Explore The Outdoors Festival comes to Live Oak Landing Oct. 14, 2017

boywithfishA great day for outdoor family fun

Walton Outdoors will be hosting our eighth annual Explore The Outdoors Festival on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the beautiful waterfront location of Live Oak Landing Outdoor Destination, 229 Pitts Avenue in Freeport, Florida. ::MAP::

This fun-filled day will introduce children to the wonders of exploring nature and the outdoor experience. Hands on activities will include fishing, kayaking, wildlife, archery, interactive educational exhibits, giveaways and much more. The event is free. The water activities are geared for children six-years-old and up. Food will be available for purchase from Black Creek Café.

Activities and exhibits include:
• Learn to fish on Black Creek
• FISH FLORIDA fishing rod/reel giveaways
• Freshwater fishing education with Florida Fish and Wildlife
• Emerald Coast Hydrobike cruises
• Archery with Freeport Parks and Recreation
• Boating with Wounded Warrior Fishing
• Boating with Backwater Tours
• Birding with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society
• Wildlife exhibit with Florida Fish and Wildlife
• Florida State Park exhibits
• Northwest Florida Astronomy Club
• Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance touch tank
• Smokey the Bear and his friends from Forestry
• Florida Sea Grant exhibit
• Freeport Town Planters Society crafts
• Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge exhibit
• Butterfly exhibit
• Beekeeping exhibit
• Snake exhibit
• Walton County Master Gardeners activity
• Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve
• Navarre Beach Marine Science exhibit
• Nonie’s Ark Animal Encounters

About Walton Outdoors:
Walton Outdoors is the online source for outdoor adventure in Walton County and northwest Florida. Our mission is to share great spaces to explore the outdoors, and to educate our readers on the wonders of nature.

For more information, go to www.waltonoutdoors.com/explorefest or call (850) 267-2064.

Thank you sponsors:


• C.W. Roberts Contracting
• Freeport Town Planters Society


• Copeland’s Gun and Tackle • Ace Hardware DeFuniak Springs

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St. Joseph Bay educational adventure Sept. 19-20

A pair of Southern Bald Eagles perched over the St. Joe Bay Buffer Preserve. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The University of Florida IFAS Extension faculty are continuing their Panhandle Outdoors Live programs for 2017. They include presentations, as well as, traditional excursions to explore and learn about the Panhandle’s signature ecosystems. The latest program is St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, Sept. 19-20.

The St. Joseph Bay Ecosystem is home to one of the richest concentrations of marine grasses along the Northern Gulf Coast. It supports an amazing diversity of fish, aquatic invertebrates and birds. Other local habitats of significance include nesting beaches for loggerhead sea turtles, salt marshes that support secretive marsh birds, and pine flatwoods uplands.

This two-day educational adventure is based at the St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve near the coastal town of Port. St. Joe, Florida. It includes field tours of unique coastal uplands, presentations by scientists and naturalists, and a kayak trip to explore the underwater life of the seagrass beds.

Download brochure.pdf

To view short video on the Buffer Preserve click here

Participants need to bring personal snacks and/or drinks (bottled water and simple snacks are supplied), bug repellent, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, etc. Canoes or kayaks may be rented (see ticket options for prices); however, participants may also bring their own kayak or canoe and paddling gear (life jacket, emergency whistle, paddle, etc.), although a $10 launch fee will be applied by the outfitter (included in ticket options).

Base registration fee covers breakfast and lunch, facility costs, water & snacks, transportation and educational sessions. Additional costs are related to lodging, rental fees for canoes and kayaks. To find cost, registration, and lodging information click here.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

9:00 am -12:00 pm Introductions and workshop logistics, field tour of the Buffer Preserve Property with Manager, Dylan Shoemaker; Presentation on the Ecology of the St. Joseph Bay Seagrass Ecosystem with John Brucker

12:00pm – 1:00 pm LUNCH catered by the Sand Dollar Cafe

1:30 pm – 5:00 pm Field tour of Salinas Park and St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, discussion of Coastal Processes and Geomorphology with Park Staff/ Discussion of Coastal Habitats with Sea Grant Faculty

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm DINNER in Historic Port St. Joe (not included in ticket price)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

8:00 am – 9:00 pm BREAKFAST catered by Sand Dollar Cafe

9:00 am – 11:45 am Presentations on Diamondback Terrapin Ecology with Rick O’Conner, on Bay Scallops with Erik Lovestrand and Bay Water Quality with Ray Bodrey

11:45 am – 12:45 pm LUNCH catered by Sisters of Port St. Joe

12:45 pm – 3:00 pm Kayaking and snorkeling the Sea Grass Beds, hosted by “Happy Ours” Kayak Outfitters

3:30 pm Return to Preserve to “freshen up” and depart


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Cornhole tournament in Rosemary Beach Sept. 2

Date/time: Sat., Sept. 2, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Bring the entire family for a day of corn hole competition and fun during Labor Day weekend.  Join the community of Rosemary Beach for their 3rd Annual 30A Cornhole Tournament on Saturday, September 2.  Free giveaways, bounce house with slide, DJ, Photobooth and more, along with amazing prizes for winning teams. The event will be held at East Long Green Road, North Barrett Square, Rosemary Beach , FL 32461 View Map

The two-member team, double elimination tournament benefits Rosemary Beach Foundation and their charitable partner, Special Olympics Florida – Walton County.

Sign up your team today at www.cornhole30A.com. Registration (Two-Member Team) $60, $65 after August 30th.  Players will enjoy beer from Shades Bar & Grill and pizza from Bruno’s 30A.

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Freeport Bayfest Sept. 16

The City of Freeport is hosting their annual Freeport Bayfest at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. The Complex is located at 563 Hammock Trail E., Freeport, FL. 32439.

The free Festival offers live music, a kids zone plus food and art vendors. This year local music will be featured including Jones & Company, Bryan Bludworth, Larry Gomillion Quartet, Dan McNeil and Courtney McCormick.

In addition, a fishing tournament and Fish of the Bay cooking competition will also be held.

The fishing tournament is $100 per team saltwater division, $50 per team fresh water. To enter contact Brad Bishop at 850-543-8303.

The cooking competition is entry fee is $15. Contact Donna Irwin at 850-685-6916 to enter.

For more information, go to http://freeportbayfest.com/.

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Edible landscape lecture in DeFuniak Springs Sept. 6

The Walton County Master Gardeners resume their enjoyable monthly lecture series after the summer hiatus. The series will alternate locations and times to accommodate almost everyone.  These lectures are designed for local home gardeners.

Calvin Chester will present his popular program, Edible Landscape, for the public on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at the UF/IFAS Walton Extension Office at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs at 2 p.m.  Calvin’s business is Greenthumb Calboys:  Landscape, Food consultant and Grocery Store. He advocates growing beautiful food plants on your property instead of lawn.  This is better for your wallet and the environment.  His enthusiasm and humor will make you a believer!

The cost for the program is $5, payable at the door, cash or checks only please.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Save your place by calling 850-982-8172 or email [email protected] by the Monday before. Light refreshments will be served.

Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions and help with soil samples. There is an $8 fee, including shipping, to submit soil samples to the University of Florida for analysis. Master Gardeners are at this location every Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to noon to help the gardening community.

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Choctawhatchee Audubon Society Sept. events

7 September: Monthly Meeting and Presentation:  “Southeasten Hummingbirds—A lot more than you might think”, by Fred Bassett, founder of Hummingbird Research, Inc and federally certified bird bander. Bassett has banded over 35,000 hummingbirds from Miami, Fl to Haines Alaska. The program will discuss Ruby-throated hummingbirds in depth and introduce several Western hummingbird species that Bassett has banded locally and followed through their migration and wintering in Okaloosa County.

The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the student services building (Bldg 400) at the Northwest Florida State College – Niceville campus. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM and the program at 7:00 PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Call or e-mail Dr. Don Baltz at (225) 252-2760, [email protected] for more information. Please visit our website at Choctawhatcheeaudubon.org and our Facebook page at Choctawhatchee Audubon Society.

30 September: Bird Walk. Join local birders in a walk through Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park in Niceville led by noted expert, Lenny Fenimore. Meet at the Oak Creek Shopping Center parking lot by CVS in Niceville on HY 20 at 7:40 AM and drive 4 miles to the Park. Pay $5.00 Park entrance fee. Wear closed toed shoes and bring bug spray, binoculars and water. Call (850) 863-2039 for additional information.

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Walton County fishing report for Aug. 16

Fishing is good

Bay: Still small redfish and speckled trout. A few mangrove snapper.

River: Good reports of flathead and channel catfish. Snakes are on the move.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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