Town of Shalimar Mayor Mark Franks

From gambling to military housing, the Town of Shalimar to celebrate 75th Birthday this weekend

Town of Shalimar Mayor Mark Franks

The Town of Shalimar (consisting of 830 people) will host their FREE 75th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 21st from 2pm-5 pm at Combs Park. 

Guests can enjoy beverages, a popcorn machine, hamburgers and hotdogs (while supplies last), a face painting booth, bouncy house, and treasure hunt, along with the Choctaw Jazz Band perform from 3–3:30 pm. 

  • Additionally, they will have historical exhibits and guest speakers. 

“We’re trying to make it a laid back, enjoyable day,” said Mayor Mark Franks. “Bring a lawn chair and just enjoy each other’s company.”

Franks, who grew up in the area, says that he’s always loved the quaintness of Shalimar along with the rich history of the town.

“The more I learn about the town, the more interesting it is,” he added. “This town was incorporated so that residents could gamble on the Lord’s day. That’s an actual fact. They wanted to gamble past midnight on Saturday and into Sunday morning, and that’s why they incorporated.”

Not being able to gamble would negatively impact the gambling operations at the casino of the Shalimar Club. With just 3 landholders in Shalimar at the time, it was easy to get done. 

  • “That all fell apart anyway and there’s a story to that, but it’s just an exciting time for a town,”

Additionally, there is the early-1900s gravesite of Augustus “Gus” Tart near the Shalimar Library. Tart, a former slave, was said to have been one of the first African American land owners in the area.

The Mayor says they will have a bunch of historical documents on display during the event for residents to learn more on the fascinating history. 

Guest speakers for the event include:

  • Tom Rice
  • Sheriff Eric Aden
  • Gareth Stearns (history)
  • Dr. Lamar White (School Board Member)
  • Rep. Patt Maney

“Let’s come together and celebrate the Town of Shalimar’s 75th Anniversary,” added Franks. “Mark your calendar and join us on Saturday, May 21st – gathering from 2:00 pm– 5 pm.”

Let’s talk parking: If you can’t find parking at City Hall, you can park at the Post Office across Eglin Parkway. The town will have golf carts shuttling people.

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