chat on the “School to Prison Pipeline” with League of Women Voters Orange County, and a virtual call with Central Florida Foundation and three of the folks really doing the work for our LGBTQ+ community including Joel Morales from The Center, Barbara Poma from One Pulse Foundation, and Josh Bell from One Orlando Alliance.

Our community’s only as good as the people in it. How are you showing up for it today? As always, my inbox is forever open to you,

I’ll leave you with this beautiful view of a landing at MCO.

See y’all back here tomorrow, same time and place, with some history on Pulse Nightclub, a roundup of Pulse remembrance events happening this weekend, and more. This is a hard time of year for Orlando and five years is an unfortunate marker of time. Whatever it is you find yourself doing today, be sure to be kind.  

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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