Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tweeting about Pioneer Days

Will Wallace Harney has (posthumously?!) established a Twitter account. Follow his tweets at .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tune in to American Variety Radio next week.

Several local NPR stations will be airing an interview featuring two Pine Castle pioneer descendants: Kelly Kramer Weekley and Billy Morgan.

In Orlando, tune in to WMFE (90.7) this Sunday (12/12) at 4:30pm.

In Melbourne, tune in to WFIT (89.5) this Sunday (12/12) at 7:30am.

And, in Fort Pierce, tune in to WQCS (88.9) next Wednesday (12/15) at 9:30am.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Web site working group

Daniel Morgan Construction hosted a workshop in their offices at 1603 South Bumby Avenue today.

The goal was to update the festival website.

If YOU have any suggestions for updates, additions, or corrections, please email

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cracker Christmas!

If anyone is interested in attending the festivities at Fort Christmas this weekend, a group from Pioneer Days is planning on going to scout for vendors and demonstrators.

Interested in joing us? Meet us at Sharon's Place on South Orange Avenue at 8am today. Or, email for other rendezvous points.

We need recruits to fill up booth space!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another busy afternoon!

The Pine Castle Women's Club hosted back-to-back meetings in their clubhouse at 5901 South Orange Avenue this afternoon.

Beginning at 1:30pm, Lydia Pisano chaired a parade committee meeting.

This was followed at 3pm by a general planning session.

For more information on how YOU can get involved with planning our next festival, please email

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Third Thursdays at Chick-fil-A

Remember, both South Orlando locations of Chick-fil-A (on Orange Avenue and SOBT) will donate all proceeds from sales made between 5pm and 8pm every 3rd Thursday of the month.

Be sure to tell your order taker that you are a supporter of Pine Castle Pioneer Days to make sure your receipt gets added to our total!

For more information, please email

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Finance committee meeting

The Team hosted our finance committee meeting today in their offices at 6019 South Orange Avenue.

Preliminary figures from the recent "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraiser were the primary focus of discussion.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Greenwood Cemetery connections

We are trying to identify all the Pine Castle pioneers who are buried at Greenwood Cemetery in downtown Orlando to prepare an historic tour of the grounds. Following is the list we've put together so far. Can you add to it?

* William R. & Sarah L. Anno
* Isaac & Sallie Aten
* James M. Blitch
* Lizzie Lester Fain
* A.F. & Nancy Hansel (+ son)
* William M. & Sarah Hansel (+ son)
* Will & Mary Harney
* Alice Young Leake
* Paul & Alice Macy (+ son)
* John W. Matchett (+ 3 wives & children)
* James R. & Frances Montague
* Jay Judson Newell
* Frances Pitts
* Daniel W. & Virginia B. Prescott (+ children)
* Dr. O.P. & Jane Preston
* William M. & Mary Randolph
* Benamin M. & Frances Robinson
* James W. & Amanda White (+ sons)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Barberville, anyone?

If anyone is planning on attending the folk festival at Barberville in Volusia County this weekend, please do some scouting for vendors and demonstrators who might be appropriate for Pioneer Days.

Collect their business cards, if possible, and email their contact information to

We need recruits to fill up booth space!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

"Cocktails for a Cause"

Thanks to The University Club in downtown Orlando for hosting our big fundraising event this evening!

Musical entertainment was organized by local artist Joe Waller, who is also coordinating music for our festival in February.

Several enthusiastic supporters of Pioneer Days appeared in period costume for the event, including: Ginger Rudiger, Susie Mosholder, Ben Bateman, Tom Tart, and Betsy Story.

Local historian Sharon Wilson provided a CD of festival images to serve as a backdrop for the event.

The silent auction portion of the evening exceeded fundraising expectations, as did direct cash donations and sponsorship subscriptions.

Local art student Charity Hill was recognized for her acryllic interpretation of the original Pine Castle, which served as a certpiece of the auction.

More than anything, the organizing committee was pleased by the level of "friendraising" that took place at this event!

For more information on how YOU can get involved, please email

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

General planning session

Belle Isle City Hall hosted our monthly general planning session this afternoon.

The meeting was focused on last minute preparations for tomorrow night's big "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraising event at The University Club.

For more information, email

Monday, November 1, 2010

Silent auction items

We have a preliminary list of all the items to be included in the silent auction at our big November 4th "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraiser at The University Club.

And, the list keeps growing with last minute donations.
For more information about any of these items, or to make a tax-deductible cash donation in support of our next festival, please email

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shirley Cannon & Robert E. Lee

What kind of costume are YOU wearing for Halloween?!

PCPD board member Shirley Cannon recently posed with a fellow who portrays General Robert E. Lee.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Charity Hill painting complete!

Local art student Charity Hill has completed her acryllic interpretation of the original Pine Castle in time for our big November 4th "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraising event.

It will be the feature item in our silent auction at that event.

For more information, please email

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finance committee meeting

The finance committee met today in The Team Offices at 6019 South Orange Avenue.

The primary focus of the meeting was to fine-tune plans for our big November 4th "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraiser at The University Club.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Poster for November 4th event

Thanks go out to Shirley Cannon for designing this poster for our big "Cocktails for a Cause" fundraiser at the University Club.

To find out more about all the different sponsorship levels detailed on the poster, please email

Monday, October 11, 2010

A vintage costume!

Pioneer descendant Susie Hayes Mosholder plans to wear this vintage costume at our next festival . . . and we're hoping she'll give us a preview at our November 4th event at The University Club.

If you are interested in appearing as a living history re-enactor at either event, please email

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Publications committee meeting

Shirley Cannon hosted a meeting in her home this evening to begin planning our next festival magazine.

The theme will focus on the history of the old Pine Castle Air Force Base and the World War II era.

If you have any old pictures or stories that you think would be appropriate for inclusion in the magazine, email

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Busy afternoon!

Belle Isle City Hall hosted back-to-back meetings this afternoon.

Beginning at 1:30pm, Commissioner Lydia Pisano chaired the Parade Committee meeting.

A general planning session followed at 3pm.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Orlando Magic ticket auction

A reminder, Commissioner Linda Stewart has donated two (2) tickets to the next home game in the new arena.

Email by 7pm tonight.

The high bidder gets the tickets, with the proceeds going toward funding our next festival.

Thanks, Commissioner Stewart!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Finance committee meeting

The Pine Castle Women's Club hosted this month's finance meeting in their clubhouse at 5901 South Orange Avenue.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Local diner hosts two planning sessions

Carol's Place on South Orange Avenue hosted two Pioneer Days planning sessions this morning.

The first began at 8am, and focused on plans for the silent auction component of our Nov 4th fundraising event at The University Club.

The second began at 9am, and focused on emerging plans for a fishing tournament on the Conway chain of lakes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

3 Miles from Pine Castle is TOO FAR!

Mrs. Agnes Belcher and her children Bryan and Evelyn pose by an area road sign.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fishing tournament planning session

A preliminary meeting was held this morning at the HomeVest offices on Michigan Street to plan a fishing tournament on the Conway chain of lakes.

Proceeds from the tourney will go to fund our next festival.

Stay tuned for more details!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

History Committee meeting

A meeting was held this morning at Shannon's Casual Cafe on South Orange Avenue to work with Commissioner Linda Stewart's office on a series of historical markers in the Pine Castle area.

We are hoping to get these signs fabricated and installed in time for our next festival!

Thanks to Jackie Blake at Commissioner Stewart's office for coordinating this meeting, and to Barbara Knowles from The History Center for lending her expertise!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sgt. Charles O. Walters, Jr.

Sgt. Walters came to Pine Castle from McKinney, Texas, during World War II. He drowned here during a training exercise on 30 August 1943.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Silent auction

On November 4th, a silent auction will be held in downtown Orlando to benefit Pine Castle Pioneer Days.

We are asking all Pioneer Days supporters to consider donating items for the auction, including (bunt not necessarily limited to) such things as:

* Tickets to sporting or cultural events.

* Weekend stays at vacation homes.

* Meals at area restaurants.

* Books and other memorabilia (especially if they relate to local history!)

* Artwork.

* Services of any kind.

* Fishing or other sporting gear.

* Gift baskets.

If you or someone you know can help us in our efforts to assemble these auction items, please contact us:

by phone - 407-427-9692
by email -

Thanks in advance!

Monday, August 23, 2010

George White Crawford (1840-1920)

Mr. Crawford lived on Lake Conway and represented this area in the Florida senate.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Parade Committee meeting scheduled for 8/4

Lydia Pisano, who is chairing PCPD's parade committee, has scheduled a meeting for this Wednesday, August 4th.

It will begin at 1:30 pm at Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue), immediately preceding our general planning session (which starts at 3).

For more information/directions, please email

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Artist interprets historic Pine Castle for a new generation

Orlando, Florida -- Pine Castle Pioneer Days, Inc., recently announced its selection of a painting by local art student Charity Hill to promote its upcoming annual festival.

Hill used vintage photographs and sketches of poet Will Wallace Harney’s historic home on Lake Conway to render a unique composite of the original “Pine Castle.” Her preliminary version depicts Mr. Harney seated on the porch of his landmark 1870s residence, reading to his young son. She is currently completing final touch-up work on the 24” x 30” acrylic painting with gloss varnish.

Hill will publicly unveil the final version of her iconic image at a downtown Orlando fundraiser scheduled for November 4, 2010.

The original “Pine Castle” was destroyed by fire many years ago, though its name has been perpetuated by various churches, businesses, and civic organizations in the neighborhood south of Orlando. And, since the early 1970’s, a festival has celebrated the community spirit inspired by pioneer settlers like Harney.

The next Pioneer Days festival is scheduled for February 26 and 27, 2011, and will be held at 5933 Randolph Avenue, on grounds surrounded by a collection of other historic structures. Hill’s image will be featured on posters, t-shirts, and other items as part of organizers’ marketing efforts.

Charity Hill is a native of Orange City, Iowa, whose family moved to Orlando when she was just three years old. She was first inspired to paint professionally six years ago, when she was asked to help a friend decorate a beach condominium, and is currently pursuing a fine art degree at the University of Nebraska.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Join us 7/15/10 at these Chik-fil-A locations

PCPD welcomes its first corporate partner: Chik-fil-A!

Next Thursday, July 15th, we invite all supporters of Pioneer Days to visit one (or both!) of these Orlando locations between 5 and 8 pm:

2825 South Orange Avenue


7415 South Orange Blossom Trail

Remember to tell your order taker that you want the proceeds from your sale to go towards Pine Castle Pioneer Days!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Calling all Pine Castle AFB vets!

PCPD's publications committee is seeking veterans and spouses of veterans who served at Pine Castle Air Force Base.

They are particularly interested in any photos or other memorabilia for inclusion in our next event program, which will be dedicated to the history of the old base.

They are also interested in contacting any vets/spouses who are willing to be interviewed about their time at PCAFB.

For more information, please email:

Reminder - July general planning session tomorrow

PCPD will be holding its next general session tomorrow (Wed, 7/7/10), at Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue), at 3pm.

The agenda will include the regular officer reports and committee updates, including (but definitely not limited to!) the following:

* Status of 501(c)3 application.
* Fundraising event planning.
* Pre-sales of admission tickets.
* Final approval of arts/crafts vendor packages (to be distributed later this month).
* Establishing a more permanent/complete web presence.
* Informational brochures.
* Posters/notecards/t-shirts.
* Progress report on event program.
* Gazebo restoration budget/schedule.
* Discuss parade route.

For more information/directions, email:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Re-interpreting the old Pine Castle

Local art student Charity Hill is working on her interpretation of the original Pine Castle.

While it is still a work in progress, we welcome the public to view it in person at our next general planning session: Wednesday, July 7th, 3pm, at Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue).

For more information, email

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pine Castle in 1906

A view of Orange Avenue at Wallace (looking north).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Finance Committee schedules regular meeting time

Yesterday, the PCPD finance committee established a regular meeting time of 11am on the last Wednesday of each month at Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue).

So, mark your calendars! That means, the next meeting is just a few weeks away: June 30th.

The agenda will include drafting final proposals to the Board of Directors regarding advance ticket sales and arts/crafts vendor booths.

For more information/directions:
call 407-427-9692

Site Committee Meeting scheduled

PCPD's site committee will meet at 9am this Wednesday (6/16/2010) at the festival grounds on Randolph Avenue.

The primary item on the agenda will be to finalize an arts/crafts booth map to be included in vendor packets.

Ongoing gazebo renovations and general site layout will also be discussed.

For more information/directions:
call 407-427-9692

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Finance Committee Meeting this Friday

The Finance Committee will be meeting this Friday, June 11th, at 11am, in Belle Isle's city hall (1600 Nela Avenue).

The agenda will focus on identifying and defining revenue streams.

For more information or directions:
phone 407-427-9692

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Charles D. Neff

On this anniversary of D-Day, let us pause to remember one of Pine Castle's own who made the ultimate sacrifice during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

July planning session scheduled

Our next general planning session will be held at 3pm on Wednesday, July 7th, at Belle Isle's City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue).

For more information:
or call 407-427-9692

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reminder: monthly planning session tomorrow (6/2)

Remember, tomorrow (Wed, 6/2/10) we will be holding our monthly planning session at Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue). The meeting starts at 3pm. For more information or directions, please call 407-427-9692.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Will Wallace Harney

The man who built the original Pine Castle.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First Entertainment Committee Meeting Scheduled

The first meeting of PCPD's Entertainment Committee has been scheduled for this Wednesday, May 12th, at 7pm.

It will begin exploring available talent in the areas of music, story-telling, and children's activities.

As this meeting is being held in a private residence, please email for address and directions.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mark your calendars!

Good meeting last night, everyone!

The next Board of Directors meeting is set for Wednesday, June 2nd, 3pm, Belle Isle City Hall.

As always, the public is welcome (indeed, encouraged!) to join us.

New Committee Chairs Announced

At last night's Board of Directors meeting, eight wonderful people stepped forward to chair the following committees:

Entertainment - Shirley Cannon

Finance - Griff Ariko

History - Ben Bateman

Parade - Lydia Pisano

Publications - Sharon Wilson

Security - John Tegg

Site - Mark Sajeski

Volunteers - Be Bateman

Anyone interested in serving on one (or more!) of these committees should send an email to

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Macy Wagon Works

George E. Macy's business in downtown Orlando was the largest factory in Florida in the late 1800s.

It produced wagons and buggies that were uniquely engineered to traverse the sandy roadways of the pioneer era.

Mr. Macy was a primary donor to the Pine Castle Union Church building fund in 1900.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Follow us on Facebook!

In an effort to get the word out about the revival of Pine Castle Pioneer Days, we have established a new group on Facebook.

So, if you utilize that site for social networking, consider joining us in posting notes, articles, and photos about the festival and our community's history!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Now accepting "snail mail"

If email or blog posts don't suit you, please drop us a line by-old fashioned U.S. mail addressed to our new post office box:

Pine Castle Pioneer Days
P.O. Box 593175
Orlando, FL 32859-3175

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A call for volunteers

Between now and our next board meeting (5/5), I'd like to issue a call to everyone interested in reviving Pine Castle Pioneer Days to consider volunteering to chair or serve on one of these important committees:

FINANCE - To oversee the budget, donor/vendor relations, and advertising revenue.

HISTORY - To oversee history displays and re-enactors.

PARADE - To oversee route and participant coordination.

PUBLICATIONS - To oversee media relations, event program, and web presence.

SECURITY - To oversee safety during both during the parade and at event site.

SITE - To oversee grounds and amenities, including restoration of the iconic gazebo.

Please email any interest to or post a reply here!

Thanks in advance!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rising to the occasion is a Pine Castle tradition

An oldtimer once told me that Pine Castle is more of a state of mind than an actual place.
I suppose that's because it's so hard to define in terms of physical or geographic boundaries.

The original Pine Castle was a private residence, erected by a fellow named Will Harney who came to this little corner of heaven from Kentucky in the years immediately following the Civil War.

Harney was a poet by nature and training, and composed many tributes to the idyllic virtues of the Central Florida frontier. In truth, though, he endured all of the many hardships that our pioneer settlers encountered in those days. Even worse, he lost his young wife very soon after staking claim to land on Lake Conway south of Orlando. Deeply saddened, but undeterred, this single father tamed his homestead lands and erected a castle using the native pine trees. Dubbing the structure his "Pine Castle," he used it in the by-lines of the various articles he wrote as a correspondent for northern newspapers interested in the area.

Within a matter of just a few years, the name of "Pine Castle" wasn't just being applied to Mr. Harney's home, but to the entire neighborhood. (It was, after all, the most striking landmark between Orlando and Kissimmee!) Basically, that encompassed the modern cities of Edgewood and Belle Isle, and all the pockets of unincorporated Orange County that surround the Conway chain of lakes.

The people who settled the area around the original Pine Castle were a neighborly lot. They came together to work for the common good. Republican and Democrat. Baptist and Methodist. Yankee and Cracker. It didn't matter. The classic example of this community spirit was the old Union Church, erected in 1900. Just about EVERYBODY in Pine Castle had a hand in its construction, and it was used by all congregations.

Many years later, in 1974 to be exact, an annual festival sprang-up in Pine Castle to celebrate that pioneer spirit.

Sadly, the event had to be cancelled last year, and looked like it was going to be cancelled again this year due to financial difficulties of the former sponsor.

But, I am pleased to report that Pine Castle's pioneer spirit is still alive and well. An organizational meeting was held recently, and it was agreed to incorporate Pine Castle Pioneer Days as a non-profit organization. And, a date was even set (the last weekend in February, instead of the traditional October timeframe).

That means we've got less than a year until Pioneer Days comes back to Pine Castle. (Feburary 26 & 27th, to be exact!) So, once again, the folks in this little corner of heaven are faced with a challenge.

If history is any guide, the people of Pine Castle will rise to the occasion!

Pine Castle Pioneer Days Revived!!!

How exciting to know Pine Castle Pioneer Days will be held next February after not having one for a couple of years. This is a great opportunity to the community to come together and make this annual event the hallmark event of the Pine Castle community. The City of Belle Isle is pleased to support this unifying event. We look forward to focusing on the living history and heritage of the area through educational hisitoric demonstrations, displays, and special activities.

All volunteers are welcomed and encouraged to join the committee to participate in the planning and operations of the event. Please contact with your information so you can be included in the planning of this event.


Mark your calendars!

At our recent organizational meeting, the new board of Pine Castle Pioneer Days set the dates for the next festival: February 26 & 27, 2011.

Between now and that date, we will be holding regular meetings at the Belle Isle City Hall (1600 Nela Avenue) every first Wednesday of the month at 3pm.

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 5, 2010.