Plus, relief is on the way for city of Orlando renters and Paws in the Park returns to Lake Eola.

🍽 11 places to eat right now per local blogger Lemonhearted

Plus, relief is on the way for city of Orlando renters and Paws in the Park returns to Lake Eola.

By Katie Johnston

It’s Thursday, party people.

And if you’re looking for something to do that’s mostly outdoors, may I recommend the new and improved Third Thursday? The Downtown Arts District announced the expansion of its monthly art night to now include a makers market, live entertainment, museum visits, and more. It’s part of a cool new partnership with City District Main Street, the Dr. Phillips Center, and the History Center. 

What’s the cost for all this greatness, you might ask? It’ll set you back a whopping zero dollars to participate, although a $10 wristband does get you some sweet drink deals. 😉 The festivities start at 6 p.m. and you’ll want to reserve your time slot for the gallery part. Get the details here

Once you’re done planning out how to make this a Thursday to remember, keep reading for today’s top headlines, including how to get your hands on N95 masks and COVID-19 tests, why Florida is making headlines in The Washington Post (and no, it’s not COVID-related), where to see new art in Downtown Orlando next week, and the 11 Lemonhearted-approved places to get your grub on ASAP. 👇


This picture warrants a Stevie Wonder impression: “Isn’t she lovely?” 📸: @dwntwn_orlando  as tagged by @pulseofcfl| 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

😷 First things first: The Biden administration plans to send out 400 million N95 masks across the country at the end of this week. Masks will be distributed to pharmacies and community health centers, where they’ll be available for pick up at no cost. As we know more about where and when you can pick up your masks, we’ll let you know in the newsletter! And ICYMI, you can now order four free at-home COVID-19 tests shipped directly to your home. (NPR)

🗣 “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it…”  That’s how Orange County Health Director Dr. Raul Pino began his department-wide email over its low employee vaccination rates. Now, Pino has been placed on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Health determines if his comments actually violated anything. (WFTV

🏠 The affordable housing crisis stretches far beyond Central Florida and Orange County. National media outlets are picking up on what Floridians have been feeling in their wallets for a while now: A recent story in The Washington Post notes that while home prices have risen faster in Florida than any other state over the last six months, wages have not kept pace with the national average. The disparity has caused a squeeze that’s left working-class residents with few choices in where they can call home. “Although Florida has long been associated with pockets of extreme wealth, local leaders say they are most unsettled by how quickly home prices are rising at the bottom of the market,” the story says. “Those trends now threaten to drive away scores of working-class residents, who remain the backbone of the state’s tourism-driven economy.” (The Washington Post)

💰 Good news for renters: As reported by our buds at Bungalower, the City of Orlando was just awarded $6.8 million in COVID-19 Relief Funds from the U.S. Department of the Treasury to provide Emergency Rental Assistance for households that have been financially impacted by the pandemic.The city council has partnered with KPMG to oversee the program, and residents will be able to apply for relief funds starting Feb. 1. (Bungalower

Meanwhile, in lighter news… 

🍽 The Deli Llama in Eustis, The Duck & Drake Kitchen Truck at Digress Wine in College Park, Jimotti’s in Sanford… These are just three of the 11 hotspots local blogger Lemonhearted has put her stamp of approval on. Go ahead and learn more about these yummy local spots over at the link. (Lemonhearted

🎨 There’s new art coming to Downtown Orlando. The folks at Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs shared earlier this week that the Sculpture Garden at the admin center will debut its latest sculptures on Jan. 24. You can check out the new pieces for yourselves at 5:30 p.m. on Monday or take an early look by following the link. 👉 (Bungalower

🐶 Paws in the Park is heading back to Lake Eola next month. The annual fundraising festival for Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is arguably the most fun your furry friends will have all year. Fortunately, it’s right around the corner and going down on Feb. 12. Adopt a pet, parade your furry companion around in a costume, sign up your pup for a sport, or let ‘em go nuts in the dock diving contest — there’s paw-lenty (see what we did there?) to do. (Orlando Weekly

🎯 This week’s trivia award goes to… 


🎥: Giphy 

👆That’s a scene from The Waterboy, the 1998 Adam Sandler classic that was filmed all over Central Florida. Its infamous football games scenes were filmed in Orlando and took place at the Citrus Bowl (now known as Camping World Stadium). 

It’s also the answer to this week’s trivia question. 

Shoutout to Pulptown+ members Nick B., Matthew H., Monica T., and Pooja S. for guessing correctly. They’ve won bragging rights for the week and a shout in today’s newsletter, plus I know who I’m going to draft ahead of my next trivia night outing!

What about you? Does trivia really get your ticker going? Put your not-so-useless local knowledge to the test, join us as a Pulptown+ member today, and this could be you flaunting your local Orlando know-how this time next week.

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🍿Get cozy and settle in for a night of Orlando Fringe Mini Digi-Fest thru Jan. 23 (Online)

🍿Don't miss the final night of "The Tragedy of Macbeth" currently playing at The Enzian (Maitland)

🛍 Upgrade your usual 3rd Thursday Art Walk experience and shop the new accompanying local makers mart (Downtown)

🎨 Head to CityArts for the public opening night reception celebrating the new Corridor Project Billboard Exhibition currently on display around town (Downtown)

🗣Join black business leaders from across the state to discuss The State of Black Business (Downtown)

🎶 Don't miss the opportunity to see Leon Bridges and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform together at the Dr. Philipps Center (Downtown)


🎨 Make your way to the Mennello Museum for opening night of its new exhibit featuring 30 years of the City of Orlando's public art collection from UCF Flying Horse Editions (Loch Haven Park)

🎨 Join Rollins Museum of Art’s Associate Curator of Education, Alexia Lobaina, on a tour of this exhibition highlighting what it means to be an ally in today’s challenging social landscape (Winter Park)

🎶 Jam out to the Oak Hill Drifters at The Imperial at Washburn Imports (Ivanhoe)

🍿Grab a friend and head to Ivanhoe Park Brewing for its weekly Brew & View, this time featuring "10 Things I Hate About You" (Ivanhoe)


🍻 Enjoy locally-brewed beer and play Beer Week Bingo all week long while you're at it Jan 22 thru 29 (The Milk District)

🍻 Partake in some craft beer drinking at Wekiva Island’s Annual Otter Fest (Longwood)

🎉 Sample over 20 local food trucks and stick around for a special concert in the park featuring September Dogs at Reiter Park (Longwood)

♻️ Spend your Saturday helping to clean up the neighborhood and in exchange, get a few free drinks at some nearby watering holes (Ivanhoe)

🍻 Belly up at Bowigens Beer Company for the return of Sour Fest (Casselberry)

☮️ Get into cat pose with adorable (and adoptable) cats at The Kitty Beautiful Cat Cafe (Downtown)

👟 Get a healthy start to the New Year by running the Park Avenue 5k then stick around to indulge a little with grab and go treats from local favorites (Winter Park)

🍻 Celebrate Ellipsis Brewing's 4-year anniversary with a quad can beer drop and food trucks (Orlando)

🍺 Grab a fanny pack and your crimping iron, because the annual 90s Pub Crawl is going down this weekend (Downtown)


🍻 Spend the Sabbath at Sideward Brewing with heavy music, heavy beer, and BBQ (The Milk District)

🛍 Shop local and shop vintage at this pop-up market going down at Ace Cafe (Downtown)

☮️ Sit back and relax at this sound garden put on by the HENAO Contemporary Center (Rosemont)

🍿Grab the kids and settle in for a Sunday matinee of "Dolphin Tale" (Maitland)

🛍 Shop for fresh produce, baked goods, crafts, gifts, jewelry, plants, and more at the weekly farmers market around Lake Eola (South Eola)

🎶 Sing along with Corrine Bailey Rae and Joss Stone at this incredible concert (Downtown)

☝️ One more thing…

❄️ Brrr… it’s a little chilly out there for us Florida folk. Check out Orlando Date Night Guide’s 15 recommendations of places around Central Florida to warm your buns while you eat and drink outside. 

My favorite place to eat, drink, and be merry outdoors while not freezing my tush? I thought you’d never ask: Santiago’s Bodega, although I have to give props to the Saganaki for just making everything better no matter the weather. 

See you back here tomorrow for a proper Friday sendoff. 

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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