Local Events

"A Celebration of the Florida Cracker Cowboy"

Join the Manatee County Agricultural Museum and the Palmetto Historical Park in “A Celebration of the Florida Cracker Cowboy.” This month-long salute to an important part of our agricultural heritage will kick-off on March 6th. All activities will take place within the park (with the exception of the rodeo), which is located on the corner of 10th Ave. and 6th St. West, Palmetto. The celebration has been sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities, SMR Farms, the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association, R. B. Chips Shore, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller, and the City of Palmetto. Events which will take place during this month of celebration include:

Saturday, March 6th, 12:00 pm 2nd Annual Manatee County Cattlemen’s Ranch Rodeo Held at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, this rodeo boasts “Come be a part of history and see how it used to be done!” Tickets are $5 at the gate. The Manatee Junior Cattlemen will start serving lunch at 11:00 am. Proceeds from the rodeo will benefit the Manatee County Agricultural Museum and the FFA Clubs from Palmetto High School, Lakewood Ranch High School, and Braden River High School.

Friday, March 12th, 5:30 – 8:00 pm Exhibit Opening Reception for Jimmy Peters’ Florida Cowboy Photography Collection Sarasota resident Jimmy Peters has a wonderful collection of work featuring the modern-day Florida Cowboy. Each photo is paired with an original piece of poetry and the collection introduces the cowboy’s professional work ethic, lifestyle, history, personality, and ethnic diversity. A special performance by Cracker Cowboy Poet Hank Mattson will start at 6:30 pm. Guests will be entertained by Hank’s unique brand of storytelling. His use of humor and sentimentality are highly effective means of communicating the history and traditions of the Cracker cowboy. This opening reception is free and open to the public but reservations are required. Call 721-2034.

Saturday, March 13th, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm Palmetto Heritage Day A park Open House and a variety of activities will be offered throughout the day. The 1880 Heritage Station Post Office will be open for business. Postage stamps will be on sale and a special cancellation will be affixed to all letters and postcards mailed from the historic post office during the event. This year’s cancellation is a depiction of a cattlewoman and her dog with the park’s Chapel in the distance. The cancellation was designed by photographer Jimmy Peters. The photography exhibit “Florida Cowboy Photography Collection” by Mr. Peters will be on exhibit through April 23rd. Activities during the day will include old-time music by Tymes Past, storyteller Windell Campbell, petting corral sponsored by Palmetto High’s FFA, quilting, whip cracking and blacksmithing demonstrations, and films about Cracker Cattle and Cracker Horses. For the children, Junior Ag Spots and Pint-Sized Pioneer Spots will keep them busy. All activities are free. The Manatee County Cattlemen will be selling lunch and Alex’s Lemonade Stand will be raising funds to benefit childhood cancer research. Down the street, The Woman’s Club of Palmetto will be holding its annual Chicken and Yellow Rice Luncheon for $10 and various Palmetto High School reunions will take place during the luncheon. The performance schedule for the day is as follows:

10:00 am Opening Ceremony, meet photographer Jimmy Peters

10:30 - 11:30 Tymes Past— Old Time Music

11:30 - 12:00 Windell Campbell—Storyteller

12:00 Devin Gilmore Whip Cracking

12:30 - 1:30 Tymes Past – Old Time Music

1:30 Devin Gilmore Whip Cracking

3:00 Drawing for Barn Birdhouse

The Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum are raffling off a handmade barn birdhouse. The suggested donation for tickets is $2 for one ticket or $10 for six tickets. No purchase is necessary. The drawing will be held at 3:00 pm on Heritage Day. Tickets are available before March 13th at the Agricultural Museum and on the grounds during Heritage Day. Funds raised through this project will benefit the park’s educational programs for local elementary schools.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2:00 pm Walking Tour of Palmetto Leaving from the Palmetto Historical Park, this free two-hour walk will highlight some of the historic buildings along the riverfront in Palmetto. A special treat will be a guided tour of the Palmetto Riverside Bed & Breakfast, which is a restored Lamb House.

Saturday, March 20th, 1:00 pm A Conversation with the Photographer & the Cowboys Photographer Jimmy Peters will speak about his experiences of photographing the working cowmen. Cowmen will share stories about their life and their work. Light refreshments will be served. FREE, but reservations required, 721-2034.

Friday, March 26th, 6:30 pm “Cowboy Country” Documentary & Dessert Social This hour-long documentary produced by former Channel 8 news anchorman Bob Hite, shares the history of the Florida cattle industry and also illustrates what life is like as a working Cracker cowboy (and cowgirl!). After the film there will be a dessert social during which several members of the Manatee County Cattlemen will be available for interchange with the audience. FREE, but reservations required, 721-2034.

April 6th , 8th, & 9th, 9:00 am – 1:45 pm The educational program, “Florida Cracker Cowboy Days” will take place with the students of Palmetto Elementary School. Students will rotate through a variety of activity centers to learn about the life of the Cracker cowboy.