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7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13-15, 2015

fiddler festival logo 2 300x260 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

fiddlerfest 5 200x300 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015
7th Annual Fiddler Crab Festival®
February 13-15, 2015

Unlike colder parts of the U.S., Natural North Florida stays relatively warm in February.  And even if it’s cool, we’re likely to have blue skies for the 7th Annual Fiddler Crab Festival, held at the Community Center in Steinhatchee.

All your favorites are scheduled including:

The Crab Jam (Friday 6pm – 11pm, Saturday 6pm-11pm)

Featuring Ben Carter Band and 309C on Friday night.

Saturday night we welcome Jimmy Parrish and The Waves! Follow us on facebook to see more about our headliner entertainment.

The Suwannee River Jam (Saturday, 11am – 5:30) happens all day Saturday and is the venue for the up and coming in the music field. Among other gems to get their break through the Suwannee River Jam, Rion Page and Clay Brooker have been moving up to bigger and better things. Come spend a day in Steinhatchee (Saturday Feb. 14) listening to this year’s contenders for the coveted Suwannee River Jam finals held in May. Suwannee River Jamauditions registrations forms will be posted at www.firststreetmusic.com.

The Swampwater Cookoff is (Saturday, sunup to 2pm) Applications are available online along with cook off rules and other information!

fiddlerfest 4 168x300 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

Saturday Morning Parade! (Starts at 10am) Everyone loves a parade and you can be in this one!  No charge, and you can just show up or call the chamber to check in early. Look for applications on the web site.

fiddlerfest 1 300x225 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

fiddlerfest 2 300x225 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

Fiddler Crab Racing (Saturday 11:00 to 2:00 or until tickets are all sold out!)   – always a favorite and unique to the Fiddler Crab Festival, buy a crab, enter one of 10 semi-final races and with a winning crab, race in the finale!

River Tours (Saturday, 10 to last boat out at 3) , hosted by one of our local guides Steve Kroll, are available from River Haven Marina docks, run about 45 minutes, and bring you along some of the ” purtiest natural river views” you are likely to see in the Big Bend.

20+ Extraordinary Raffle Prizes (Buy $1 and $5 tickets all day Saturday with the drawing at 5pm) – All tickets sold Saturday, all items raffled that day! In years past we have had local artists work, liquor gift baskets, trips, vacation stays, and more… this is DEFINITELY one of the best raffles around!

Arts and Crafts Vendors (open  from 11am to 5pm on Saturday, 11am – 4pm on Sunday) – we have BY FAR the best of the best in Arts and Crafts Vendors!  Lining the streets around the Community Center, there is more than just something for everyone – there are lots of things for everyone!  PLUS visit the ” Kids of All Ages ”   (all weekend long) area and find lots of fun things to do including the Petting Zoo, Bunjee Jump, and much more.

fiddlerfest 6 200x300 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

Food Vendors (12pm-10pm Friday, 11am-10pm Saturday, 11am-4pm Sunday)   – Looking for something to eat??? Want to gorge on great seafood, to sausage dogs, to bar-b-que, to kettle corn, to funnel cakes – and everything in between, there is sure to be something for even the pickiest of eaters. And this year, there are LOTS OF TABLES TO HAVE A SEAT AND EAT !!!

fiddlerfest 8 300x225 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

fiddlerfest 7 300x225 7th Annual Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, February 13 15, 2015

Photo contest (last photos in by 7pm Friday at the community center)  – With four categories for photography, there is room for just about everyone’s favorite photo! Cash prize for the overall winner and ribbons for others, it’s great to have your photo’s judged by professional artists but just as much fun just to enter!

Boot Artin (last boots in by 10am Saturday community center)   – what’s that you ask??? Get yourself aboot, paint ‘em, decorate ‘em, glitter ‘em up, or do all that and more and enter them into Steinhatchee’s very own Boot Artin contest!

 Lots of Spots Fishing Tournament - This is an “Angler Contest” held on Saturday – Anglers fish against each other from boats or the shore or a ramp or a dock… in local waters, for Redfish, Spots are counted by officials from both sides of the fish and the fish with the most spots is the winner! Prizes for 1st and 2nd place, plus #1 Lady Angler and #1 Jr. Angler (junior 16 and under). This will be held at Sea Hag Marina, including dock weigh in.  Captains’ meeting will be at Sea Hag Marina on Feb. 13th @6:00 PM.

 

Sunday Poker Run (registration 9-11, last bike or cart in 3pm)   (for motorcycles, golf carts, runners, and cyclists) – 2 routes available and if it is cold, ride in your car!!! We’re an equal traveler opportunity festival !  The fun is all in poker hands, prizes for best and worst hands, and raffles, PLUS you get lunch! This will start and end at Crabbie Dad’s Bar.  More info to follow.

AND of course, Commemorative Hats and both Ladies and Mens T-shirts are available all weekend from noon on Friday until we sell out.


It Takes Patience To Catch Big Spotted Seatrout on Florida’s Big Bend

Spotted seatrout over 20-inches are considered to be trophy or “gator” trout. And these big, wily critters are not easy to catch, even on our Big Bend coastline where there’s probably less pressure on game fish than in any other area in Florida.  Of course, you can catch plenty of “keeper” fish, mostly in the 15-inch range in the deep holes of the local rivers, but you’ll have to do some culling to get a limit.  It’s surprising just how many 14-7/8-inch trout are out there.  And don’t cheat, FWC officers are on the lookout for small fish and are regularly patrolling places like the Steinhatchee River, Dallus Creek and Suwannee.

suicidehole 1 300x147 It Takes Patience To Catch Big Spotted Seatrout on Floridas Big Bend

Expect to find lots of anglers and boaters in local rivers during trout season. But also expect to catch small-ish fish.

 

Large trout get to be big because they’re smart.  They’ve usually spent their lives being tempted by all sorts of live and artificial baits, tossed by numerous anglers.  However, it’s possible to trick them into biting with the right lure, like D.O.A 3-inch shrimp or a Paul Brown lure from MirrOlure.  Long casts and stealth are important, too, especially when the water is clear, as it is along our Natural North Florida coastline.  You’ll also find these bigger fish over rocky structure on cool sunny days, and they usually travel alone, cruising on the lookout for a stray mullet or pinfish.

mcnary 2 300x219 It Takes Patience To Catch Big Spotted Seatrout on Floridas Big Bend

“Gator” seatrout, like this one, travel solo and don’t get caught because they’re stupid!


Former Harlem Globetrotters To Hit Hoops at Madison, FL Down Home Days, April 17 & 18, 2015

madison 1 300x230 Former Harlem Globetrotters To Hit Hoops at Madison, FL Down Home Days, April 17 & 18, 2015

Madison Florida’s Down Home Days offers fun for the entire family!

Leaps, dunks and hilarious basketball tricks are in the making for the 2015 Down Home Days for a two-night Celebrity Basketball Game and Mad Ball Tournament with three former Harlem Globetrotters, Melvin Adams, Michael St. Julien and Alex Sanders, suiting up nightly on April 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. at Madison County Central School gymnasium at 2093 U.S. 90 West in Madison.

“I think it’ll be very popular,” said Lisa Frieman, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism.

The audience will thrill as one local boys’ team and a girls’ team compete against the former Globetrotters in the Friday night Mad Ball Playoff Tournament. Saturday night is the former Trotters’ Celebrity Basketball exhibition game: share in their comedic trick shots, slick passing behind-the-back, and through the legs with thunderous dunks for a fun night.                                                                                    “Your choices today will determine where you’ll be tomorrow,” said Melvin Adams, former NBA player and three-year former Harlem Globetrotter at 5’8,” who has played basketball around the world. Adams’ father passed away when he was only 13, but he overcame poverty by concentrating on his basketball skills. He now gives encouraging talks to students in schools and at his basketball camps.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Melvin Adams is still the fastest dribbler in the world.

Also preparing to play Celebrity Basketball for Down Home Days in Madison: Alex Sanders, a three-year former Harlem Globetrotter from Louisville University, a past McDonald All American standing at 6’9,” as well as former Globetrotter player and coach, Mike “The Saint” St. Julien from Lafayette, LA hailing from McNeese University. St. Julien is 6’5”.

The Mad Ball Tournament tickets for April 17 featuring the former Harlem Globetrotters may be purchased for $10 per person, age five and up. Four and under is no charge. Celebrity Basketball Game tickets on April 18 are the same price, available at the door.

The 34th annual Down Home Days weekend features the announcement of the Citizen of the Year, the Becky’s Dance Steps Studio Street Recital downtown on Friday evening, April 17, followed on April 18 by the historic Down Home Days Festival 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Parade beginning at 10 a.m. in downtown Madison.

This year’s Down Home Days Parade has a special theme: “Slam-Dunk for Exercise!” Parade floats will reflect the excitement of sports and healthy exercise activities in Madison County. The parade will begin at O’Neal’s Restaurant and go straight past the courthouse to keep traffic moving.

The Down Home Days classic car show in Four Freedoms Park always brings plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs,” plus the antique tractor and engine show at the Cotton Gin, Petting Zoo, Frog Hop, Pet Contest, Bake Off, Watermelon Seed Spitting contest, 1k and 5k walk/runs, and delicious festival foods lining S.W Range Avenue give festival attendees lots of choices.

madison 3 300x200 Former Harlem Globetrotters To Hit Hoops at Madison, FL Down Home Days, April 17 & 18, 2015

Relax in Madison during the 2015 Down Home Days Festival

Down Home Days sponsor, vendor, and parade applications will be available online soon at www.madisonfl.org under the Down Home Days tab, as well as on the Down Home Days Facebook, or apply at the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, 316 SW Pinckney Street in downtown Madison, across from Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant.


Monticello Bike Fest, March 20 & 21, 2015

monticello 1 200x300 Monticello Bike Fest, March 20 & 21, 2015

Cycling in Monticello, FL is like taking a trip into North Florida’s past. Live oaks, relaxed living and beautiful restored architecture abounds.

Monticello Bike Fest, March 20 & 21, 2015

Rolling hills and canopied roads make the panhandle of Florida the perfect
setting for cyclists who want a change of scenery. Jefferson County offers
the quaint town of Monticello as a unique host of the festival. With plantations,
heritage roads and historic homes, your weekend to get away from it
all is waiting for you.
Event Itinerary:
Friday, March 20
– Vendor Village 2:00-6:00pm
– 4:00pm Photo Scavenger Hunt by bike or foot
– 6:30pm Pasta dinner & guest speaker, Tracy Draper: Ride Across USA
– 8:00pm Mingle / cocktail hour
Saturday, March 21
– Vendor Village opens at 6:00am– 4:00pm
– Rides begin at 7:00—9:00 (see website for exact schedule)
Cost: $40 (includes t-shirt); Early Bird ends 1-15-15; price goes up to $45
How Do I Register?
Click here: https://raceroster.com/events/2015/4018/monticello-bike-fest

 

monticello 3 300x200 Monticello Bike Fest, March 20 & 21, 2015

monticello 2 200x300 Monticello Bike Fest, March 20 & 21, 2015


The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12-15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL

gatornationals 1 300x200 The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL
gatornationals 2 300x200 The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL gatornationals 3 300x200 The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL gatornationals 4 300x200 The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL gatornationals 5 300x153 The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL
The NHRA Gatornationals drag races have become a Gainesville tradition.  Drag racers and enthusiasts come from far and wide to participate and to see some fast-moving action.  The event draws big crowds, so we urge you to plan accordingly regarding lodging opportunities.

03 Gainesville The 46th Annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled for March 12 15, 2015 in Gainesville, FL

Scheduled for March 12-15, 2015!


Spectator tickets will go on sale on January 14, 2015

Click the following direct links to be directed to your desired page:


Visit Steinhatchee Falls–Hardly Niagara, But Still a Place of Beauty and Serenity

falls 1 300x300 Visit Steinhatchee Falls  Hardly Niagara, But Still a Place of Beauty and Serenity

Steinhatchee Falls isn’t a huge cataract like that at Niagara, but it’s a great spot to picnic and enjoy nature!

From:  Seenorthflorida.com 

Steinhatchee Falls is a great place to picnic or enjoy a quiet moment watching the river cascade over the falls. The three-foot waterfall is formed by a limerock outcropping in the river which extends north of the falls and, historically, served as a crossing point for Native Americans and settlers in the 1800’s.

At one time this was a crossing for vehicles before there were bridges, the flat natural bridge extends completely across the river and the water is only a few inches deep on top of the flat rock shelf. Traces of the old road are still there.

Drive up CR361 from Steinhatchee to the falls and enjoy the day for a picnic or an afternoon bar-b-que. This is the place. A quiet and serene setting to relax and enjoy some of the Nature Coast’s most beautiful scenery. The park is on the banks of the beautiful Steinhatchee River. A favorite spot for locals for many years. You might try you luck at fishing in the in the fresh water or go for a swim in the river.

Its strongly recommended that caution should be exercised when swimming. The water is turbulent and dark with a rocky bottom. Children should be well supervised for safety’s sake. There is a boat ramp where a kayak or canoe can be launched. A canoe trip down the scenic river will reveal the beauty of nature in the real outback of Florida. Bring along some bug repellant for mosquitoes and we have no see em’s. Always be careful to watch out for snakes and alligators, rarely seen but this park is in a wildlife area which is a part of the Steinhatchee River swamp. A nice park to spend the day or maybe just a couple of hours. Definitely worth a visit if you are in the area and want to see the real Florida and all that the Nature Coast has to offer.

Consider renting a kayak from the folks at River Haven Marina in Steinhatchee.  They offer full-day rentals as well as livery to the Falls!


Homecoming Days, Lee, FL, March 20 and 21, 2015

madco Homecoming Days, Lee, FL, March 20 and 21, 2015

Activities for this year’s Lee Days include a children’s tractor pull, cake auction and a Pine Wood Derby.  Lee is located in Madison County and the event promises to be fun for folks of all ages.

lee 300x186 Homecoming Days, Lee, FL, March 20 and 21, 2015

Don’t miss the Pine Wood Derby at Lee Days, in Madison County

Lee Homecoming Day Schedule

March 20-21, 2015

SATURDAY

MARCH 21, 2015

7:00 a.m. PANCAKE BREAKFAST AT

(LEE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH)

10:00 a.m.   PARADE

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. WILL BE FILLED WITH BLUE GRASS, GOSPEL AND COUNTRY ENTERTAINMENT ALSO WE WILL HAVE FOOD AND ARTS & CRAFT VENDORS

FRIDAY

 MARCH 20, 2015

 3:00 PM TO 8:30 PM

FUN FOR CHILDREN AND ADULTS

BOUNCE HOUSES

MOVIES

MUSIC

6:00 PM WE WILL HAVE THE AWARDS FOR THE COLORING CONTEST

6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM WILL BE THE

PINEWOOD CAR RACES FOR CHILDREN AND WE WILL ALSO HAVE AN ADULT DIVISION

 

For more information:

Madison County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism
316 SW Pinckney Street, Madison, Florida  32340
850-973-2788 telephone * 850-973-8864 fax


Among the Aucilla Sinks

Aucilla Sink with cypress knees JK Among the Aucilla Sinks

Cypress knees on an island in one of the Aucilla Sinks (John Keatley)

It’s isn’t anywhere, really, lost amid the vastness of timberlands between Perry, Lamont, and Newport. Yet it is somewhere, somewhere extra special, a cradle of civilization during the Pleistocene, a place that feels like you might round a bend and encounter a mastodon. It is Florida’s own “Land of the Lost,” where the Aucilla River gets swallowed by the earth to emerge in vast rocky cauldrons where ancient peoples flaked flint to make their spears. These are the Aucilla Sinks.

Few places in Florida provide such a dramatic backdrop for on-site lessons in geology and archaeology Our statewide National Scenic Trail, the Florida Trail, weaves through this protected ribbon of rugged landscape, leading you along the lips of massive sinkholes and karst windows. Following the orange blazes south from Goose Pasture Road in the Aucilla WMA off US 98 in Taylor County, you’ll discover a piece of Florida you must see to believe.

FNST kiosk at Aucilla Sinks Among the Aucilla Sinks

Florida Trail kiosk at Aucilla Sinks (Sandra Friend)

Nearly two decades ago, the University of Florida and National Geographic sent researchers into this oddly-formed place to discover how ancient hunter-gatherers tracked their prey. Here, a kill would be easier than in most places in Florida, which explains the vast number of artifacts uncovered by the team, including a mastodon tusk removed from a butchered animal.

These water holes, which exposed a portion of the river running through the rocky aquifer below, attracted animals to the drinking water. Some of the sinks are very steeply sided with little means of access, or escape. Herd a mastodon over a bluff, and toss spears. Repeat.

Aucilla Sink karst window JK Among the Aucilla Sinks

Karst window in the Aucilla Sinks (John Keatley)

A visit to the Aucilla Sinks is one of those “must dos” for anyone who enjoys the unusual in the outdoors. Walk south from the well-marked trail crossing at the Aucilla Sinks kiosk on Goose Pasture Road to enter this extraordinary expression of geology, but watch your footing – and avoid hiking through floodwaters. If waters rise onto the trail, you won’t be able to tell where the huge dropoffs are.

Aucilla Sink boulders JK Among the Aucilla Sinks

Sink with large boulders detached from the bluff (John Keatley)

After you cross the second forest road amid the sinks, it’s time to turn around for a 2.5-mile stroll. Feel free to explore farther, of course. Where the Florida Trail leaves the sinks to join an old logging road headed east, that turnaround point will net you an 8.4-mile day hike in rugged terrain. Primitive camping is permitted, with a backpacker’s campsite 2.6 miles south of Goose Pasture Road. Wear blaze orange during hunting seasons.


Coming Soon to Florida’s Gulf Waters: CCA Florida’s 2015 STAR Tournament

STAR 1 300x240 Coming Soon to Floridas Gulf Waters:  CCA Floridas 2015 STAR Tournament

80 redfish are waiting to be tagged at the FWC/FWRI hatchery!

If you snooze, you just might lose (a truck or a boat/trailer/motor)!  While the CCA Florida STAR Tournament‘s start is a few months away, it’s time to start thinking about participating.  Mark your calendars and be sure to get out on the water as much as you can during the tournament, get the Smartphone APP, and enter as many times as you’d like (1 of each of every saltwater species a day), and hope you catch a winning redfish.  And fair warning:  don’t be the person who catches a tagged redfish and who forgot to enter!  Your 30 bucks will be well-spent!

Also, anglers along our Big Bend, which is the coastal part of Natural North Florida, may just have an advantage, as our ratio of anglers to tagged fish might be low.  That’s the nice thing about fishing our  untouched and lonesome coast!!!

 

Here are a few highlights of the Tournament:

 

  • The Tournament starts May 23 and lasts 108 days, until September 7 (Labor Day)

 

  • The Tournament covers the Gulf Waters of Florida

 

  • CCA Members’ registration fees are $30; non-members $60 (which includes membership!)

 

  • 80 specially-tagged redfish will be released along the coast, and catching one may result in winning a boat/motor/trailer package or a new truck. However, you MUST be registered to win!!!

 

  • Other species of fish will also be eligible for prizes at a drawing at the end of the Tournament. Again, you MUST be registered to win!!!

 

  • Fish entries will be made by entering photos online of your catch alongside special “law sticks” provided by Florida Sportsman. A smartphone APP will be available in March, easing entry of catches right from your boat.

 

  • In total, about $500,000 in prizes will be offered at what will be Florida’s largest fishing tournament.

 


29th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL 1/24 & 25 and 1/30-Feb. 1, 2015

faire 2 29th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL  1/24 & 25 and 1/30 Feb. 1, 2015

Experience the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville for two magical weekends!

The 2015 Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is coming to Gainesville, January 24 &24 and January 30-February 1.  While there will be plenty of swordfights (staged, of course!) there will be fun for visitors of all ages.  Just as in the days of Robin Hood, you’ll behold Kings, Queens, Knights and fair ladies while browsing the crafts village or watching performers on 8 stages.  And don’t forget the hearty food, fit for a King!

faire 4 300x200 29th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL  1/24 & 25 and 1/30 Feb. 1, 2015

faire 3 200x300 29th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL  1/24 & 25 and 1/30 Feb. 1, 2015

faire 1 200x300 29th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, Gainesville, FL  1/24 & 25 and 1/30 Feb. 1, 2015

 

The event takes place at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, near the Gainesville Airport on NW 39th Avenue and US441.  Admission on Saturdays and Sundays is $17 for adults and $7 for kids 5-17.  On Friday, January 30, it’s only $8 for adults and $3.50 for kids 5-17.  And on all days, kids under 5 are admitted free.  Hours are 10AM to 6PM on Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30-3PM on Friday, January 30.

 

For information, call (352) 334-ARTS