Before the annual presentation of “Mosquitos, Alligators, and Determination” begins, Lady Gail Ryan engages audience members, finding out where they are from and leading them in a high spirited “sing along” of Florida songs including “Where the Orange Blossoms Grow” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Down the Shell Road.”
Hank Mattson is known as the “Cracker Cowboy Poet” who “tells it like it was.”
A native of Lake Placid in Highlands County, Mattson recites his poetry and discusses Florida’s pioneer culture at libraries, schools, and festivals throughout the state.
“When This Old Hat Was New” is a poem Mattson wrote about Jacob Summerlin’s life as a Florida cowman in the 1800s. Appalachian folk musicians Dana and Susan Robinson set the poem to music, and it earned the 2015 Will McLean Best New Florida Song Contest, selected first out of 42 entries.
Florida Crackers are cattle ranchers with techniques specific to the Florida pine and scrub lands. By cracking a whip they herd cattle while seated on "Cracker horses," sturdy equines bread for cattle work. Learn more about a unique lifeway that has endured from early Spanish settlers to the present day. It's all here at the museum!
Some unfortunate people suffer from the misconception that Florida history is boring.
Other uninformed people don’t think that Florida has much significant history at all.
None of these people has ever attended a Brevard Theatrical Ensemble presentation of “Mosquitos, Alligators, and Determination,” now in its all-new seventh edition. If they had, they would know that Florida history is exciting, entertaining, diverse, and important.
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