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Eatonville Celebrating 130 Years

Eatonville is one of 1400 incorporated African-American towns in the country. Photo: Renata Sago.
Eatonville is one of 1,400 incorporated African-American towns in the country. Photo: Renata Sago.

The town of Eatonville is celebrating 130 years at an event this weekend. We look at what’s in store for the town known as one of the first self-governing black municipalities in the U.S.

Eatonville –the Rebirth, that’s the theme for Eatonville’s birthday celebration. The mayor envisions a rebirth and growth surrounding four pillars: arts and culture, job training, business development and technology. The mayor envisions a black tech district for entrepreneurs. Valencia College will soon start a five-week program to teach people construction and get them certified.

Mayor Eddie Cole said he thinks to some Eatonville is a big kept secret.

“When you look at all the marketing in the central Florida area, sometimes you hear the Magic, you hear Disney, you hear those things and Eatonville kind of is on the back burner, so we’re saying now, we’re going to step up to the plate and we’re going to start telling people a little more about the history; it all started here in Eatonville, Florida in 1887,” said Cole.

The town branding will manifest itself as a year-long celebration of the city’s 130th with community events every month over the next year. The festivities kick off in downtown Eatonville this Saturday and Sunday at the field next to Eatonville Branch Library with food trucks, step teams, crafts and a culture market.

On Saturday a new iconic sculpture will be unveiled in front of town hall. The secret sculpture is currently wrapped and under security.