Facts about Florida

The Orange StateEverybody loves “wacky facts” stories online, so on this page MarkMLucas.com presents some interesting minutiae-unto-trivia about Florida, the Sunshine State. And we’ll do so in classic bullet-point style, too!

• Florida has long been known as the Sunshine State but might more accurately be nicknamed “The Orange State”: An incredible 40% of the world’s orange juice originates in Florida.

• Anybody feel like a drink? Key West claims more bars per capita than any U.S. city. Given the above statistic vis-à-vis orange juice, a logical conclusion would be that Key West is the screwdriver cocktail capital of the world, and some bar in town surely must serve the world’s most popular screwdriver. Whenever some enterprising bar owner gets to crunching the numbers thusly, have him/her give me a call and we discuss a free drinks deal…

• Rather on the ignominious side of the extremes list is Florida’s standing as no. 1 in toll roads. Florida leads the nation in toll roads – by far. At a whopping 25 roads with tolls, Florida doubles California’s 11 and then some.

• Also a bit on the negative side – though still far less likely to experience than a toll road – is the propensity for lightning strikes to touch down in Clearwater. This burg leads the United States in number of lightning strikes per capita. Florida leads all U.S. states in lightning-related fatalities. Odds are still far against actually being struck by the 1 million volt blast, though one can easily avoid such a fate by, likesay, not being a complete freakin’ idiot. The last fatality due to lightning strike in Clearwater came in August 2017 when a senior citizen was nailed with a bolt out of the blue while – you guessed it – on a fucking golf course.

• In the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election, Florida … uh, yeah. Let’s not discuss that.

• Like all states, Florida has those weird laws that somehow work their way into the books with their legal/legislatives origins forgotten. To wit: In Florida, it is illegal to sing in public while wearing swimming gear. (Wait a minute, wasn’t that the schtick of the Miami Sound Machine?) Even more bizarre and incredibly specific is It is illegal for an unmarried woman to parachute on Sundays; one local TV report on such weird laws blamed the parachuting law on the “religious revivals of the 1800s”, but that’s very unimaginable as skydiving couldn’t have been invented until the 1920s at soonest.

• Not religious revivalism or temperance can explain Florida’s elephant parking law, however. According to a statute still on the books, it is perfectly legal to leave your elephant in a public parking space, but the parking meter for the space must be paid as per usual.

• More serious, though just as odd-seeming on first glance, is a state law which requires any building used for public purposes to include outward opening doors. Why is this? Quite logically, the law may be chalked up to protection from the ultra-strong winds of Florida’s hurricane season.

• The ATM, Gatorade and suntan lotion were all invented in Florida.

• Just as Jacksonville is America’s largest city geographically speaking, Walt Disney World Resort is certainly its largest public attraction: At 38,000 acres, it’s larger in square area than San Francisco.

• The sand of Siesta Key Beach is said to be 99% pure quartz crystal.

• And every state has its own annual traditions. From the Perdido Key outside of Pensacola every April, residents of both Florida and Alabama compete in the Flora-Bama Interstate Mullet Throwing Contest. The event has grown in size since the first informal shindig of 1985 and should certainly be on the bucket list of any fan of the bizarre.

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