Northwest Florida Heritage Museum hosts Saturday in the park
VALPARAISO – There is a lot of history running through the middle part of Okaloosa County.
This would be true even if the infamous Mafioso Al Capone never spent the summer at the Valparaiso Inn, although this is an oft-told story that, over the years, has proven to be easier to perpetuate than it is. validate.
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The Northwest Florida Heritage Museum is the historical repository not only of his hometown of Valparaiso, but also of an area that stretches north to the outskirts of Crestview and south to Shalimar. . The building is crammed to the rafters with relics left by prehistoric cultures and early Florida settlers, and items salvaged from local collectors or donated by prominent residents.
The museum will open its doors on Saturday for free to all arrivals as it celebrates the 45th annual Saturday in the park. This year the festival takes place on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Valparaiso.
The day will begin with a 5 km race, after which the competitors will be feted with real life, the mullet cooked by Boggy Boy in a nod to the now defunct Niceville Mullet Festival, said the chair of the museum’s board of directors. Heritage, Barb Palmgren.
The 5k starts at 8 a.m., with a children’s run scheduled to start around 9 a.m.
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Outside of the museum proper, arranged at properly socially distant intervals, will be craft vendors, food vendors, and bakery vendors, according to Marie Hallion, the museum’s education chair.
Much like the museum itself, which dedicates exhibition space to educating young people and offers hands-on learning in several areas, Saturday at the Park will be aimed at young people, Palmgren said. She said that a “child safe zone” will be set aside and young people will be treated in time in the museum’s “discovery room”.
Members of Shalimar Elementary School’s state champion archery team are expected to show off their skills at an afternoon event.
All proceeds raised will be used to maintain the museum and strengthen its community outreach, Hallion said.
Along with history, the Heritage Museum celebrates the industries that brought people to the area. The displays are devoted to discussions on turpentine and fishing, railroad and education, sawmill and agriculture. The contributions of the military and Eglin Air Base to the region are also recognized.
There are several theories as to what, 100 years ago this year, triggered enough growth to allow for the establishment of the city of Valparaiso, according to Anderson Hanna, director of the heritage museum.
About 20 miles north, Crestview had become the county seat. Men like Augustus Tart, a former slave, had made a name for themselves and would leave part of his fortune to the eminent Brooks family. Another rich historical figure at the time was Judge William Mapoles.
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James Plew, the real estate mogul who donated 1,460 acres in 1935 to help establish the Valparaiso Shooting and Bombardment Range, which would one day become Eglin Air Base, could be responsible for the establishing the pipeline between Valparaiso and Chicago which, perhaps, was perhaps how Al Capone came to visit the area, Hanna said.
Plew, Hanna said, has worked to attract the wealthiest in the Midwest to the Valparaiso area, where they have built large vacation homes.
Historical documents are kept at the Heritage Museum, as well as a whole room of donated artifacts. Some of them will be sold on Saturdays in the park, said Juli Boretsky, the museum’s collections coordinator.
Call 850-678-2615 or visit Heritage-Museum.org for more information on the event.