Plus, 6 ways to celebrate this weekend without attending a big fireworks show.

🎇 No sales tax this week, a cutest pet photo contest, and Elsa won't let it go 

Plus, 6 ways to celebrate this weekend without attending a big fireworks show.

By Katie Johnston

Hey, you made it to Friday! 

Welcome and congrats. I never got the whole TGIF thing until I shifted gears from a career in hospitality to this one. It all makes sense now. The weekend arrives just in time for my brain to take a much-needed break. If today is the start of your workweek, here’s hoping you’re rested up and ready for the weekend ahead. 

Speaking of, let’s talk about Elsa. The tropical storm formed over the Atlantic Ocean early Thursday and has since become the fifth named storm of the season. According to one hurricane researcher, E-named storms typically form around late July or early August so we’re a little ahead of the game. With that said, Central Florida is currently in the cone of uncertainty and is in for some rain between now and its predicted landfall north of Tampa mid-week. We’ll be keeping an eye on it and you should too. 

It’s also a holiday weekend and while our curated weekend guides are usually reserved for members, today, we’re feeling extra generous. You can find six ideas down below of ways to celebrate the holiday that don’t include fireworks (my pup and your pets will thank you). If you like it, perhaps you’ll consider becoming a Pulptown+ member yourself. 😉

For now, you can find me here, at Blue Springs Park (in my mind at least)...

Weekend goals. 📸: @thefloridatravelgirl | 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 

💰 It’s Freedom Week y’all, and you can avoid sales taxes now through July 7 on things like concerts, camping supplies, sports equipment, and other recreational necessities. The hope is that this incentive will get more people outside and active in the community. (WKMG

📝 The Kerouac House in College Park needs our help. The home that Jack Kerouac lived in when he wrote “Dharma Bums” has housed many writers over the years through its residence program. Earlier this week, it suffered a bit of damage after a tree fell on the property and damaged its front porch. Now, its caretakers are asking for donations to help with repairs. (Bungalower

🍼 A Winter Park young’un was recently named the new Gerber Baby. Zane Kahin is the baby food company’s new “Chief Growing Officer,” a title that brought $25,000 in cash, free Gerber products for a year, and a Gerber wardrobe valued at $1,000 along with it. As it so happens, the original Gerber baby is now 95 years old and lives in Tampa. (Orlando Sentinel

🐶 Own a cute pet? Wait, let me rephrase that — is the pet who owns you cute? Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando kicked off its annual cutest pet photo contest on Thursday. The adorable winner will secure its face on a wine bottle from Quantum Leap for all to see. You can enter your furry (or not) companion now through July 31. More details are at the link. 👉 (Orlando Pet Alliance)

🙏 Looking for ways to help the victims and families of the recent building collapse in Surfside? Support Surfside is an initiative working to provide relief services and assistance to those impacted by last week’s horrific tragedy. As Central Florida Foundation pointed out, Central Florida is sadly all too familiar with how devastating disasters leave lives forever changed and require long-term support for the community. (Support Surfside

👟 Local child welfare services org Embrace Families is currently hosting a back-to-school shoe drive. The goal is to raise enough money to provide 1,000 pairs of shoes for Central Florida children in foster care before the new school year starts. (Embrace Families)

🎉 One local 99-year-old man will be celebrated extra heavily this Fourth of July. Delaney Church is honoring Frank Harrison, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former Orlando school teacher and principal with a party on Sunday. (Delaney Church

🎉 Congrats to these two lucky readers!

Two lucky readers just won this super cute, super Florida print above. 👆 (📸: @studiocpl)

Congrats to Aly P. and Tasanee D. for winning The Florida Alphabet print from Studio CPL. The Miami-based husband and wife creative agency created the print to raise awareness and appreciation for Florida’s amazing biodiversity and culture. Check out the upcoming Sun and Sand anthology from Radiator Comics for their next piece and follow them on IG to request custom art or cop The Florida Alphabet for yourself or as a gift.

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🎆 Today’s How-to: Celebrate the 4th of July without all the fireworks

The Fourth of July is this Sunday, and while COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted across the state and most firework displays are back on schedule, there are ways to celebrate that don’t include large crowds and loud noises. Here are six things you can do instead.

🍖 Grill some meats courtesy of Orlando Meats. The local butcher shop and restaurant is what we call a “nose to tail” operation and has everything from popular steak cuts to fat, bones, and organ meat. It’s worth calling ahead and seeing what’s available. OR let Hinckley Meats do the grilling for you. They’re slinging coal-fired beef brisket and rotisserie pork shoulder but you need to place your order now. 

🏞 Head to the springs. Wekiva Island is hosting its Sounds of Wekiva 4th of July Celebration tomorrow and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enjoy live music, good brews and food and a day on the water. It’s $5 for admission or $100 for VIP and the guarantee that you’ll have front row access and a spot on one of its busier weekends.

🍰 What’s more patriotic than a pie-eating contest, right? (There are a lot of things actually, but this is fun.) Redlight Redlight is hosting this annual event tomorrow at 3 p.m. and you can participate for $15. You just gotta bring your appetite. And it’s all for a good cause — a portion of proceeds goes to the Audubon Park School. 

🛶 Watch fireworks from afar and from the comfort of a paddleboard. Lake Life Paddle is hosting a 4th of July sunset and fireworks paddle at Lake Ivanhoe at 8 p.m. You’ll be able to see the Lake Eola fireworks show starting at 9:15 p.m. The event is both beginners- and kid-friendly. 

🎟 Make a reservation for the July 4th drag show brunch happening at Island Time. The Thornton Park eatery is also celebrating its 2-year anniversary so the energy is bound to be doubly electric. There’s also a cookout happening later in the day.

📺 If you’re not tired of virtual events, News 6 is streaming Sunday night’s fireworks show from Lake Eola. Tune in at 8 p.m. to watch the TV special or head to to view from there. The fireworks start at 9:15 p.m.

And if you want to see the fireworks in person, both Orlando Weekly and Bungalower have rounded up ways to do that. Then on Monday, head to Lake Eola for cleanup. The Keep Orlando Beautiful crew will be picking up litter and debris from the day before’s festivities. All you’ve gotta do is RSVP and show up. 😉

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🎶 Get your groove on at Tuffy's Cider with Shine and the Shakers (Sanford)

🍻 Clean up the neighborhood and drink a beer after for day five of the annual adult summer camp happening at Ivanhoe Park Brewing through July 4 (Ivanhoe)

🏈 Cheer on the Orlando Predators to a win over the Jacksonville Sharks (Parramore)

☮️ Set an intention for the weekend with a floating yoga and meditation class on Lake Ivanhoe (Ivanhoe)


⚽️ Cheer on Orlando City SC to a win over the New York Red Bulls (Parramore)

🥧 Celebrate America by scarfing down pies at Redlight Redlight's Annual Pie Eating Contest (Audubon Park)

🌱 Hop on a bike and join the Fleet Farming crew for some community gardening around town monthly (Audubon Park)

🎯 Spend the evening playing drag queen bingo for a good cause (Clermont)

🛶 Take the kids on a paddleboarding adventure of Lake Ivanhoe (Ivanhoe)

🎨 Make a craft, drink a draft at Hourglass Socialhouse for Leguminati's Craft & Draft Night (Curry Ford West)


⚽️ Root the Orlando Pride to victory over the North Carolina Courage (Parramore)

🥞 Time flies when you're having fun. Celebrate two years of drag brunch at Island Time (Thornton Park)

🛍 Shop local BIPOC makers at this weekly pop-up market (Winter Park)

☮️ Sweat it out in a yoga class at Deviant Wolfe then stick around after for a cold one weekly (Sanford)

One more thing

I'm taking a real vacation day on Monday and therefore will NOT be writing a newsletter for Tuesday. That means I won't see you in your inboxes again until next Wednesday. However, while you're recovering on Monday from a weekend well-spent, you should definitely give the next episode of 15 Minutes in Pulptown a listen. I'm sitting down with Bruno Zacchini, owner of Pizza Bruno, to dish on the latest Orlando-area news as well as talk about the beloved pizza spot’s origins. The episode goes live Monday at 7 a.m. and you can stream it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, and all the places you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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