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Thursday, September 9, 2021

New tour will highlight history of Lake County’s citrus industry

The Lake County Historical Society has announced the formation of the Lake County Citrus Label Tour – an informative driving trail steeped in the history of the Lake County citrus industry which was the economic engine and dominant force in Lake County for more than 125 years. Through 24 signs of antique citrus label reproductions placed throughout the county one can enter the web site noted below to learn the history of each label and explore the citrus industry. Dedications featuring citrus families/organizations, local dignitaries and elected officials begin on  Aug. 23 with the first installations at Umatilla and Eustis and run through Aug. 26, where they will end at Mascotte, Groveland and Clermont. Tuesday and Wednesday’s dedications will take place in Mount Dora, Tavares, Leesburg and Howey in the Hills. (For times and schedule, please see the list below.)

Inspired by the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame’s Citrus Label Tours in Polk, Manatee and Indian River counties, John Jackson, member of the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame, encouraged the Lake County Historical Society to join forces with the Citrus Hall of Fame and local historical societies across the county to bring the concept to life. Using large 4’x4’ reproductions of the labels which once adorned the old wooden crates of citrus that were shipped to northern markets, Jackson brought together sponsors (citrus families/organizations) with local citrus labels and their history to develop the Lake County Citrus Label Tour, a driving trail featuring the history of these labels and the buildings or areas where they are displayed.

At one time there were more than 50 fresh fruit packing facilities in the county. The Citrus Label Tour gives visitors and locals alike the opportunity to experience citrus history as they travel through small towns, enjoy rural drives, and get a true feel for this magnificent area that was once dominated by citrus groves, juice plants, packinghouses and all the support industries affiliated with the citrus industry.

Labels were prolific as advertising for fruit shipped to markets in the wooden crates that were common at the time. The crate label lasted until shortly after World War II, when shortages of wood and metal brought about the invention of cardboard boxes with pre-printed brand names. However, the sixty-year span during which the labels were used carries a colorful history of the early advertising and marketing of the delicious products for which they stood.

For more information, visit the Lake County Citrus Label Tour website at www.HistoryofLakeCountyCitrus.com or contact John Jackson at (352) 267-3227 or [email protected] Visit www.FloridaCitrusHallofFame.com for more citrus label tours.

Dedication Schedule:

August 23: Umatilla Museum at 10 a.m.; Umatilla Cadwell Park at 11 AM; Eustis Museum at 2 p.m.; Eustis Ferran Park at 3 p.m.

August 24: Mount Dora Simpson Cove at 10 a.m.; Tavares Museum at 1:30 p.m.; Tavares Old Courthouse at 2:30 p.m.

August 25 Leesburg Town Square at 10 a.m.; Howey in the Hills Griffin Park at 1 p.m.

August 26: Mascotte Civic Center at 10 a.m.; Groveland Museum at 11 a.m.; Clermont Historic Village at 2 p.m.

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