Don’t miss this event….The Greatest Show in Gainesville, with lots of free family fun. Headliners include the famous high-wire artists, the Flying Wallendas, and Avner The Eccentric (from the movie, Jewel of the Nile).
Sunday, March 29, 2015 at the Historic Thomas Center, 12–6pm. FREE ADMISSION!
This is the 3rd season of Jest Fest, the City of Gainesville’s newest signature event. For the past two years, Jest Fest occurred each Saturday night in April at 6:00 pm for a 2 hour show at The Bo Diddley Community Plaza stage in downtown Gainesville. Each Saturday featured completely different world renowned comedy, variety and circus entertainers.
This year the Plaza Theater is being renovated and Jest Fest is moving to our City’s cultural center at The Historic Thomas Center and Gardens. With the move, they organizers have created 5 stage locations both indoors and out and are combining all of the wonderful entertainers into one fun-filled festival day.
For complete information, click HERE
Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park near Gainesville, is a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest. Small streams trickle down the steep slopes of the limestone sinkhole, disappearing through crevices in the ground. Lush vegetation thrives in the shade of the walls even in dry summers. A significant geological formation, Devil’s Millhopper is a National Natural Landmark that has been visited by the curious since the early 1880s. Researchers have learned a great deal about Florida’s natural history by studying fossil shark teeth, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink. Visitors can enjoy picnicking and learn more about this sinkhole through interpretive displays.
Founded in 1822, Micanopy, FL is the oldest inland settlement in the state. And it’s still an interesting place to spend a day, just walking and shopping in the many antique and collectable shops found there. Located about 15 miles south of Gainesville, Micanopy is located between two prominent prehistoric lake beds, Paynes Prairie and Tuscawilla Prairie. In fact, at one time, when Paynes Prairie was full of water, there was regular steamboat service there.
Now, Micanopy’s main street is lined with interesting shops, a few beautiful homes, and some of the largest and most spectacular specimens of live oak trees to be found anywhere.
This past week (the first week of March 2015), Gulf of Mexico water temperatures finally crossed over the 70-degree mark. And the BITE IS ON! All the ports in our regiion (Yankeetown, Waccasassa, Cedar Key, Suwannee, Horseshoe Beach, Steinhatchee, Keaton Beach, Econfina, Aucilla, St. Marks and Panacea) report great catches of spotted seatrout and redfish, our favorite inshore species. And anglers able to beat the winds have done well on those striped marauders, sheepshead.
Tactics for early spring fishing on our coast are simple. Get as shallow as you can…and match the hatch. Looks for schools of jumping mullet (smaller mullet, the better) and toss lures that look like mullet. Folks have good success using MirrOlure Paul Brown Originals, as well as D.O.A. Baitbusters. And remember, it’s important not to get too close to your prey. Be prepared to make long, accurate casts with light spinning gear. Our waters are surprisingly clear this time of year, and wary fish can see, or hear, or feel you coming! So…no loud noises, including slamming hatches or high-fives needed!
Sheepshead are just now beginning to appear on rock piles and artificial reefs offshore of the Big Bend. These notorious bait-stealers are fun to catch and good to eat, but they can be picky. Hopefully you can find some fiddler crabs to use for bait (The Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee usually has a few). If not, use live shrimp and hope the sheepshead are in the mood to eat them.
Spring comes early to the banks of the Suwannee River, a crescendo of colors as wildflowers strut their stuff in the floodplains and on the river banks. We’ve had a wet winter, and it’s been unseasonable warm this month, so it’s no surprise that the show is better than ever.
Log Landing is one of those places that isn’t on most people’s radar. It’s a conservation area managed by the Suwannee River Water Management District, spanning both sides of the river south of Bell. Since it protects the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining along the Suwannee River – more than 1,110 acres – it’s no wonder that Log Landing is a land of botanical beauty.
We hadn’t even gotten to the trailhead yet when this stunning display of atamasco lilies – also known as rain lilies, or Zephyranthes atamasca – caught our eye. Time to stop the car and take a wander along Log Landing Road to enjoy this herald of spring. The atamasco lily is usually the first showy wildflower to bloom in South Florida, and it’s always seen around the Suwannee River. But never before have we seen such spectacular numbers of them.
Driving very slowly down the road through the surrounding swamps, we saw a few young alligators soaking up the sun. Once the needles fill in on the cypress trees, they’ll have to look elsewhere for warmth.
Log Landing Road ends at a trailhead parking area, but there are no designated trails. A well-beaten footpath slips beneath ancient oaks to lead to the Suwannee River. As the river was well over its banks during our visit, a flowing side channel prevented us from getting to the riverbank, where anglers can drop a line.
Walking the unmarked forest road south, I was surrounded in a blanket of spring green, new growth sprouting from the young trees in the understory. Towering above were true giants of trees: ancient oaks, tupelo, and hickory. Lilies sprouted at their feet.
Log Landing hugs the west bank of the river in Dixie County, just downstream from Gornto Springs, a county park with a campground along the Suwannee River and a swimming hole when the water’s clear. Hunters know about Log Landing since it’s also a wildlife management area, open to hunting during posted hunting seasons.
To find Log Landing – and enjoy the lilies while they last – follow CR 349 north from Old Town (or south from Branford) to Log Landing Road. It’s well-marked when you approach from the north, not so much from the south. Log Landing Road takes a few 90-degree bends along its route and eventually becomes a dirt road, but it leads you to the lilies, and the trailhead. There are no facilities.
Yes, we all know that Trenton is in “sorta landlocked” Gilchrist County, but it’s OK that the Rotary Club heads each year to the town of Suwannee, in Dixie County, to hold it’s annual fishing tournament. That’s no more unusual than Gainesville having an “offshore fishing” club and holding tournaments out of Steinhatchee and Suwannee. After all, rivers like the mighty Suwannee and the Santa Fe stretch inland to these landlocked counties, so all is “legit”!
You can go online to the Tournament Website to download rules and to find registration forms. This tournament should be lots of fun, with good prizes, and your particiaption helps Gilchrist League Youth Sports .
Perry’s The Music Captial of the South, so don’t miss this event if you’re at all interested in hearing some great music–and if you’re interested in some great chili. The three-day event is the highlight of Perry’s springtime activities, and you can expect non-stop food and fun! To purchase tickets, call (850) 584-5366 or go online to the Festival’s website
Located in Cross Creek, just a short drive from Gainesville (and historic Micanopy), the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park is a look back into the time when the famous author penned classics like her Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Yearling. The Rawlings home at Cross Creek has been restored and is of interest to folks who appreciate not only Rawlings’ writing, but her lifestyle. After all, she was a pioneer of sorts, living in Cross Creek community.
From the Florida Park Service website:
“Visitors to this old Florida homestead can walk back in time to 1930s farm life where Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings lived and worked in the tiny community of Cross Creek. Her cracker style home and farm, where she wrote her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Yearling and other wonderful works of fiction, has been restored and is preserved as it was when she lived here. The park is open every day and visitors may tour the house with a ranger in period costume from October through July on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Picnic facilities and a playground are located in the adjacent county park.”
Guaranteed to be a fun time for the whole family, the Levy County Fair will have livestock exhibits, rides, games, pig races, music–and a beauty contest! Located at the fairgrounds in Williston, it’s an easy trip from Gainesville and other Natural North Florida locations.
The Levy County Fairgrounds is located at SW 19th Avenue in Williston. For more information, call (352) 528-2516
From The Fishing Wire:
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