It’s Springtime In Natural North Florida–Plan Some Festival Fun!

By the time mid-February rolls around, folks in our Natural North Florida region are really tired of all those “cold” 50-degree nights and 70-degree days.  Yes, we’re spoiled!

In February we’ll have a few quick, wet and windy, cold fronts move through the area and we’ll have to bundle up with a sweater and maybe even long pants.  But those cold snaps don’t last long.

Even if it’s cold for a day or so, there are plenty of things to do, especially to attend and participate in one or several of our local festivals. We have many, and all have different emphases–art, food and music are the most popular.  We even have one dedicated to the lowly fiddler crab and another to the earthworm!

Steinhatchee is a small fishing village in southern Taylor County, 30 miles from Perry and about 60 miles from the region’s largest city, Gainesville.   There, every “Valentines” weekend (April 17 & 18 in 2017), locals hold the annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival.  It includes fun events, including a parade, food and drink, a chili cook-off, a fishing tournament, music–and of course, fiddler crab races.

While the Fiddler Crab Festival is on of the earliest springtime festivals in our region, there are several others to note.

April 6-8, 2017
Florida State Bluegrass Festival & Chili Cook-Off

The Florida State Bluegrass Festival started in Taylor County in 2000 and has thrived ever since. This very popular three day event promises a toe-tapping good time. With some of the best bluegrass performers in the country entertaining the audience each year, this event offers free bluegrass music workshops (with ticket purchase) for adults and children as well as great food, arts and crafts and a Chili Cook-off. In addition to three days packed with amazing performers, this event is also home to the Florida State Bluegrass Music Championship Finals Competition. Finalist performers travel here from all over Florida to compete for the state title. See some of the best of the best during this weekend. Camping available and tickets are only $15.00 per person. For more information on making camping reservations or purchasing tickets go to www.floridastatebluegrass.com or call 850-584-5366.
Jun 3rd, 2017
CHIEFLAND WATERMELON FESTIVAL

Come out and celebrate our watermelon harvest at Chiefland`s Annual Watermelon Festival! There will be a parade and pageant, free samples of the area`s fresh delicious chilled watermelon and a variety of fresh local food, arts and crafts and other vendors.
June 3rd, 2017

TOUR DE MELON

Starting at Strickland Park, Chiefland

In conjunction with the Chiefland Watermelon Festival, the annual Tour de Melon, a cycling event for everyone from the seasoned cyclist to families and young children, leads visitors on trail rides through the Nature Coast from 18 to 100 miles long! A leisurely ride is a delightful introduction to the hidden gems and beautiful scenery as much as it is a cycling opportunity. After the ride, participants can refresh themselves with watermelon and a stroll through the festival.

Monticello Bike Fest

April 1, 2017

The date has been set for the Third Annual Monticello BikeFest. Get your chain greased and your bikes tuned up for the event. Train, train, train to get your fastest time or be prepared to stroll through the prettiest county in Florida. Click here for registration and other information. Want another reason to pedal the BikeFest? Upon registration, BikeFest participants will receive a $5 voucher for any restaurant or retail store in Monticello . Mark your calendars!

And not to disappoint anyone, don’t forget about the annual Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival that’s followed by festivals in Wakulla County celebrating all things wild!

 

Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival

Date:  2nd Saturday in April 

Location:  Downtown Sopchoppy
Time:  7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Image result for worm gruntin photos

The Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival has easily become one of Wakulla County’s most popular and largest events each year. The celebration draws thousands from Wakulla County and the surrounding areas who come to see the famed Sopchoppy worms rise from the ground and crown a new Worm Gruntin’ King. This all-day celebration begins bright and early with a 5K race, then features a “Worm Gruntin’ ” demonstration and competition in the afternoon, and ends with live music late into the night. The event attracts nearly 100 food, arts and crafts vendors every year, and the evening culminates with the Annual Worm Grunters’ Ball, featuring a slew of live performances from local artists.

Wild About Wakulla Week
Week between Worm Gruntin Festival and the Wakulla Wildlife Festival
Location:  Different activities and events in Crawfordville, Sopchoppy, St. Marks and Panacea to celebrate all that is “Wild About Wakulla”
Times:  Vary depending upon activity

Wakulla Wildlife Festival
Date: 3rd weekend of April, spans Friday and Saturday

Location:  Wakulla Springs State Park


This two-day festival is truly a wildlife lovers dream that features a bevy of exotic creatures for visitors to see up close — all set to the backdrop of picturesque Wakulla Springs State Park. The Wakulla Wildlife Festival is a celebration of outdoor activities and area heritage as local musicians, artists, and experts offer festival participants one-of-a-kind experiences. Activities include artwork displayed on the terrace, living history demonstrations, live music both on the green and inside the lodge, food vendors and wildlife-related kids activities.