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  • Writer's pictureGotta Go Orlando

The City of Kissimmee is celebrating its 140th Birthday with a huge Kowtown Festival Birthday Bash

This year the City of Kissimmee is celebrating its 140th birthday, and everyone is invited to help celebrate the special milestone with a birthday bash that's big enough for a whole City!

Celebrate the City’s birthday at the 2023 Kowtown Festival at Kissimmee Lakefront Park on Saturday, March 18, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

City of Kissimmee Kowtown Festival

There will be plenty of vendors, food trucks, and live music. Bring your family and enjoy the Kids Zone as well as fun games and activities.

City of Kissimmee Kowtown Festival

The City of Kissimmee was originally a small trading post on the northern bank of Lake Tohopekaliga known as the community of Allendale.

After the Civil War, this area was included in a purchase of four million acres of marshland and plains by Hamilton Disston, the owner of Disston Saw Company in Philadelphia. The sale price for the land totaled $1 million at 25 cents an acre! The infusion of $1 million to the state of Florida reportedly rescued the State from financial disaster. In January 1881, Disston contracted to drain the area and deepen the Kissimmee River, so products could be shipped into the Gulf of Mexico and points beyond. Many steamboat captains navigated the chain of lakes leading from Kissimmee to the Gulf with cargoes of cypress lumber and sugar cane.

The City of Kissimmee

By 1920 the population of Kissimmee increased to more than 2,700 people as a result of the Florida land boom. In the 1930s the cattle industry began to flourish in the area. However, citrus and other crops remained as the predominant industry.

The construction of the Kissimmee Airport in the 1940s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in preparation for the U.S. involvement in World War II caused Kissimmee's population to increase by 38% to 3,700 residents. City leaders wanting to continue Kissimmee's prosperous history, encouraged growth by attracting retirees to the area during the 1950s. This effort stimulated growth nearly 60%.

The City of Kissimmee

The next period of growth came in the 1970s with the development of Walt Disney World and other tourist attractions.

Since Walt Disney World's debut in 1971, the City's population doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 in 1980. The population doubled again in the 1980s to 30,000.

The City of Kissimmee


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