Explore The Outdoors Festival comes to DeFuniak Springs Oct. 11, 2014

exploresmA great day of outdoor fun in store

Walton Outdoors is excited to announce we will be hosting our annual Explore The Outdoors Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. along the beautiful Lakeyard in DeFuniak Springs along Circle Drive. This fun-filled day is geared towards introducing children to the wonders of exploring the outdoors. Hands on activities will include fishing, kayaking, wildlife encounters, interactive educational exhibits, nature-based crafts and much more. The event is free. The water activities are geared for children six-years-old and up. Food vendors will be on hand.Exploretheoutdoors2012

Activities and exhibits include:

• Fishing from the pier with the pros
• Fish Florida fishing rod giveaways
• Fishing education with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
• Kayaking with Snaggy Bend Outfitters
• Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge wildlife exhibit
• Birding with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife exhibit
• Wildlife and education with E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
• South Walton Turtle Watch exhibit
• Topsail Hill Preserve State Park exhibit
• Henderson Beach State Park exhibit
• St. Andrews State Park exhibit
• Northwest Florida Astronomy club
• Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance touch tank
• Smokey the Bear and his friends from Forestry
• Deitrich’s Honey Farm
• Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute
• Eglin Aero Modellers demonstrations
• Boy Scout “Leave No Trace” campsite exhibit
• Tri-County Head Start fun
• Florida Public Archeology Network
• Emerald Coast Science Center
• Bicycle helmet fittings and giveaways
• Geocaching fun with Florida Panhandle Geocachers
• Lowe’s wood crafts for kids
• Face painting
• Nature based crafts
• Vacation raffle and giveaways
• Live music by Dismal Creek

About Walton Outdoors: Walton Outdoors is the online resource for outdoor adventure in Walton County, Florida and surrounding area. Our mission is to educate and share news about great places to explore and showcase outdoor family-oriented events.


For more information call (850) 267-2064.

Thank you sponsors:







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Gulf Coast Agritourism and Ecotourism Business Development Conference Nov. 4-6 in Milton

blueberries2Conference geared for agri and eco tourism businesses

The University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and Naturally EscaRosa, would like to invite agriculture and eco-tourism providers to the 2014 Agri/Eco-tourism Business Development Conference on November 4-6, 2014. The meetings will be held on the 5th and 6th. The conference is geared for businesses wishing to enhance and develop their offerings.

Owners, operators and employees of u-pick operations, fresh produce markets, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, wildlife/bird watching, paddling, camping, fishing, etc. tourism businesses or those considering similar business startups are invited to attend this event.

The conference will be an exciting blend of informational sessions, hands on activities, and an opportunity to explore local agritourism and ecotourism businesses. The conference will provide important information for new business startups as well as long established companies in agritourism and ecotourism.

The keynote speaker, Eric Eckl, will address stimulating information on messaging and direct marketing campaigns. Other topics in the educational program include: starting a business, liability, local success stories, liability, staffing, benefits, & healthcare.

The conference will be held at Adventures Unlimited in Milton Fl., 8974 Tomahawk Landing, Milton, Fl. 32570. The conference begins at 9 am Nov. 5 and 8:15 am Nov. 6, 2014. Conference registration is $25.00, to register go to:


For more information on the 2014 Gulf Coast Agritourism & Ecotourism Business Development Conference, contact Chris Verlinde (850) 623-3868 or Carrie Stevenson (850) 475-5230.

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Freeport Middle School Fall Festival Oct. 10

pumpkinsFreeport Middle School Fall Festival will be held on Friday, October 10 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Freeport Middle School football field.

Fun for the entire family with inflatables rock wall, fun booths, face painting, bake sale, glow sticks, ring toss,  duck pond, concessions/vendors, hay ride, family fun.

Armbands will be on sale beginning September 29 at FMS and FES for $10 in advance. They will be $15 the night of.

Vendor spots are available for $25 or 50/50. Please contact Dennis Grey at greyd@walton.k12.fl.us or Kristy Moody at moodyk@walton.k12.fl.us

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Enter the Walton County Fair 2014 pumpkin decorating contest Oct. 4

pumpkinEntry date and time: Saturday, October 4th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Walton County Fairgrounds.
•  No carving or puncturing
•  Contest is open to all children in Walton County. Preschool to 12th grade.
•  Use sound pumpkins only. The chairperson will remove all spoiled/deteriorated pumpkins.
•  Judges will not award a prize to an exhibit, which, in their determination, was not done solely by the child.
For more info contact: 850-892-8172 or 850-892-5261
Visit the fair’s website:  www.waltoncountyfair.com

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Fall Festival and haunted tram ride at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Oct. 24-25

You never know what monsters are waiting along the Terrifying Tram Ride at Topsail. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

You never know what monsters are waiting along the Terrifying Tram Ride at Topsail. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Time: 6 – 10 p.m.

It’s time again for Topsail’s annual Fall Festival. There will be a haunted tram ride, activities, food, and games for children. This is an all ages event although there may be age restrictions on the haunted tram ride. All proceeds go to support the Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. There is no entry fee to the park for this event.  For more information please contact the park directly at 850-267-8330.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Learn the basics of surf fishing at Grayton Beach State Park Oct. 8

surffishingHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Time: 10 – 11:30 a.m. Guide: Park Ranger Patrick Hartsfield

Park Ranger Hartsfield will demonstrate and instruct the basic skills needed for enjoying surf fishing. Learn how to catch bait, the proper technique when baiting your hook, and the different kinds of equipment and techniques used in surf fishing. Participants will also learn the dos and don’ts of surf fishing in the State of Florida.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Difficulty is low to moderate. Participants should bring their own rod/reel and tackle, sunscreen, hat, water, insect repellant, appropriate surf fishing/beach attire. Pets are not allowed at this event or on the beaches of Grayton Beach State Park. Pets cannot be left unattended at any time or in a vehicle. Event subject to cancellation due to bad weather, unforeseen situations, or hazardous surf conditions.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 5 required. Location: Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach

Participants will walk from the beach parking area, over the boardwalk, and across the sugar white sands of Grayton Beach to the shoreline.

Fee: $ 15 + $5 entry fee (paid at time of entrance)

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Walton county fishing report for Sept. 29

redfishFishing is good!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Redfish bite is through the roof. Not too many trout, however a few flounder being caught.

River: bass and hybrids at the mouths of the river. Try fishing with a cane pole with shrimp. Make it a game like the old timers do.

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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Festival of the Arts in Destin Oct. 25-26, 2014

mattie4fbMattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents the 19th Annual Festival of the Arts on Oct. 25-26, 2014 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. One of the Southeast’s premier festivals, the event showcases the original artwork of more than 100 juried artists from across the U.S. who will compete for $10,000 in cash award prizes. Festival features include live music, art activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art raffle and more. A food bistro, wine bar & beer garden as well as convenient parking and motor coach shuttle are also available. Admission is $3/adult; children 12 and under are free. For more information, visit MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org or call (850) 650-2226.

Event Details:
Event Name: Festival of the Arts
Hosted by: Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Foundation
Description: The 19th annual festival showcases the original artwork of more than 100 juried artists and features live music, art activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art raffle and more. A food bistro, wine bar & beer garden as well as convenient parking and motor coach shuttle are also available.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 and Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014
Location: Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Florida on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast
Cost: $3/adult; children (12 and under) are free
Website: MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org
Phone: (850) 650-2226

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Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo October 2 – 4

rodeoThe Bonifay Kiwanis Club will host the 70th Annual Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo, on Thursday, October 2nd through Saturday, October 4th, starting at 7:30 p.m. nightly at Memorial Field. Gates will open daily at 5:30 p.m. The Bonifay Kiwanis Club Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo is a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) sanctioned Dodge Series Rodeo sponsored in part by Bob Pforte Motors. In conjunction with the rodeo, there will be a Rodeo Parade through downtown Bonifay on Friday and Saturday at 1:00 pm.

During the first full weekend of October, Bonifay, Florida goes country when the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo comes to town. Since its inception in 1944, the Bonifay Kiwanis Club has sponsored the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo and continues to carry the tradition of ensuring quality family entertainment. Over 25,000 people (eight times the population of Bonifay) can be found in Bonifay during the rodeo weekend. Some people even schedule their only week of vacation to be a part of the rodeo action by camping out in the Bonifay Kiwanis Club designated camping areas. Over the years, the Bonifay Kiwanis Club and countless volunteers have been providing the driving force behind what is considered one of the best professional rodeos in Northwest Florida.

Because the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo is a PRCA sanctioned Ram Rodeo Series, some of the best rodeo contestants attend in hopes of scoring a few more points toward the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeothat is held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In fact, for some of the cowboys and cowgirls the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo is their last chance to get points before heading to the Southeast Circuit Finals in Brighton, Florida. Spectators watch these top rodeo contestants compete for thousands of dollars in seven rodeo events: Bareback Riding, Tie-Down Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, and Bull Riding. Included in the three-day rodeo performances are world famous specialty acts, a huge two day rodeo parade, and much more. No wonder that the readers of Florida Monthly magazine selected the Bonifay Rodeo as the “Best Rodeo” during their ninth annual Best of Florida Award which was held in 2004.

Click here for more information.

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Public workshop on Choctawhatchee River infrastructure improvements Oct. 29

 An important workshop concerning the future of the Choctawhatchee River will be held on Oct. 29 from 3 – 5 p.m.  Learn about efforts to forge a multi-county partnership to seek funding through a grant application for BP RESTORE funds.  The focus of the grant will be to improve public access and create infrastructure similar to the Suwanee River Wilderness Trail to help promote the river as an outstanding outdoor recreation destination for diverse user groups. The long-term goal is to bring economic benefits and job creation to local communities through promotion of sustainable tourism. We will also present a proposal for development of map guides for the Choctawhatchee River as a boating and paddling trail.

The event will be facilitated by Cameron Morris, Preble-Rish, Inc.

The workshop will be held at the Lewis Bear Company, 6484 Dog Track Rd., Ebro 32437  Map:  http://binged.it/XFxDL2


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Historical tour of Coffee Nature Preserve offered Oct. 15

coffeenTime: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles) were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the resident manager, and explore the site where America’s strategic missile program began. You will view the original military photographs inside the “mess hall” and learn about the generous gift of the founder, the late Dorothy Coffeen.

This will be followed by a hike of approximately 1. miles around the property, which will include walking along two original missile launch ramps, stepping down into concrete launch bunkers and viewing other military buildings. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Preserve and Fuller Lake. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

Participants are encouraged to wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant and to bring bottled water. Closed-toed or other suitable walking shoes are a must.

Space is limited to 16 participants. Minimum of 2 required.

Location: Coffeen Nature Preserve, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $20

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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