The Specktator

Words by Kerry Speckman

Shout out to River City Pride and anyone and everyone who make Pride Month such a beautiful success. A personal highlight was seeing Mayor Donna Deegan serve as grand marshal of the Pride parade. It should be a requirement for all future mayors.

If you thought you were in a Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce-free zone, you are mistaken as this Traylor Swelce tale involves little ol’ Jacksonville. Turns out Travis was shopping at a Kansas City boutique called Fetch looking for a vintage Kansas City Chiefs jacket for Tay-Tay and spied a prayer candle with her likeness … which just so happened to come from uber-popular boutique BobbyK based in Jax. Bobby Kelley, the owner of BobbyK and the candle’s creator (not to mention “Folio”’s Best Local Character in 2022), even got a mention himself (sort of) in The Cut by “New York Magazine.” When one of the Fetch employees was asked about the candles, she told the reporter they were “custom-made by a guy in Jacksonville.” In a related story, Florida Theatre is hosting a Taylor Swift Laser Party Nov. 26.

And speaking of locals getting national attention, did anyone notice Omarosa Manigault Newman (newsflash: she lives in Jacksonville) on the new reality show “House of Villains” on E! recently? No spoilers here, but I will say she made one contestant cry within five minutes of her arrival. Hey, she’s just living up to her title of “the absolute most iconic queen of reality television villainy,” according to castmate Johnny Bananas (of MTV’s “The Real World” and “The Challenge”). On a personal note, Omarosa challenged me to a game of corn hole at the mayor’s Inauguration Celebration at the Hyatt telling me she’d never played before … then proceeded to swish her first two throws. Be warned.

Dear Gate Station: You may know a lot about gasoline, coffee, lottery tickets and Takis, You may, however, want to brush up on your Jacksonville history since your massive brick “Welcome to Brooklyn” sign is actually in Riverside. Sincerely, Kerry

Quite possibly my favorite local event of the year is PorchFest, which takes place Nov. 4. If you aren’t familiar, please allow me to enlighten you. The free, family-friendly and pet-friendly music festival is held on the front porches of homes in historic Springfield with more than 20 performers on the schedule. Festival goers can wander from home to home (yes, there’s a map) while also taking in vendor tents, food trucks, adult beverages and running into people they haven’t seen since 2020. If that doesn’t inspire you, check out this playlist curated by PorchFest organizers of artists who will be performing. And if you see a tall chick with pink hair who happens to be me, say hi!

About Kerry Speckman