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Plus, the Jack Kazansas star returns to Orange Ave., and busking comes to Downtown Orlando.
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👋 What are you most thankful for this year, Orlando?

Plus, the Jack Kazansas star returns to Orange Ave., and busking comes to Downtown Orlando.

By Katie Johnston

Hey there and happy Friday to ya. 

Earlier this week, I asked you what you were feeling especially grateful for this year, and some of your responses have had me crying at my work desk (read: kitchen table). 

I’m especially fond of Kenny E.’s answer that said, “After 12 years, my husband and I got married a couple of weeks ago! I’m so thankful for all the local vendors that made the day incredible, and for all our friends who showed us the most love!”

What about you? Is there something that has you feeling exceptionally thankful? I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email to katie@pulp.town, subject line: What I’m thankful for, and then look for your responses in next Wednesday’s newsletter. The plan is to send you off into the holiday all up in your feels. 😉 You can also join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

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I'll go first — good health, my pandemic puppy, and pasta night at Mason Jar Provisions. | 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

✍️ Florida officials are giving the proverbial finger to federal laws and regulations. Yesterday Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signed off on a series of bills drafted to undermine the Biden administration’s COVID-19 countermeasures. According to the Associated Press, “The new law prevents businesses from having vaccine mandates unless they allow workers to opt out for medical reasons, religious beliefs, immunity based on a previous infection, regular testing or an agreement to wear protective gear.” The newly enacted legislation also “includes fines for businesses that fire a worker without allowing the exemptions” in addition to barring schools and municipal governments from enforcing vaccine mandates and allowing for parents to pursue legal action against schools with mask mandates. (Associated Press)

🌳 Everything’s more shady in the Sunshine State: a Florida tree has been making headlines this week for its reputation as “the most dangerous tree in the world.” Guinness World Records bestowed the dubious title on the Manchineel tree back in 2011, but folks seem to have really caught on to its risks recently. As detailed by WMFE, the Manchineel’s sap “can cause a breakout of blisters” if touched, the tree’s bark can cause blindness when burned, and a bite of the “fruit” could cause “abdominal pain, vomiting, or even death” — steer clear of this one on your next Everglades trip, folks. (WMFE)

Meanwhile in more feel-good news… 

🏆  Orlando just received a perfect score for the eighth year in a row for being a more inclusive, equitable community. The City of Beautiful was one of 110 municipalities nationwide and eight in Florida to obtain the highest score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Municipal Equality Index. The grade was based on qualifiers like non-discrimination laws, all-user restrooms, transgender-inclusive insurance coverage, and more. (City of Orlando

🎁 Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings launched the annual mayor’s toy drive this week. You can donate to kids in need of holiday cheer now through Monday, Dec. 13 either online or in-person. Head to the link to find out how. 👉 (WKMG)  

🎶 Anyone else out there a big fan of the musical/movie Once? That’s what came to mind when I read that the Downtown Arts District was launching a 17-week busking pilot program this month. In the weeks to come, you’ll see more live music and street performances during the day in the Central Business District. They’re still looking for performers and are offering a $100 stipend per session. (Bungalower)

📅 This weekend could be a busy one if you’ll allow it. For starters, today is the opening day of ”Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad,” an exhibit displaying at the Mennello Museum about the Underground Railroad. Additionally, The Asian Lantern Festival kicks off tonight at the Central Florida Zoo, and Dazzling Nights debuts at Leu Gardens. You could also check out the pop-up parking lot party going down at Conrad’s Shanty or save yourself for tomorrow’s Jingle Eve in Ivanhoe. The sky’s the limit, y’all. (No, really — if it rains, your fun might be a bit more limited. 🙃)

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Today

🦌 Get into the holiday spirit at Reindeer Romp at the Orlando Museum of Art during its annual Festival of Trees event (Orlando)

🍿Watch "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" on the big screen in the parking lot of Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co. (Ivanhoe)

🛶 Go out for a full moon paddle of Lake Ivanhoe and stick around for a bonfire (Ivanhoe)

🛍 Shop local makers at the monthly market in front of Oviedo Brewing Company (Oviedo)

🎶 Enjoy an evening of funk, soul, blues, rock, and jazz for your Friday night (Mills 50)

🎄 Get in the Christmas spirit at Orlando Museum of Art's Festival of Trees through Nov. 21 (Loch Haven Park)

🍿Watch "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" on the big screen in Ivanhoe Park Brewing's parking lot (Ivanhoe)

🎶 See local bands battle it out at Amway Center in preparation for this weekend's Florida Classic (Parramore)

Tomorrow

🎁 Get in the holiday spirit by shopping, eating, and drinking at the annual Jingle Eve (Ivanhoe)

🛍 Get a head start on the holidays by shopping this pop-up market at Orlando Brewing (SoDo)

🖼 Peruse the work of 200 artists and handcraft exhibitors selling unique items, fine jewelry, and seasonal decor (Longwood)

🎅Visit the Festival of Trees on November 20 and wear your ugliest holiday sweater! (Orlando)

🏈 Pick a side at the annual FAMU versus Bethune-Cookman College meetup in the Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium (West Lakes)

🛍️ Goodwill to host "Thanks for Giving" event on Nov. 20; donors will receive coupon for their contribution (Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Lake, Volusia and Brevard counties)

Sunday

🛍 Support local while shopping vintage at this monthly pop-up market in front of Ace Cafe (Downtown)

🛍 Shop this pop-up feminist fair going on at Ivanhoe Park Brewing (Ivanhoe)

🦋 Come enjoy Metamorphosis! A sensorial experience and celebration of an Orlando poet's first book release (South Eola)

Tuesday

🍲 Take a virtual tour of Second Harvest Food Bank and hear about how to support hunger relief efforts. (Online)

Oh, and one more thing...

If you were to ask me to name my favorite Orlando things, one would without a doubt be the big star that hangs over Orange Avenue during the holiday season. That star — the Jack Kazansas Star — will make its seasonal reappearance this Sunday at 7:30 a.m at the intersection of Orange and Central. While we’re at it, if you want to flood our newsfeed with pictures of it, I wouldn’t be mad — I truly love that thing… a lot.

The 50-year tradition of hanging the 600-pound golden star has come to symbolize the start of the holiday season in downtown Orlando, which you can read all about in this article by local historian and Orlando Sentinel reporter Joy Wallace Dickinson. 

Alright, I’m off to record next week’s podcast — send me an email with any suggestions for Orlando-centric topics to cover or events we can’t miss, and I’ll do my best to get them added in. 

Enjoy your weekend ‘til I see you again!

– ✌️ Katie at Pulptown

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