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You know how when you’ve lived in a place for a long time you start to figure you know everything about it?

I may have thought that about Venice, but as I discovered while working on this issue, boy, was I wrong.

In the first place, my eyes were opened while researching our history feature, timed to appear as Venice is marking 90 years since the city was incorporated in 1927. I knew the general outlines, of course—the names of a few early settlers and developers, the impact of famous names like the wealthy Bertha Palmer and city planner John Nolen, the fun and vitality of the decades when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made the now-demolished Venice arena its winter quarters.

But in poring over old photos, many supplied by the Venice Museum & Archives, I also got a sense for how “average” people made their lives and homes in this corner of Southwest Florida over the decades, from homesteading pioneers to 1920s flappers and their beaux to post World War II families happily moving into brand-new communities built to welcome them to our balmy climate from more frigid or crowded cities up North. (That’s a story that keeps repeating itself, isn’t it?) While not yet complete, plans are afoot at City Hall for events to celebrate our 90th anniversary, so stay tuned.

I also learned some things I didn’t know while reading Su Byron’s story on outdoor adventures in the area. Sure, I’ve hunted sharks’ teeth and done a little bird-watching, but now I’ve gained insight into unique nature excursions and the experts who can help me enjoy our abundant plant and wildlife much more. To that end, I’m planning a ride on the “wild and scenic” Myakka River (followed by lunch at Snook Haven, of course) in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see how many gators I spot—or how many gator bites I can eat.

Here’s hoping you learn some intriguing new things as you enjoy this issue, too.

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