There are many reasons why North Florida is such an wonderful place to visit (or live). The climate is spectacular; great for boating, golfing, surfing, fishing and other forms of sports and recreation. In addition, the area is rich in arts and entertainment, fine-dining, shopping and history. North Florida also offers miles of beautiful beaches and waterways, cultural pursuits from jazz and Scottish festivals, to hot clubs and remarkable, ethnically diverse restaurants.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Fun in Florida

Whatever your passion or desire, North Florida has an event for you. Here are just a few of the major events scheduled this month in the Sunshine State:


SCALLOP SEASON — Don’t have the patience to sit in a boat staring at a drifting fishing line for hours on end? Try scalloping. All you need is a saltwater fishing license, snorkel, mask and dive flag — all easy to obtain from local outfitters. The rest is simple. Just start skimming the surface of St. Joseph Bay over the gorgeous grass beds of the Florida Aquatic Preserve looking for the telltale glowing blue eyes along the edge of the shells. The 2014 scalloping season begins July 1.

When: July 1-31
Where: St. Joseph’s Bay

NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHS — The photographers making images for the New York Times Magazine capture beauty and tragedy, glory and grit, movement and transformation in its glossy white pages. Kathy Ryan, the magazine’s director of photography, reviewed more than 1,500 issues of the magazine to pick images depicting war-torn countries, Hollywood’s fabulous old guard, New York after 9/11 and more for this exhibit.

When: July 1-31
Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville



EL GALEON TOUR — Experience 16th-century life aboard El Galeón, a full-scale reconstruction of a Spanish galleon used by the country to roam the little known waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Spain to the “New World.” Embark on a self-guided walking tour above and below deck while making time to talk to the ship’s current crew about ship life. El Galeón was just featured in NBC’s new TV show Crossbones.

When: July 1-15
Where: St. Augustine Municipal Marina

LA FLORIDA: 500 YEARS IN THE PLACE OF FLOWERS — Tourists flock to Florida for our sugar-sand beaches and myriad amusement parks only to be also wowed by the state’s natural beauty. John Moran, a Gainesville nature photographer whose work has appeared in National Geographic and Smithsonian, captured the rainbow-hued, flower-filled visions of paradise in large-format photography.

When: July 1-31
Where: Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville

NIGHTTIME EDUCATIONAL BEACH WALKS — Explore the Gulf Coast beaches under the stars with George Grey, the Okaloosa County’s Sea Turtle Coordinator for almost two decades. Learn about sea turtles’ nesting habits and other beach wildlife on this free guided walk. Reservations are required.

When: July 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31
Where: Okaloosa Island and Destin

APALACHICOLA INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION — Enjoy an old-fashioned Fourth in historic coastal Apalachicola with a red, white and blue-themed golf cart and bike parade, ice cream social and fireworks. And because it IS Florida, stuff yourself with fried shrimp and Low Country boil instead of the more traditional hot dogs and hamburgers.

When: July 3
Where: Lafayette Park, Apalachicola

STARS & STRIPES AT SEASIDE: A JULY 4TH CELEBRATION — Embrace your flag-waving, patriotic fervor and dress in red, white and blue for a day of “God Bless the USA” festivities beginning in the morning with the Annual July 4th parade along State Road 30A and concluding with the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra’s concert and fireworks finale under the stars. The lawn fills up quickly so arrive early to get a prime location.

When: July 4
Where: State Road 30A and the Seaside Amphitheater, Seaside

UNION GARRISON — Welcome to 1864. Think women in corsets and high boots, men doing their daily marching drills and young drummer boys bringing the Civil War-era fort to life. Visitors can interact with these living historians during firearms and cooking demos. Or beat the deep summer heat and enjoy the Fort during the Saturday night candlelight viewing.

When: July 5-6
Where: Fort Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach

SUMMER MOVIE CLASSICS AT THE FLORIDA THEATRE — Introduce the next generation to these retro ‘80s fanboy classics: The Never Ending Story, Goonies, Batman (the Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson version) and Gremlins. Arrive early to escape July’s warmth while exploring the lavish and fantasy-inspired Mediterranean Revival interior of the 1920s theatre, one of four historic movie palaces left in the state. Don’t miss the indoor courtyard with its grand balcony and star-filled ceiling.

When: July 5, 12, 18, 26
Where: Florida Theatre, Jacksonville

PENSACOLA BEACH AIR SHOW — Grounded for most of 2013 because of budget cutbacks, the Blues are back! The Blue Angels, who call Pensacola Beach home, are airborne again with a 2014 calendar that features 38 appearances nationwide. Catch them on their home turf at the annual air show. Also features Fat Albert, Julian McQueen, Roy Kinsey, Gary Ward, Team Aerodynamix and Skip Stewart.

When: July 11-12
Where: Pensacola Beach

36TH ANNUAL SWAMP STOMP MUSIC FESTIVAL — Spread your blanket under the live oaks and enjoy an acoustic music serenade by singer-songwriters during this Big Bend mid-summer staple. From folk music’s twang to deep Southern blues, the 52-acre park will also delight youth with outdoor games, living history demos and the Tree to Tree zipline adventures.

When: July 12
Where: Tallahassee Museum

FIESTA DE SAN FERMIN EN PENSACOLA — In Pamplona, thousands run through the city streets, defying death as they are chased by snorting, slobbering half-ton bulls made famous by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. Pensacola’s cheeky (and safety conscious) salute to the “encierro” is to task members of the female roller-derby league wielding wiffle ball bats as bulls chasing down red kerchief-wearing participants in this 2-mile adventure. Other events include a Spanish wine dinner and a procession honoring San Fermin, the Patron Saint of Pamplona.

When: July 17-19
Where: Seville Quarters

CHRISTMAS IN JULY CRAFT FAIR — Start your holiday shopping early -- really early -- at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement’s annual craft fair. Pick up goodies such as handmade soaps, baked treats, works by local artisans, quilts and more. Once you’re shopped out take a free guided tour of the settlement.

When: July 19
Where: Blountstown

CHOOSING TO PARTICIPATE LUNCH AND LEARN: WORLD WAR II VETERANS AND THE CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT — For this special lecture, veteran and University of North Florida graduate student Bryan Higham will speak on the subject of the African American veterans who used military training to pursue political office and take on leadership roles within the Civil Rights movement from 1945-1960.

When: July 25
Where: The Florida Historic Capitol Museum, Tallahassee

BEER TRUCK WARS — Sample some of the state’s best craft brews at this event drawing on America’s addiction to gourmet eats served from a kitchen on four wheels. The details are still in the works ... but there will be beer, there will be food and it will be filling.
When: July 26
Where: Francis Field, St. Augustine

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