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.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fort Walton Beach / Okaloosa County

With lots of bright and sunny days year-round, Fort Walton Beach on Northwest Florida's Emerald Coast provides a heavy dose of fun, especially welcome when much of the country is experiencing the harshness of winter.

The beautiful region is best known for white-sand beaches, emerald-green waters, and festivals (more than 300 per year, including culinary, sporting, and holiday celebrations).

Wildlife viewing is another popular activity, with sea turtles, sandpipers, dolphins and more, making the area their home. Snorkeling and diving near the 100 Fathom Curve, or tubing and canoeing in the Blackwater River State Forest and Eglin Reservation, can also all be part of a day's activities.

For those looking for more adventure, opportunities for parasailing, windsurfing and waterskiing abound.

The Okaloosa Regional Airport is serviced by five airlines, and the area is also just a short drive from Pensacola.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

North Florida Summer Events . . .


BILLY BOWLEGS PIRATE FESTIVAL — Scallywags beware! The dread pirate Billy Bowlegs and his nefarious crew are sailing the Gulf’s emerald waters of the Panhandle looking for the perfect spot to celebrate another successful year at sea. In addition to the pirate ship landing and family festival, other swashbuckling events include a Pirate Pub Crawl, Fireworks and Torchlight Parade.
When: June 4-8
Where: Fort Walton Beach

DIGITAL GRAFFITI — Digital Graffiti is an innovative and dynamic event that explores how art and architecture can intermix. During the three-night event, 27 digital artists from around the world will showcase original works on Alys Beach’s iconic white walls,
When: June 4-6
Where: Alys Beach

RENDEZVOUS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL transforming the typically serene town into a visually stunning and vibrant art space. — Let your creative juices flow during this 9-day fest geared toward budding filmmakers, up-and-coming musicians and gamers. It’s a movie lovers dream: seven films will have red carpet premieres; plus there will be screening 37 animated films, nine feature films, 25 international feature and short films and 10 documentaries.
When: June 5-13
Where: various venues, Amelia Island

DRAKE’S RAID — In 1586, the English corsair Sir Francis Drake and his band of raiders invaded the city of St. Augustine and burned the city. The two-day 28th reenactment begins on Friday with news of the arrival of the British marauders and continues on Saturday with a battle between the British and Spanish in the historic district, ending at Plaza de la Constitucion.
When: June 5-6
Where: Fountain of Youth Park, St. Augustine

SUN, SAND AND SONGS — Kick off your shoes and get your groove on during these two beachfront music festivals. Perdido Key’s Third Annual Shindig on the Sand features at least 70 musical acts during three days. On the east coast, make your way to Jacksonville Beach for a taste of the Bold City at the Seawalk Music Festival which emphasizes all things local: music, food and culture.
When: June 5-7 (Shindig on the Sand), June 20 (Seawalk Music Festival)
Where: Flora-Bama in Perdido Key and Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, respectively

22ND ANNUAL WELLBORN BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL — Indulge in all things blueberry: from cobblers and pies to ice cream and jellies to syrups and fudge. This year’s theme is “Come Clown Around.” The day includes the crowning the blueberry queen and king, water walkers, ponies, the blueberry parade, the blueberry bake-off and a blueberry pancake breakfast. Blueberry bushes will be for sale.
When: June 6
Where: Andrews Square, Wellborn

MARJORIE KINNAN RAWLINGS AND WORLD WAR II: AN AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE— Learn the role that The Yearling author played during World War II as recounted through her books and through the letters of her wartime correspondence with servicemen and women. Park Manager Valeri Rivers will lead the discussion that is part of a Victory Florida program for the 70-year anniversary of V-Day.
When: June 6
Where: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park, Hawthorn

SEED SPITTIN’ SHINDIGS — Mark Twain said, “When one has tasted a watermelon he knows what angels eat.” True or not, get ready to indulge in the juicy fruit at one of these annual fests: the Watermelon Festival in Chiefland, the Jefferson County Watermelon Festival and the 59h Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival. All include parades, live music, running (5K or 10K) and, of course, a seed-spitting contest.
When: June 6 (Watermelon Festival); June 19-20 (Jefferson County Watermelon Festival);  June 26-27 (Panhandle Watermelon Festival)
Where: Chiefland, Monticello and Chipley, respectively

18TH ANNUAL FLORIDA AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL — Kick off your shoes and let the frenetic beat consume you during one of the dance or drum workshops at this annual event sponsored by the African Caribbean Dance Theatre. Workshops include traditional dance styles from the Congo, Senegal and Guinea taught by renowned instructors. Also includes children’s workshops and story hours, a wheelchair dance class and evening performance concerts.
When: June 11-13
Where: Tallahassee Community College

PLEIN AIR, PAPER & POTTERY — Experience St. Augustine’s breathtaking beachfront and salt marshes through the eyes of artist Matthew J. Cutter. Cutter’s new exhibit features a body of work created “en plein air,” or painted on location outdoors and onsite. Talk with him about artistic inspiration and painting techniques at the two-day opening of the exhibit.
When: June 12-13
Where: Cutter & Cutter Fine Art Galleries

LATIN SALSA FESTIVAL — Play a friendly game of dominoes or work on your hot salsa moves at this annual fete geared to the Puerto Rican and Caribbean lifestyle. DJs will spin merengue and reggae tunes, the Tallahassee Salsa Dancers will perform as will other well-known Latin-American acts. Also includes Caribbean food and a kids’ zone.
When: June 13
Where: Fort Walton Landing Park

WILD BLACKBERRY FESTIVAL — Spend the weekend in the heart of the Suwannee River Valley in beautiful Jasper, just south of the Florida/Georgia state line in Hamilton County. Explore three of the state’s meandering rivers — the Suwannee, Withlacoochee and Alapaha — either on foot or by boat, then head to downtown Jasper for the town’s sixth annual festival featuring blackberry pancakes, cobblers, jams and jellies, as well as live music, family activities and craft vendors.
When: June 13
Where: downtown Jasper

FLORIDA COUNTRY SUPERFEST — The men of country rule at this year’s two-day extravaganza. The king of all things honkytonk, Kenny Chesney, headlines that second annual event that brought thousands of cowboy-hat wearing fans to jam along the St. Johns River. The killer lineup also includes the Zac Brown Band, Keith Urban, Brantley Gilbert, Cole Swindell, Tyler Farr, David Nail, Colt Ford, Danielle Bradberry and the Swon Brothers.
When: June 13-14
Where: Everbank Field, Jacksonville

VETTES AT THE VILLAGE — Treat your dad to a pre-Father’s Day trip to admire the sleek lines and natty details of more than 100 late-model and custom Corvettes. Cast your vote for the People’s Choice winner and then enjoy lunch at Murray Bros. Caddy Shack.
When: June 20
Where: World Golf Village, St. Augustine

DODGE BRAWL — Remember of the 5 Ds of dodgeball, at least according to movie Dodgeball’sPatches O’Houlihan — “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and Dodge” — while competing in this 64-team, double-elimination tournament. Assemble the perfect six to 10-person team, coordinate your uniform (think matching old-school sweatbands and striped tube socks) and get ready to rock the court. The top three teams receive medals and a monetary award for the charity of their choice.
When: June 27
Where: Pensacola Bay Center

AMERICA ON TAP: Sips and samples will be plentiful at America On Tap’s ode to craft beer. The three-hour event will feature more than 100 releases from some of the country’s best craft breweries paired with live music and food. Breweries set to tap new releases include favorites like Abita, Bell’s and Brooklyn Brewery. More obscure labels include Guns & Oil Brewing Co. (Texas), Lucky Bucket Brewing Company (New England) and Radiant Pig (New York).
When: June 27
Where: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, Jacksonville

Original Sourse