American roots music concert at Camp Helen State Park lodge Dec. 6

camphelenlodgeThe Friends of Camp Helen State Park are hosting a Saturday concert series. The concerts will be held in the lodge from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

On Sat., Dec. 6, Eric Taylor will perform. “The William Faulkner of songwriting, Eric Taylor” will perform as the first in the series.  A songwriter/singer from Texas, he brings his uniquely American voice to Camp Helen.  Acoustic Guitar magazine describes him as putting his audience down in the middle of a story and making them care.  Taylor has written songs with and for Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith, among other notables.

Lrearn more about Taylor at

Come join in for a unique series of concerts featuring the best American Roots musicians touring the country today. This impressive series of indoor concerts at Camp Helen’s historic log cabin style lodge is sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park. The series is hosted by Lucky Mud.

Free admission into the park, with donation requested. Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to be used to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs. Refreshments available. Call 850-233-5059 for more information

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DeFuniak Springs Christmas parade Dec. 13

Folks from around DeFuniak Springs will be lining up along Circle Drive to enjoy the annual DeFuniak Springs Christmas Parade on Dec. 13, 2014. Hosted by the DeFuniak Springs Woman’s Club, the parade will feature a variety of colorful floats and marching bands.

Parade starts at 1 p.m.

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Head to DeFuniak Springs and cut your own tree at Strickland’s Christmas Tree Farm

Linda and Cody Strickland welcome you to Strickland's Christmas Tree Farm in DeFuniak Springs. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Linda and Cody Strickland welcome you to Strickland’s Christmas Tree Farm in DeFuniak Springs. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Leyland cypress, Southern Red Cedar, Arizona Blue Ice Cypress available

Bring back an old holiday tradition, or start a new one as you select and cut down your Christmas tree at Strickland’s Christmas Tree Farm. Located in DeFuniak Springs, the farm is owned by Cody and Linda Strickland. The 60-acre farm is one of the largest in Florida, and offers three varieties: Leyland Cypress, Southern Red Cedar and Arizona Blue Ice Cypress. The Strickland’s have now planted Virginia Pine and Florida Pine for future harvest.

Started in the early ’60s by Strickland’s grandfather with just a few trees, popularity soon grew, and more trees were planted every year. Practicing good stewardship, this third generation farm has expanded to more than 10,000 trees.

More than 60 acres of Christmas trees at Strickland's farm. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

More than 60 acres of Christmas trees at Strickland’s farm. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

“We replant a minimum of three times what we sell,” said Cody Strickland.

There are three types of trees to chose from – Leyland cypress, red cedar or Arizona Blue Ice.

Pricing is $7/ft. up to 8 ft., $8.00/ft. 8 1/2 – 10 ft. tall, $9.00/ft. 10 1/2 – 12 ft. tall, $10/ft. 12 1/2 ft. tall, $11/ft. 14 1/2 – 16 ft., $12/ft. 16 1/2 – 18 ft., $13/ft. 18 1/2 – 20 ft., $14/ft. 20 1/12 – 22 ft., $15/ft. 22 1/2 and up. A 10% discount is offered to military personnel. Delivery is available, inquire for prices. Wholesale pricing is offered for more than 20 trees.

Arizona Blue Ice Cypress is one of the varieties of Christmas trees you can choose from at Strickland's Christmas Tree Farm. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoor

Arizona Blue Ice Cypress is one of the varieties of Christmas trees you can choose from at Strickland’s Christmas Tree Farm. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoor

Tree stands, preservatives and removal bags are available on site. Hand saws are provided in addition to assistance cutting trees down if needed. Measuring poles are also available. Baling is offered for a minimal fee in addition to shaking to rid the trees of bugs.

Hot chocolate, soft drinks and snacks will be available.

Strickland Tree Farm is located at 1602 Kidd Road (CR183) in DeFuniak Springs. Their hours are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. – Sat. 12 – 5 p.m. Sun. Trees will be available from the day after Thanksgiving until Dec. 22. For more information, call (850) 951-1005 ::Map::

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Choctawhatchee Audubon programs and events for December 2014

CAScolorlogoDecember 4: Monthly Meeting and Program: Pictorial Survey of Birds that are Rare or Difficult to Identify during the Christmas Bird Count by Alan Knothe, biologist.  The Christmas Bird Count is an internationally recognized survey monitoring the population of birds.  Alan, a noted local birding expert, will explain the key identification features for rare or unusual sightings using high quality digital photography. The meeting will be held in Room 130 of the new Student Services Building at Northwest Fla. State College. Socializing begins at 6:30 PM, and the program begins at 7:00. Admission is free and open to the interested public. Call Walt Spence at 850-582-7461 for more info.

December 13: Annual Members Christmas Party will be held at the home of Kay and Gary Parsons in Niceville. There will be a silent auction with birding themed items and a covered dish dinner, BYOB. To make reservations and get directions, call Gary or Kay at 678-1461.

December 15: Christmas Bird Count. Join in the nation’s largest citizen science project. Have positions available for spotters and recorders. No experience is necessary, but be prepared to start early on this day-long event.  Call Alan Knothe for more information at 850-208-1780.

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Historic Wesley house at Eden Gardens State Park decorated for the holidays, Candlelight Tour Dec. 20

Each room of the Wesley house is elaborately decorated for the holidays. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Each room of the Wesley house is elaborately decorated for the holidays. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Holiday spirit brings good cheer to Wesley house

Eden Gardens State Park and the Friends of Eden invite you to join them for a tour of the Wesley House through the holidays. All of the rooms of the historic home have been decorated with Christmas cheer in a variety of different themes by local organizations.

Tours of the Wesley House are Thursday – Monday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., every hour on the hour. The Christmas decorations will be up through Dec. 31. The rest of the park is open 7 days a week.

On Dec. 20, from 5 – 8 p.m., enjoy the Candlelight Tour, with a traditional walk through the luminaries to the Historic Wesley House to enjoy it’s beautifully seasonally decorated rooms. After the tour, the Friends of Eden will be providing refreshments in the pavilion. It’s an evening meant to be enjoyed by all who attend. Donations to the Friends of Eden Gardens are welcome and appreciated.  Admission fees to the park and the event are waived.
 Contact: (850) 267-8320. ::MAP::

Several organizations and groups decorated the rooms of the Wesley House with a specific theme.

Sunporch:  ValleyCrest Landscape Maintenance. Their room will be appropriately themed as a “Wooded Wonderland” bringing elements of the beautiful nature that surrounds us.

Dining Room: The Church Support Circle of Point Washington United Methodist Church ladies “Dreaming of a White Christmas” of elegant dining at Eden.

Library:  The Historic Point Washington Association have enjoyed decorating at the Wesley Mansion for the last 7 years.  This year’s theme is “ A Victorian Christmas Tea in the Library.”

Parlor:  Green Thumb Garden Club’s theme this year is “A Garden Party Christmas.”
Downstairs Entry and Stairway:  The Heritage Center of Freeport – “Candy Cane Lane”  is this year’s festive theme to greet you when you come into the Wesley House.

Upstairs Landing:  Path of Grace has the theme of “Candy Land.”

The Upstairs Sitting Room:  “Frozen in Time” is this year’s theme for the blue sitting room, making beautiful use of the blue, crystals and an icy theme from the Durbin family and friends.

Details of one of the Valley Crest tree. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Details of the Valley Crest tree. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Details of one of the decorated trees. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Blue Bedroom: Ali Weil of Nest30A provided a “Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Wesleys”  theme.

The Children’s Bedroom: South Walton Montessori Academy theme is “A Children’s Victorian Christmas.” All decorations are hand made by the lower elementary students aged 6 to 9.

Red Bedroom:  Beth Barron of Designer for a Day pays homage to her Mississippi roots with “Magnolias and Pearls.”

Pink Bedroom: Birchberry  Natural Home Spa’s theme – “A Child’s Christmas Dream.”

The Friends of Eden decorate the outside of the Wesley house and also the inside and outside of the Pavilion. Jim Foley and his “Merry Men and Women” will be placing the illuminations again this year for the Candlelight Open House on December 20th from 5 – 9 p.m.

About Eden Gardens State Park
One of the most beautiful parks in Walton County sits along Tucker Bayou in Point Washington in South Walton. Large moss covered live oaks, gardens, walking trails and panoramic views of the bayou provide a visual delight for the visitor to this dynamic and historic State Park.

The focal point of the park is the two-story Wesley house with large white columns and wrap-around porch. Originally owned by the Wesley’s a wealthy Florida timber family, the mansion was purchased in 1963 by Lois Maxon who renovated the home, and created a showplace for family heirlooms and antiques. The collection of Louis XVI furniture is the second largest in the United States. The house is now owned by the State of Florida, and is the centerpiece of the park.

Hours of Operation
The park is open 7 days a week. Guided tours of the Wesley house are available hourly Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (including holidays)

Eden Gardens State Park is located in Point Washington, off U.S. 98 on C.R. 395.
For more information, call (850) 267-8320.
181 Eden Garden Road, Point Washington, Fl. 32459

The parks website is
Park Fees
$4.00 per vehicle
$2.00 for Bikes and Peds
$4.00 per adult house tour, children free

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DeFuniak Springs Christmas parade Dec. 13

DFSxmasparadeFolks from around DeFuniak Springs will be lining up along Circle Drive to enjoy the annual DeFuniak Springs Christmas Parade on Dec. 13, 2014. The parade is open to everyone who wishes to participate. Individuals, churches, businesses and clubs are welcome. There is no registration fee, however, donations are accepted. Registration is required and pre-registration is highly recommended. Late entries may also register on the day of the parade at the intersection of Park Avenue and Hubbard. Entrants are encouraged to participate on foot, bicycle, horseback, vintage car or float. Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded. Those who want to be judged at the parade must be in their formation area and ready by 11:15am. Participants are asked to decorate all entries with a Christmas Holiday theme.

This year a few changes in the formation guidelines will be in place due to the construction around the middle school. Basically, instead of lining up at the middle school, we will be using Park Avenue as designated by the DFS Police Department. The parade will still follow its normal route which is down Hubbard around the circle and returning to Hubbard.

There will be no rain date for the parade.

To receive a registration and parade information packet, please call Cate Campbell at 850-368-8953. You may also email your request to

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Walton county fishing report for Nov. 19

specktrout23Fishing is good!

Choctawhatchee Bay area: Flounder bite winding down. Trout and red bite still on with light colored Gulf shrimp, 1/4 oz. jig heads, and tiny flukes.

Mann’s Bait will be hosting a trout and bass seminar at Copeland’s Gun and Tackle on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 9 a.m.

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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South Walton Fire District hosting Elf Ride Dec. 7

elfrideThe South Walton Fire District (SWFD) will be hosting their 7th Annual Elf Ride on Dec. 7th, 2014. Elves of all ages will meet at the Seaside Post Office at 1 p.m. and bicycle/walk to SWFD’s Water Color Station located at 2109 CR 395 South, Seagrove (approx. 1.5 miles).

Please bring an unwrapped toy to benefit the SWFD Angel Tree. Refreshments and a tour of the fire station as well as the fire trucks will be on hand. Wear your Santa or elf hat and decorate your bike! Parent(s) must accompany all children.

In case of inclement weather, toys may be dropped off at the Water Color Station on Dec. 7. For more information contact Robbie Lund at or Luke Thompson at

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E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center hosting a Winter Wonderland Dec. 6

winterwonderland6E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is hosting a Winter Wonderland Event ​on Saturday, December 6, ​from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities will include a live penguin show at 11:00 & 11:45, holiday themed photo-booth, gingerbread house decorating, Florida snow machine, games, story time,  children’s crafts, plus an appearance by Santa at 1:00 p.m.

The event is sponsored in part by Lord and Sons Construction and The Silver Mine Inc.  ​General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children. Children two and under free. Please visit to learn more about this non-profit educational center or call 835-1824.

E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center

4956 State Hwy 20 East

Freeport, Florida 32439

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Ice skating offered at Village of Baytowne Wharf through Feb. 2

iceskatingFor those visitors who miss the cold and ice, the ice skating rink at The Village of Baytowne Wharf is the perfect opportunity to get into the winter spirit. The seasonal ice skating rink has become a local holiday favorite. For $11* guests can skate for an hour and a half. Skate rental is available for $2*.

The first hour of each day is reserved for “kids skate” for youths 12 and under.

2013-2014 Ice Rink Hours of Operation

Times are subject to change. Stop by The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Facebook Page for unscheduled closures of Baytowne on Ice. The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Facebook


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