Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides hosting Farm Day April 18

gulfsidetrailrides2The first ever Farm Day will be held at Arnett’s Gulfside Trail Rides on April 18th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Join in on a 20-acre horse farm for a family-friendly day featuring:
- Live music by Tareva Henderson, Ike Bartley, Jabbo, and Pat Boone
- Bounce houses
- Pony rides
- Children’s karaoke
- Food by Aegean Restaurant
- TV for the sports fans
- Beer and wine available

Cost is $5 per person, ages 2 and under are free – pony rides available for $5

Arnett’s is located at 613 S. Hwy 393, Santa Rosa Beach. Call 850-208-3114 for more information.

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CCA hosting kids fishing tournament in Grayton Beach April 26

kidfishTime to catch some fish!

The 10th annual Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Kids Fishing Tournament will be held from 12 Noon – 4 p.m. on April 26, 2015 at Grayton Beach.

Sponsored by the Coastal Conservation Association, this popular tournament is for boys and girls age 15 and under. The kids will be given their own rod and reel combo from Fish Florida, along with beach rod holders from Ferguson Waterworks, and bait/rigs donated from Yellowfin Ocean Sports.

All participants shall be accompanied by an adult. All Florida Recreational Saltwater Fishing regulations shall apply. All fish shall be alive at weigh-in. Heaviest fish weighed shall determine leader in each age group.

Registration is $15 for tournament, rod and reel combo, T-shirt and one year Youth CCA membership.

Register on the back porch of The Red Bar in Grayton Beach. Contact Neill O’Connell at  (850) 419-1260 for more information.

The CCA is an angler advocacy group dedicated to conserving and protecting Florida’s marine fishery resources.  For more information about CCA go to:

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7 Pines Native Plant Nursery in DeFuniak Springs offers treasures for the garden

A large variety of native plants offered at 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A large variety of native plants offered at 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

For native plant lovers in our area, it’s no longer necessary to drive to Tallahassee or Pensacola to find what you are looking for. The newly opened 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery in DeFuniak Springs has just about everything you can imagine for the perfect native landscape.

Nestled along scenic CR 192 in DeFuniak Springs sits 240 acres of pastoral rolling hills owned by Dara and Lloyd Dobson. The couple has owned their homestead since 1998, and together have transformed the former pine plantation into a country living paradise. Horses, black Angus cattle, and restored long leaf pine now dot the landscape, along with colorful garden areas forming panoramic views.

Instructions and information on what is attracted to plants is on hand. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Instructions and information on what is attracted to plants is on hand. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Dara has been a Florida Master Gardener since 2002, and has been gardening all her life. As a former chairman of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, and doing speaking engagements, she is now passing on her talents into the retail market and has created 7 Pines Native Plant Nursery.

7 Pines offers a vast array of natives, including some rare and endangered species. There are also a few non-native offerings that do well in northwest Florida plant zones. Each flora species boasts signage that informs customers on the best planting conditions, along with the benefits of the plant, including if it draws butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. There is also a gift shop with garden embellishments, along with native seeds available for purchase.

More than 4,500 plants will be available during the grand opening April 17 – 18, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The nursery will be open to the public every third Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of each month, or by appointment.

7 Pines Native Plant Nursery is located at 2435 County Hwy 192, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433. From U.S. Hwy. 90 go north on U.S. 331 until you reach CR 192, turn right, and go 2 miles. Nursery will be on your right.

Call (850) 859-0096 or (850) 830-8996 for more information. Email:

Click here to download current plant list: 7 Pines Plant List

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Walton County to open beach driving permit lottery on April 1

graytonbeachOn April 1, the Walton County Board of County Commission Administration Department will begin the submission period for their annual beach driving permit lottery.  Each year, the county issues 150 permits via the beach driving permit lottery.  The in-person submission deadline for inclusion into the lottery will be close of business on May 8th.  Applications will be accepted online through May 10th at midnight.

Applications will not be accepted unless all eligibility requirements are met and all documentation is provided at the time of application. Incomplete applications will not be eligible for the lottery draw.

In order to qualify to be entered into the lottery, the following documents must be submitted in the name of the applicant at the time of application:

  • Proof of full-time residency (Driver’s License with Walton County address or Walton County Voter’s Registration)
  • Copy of Driver’s License (if using voter registration card as proof of residency)
  • Copy of Voter Registration (if not a property owner)
  • Proof of real property ownership (if property owner)
  • Proof that property taxes are current (if property owner)
  • Current 4-wheel drive vehicle registration (registered in the State of Florida, in applicants name, 4×4)
  • Completed 2015 lottery application
  • Copies must be provided by applicant, and will not be made on behalf of the applicant

Lottery applications will be available on the County’s website beginning April 1st at 12:01am and may be submitted in one of three ways

  1. Obtain an application from County Administration or the South Walton Annex Planning Department and complete and return it with the required documents to either location.
  2. Download and complete the application and return it, along with required documents, to the County Administration office or South Walton Annex Planning Department.
  3. Submit an application online by completing the web form and attaching required documents. (Link will be active on April 1st at 12:01am –

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all required documentation is correct and provided at the time the application is submitted.   We will not contact the applicant regarding missing, expired, incorrect or other documentation submitted with the application that renders the applicant ineligible for the lottery drawing.  You may contact Administration at 850.892.8155 to verify entry after submission.

If you should have any questions, please contact the Department of Administration at 850-892-8155.

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Walton County fishing report for March 25

sheepsheadFishing is good!

River/bay: Some trout, redfish, and a few sheepshead. Stripers and crappie on the river.

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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Honey bees all abuzz in Vernon

Beekeepers harvesting honey in Vernon March 24, 2015. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Beekeepers harvesting honey in Vernon March 24, 2015. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The honey bees were abuzz on March 24, 2015, as beekeepers from Sleeping Bear Aviaries harvested titi honey from their hives in Vernon. In a large field off of State Road 79, Sleeping Bear houses more than 150 hives. The company also has hives in Wausau.

The bees spend half the year in Washington County producing wildflower and Tupelo honey, then relocated to northern Michigan where they produce star thistle honey according to founder Kirk Jones.


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Walton County Jail garden provides fresh vegetables for inmates

Inmates harvesting carrots on March 24, 2015. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Inmates harvesting carrots on March 24, 2015. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Over the last several years, Walton County Jail and the Walton Correctional Institution State Prison have been feeding inmates with fresh vegetables right from the their back yard. Currently with 14 acres and five to seven more in the works, the garden program has been a success.

The Walton County Sheriff’ Office took over management of the county jail last year and the project has been accelerating according to the garden’s crew supervisor Section Commander Lt. Oscar Jiggetts.

“We would like it for one day be a self sustaining source,” said Jiggetts.

Rows of potatoes growing at the Walton County jail garden. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Rows of potatoes growing at the Walton County jail garden. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The 2014/2015 harvest includes potatoes, turnip greens, broccoli, squash, corn, carrots, and rutabaga to name a few. The harvested vegetables are consumed fresh along with blanching methods to freeze for future consumption.

The Walton County Jail partners with the State of Florida Dept. of Corrections on the garden project. Most of the work done is with manual labor with inmates who volunteer for the outside work planting and harvesting.

“Roughly $600 – $700 is saved each week. The bottom line is to save taxpayer dollars,” said Major Brian Schultz, Director of Jail Operations.

“It’s also a good supplement with no preservatives,” Schultz continued.

Schultz said the project is going well and most everyone prefers eating fresh vegetables in lieu of the canned alternative.

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Celebrate Earth Day at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center April 11

Earth day poster

Help celebrate the world we live in at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center’s annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 11th. The event, sponsored by Gulf Power and Gulf Coast Insulation, is a community festival geared towards appreciation, conservation, and promotion of positive environmental changes in our local community.

The annual festival will feature live music by the Courtyard Saints, food trucks, hands-on environmental demos and exhibits, live animal ambassadors, arts and crafts, local organizations and vendors, a children’s garden, bounce house, games, sweet treats, face painting, and much more.
Special programs throughout the day include: Amy Wright, owner of Honey Hutch, on the basics of beekeeping, Seaside Neighborhood School with their competitive robots, and the Biophilia Birds of Prey program.

Join the Biophilia Center for a family friendly day of environmental fun and entertainment aimed at educating the community about protecting and appreciating our precious Earth!

The Earth Day Festival kicks off at 10  a.m. and goes until 3 p.m.

Admission is $8 Adults, $5 Children, 2 and under Free

*The first 100 families will receive a FREE book on gopher tortoises with admission!

E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center – Tel:850-835-1824
4956 Sate Highway 20 East
Freeport, Florida 32439

Directions: Approximately 4 miles East of US-331 on Hwy 20.
Visit to learn more about this non-profit educational center.


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City of DeFuniak Springs hosting Annual Marvel of Flight Festival April 10, 11

marvelofflight1The City of DeFuniak Springs is hosting their the fifth annual fly-in/aviation festival, “Marvel of Flight.”  Event times are Friday, April 10th from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, April 11 from 9 a.m to. 4 p.m. at DeFuniak Springs Municipal Airport on Hwy 90 West.

Come experience history at the DeFuniak Springs Airport. The theme of the 2015 Marvel of Flight is “Rising Above Adversity,” honoring the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. The RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit offers spectators a unique insight into the lives of the Tuskegee Airmen and also features a fully restored P-51 Mustang static display.  In addition, a featured attraction will be the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation Wiregrass Chapter with their Huey and Cobra Helicopters.

The event not only highlights the airport but it also educates the general public about aviation.

The array of events include aircraft judging, helicopter rides in a Vietnam Era Huey and Cobra, bi-plane rides, the RE/MAX Balloon team program by RE/MAX Agency One – Crestview, pilot seminars, live entertainment, an aviation themed interactive exhibit and displays by NASA Kennedy Space Center, arts & crafts, free kids activities, car show, model rockets, RC planes, great food and much more!  This is an alcohol-free day of “hometown” fun for the entire family.

Friday afternoon the campgrounds open at 5 pm for pilots. Early evening events include the Healthmark Regional Medical Center 5k Walk/Run as well as food/live entertainment.  In addition, Monarch Aviation is hosting an opportunity for participants to meet Sonny Everett, an American aviator, author and broadcaster as well as a model rocket build and launch program for kids, pilots’ dinner and a movie.

For more information, call the airport staff at 850-892-2000 or visit the website at

Event admission: A donation of one jar of peanut butter or jelly to benefit the Matrix Community Center food bank.

2015 Exhibits:

  • NASA Kennedy Space Center-Space and Aviation
  • Southeast Alabama Rocketry Society-Model Rockets
  • Eglin Aero Modellers-RC planes
  • Aviation Art by Russell Ferris
  • Dixie Division Military Vehicle Club
  • Florida Forestry Aviation fire prevention exhibit featuring a UH-1H “Super Huey” and Cessna 182
  • 4-H Youth Development Tech Wizards Program Exhibit
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Unmanned Aerial System (drone) Exhibit
  • Patty Wagstaff Aerobatic Instruction Extra 300 Aircraft Exhibit
  • Walton High School Tuskegee Airmen Display

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Freeport Arts and Craft Festival, Easter egg hunt, and car show April 4

easterbunnyOn Saturday, April 4 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. the Town Planters Society of Freeport will be hosting their annual arts and craft festival. The festival will be held in conjunction with the annual Car Show and Easter Egg Hunt with a helicopter egg drop at 1 p.m., along with the Easter Bunny parachuting in at Noon and be on hand until 2 pm.

The events will be held at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex in Hammock Bay located off of CR83A at 671 Hammock Trail East, Freeport.

There will be arts and craft vendors, food concessions, face painting, entertainment, silent auction, and door prizes. A portion of proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society / Relay for Life. For more information call Judy Aultman 850-835-1737 or email

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