The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village has been raisin’ cane for years, at a festival featuring the art of making syrup from Florida sugar cane.
But this year, the event on Jan. 8 added a new element — showcasing the history of moonshine.
Pasco County’s history is replete with stories about moonshiners, and this year, for the first time, the pioneer museum shared part of that history with event-goers.
Jeffro Cotton, of Lithia, volunteered to man the moonshine shed, where he talked about ‘moonshinin’ and explained how the mash was fermented into alcohol.
Meanwhile, visitors to the event had the chance to see demonstrations of syrup-making from sugar cane and to taste entries in the Southern Syrup-Makers Association Syrup-Tasting Contest Steve Melton, of Trilby, president of the Southern Syrup-Makers Association presented Jack Whitehurst, of Williston, with the first-place ribbon for his cane sugar syrup.
This year’s event had the largest turnout ever for tasting during the event.
Whitehurst said the key to making the syrup was taking his time and doing it the way the old-timers did it.
Beyond syrup-tasting, the event also featured Tarpon Springs Distillery, which offered samples of its products, and had a couple of moonshine cocktails and bottles available for purchase.
Event-goers also had a chance to do a little shopping, grab a bite to eat, enjoy live music and stroll around the 6.5 acres of building displays.
Published January 12, 2022