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Is it Oak-lawaha or Ock-lawaha?

Is it Oak-lawaha or Ock-lawaha?

The Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway wants the people to decide.

“It’s a you-say-potato, I-say-potatto kind of thing,” said Katie Breckheimer, organizer of the challenge. “Our Friends group has partnered with the Oklawaha Brewing Co. for the entire month of March, so you have four weeks to vote. Through the generosity of owner-brewer Joe Dinan, the brewery is giving us a portion of their draft pint sales.”

To vote, patrons may put coins in one of two jars at the bar during March. The winning pronunciation will be announced, appropriately, on April Fool’s Day.

“The Oklawaha Brewery shares a name with the Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway,” Dinan said. “People ask us all the time, ‘How do you say it?’ We’ve always told them it’s a Native American word meaning slow moving muddy water, but how to say it has two different camps. The Oklawaha waterway, otherwise known as Mud Creek, is Henderson County’s main tributary to the French Broad River. We applaud the Friends of the Oklawaha Greenway for advocating for a bigger and better trail alongside it. The Oklawaha Greenway is a great little 3½-mile paved trail right down the street from the brewery.” 

Longtime WHKP radio host Frank FitzSimons popularized the name of the creek — using the long O. His program, From the Banks of the Oklawaha, recounted stories from the area. As for the name, he said he just liked the way it sounded! FitzSimons published 3 books by the same name, From the Banks of the Oklawaha, which can be found in the downtown library.

“Voting by placing coins in jars probably won’t solve the long-running debate over how to say our name, but it’s a fun conversation to have over a beer,” said Suzanne Hale, chair of the Friends of the Greenway. “The money collected from the voting will help our new birding trail and native plant garden.”

Other events greenway advocates have planned include a kick-off event on March 3 and an Everything Greenway Day on March 17 at Oklawaha Brewing and a cleanup event on March 25. To find out more visit OR