Digital Graffiti comes to Alys Beach June 4-6

digitalgraffitiDigital Graffiti at Alys Beach — a projection art festival located on Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton County, announces their 2015 festival to be held June 4-6.

27 artists from eight countries will convene at Alys Beach to showcase their digital artwork and vie for cash prizes totaling $10,000.

Utilizing the latest technologies, the finalists’ art is projected throughout the town on its iconic white walls. For more information and ticket purchase, visit digitalgraffiti.com.

Thursday, June 4, 7:30 to 9:30 PM, Curator’s Tour – Narrated by artist and curator Brett Phares, the tour is a behind-the-scenes look at some of the artwork for Digital Graffiti 2015 and some of the unique moments made possible by this year’s list of finalists from all over the world.
Friday, June 5, 8:30 to 11 PM, Gallery Stroll – Friday evening includes a meet-and-greet gallery stroll featuring some of digital artist finalists, who will be on hand to answer questions and discuss their work on display. Featuring light bites and cash bars.
Saturday, June 6, 8:30 PM to midnight, Festival – The excitement continues on Saturday with the live festival exhibit lighting up Alys Beach beginning at 8:30 p.m. and ending with the must-not-miss poolside party of the season at Caliza Pool. Featuring music, light bites and cash bars.

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Learn surf fishing at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park June 5

surffishingDate/time: Friday June 5th, 1 – 2:30 pm

Surf fishing is a popular sport along the beaches of Topsail Hill. This program will teach you what types of bait will work, what times of year certain fish can be caught, and common fish you can catch from the beach. Fishing gear is optional, the park has fishing gear. This program will take place at the Beach Access, park in the Day Use parking area and catch the 1:00pm Tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 1:00pm Tram arrives at the beach. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the tram stop, entry fee is $6.00.

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 about sharks and dolphins at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park June 12

dolphinsDate/time: Friday June 12th, 1 – 2 p.m.

Often times these two animals can be seen from the beach, this program will help you identify the differences between the two which will help you discover who’s who. There will be a discussion on what to look for and certain behaviors that can useful in spotting both creatures. Enter through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the parks clubhouse, the entry fee is $6.00.

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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Walton county fishing report for May 27

specktrout23Fishing is good!

Bay: Good trout and redfish bite in the bay.
River: Shellcracker, bass, and bream biting on popping bugs.
Salt: Pompano bite is still on although the June grass is getting in the way in some areas.

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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Panhandle Watermelon Festival in Chipley June 26 – 27

watermelon2The 59th Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival will be Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27th in Chipley, FL. Friday night entertainment will be at Pal’s Park. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and show will begin at 6 p.m. Entertainers will be Daryle Singletary, Exile and Mark Wills.

Saturday will kick off with a 5K run, then a parade at 10 a.m. Vendors and kids rides at the Ag Center on Hwy. 90. A watermelon auction and antique car show will also be on site. Entertainment for the day will be The Thompsons at 11 a.m. then Jimmy Fortune at 1:30 p.m. For more information visit panhandlewatermelon.com.

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Bream World Championships June 13

nicksredbayRed Bay Grocery and Nick’s Seafood Restaurant is hosting their 7th Annual Bream World Championships on Saturday, June 13, from 5 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Weigh in will be at from 3 – 5 p.m. at Red Bay Grocery, 8704 State Highway 81, Ponce de Leon.

Entry fee is $30 per team (up to 3 anglers). Additional anglers may be added for $10. Awards party fish fry will be held at 5 p.m. at Red Bay Grocery. All registered anglers will get a plate.

Prize Categories
Biggest Bream – 50% of total entries split 70/30
Heaviest Stringer – 30% of total entries split 70/30
Largest Non-Bream Species – 20% of total entries split 70/30
Junior Angler prize package, Lady Angler prize package

Optional Cash Awards (winner takes all)
Biggest Bream $10
Heaviest Stringer $10
Largest Non-Bream Species $10.

Call Red Bay Grocery for more information (850) 836-2220.

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Explore Lakewood Park: Florida’s highest point

A granite monument depicts Florida's highest point at Lakewood Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A granite monument depicts Florida’s highest point at Lakewood Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Walton County Park east of Paxton is lowest State high point in the U.S.

At a whopping 345 ft. above sea level, there is no need for any mountain climbing gear to get to the top of Florida’s highest point. Lakewood Park (also known as Britton Hill) in north Walton is the highest natural point in the State of Florida, and is also the lowest high point of any State in the U.S.

Located just east of Paxton, Lakewood Park is a small county park sporting pavilion picnic area, a restroom and short hiking trails. The trails are an easy walk through a small hardwood forest of mostly even terrain. It offers three paths to choose from: .45 mile, .52 mile and .71 mile.

Known as Britton Hill to the locals and explorers, the namesake comes from a former lumber mill baron, William Henry Britton who developed the area in the early 1900s.

If you are exploring north Walton County, or headed to Florala, it is worth a stop.

Directions: Take U.S. Hwy 331 north. Turn east on Co. Hwy. 147E just south of Paxton. Turn left on N. Co. Hwy 285. The park is on the left. ::MAP::

Explore the park from the air with Walton County resident and drone flyer Fred Provost:

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Movie, food, and fun at Camp Helen State Park June 3

EDIT_FINAL_Camp Helen Movies_flierDate/time: June 3, 5:30 p.m.

Camp Helen State Park is offering a summer full of movies, food and fun with a series of family-oriented movies, interpretive programs, and old-fashioned campfire cookouts.

On Wednesday, June 3, the “The Little Mermaid” will be featured. In it, a mermaid princess named Ariel falls in love with a human prince on one of the forbidden trips she takes to dry land. She makes a dangerous deal with a sea witch to become human for three days. (Rated G). The interpretive program will be on crabs.

The evening will start at 5:30 p.m. in the Recreation Hall with a brief interpretive program led by Florida Park Rangers or other experts. The program will be followed by a cookout including hotdogs and s’mores, provided by the Friends of Camp Helen. Each evening will end with a family movie in the Recreation Hall, where seating will be provided.

A parent or guardian must accompany children.

These special movie nights are sponsored by Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, Camping World, and the Friends of Camp Helen State Park. Admission into the park is free, although donations are accepted. Donations will go directly to the Friends of Camp Helen State Park to benefit the park’s resource management projects and interpretive programs.

Driving Directions
Camp Helen is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL, just west of the Phillips Inlet bridge on the Bay County and Walton county line. The entrance is south of U.S. Hwy 98. ::MAP::

More information is available at www.friendsofcamphelen.org, facebook.com/FriendsOfCampHelenStatePark, by calling (850) 233-5059, or by emailing [email protected].

 

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New park along Clyde B. Wells Bridge to be named after lifelong Walton county resident

An artist rendering of the Thomas Pilcher Park slated to open in the summer of 2016.

An artist rendering of the Thomas Pilcher Park slated to open in the summer of 2016.

Once the construction on U.S. Hwy. 331 is finished along the Clyde B. Wells Bridge, there will be a welcome enhancement to those that enjoy recreating along the Choctawhatchee Bay. A new park will be on the eastern side of the waterway that will boast a fishing pier, boat ramps, picnic areas, and restrooms.

The park will be named after Thomas Pilcher, a lifelong Walton county resident. Pilcher spent many years of his life working along the bay for the Florida Dept. of Conservation as boating safety officer, working search and rescue, and enforcing fishing regulations back in the 60s and 70s. He passed away in 2007.

Pilcher enjoyed working and spending time on the Choctawhatchee Bay and was a major influence in creating a deep boat ramp for vessels to launch along the causeway.

“It was quite a moving moment when I heard the news,” said Pilchers’ son Patrick. “My father was outspoken when it came to having good public access along the bay.”

“My dad assisted U.S. Fish and Wildlife in its effort to establish the initial striped bass stocking program on the Choctawhatchee. This, I believe, preceded the stocking program by the State of Florida many years later. He also monitored the numerous oyster beds planted throughout the Bay. These beds thrived for many years but have pretty much dwindled away” Patrick added.

The District Three Florida Department of Transportation says the conceptual park rendering is close to what the park will look like when completed. They note the concept is draft and subject to change. The park’s completion will coincide with the highway’s completion, slated for the summer of 2016.

Amenities of the park are:

  • 380 ft. wooden fishing pier
  • Four boat ramps
  • Six, 55 ft. docks along the boat ramps
  • Three 24’ x 24’ picnic shelters
  • Restrooms
  • Three fishing platforms
  • Scenic overlook
  • Parking for 21 boat trailers and 71 spaces for other vehicles
  • ADA access

Click here to see more details of the proposed plans.

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Memorial Day services in Walton County May 25

americanflagGum Creek Cemetery, Glendale
8 a.m. – Gum Creek Cemetery is thought to be 160 years old. As such, it marks the final resting place for veterans from America’s wars as far back as the early 19th century, with 12 known Civil War Veterans and one confirmed Seminole War Veteran. There are many veterans from 20th Century conflicts buried in the cemetery.
Gum Creek Cemetery will be hosting their annual Memorial Day Remembrance May 25 and a celebration event to recognize the lives of those lost in battle, as well as our active and retired service men and women. The guest speaker for this year’s event will be retired Major Wade Wilmoth. Major Wilmoth is a veteran of Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Major Wilmoth is currently a family care giver for the Wounded Warrior Project. For additional information please contact Tom Baker at 850-951-7278.

Gum Creek Cemetery is located just off SR-83 north of DeFuniak Springs.

DeFuniak Springs Courthouse Lawn
10 a.m. – Memorial Day will be observed on the Walton County Courthouse lawn. Everyone is invited to this short patriotic ceremony.

Gulf Cemetery, Santa Rosa Beach
10 a.m. – Gulf Cemetery will be hosting their Memorial Day service with a variety of activities starting at 10 a.m.
• Presentation of Colors by the Emerald Coast Young Marines and Vernon Bishop.
• Keynote remarks by Rev. Don Ullrich, Col. U.S.A.F. retired
• Bagpiper Robert Andruss of Emerald Coast Pipe and Drums
• Patriotic music by Nancy Jo Willis, Anita Sloan, and James McDowell
• Invocation and benediction of Rev. Pete Hyde of Community Church
• Remembering our Veterans by Janet Frost and Windy Williams
• Honoring our fallen heroes and our loved ones who have gone before us
• Flyover by antique WWII vintage planes by The War Birds
• Invitation to the public to place American flags on all known veterans grave sites.

Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin
Enjoy a Memorial Day program just before sunset, presented by Sandestin Veterans at Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin. Admission is free and open to the public.

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