Sounds of cracking whips and old-time music filled the air at Cracker Cowboy Day at the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village, at 15602 Pioneer Museum Road.
The event was held for its first time on March 5, on the property in Dade City.
Dade City Candy, Comics, and Collectibles presented the event, which took folks back to a bygone era of Florida’s early settlers.
It was a time that was rich with cowboys and cattle.
Many of the interactive demonstrations featured activities that actually would have taken place on the range.
Both children and adults could try their hand at whip-cracking, cow-whip braiding, roping, axe-throwing and wood plank branding.
Numerous speakers wore period clothing – many of whom were stationed inside authentic-styled cow camps. The speakers and their backdrops helped to create a feel for an earlier era, as they provided lessons about Florida’s pioneer days.
There was a petting zoo, a blacksmith exhibition and vendors catering to cowboys, as well as offering farm goods.
Cowboy poetry in the Mabel Jordan Barn rounded out the day.
Dade City rancher and cowboy poet Steve Melton spearheaded the one-of-a-kind event.
When friends urged him to do poetry at the museum, he didn’t think poetry was enough of a draw to attract crowds.
So, instead, he arranged an event that not only showcased, but celebrated the Florida cow hunter’s (knowns as the ‘Crackers’) way of life.
Melton said the need to share that history helped to inspire the event.
“No one has pulled out the true history of the cowboy story, so that is what we are trying to introduce and preserve,” Melton said.
By Christine Holtzman
Published March 23, 2022
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.