Plus, 50+ festive date night ideas for December.
By Katie Johnston
Happy Thursday to ya.
How about that frost yesterday? Did anyone see it? The Orlando subreddit was filled with pics of frost on the ground and even on car windows. Not to worry though — with today’s high of 75 we shouldn’t be seeing any more of that.
And before we get to today’s news, we just wanted to give a shout to the readers who read all the way to the bottom yesterday and delivered on sending me songs that you’d place in your time capsule now in the vein of Spotify’s Wrapped schtick. We really appreciated Cheryl G.’s love of musicals — from “Hamilton” to “The Greatest Showman”. Also, that flashback to Alanis Morrisette. And Kelly L., from the sound of your playlist we could definitely go on a road trip together one day when COVID-19 is behind us.
That said, our inbox remains open to you guys. And it’s the days we hear back from you that honestly mean the most. So if anything we say in here triggers a response from you, just know that’s what we want: to have conversations and truly connect.
Now, without further ado, let’s talk about the upcoming holidays and all the ways you can channel the Christmas spirit.
Behold, the new Dazzling Nights exhibit at Leu Gardens. This is Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and his partner Susie taking a walk through one of the many light scenes. Shoutout to Advent Health and Creative City Project for making it happen. You can check it out yourself now through Jan. 3. | Wanna see your photo here? Tag @pulptown to be featured in our IG of the day. (📸: @immersefest)
The City of Orlando has announced a year-long pilot program that would have mental health counselors responding to select emergency 911 calls in the future. It’s one of many changes the city wants to implement as it works to reform controversial law enforcement practices. The program was conceived following the public outcry and national reckoning our country experienced following the police killing of George Floyd earlier this year. (Orlando Sentinel)
In case you were wondering, Brightline Trains is still trucking right along. Its president Patrick Goddard made a stop in Orlando yesterday to discuss the future of the high-speed rail system. The line currently runs from Miami to West Palm Beach; but with the extension it’ll run to MCO before the end of 2022, will then connect to Disney Springs, and is planned to eventually run through to Tampa. There is no concrete timeframe for that expansion at the moment. (ClickOrlando)
Native Orlandoan Emily Duke is on a mission to bring her sweet childhood memories to life, but with a healthy twist. Duke wants to open a vegan ice cream truck, and she’s hoping her hometown city will help make it happen. As of writing, she’s a little more than one-third of the way there. (Kickstarter)
From the Dazzling Lights show to the annual Surfing Santas or the Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas this year. The Orlando Sentinel was nice enough to round up more than 20 of them. (Orlando Sentinel)
While we’re on the topic of holiday events, we’d be remiss not to share this roundup of 50-something festive date night ideas for December. The list includes a pasta-making date night, a holiday champagne-tasting experience, and a “Fringe” take on the classic, A Christmas Carol. (Orlando Date Night Guide)
In COVID-19 news…
Deaths from drug overdoses in Central Florida are up 70 percent from this time last year. And they’re up 43 percent statewide. According to a report released by Orlando-based nonprofit Project Opioid, this trend is expected to continue upward as the pandemic rages on and prompts further isolation and depression. The team used data from the Florida Department of Health for the study. (Orlando Sentinel)
Florida was just awarded $28 million in federal funding to help find work for people who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic. The money will go towards things like providing temporary jobs, employment and training services, food and basic necessities, as well as assistance with quarantining. (ClickOrlando)
How Orlando will you go? Swan City is just one of the many local makers we’re highlighting in our 2020 Orlando Gift Guide. (📸: @swancityorlando)
The holiday shopping season is here, and all this week we’re giving Pulptown+ members a special sneak peek of our 2020 Orlando Gift Guide.
We’ve got local ideas for what to get everyone on your list — from the fashionista who’s always looking sharp on Zoom to the foodie who knows staying home is no reason not to eat well to the Orlandoan who likes to wear their city pride on their sleeve.
Want in on the action? Head here to sign up for Pulptown+, and keep an eye on your inbox for the goods.
🎄 Head to Orlando Museum of Art for its Deck the Walls event (Loch Haven Park)
🍻 Meet some of Orlando's creatives at this socially distanced happy hour (Thornton Park)
🍷 Sit outside and wine down at Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux weekly (Audubon Park)
🗣 Got questions about evictions during the global pandemic? Tune in for this virtual discussion (Online)
⛄ Check out the annual holiday edition of What's Up Downtown with performances by Mad Cow Theatre, The Russian Ballet, and Opera Orlando (Lake Eola Park)
🍷 Learn the difference between Prosecco, Cava and Champagne at Kcuvée's holiday wine tasting of Bubbles from Around the World (College Park)
🎅 Go on a socially-distanced neighborhood crawl of your favorite local watering holes, eateries and small biz all while dressed as Krampus (Milk District)
🎵 Experience the thrilling, musical adaption of "A Christmas Carol" presented by the CFCArts Children & Youth Arts Programs (Winter Park)
🎄 Come enjoy a classic holiday barbershop experience with The Humdingers through Saturday (College Park)
🎅 Grab the kids for Santa's reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and local author Russell Troutman's book, "Ernie the Elf and the Special Gift" (Downtown Orlando)
☠️ Check out this giant citywide scavenger hunt coming to Orlando (Downtown)
🎵 Get in the holiday spirit with a thrilling, musical adaption of "A Christmas Carol" by the CFCArts Children & Youth Arts Programs (Winter Park)
🛍 Shop this outdoor girl-powered pop-up market of local makers and then grab a tasty brunch after (Milk District)
🥘 Learn to put a spin on classic holiday sides for your upcoming Holiday Soirées with this class in College Park (College Park)
🚸 Join national thought leaders in mapping children’s safest path through the pandemic (Online)
🎨 Head to Quantum Leap Winery to take a peek at its latest series of bottles painted by local artists (Mills 50 )
🏆 Join Orlando's favorite nerd nonprofit, Hero Spark for a fun virtual trivia night with epic nostalgia Qs from the 80s to today, and good feels for supporting a good cause (Online)
🎄 Drive a little north to cut down your own Christmas tree through Dec. 13 (Eustis)
🍹 Take a holiday cocktail tour of Sanford through Dec. 31 (Sanford)
🙌 Join us for a discussion on how to start and sustain a successful corporate social responsibility program. (Online)
One more thing …
Got ideas for how to volunteer around Central Florida right now? Redditor u/kKbow38 wants to hear ‘em, and honestly, so do we. Drop your suggestions in the Reddit thread but then also, slide into our inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: Where to volunteer right now.
And while you're at it, don't forget to email us your ideas for local makers that we should add to our 2020 Orlando Gift Guide.
Enjoy your day, Orlando. We’re so close to the weekend.
– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown