Upcoming Events

:: Ongoing ::

Farmer’s markets every Saturday and Sunday

tomatoesSeaside Amphitheater – Saturday, Market Shops Sandestin Sunday
Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Come and reap the benefits of purchasing locally grown food as local farmers and vendors offer their wares. Fresh eggs, vegetables and fruit, honey, breads, cookies, cheeses, milk, organic chickens and broth, handmade jewelry, soaps and more. Buying locally grown food benefits you and our community. ::MAP::

WaterColor Coastal Farmers Market
The WaterColor Community Association is hosting the WaterColor Coastal Farmers Market at Cerulean Park on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The market is open to the public. The market has an array of items to choose from with more than 30 participating vendors. Items such as local farm-fresh produce, eggs, and dairy products will be available. There will also be a large variety of organic and homemade items and artwork.

Rosemary Beach Barrett Square – Sunday 
Reap fresh produce and more from local farmers on Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Rosemary Beach. Market located on N. Barrett Square.

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Upcoming canoe/kayak/stand up paddleboard paddles in Northwest Florida

The West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club and the Florida Panhandle Canoe & Kayak Connection offer a variety of paddles in the Northwest Florida Panhandle.

Guests are welcome on trips as long as they have the skills to safely navigate the waters being paddled.  Guests must sign a waiver form and have an Eglin Recreational Pass if the trip is on the Air Force Base.  Paddlers must supply their own boat.

Area stand up paddle board clubs:
Paddle Destin
Panama City Paddleboard Club

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Take a hike or a paddle with the Florida Trail Association

The Walton area has two Florida Trail Groups, Choctawhatchee and Panhandle Chapters. Click the links below for upcoming events:

Click here for Choctawhatchee Chapter

Click here for Panhandle Chapter

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Americana under the Stars every Thursday at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

luckymudTime: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Starting with an open mic at 6:30 p.m. in the amphitheater/clubhouse Topsail presents an evening of music. Free admission into park and a suggested donation of $5 goes to the Friends of Topsail Hill. Bring a chair, your favorite beverage and enjoy some music in the park. This is family/ pet friendly and fun for all ages.
April 2nd – Richard del Val
April 9th– Lydia Smith
April 16th– Larry Mangum
April 23rd– Lucky Mud
April 30th– The Obscure Bothers

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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Butterfly lecture in Santa Rosa Beach April 1

The Walton County Master Gardeners will be hosting butterfly expert, MaryAnn Friedman in Santa Rosa Beach on April 1. The program will be from 10 – 11:30 a.m. in the Community Room at Padgett Park located at 810 JD Miller Road, which runs north off US 98 just west of the intersection with US 331 in Santa Rosa Beach.

MaryAnn will give a beautiful digital photographic record of her experiences in the field searching for butterfly data and will offer suggestions on how to promote butterfly conservation.

The Florida Panhandle is home to some of Florida’s rarest species of butterflies.  Our area offers a variety of different ecosystems and large undeveloped conservation tracts which harbor a rich diversity of wildlife.  Many of these conservation lands have undergone huge changes from both manmade and natural factors.

We’ve become accustomed to enjoying the fall migration of monarchs, but will it always be this way?  Most of our native butterflies seem to be thriving, yet certain species are in severe decline.

For three years MaryAnn Friedman of Niceville worked as the Western Panhandle Regional Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant entitled: A Statewide Assessment of the Current Status and Distribution of FNAI’s Tracked Butterfly Species on Florida’s Conservation Lands. A team of biologists and a group of dedicated “citizen scientists” traveled across Florida to monitor existing populations and to seek out previously unknown populations of our most vulnerable butterflies, compile and map occurrences and draw some conclusions on management techniques which might be helping or harming various species.

These programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions. Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

Seating is limited and reservations must be made by calling Cheryl at 850-892-8172 by Monday before the event.

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Coastal Dune Lakes documentary screening April 2

Western Lake by Elam Stoltzfus.On Thursday, April 2nd at 7:30 p.m., filmmaker Elam Stoltzfus will be premiering his Coastal Dune Lakes documentary. The film chronicles the treasured coastal dune lakes of south Walton county.

The one-hour film will be show at Watersound Origins clubhouse, 530 Pathways Drive, Watersound, FL. 32413

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to www.coastaldunelakes.org.

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Growing tomatoes workshop in DeFuniak Springs April 3

tomatoes2The UF/IFAS – Walton County Extension with the Master Gardeners will hold their 7th Annual Growing Totally Tomatoes Workshop in DeFuniak Springs on Friday, April 3 from 2 – 3 p.m.  It will be held at the Defuniak Springs Walton Extension Office, 732 N 9th Street, next to the Fairgrounds.

Learn about plant selection, garden location, alternate growing spaces, soil requirements, maintenance and other topics.   It is fun to grow healthy, tasty tomatoes for you and your family to enjoy.

The cost is $10 to include all materials and tomato plants to take home.  Registration is required by the Monday before the workshop.  Call Cheryl at 850-892-8172 or send your check made out to: Walton County Advisory/Tomatoes; please indicate which program location and send to the Walton County Extension, 732 N 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

Master Gardeners will be on hand to sell additional tomatoes (4 inch pot for $2 or 3 for $5) following the program and to take gardening questions.  Tomato varieties include Amelia, Fletcher, German Johnson, Super Sweet 100 and Early Girl.  These hybrids have been tested and grown at the University of Florida and are known to be good performers for Florida.

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Take a guided hike of No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 3

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: Friday April 3, 1 – 2 p.m.

Coastal dune lakes are extremely unique and rare worldwide. During this hike Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Rangers will lead you through the various ecosystems that make this park unique. This hike will lead you to one of the lakes in the park, No Name Lake. Be sure to bring your binoculars, sunscreen, and water. The trail is paved and the hike is approximately 2 miles long. Entry fee into the park is $6.00 per car. The hike will leave from Tram Stop 1 in the day use parking area.

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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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 judyaultman@gmail.com.

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Camp Helen history tour April 4

camphelenhistorytourTime: 10 – 10:45 a.m.
The Department of Environmental Protection’s Camp Helen State Park invites you to their history walk at Camp Helen State Park. Come learn about the early history of the park and local area while wandering on a guided tour around Camp Helen’s restored historical buildings. The history walk takes place the first Saturday of each month.

Participation Requirements:
• Must have the ability to follow visual and/or verbal instruction independently or with the assistance of a companion.
• Must have the ability to withstand exposure to the outdoors for a period of 1- 2 hours.
• Must have the ability to traverse wet, sloped, and uneven terrain for .5 -1 miles, independently or with the assistance of a companion.

Fees: The tour is free with paid park admission fee of $4.00 per vehicle. Please use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 8 people per vehicle.
$2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
Contact: (850) 233-5059 ::MAP::

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Firearms training in DeFuniak Springs April 4

firearms1Would you like to learn more about the basic fundamentals of operating a firearm in a classroom environment, followed by practical exercises and some shooting?  Or have you recently purchased a weapon and want to be more proficient?  Then this is the class for you.

The Walton County Sheriff’s Office Basic Civilian Firearms Safety Program is hosting a six hour course that details the basic safety and shooting fundamentals for most handguns. The course will be held on April 4, 2015, and  instructed by members of the WCSO Training section.  Completion of the course allows participants to apply for their concealed carry permit and packets are provided to course attendees.

The class will take place on Saturday, April 4th at the Sheriff’s Office Firing Range located at 752 Triple G Road, Defuniak Springs. Basics class is from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., advanced class is 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. There is non-refundable course fee of $50 and seats are guaranteed after payment has been received.  A complete application is required, and a background check will be conducted prior to acceptance.  To register please click here.

Participants should bring 50 rounds of ammunition for their weapon. Firearms can be provided by the WCSO to attendees so that they can make an educated decision before they buy.  If you need to use an agency firearm, please contact with Deputy Chris Strawn at cstrawn@waltonso.org prior to class so arrangements can be made. For more information please contact the WCSO Training Section at 850-892-8186.

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Bluewater Bay Cultural Arts Festival April 4

artfest2015Bluewater Bay Marina Complex is hosting their third annual Bluewater Bay Cultural Arts Festival set for April 4th from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

The Bluewater Bay Cultural Arts fest is a unique event featuring local and regional artists, covering a large spectrum of art mediums including watercolors, glass art, custom skim boards and long boards, folk art, one of a kind jewelry, photography, classical guitar children’s activities and more.

Grayton Beer, everyone’s favorite local brewers, will conduct a beer tasting from 3-5 pm on the afternoon of the Art Fest.  Sample their 30-A Beach Blonde, the crisp White Dunes, The Grayton Beer Pale Ale and many others.

Bluewater Bay Marina will host a kickoff party on Thursday, April 2 from 6-9 p.m.  LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant, located at the Bluewater Bay Marina Complex, will be transformed into a virtual gallery. Adorned with the artwork of nine, jury selected artisans, LJ Schooners Dockside Restaurant, LJ Schooners Oyster Bar and the Bluewater Bay Marina Complex Ship store will open all of their hatches and doors for an artist meet and greet. The sibling duo, comprised of Dannica Lowery (Best Female Vocalist-Beachcomber Music Awards 2015) and Ben Parsons, will regale the crowd with their “FOLKED UP” guitar and mandolin hits.

The Bluewater Bay Marina Cultural Arts Fest is free and open to the public. For more information please visit www.bluewaterbaymarina.com, or contact Colleen Hinely at cehinelyphotography@earthlink.net

The Bluewater Bay Marina Complex is located at 290 Yacht Club Dr. (off of Bay Drive in the Bluewater Bay Community, east of Niceville). Rain date for the event is April 11.

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Duck Olympics fundraiser in Seaside April 5

duckolympicsTime: 12 Noon – 3 p.m.

Head over to Seaside on April 5th as Duckies Shop of Fun in Seaside hosts an afternoon of fun for a good cause. From 12 Noon – 3 p.m. there will be a temporary lazy river pool with thousands of ducks that may be “adopted” for $5.00. By adopting a duck you will be eligible to receive a chance a winning some great items such as a YOLO board, vacations, restaurant gift certificates, and more.

All of the proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics Florida – Walton County chapter.  To adopt a duck go to: http://www.duckolympics.com.

Special Olympics transforms lives through the joy of sport, every day, everywhere. For more than 40 years, Special Olympics Florida has been spreading the message that people with intellectual disabilities can – and will – succeed when given the chance.

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Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza in DeFuniak Springs April 5

eastereggDGE Entertainment is hosting an Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza in DeFuniak Springs April 5th. The event will be held at Pat Covell Park Quebec Ave., Defuniak Springs, FL

Music from DJ 2Freaky

3:00 p.m. will be the Defuniak Springs Street Basket Ball Challenge
5:00 p.m. Will be the Easter Egg Hunt
The 1st Hunt will be kids from 3 -  6y yrs old
The 2nd Hunt Will be kids from 7y – 12 yrs old

The winners will receive the annual Peter Cotton Tail trophy. Presentation of the trophies will be at 6 p.m. Parents bring Easter baskets for the kids. Hot off the grill delicious Jamaican and American food will be offered by Super K. For more information contact Don 850-333-2684

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Learn about WWII history and more in a guided tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve April 8

JB2 on launch track. Photo courtesy Coffeen Nature Preserve.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

April 8, April 25, May 6, May 16

Time: 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing.   Join Susan Paladini, 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 1½ 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.

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

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Seagrove Garden Club meets April 8

seagrovegardenclubSeagrove Garden Club members will be treated to an Easter Garden Tour for their April 8, 2015 meeting. The gardens of Nina McCaslin Horn (Seagrove) and Judye Harris (White Cliffs) will welcome touring SGGC members before brunch at The Bowery at Red Fish Village, 2052 W. Co. Hwy. 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Fl. 32459.

The cost to members is approximately $20.00, depending on the venue. Guests will be an additional $5.00. Reservations are required for all meetings. If you would like to attend a meeting or would like more information on membership, please contact Membership Co-Chair: Julie Bogenreif 850-591-4811 mbogenreif@hotmail.com. Or Patsy Gaines-Powell 850-278-6588 patsygaines@gmail.com. For reservations: Dianne Smith 850-866-6691 diannie 168@yahoo.com.

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Butterfly lecture in DeFuniak Springs April 8

The Walton County Master Gardeners will be hosting butterfly expert, MaryAnn Friedman in DeFuniak Springs on Wednesday, April 8.

The event will be from 2 – 3 p.m. at the Walton County Extension Office at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs.

MaryAnn will give a beautiful digital photographic record of her experiences in the field searching for butterfly data and will offer suggestions on how to promote butterfly conservation.

The Florida Panhandle is home to some of Florida’s rarest species of butterflies.  Our area offers a variety of different ecosystems and large undeveloped conservation tracts which harbor a rich diversity of wildlife.  Many of these conservation lands have undergone huge changes from both manmade and natural factors.

We’ve become accustomed to enjoying the fall migration of monarchs, but will it always be this way?  Most of our native butterflies seem to be thriving, yet certain species are in severe decline.

For three years MaryAnn Friedman of Niceville worked as the Western Panhandle Regional Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Grant entitled: A Statewide Assessment of the Current Status and Distribution of FNAI’s Tracked Butterfly Species on Florida’s Conservation Lands. A team of biologists and a group of dedicated “citizen scientists” traveled across Florida to monitor existing populations and to seek out previously unknown populations of our most vulnerable butterflies, compile and map occurrences and draw some conclusions on management techniques which might be helping or harming various species.

These programs are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions. Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

Seating is limited and reservations must be made by calling Cheryl at 850-892-8172 by Monday before the event.

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Getting to Know the Natives – Garden and Trail Tour offered by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance in April and May

 Dates offered: April 8, April 22, May 5, May 20

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County. Get acquainted with the local flora and fauna as you enjoy a guided tour of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden and Trail at Northwest Florida State College (South Walton Center). Plants featured in the Garden, Trail and Wildflower Meadow are critical to habitat preservation, providing food and shelter for hundreds of species of pollinators, amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals.  The area is mostly handicap accessible. It is established as a teaching/demonstration/leisure site for students and the general public.  Session will include an overview/introduction followed by a two-hour docent led walk, approximately 1 mile. Appropriate for all ages. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Time: 3 – 5 p.m. Space is limited to 16 participants. Minimum of 4 required.

Location: South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Fee: $15

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Food For Thought Golf Tournament April 9

foodforthoughtThe Annual Food For Thought Golf Tournament returns Thursday April 9th to the beautiful course at the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club.  The 4th annual event, presented by Sunburst Beach Vacations and A Superior Air Conditioning, will help raise money for an ever-expanding program at their organization.  Team registration and hole sponsorships are now available.

To register a team or to become a sponsor, click here

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Learn how to surf fish at Topsail Hill Preserve Sate Park April 10

surffishingDate/time: Friday April 10th, 1 – 2 p.m.

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 gear to lend. 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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Growing tomatoes workshop in Santa Rosa Beach April 10

tomatoes2The UF/IFAS – Walton County Extension with the Master Gardeners will hold their 7th Annual Growing Totally Tomatoes Workshop at the on Friday, April 10, from 10 – 11:30 a.m. It will be held at the Coastal Branch Extension Office, 70 Logan Lane (west off CR 283 just north of the 4-way stop).

Learn about plant selection, garden location, alternate growing spaces, soil requirements, maintenance and other topics.   It is fun to grow healthy, tasty tomatoes for you and your family to enjoy.

The cost is $10 to include all materials and tomato plants to take home.  Registration is required by the Monday before the workshop.  Call Cheryl at 850-892-8172 or send your check made out to: Walton County Advisory/Tomatoes; please indicate which program location and send to the Walton County Extension, 732 N 9th Street, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433

Master Gardeners will be on hand to sell additional tomatoes (4 inch pot for $2 or 3 for $5) following the program and to take gardening questions. Tomato varieties include Amelia, Fletcher, German Johnson, Super Sweet 100 and Early Girl.  These hybrids have been tested and grown at the University of Florida and are known to be good performers for Florida.

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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 www.marvelofflight.com.

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

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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 www.eowilsoncenter.org to learn more about this non-profit educational center.

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Have breakfast with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 11

rangerDate/time: Saturday April 11, 9 – 10 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you and your family to Breakfast with a Ranger. Join the Rangers of Topsail Hill to learn about the park, its history and to ask them all the questions you can think of about the park its wildlife and anything in between. This program is ideal for the whole family to enjoy. To cover the cost of food, please bring $5.00, which goes to Friends of Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to enhance the park or bring your own breakfast. Enter the park through the main gate and park staff will direct you to the clubhouse.

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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Take a guided canoe trip of Campbell Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 17

rangersmDate/time: Friday April 17th, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join Topsail for a unique opportunity to paddle Campbell Lake. Located within the heart of Topsail Hill, Campbell Lake is the largest of the parks two coastal dune lakes. You will join the ranger as he leads you to various points around the lake and discusses what makes this lake as well as the others in the area so unique. No outside canoes or kayaks are allowed on the lake so space is limited to 10 people for each trip. A signup sheet will be available in the ranger station from April 1st until April 16th and will be on a first come first serve basis. Meet at tram stop 1 by 11:30 am on April 27th to catch the tram to the lake. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the tram stop 1, 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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Enjoy Stargazing at Henderson Beach State Park April 17

starsDate/time: Friday, April 17, from 4:15-10 p.m.

Henderson Beach State Park will host a star gazing program. Volunteers from the Northwest Florida Astronomy Association will set up several telescopes for public viewing of star clusters, planets, and galaxies and answer questions about the night sky. Also, prior to sunset, their telescopes will be equipped for safe viewing of the sun. The park will close at sunset which is 7:14PM.  All those attending the star gaze should arrive prior to sunset. Come early and bring a picnic dinner to enjoy the sunset. If bringing a flashlight it is recommended that it is covered with a red lens.

Fees:  Program included in the park admission fee. Contact: (850) 837-7550 for more information.

Directions:  Henderson Beach State Park is located in Okaloosa County, on Highway 98 just east of Destin.

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Coastal Branch Library hosting ‘Geocaching 101′ April 18

Geocache-4The Walton County Coastal Library is hosting “Geocaching 101” on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. the event will be presented by Dorothee R. Bennett and Vicky Stever in the community room of the library. Geocaching is a high-tech, outdoor treasure hunt for all ages with over 2 million geocaches worldwide. Bring your smart phone or GPS if you own one. An indoor presentation will be followed by an outdoor activity.

Registration is appreciated, walk-ins are welcome. Free for the public. For more information, call Linda at 850-267-2809. Coastal Branch Library, 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

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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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Pleasant Ridge Arena hosts Neigh and Bray fun show April 18

Pleasant Ridge Arena in DeFuniak Springs is hosting a Neigh and Bray Fun Show. Sponsored by owners Diana and Rex Brannon, young children will enjoy stick races, and lead line while the more seasoned riders will compete in pole bending, barrel racing Western and English pleasure and more. There is a class for everyone and every breed. The Neigh and Bray show is held the third Saturday of every month. To find out more, go to their website at pleasantridgearena.com. Phone: (850) 892-5398. Show starts at 4 p.m. and is free for spectators.

Location: Pleasant Ridge Arena is located at 1917 Pleasant Ridge Road in DeFuniak Springs.

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Learn the basics of surf fishing at Grayton Beach State Park April 22

surffishingDate/time: April 22, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

A Grayton Beach park ranger 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)

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided tour of the wet prairies of Grayton Beach State Park April 22

firstdayhikesgrayton2Dates/time: April 22, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Join the Park Ranger for an informative tour of some of the park’s Wet Prairie Restoration areas. Learn the importance of these areas, which endangered plants call them home, and how swamp titi trees impact the hydrology and flora of these areas. The ranger will discuss the importance of the prescribed fire program at Grayton Beach State Park, explaining how fire is a necessity for habitat restoration, wildlife management, and decreasing loading fuels to help with the prevention of wildfires.

Appropriate for ages 8 and up. Difficulty is moderate. Participants will hike approximately 2 – 2.5 miles out to one of the restoration sites and then hike back. The topography is not level. It is also sandy/muddy in areas. Participants should bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, and a hat. Participants must wear appropriate hiking/walking attire. NO OPEN-TOED SHOES, SANDALS, OR FLIP-FLOPS ALLOWED. Pets are not allowed on this walk. Pets cannot be left unattended at any time or in a vehicle. Event is subject to cancellation due to bad weather, unforeseen situations, or prescribed burning in the area.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 5 required. Location: Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach Participants will meet at the ranger station.

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

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Take a Guided paddle tour Western Lake and enjoy lunch at the Red Bar with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance April 23

westernlakeDates/time: April 23, May 12 – 9 a.m. – 1 pm.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Explore Western Lake and take a lunch break at the Red Bar Restaurant in Grayton Beach. This kayak trip will take you on an eco-adventure of South Walton County’s rare coastal dune lakes. Experience the diversity of wildlife and habitats as you paddle from the freshwater entry point to the lake outfall on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. This tour is led by the local and avid eco-tour guide Dave Posey.

Moderate to high exertion level, depending on wind conditions.  Participants are asked to bring plenty of water, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 3. Location: Meet at the Boathouse at Watercolor, 34 Golden Circle, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. Fee: $70 per person

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Learn about gopher tortoises at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park April 24

gophertortoiseDate/time: Friday April 24th, 2015, 1 – 2 p.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State park invites you come learn about the state tortoise of Florida, the Gopher Tortoise. These animals play an important role in our local upland ecosystems, and can even be found living out in our dunes.  Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse, 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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CCA hosting kids fishing tournament in Grayton Beach April 26

kidfishThe 10th annual Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Kids Fishing Tournament will be held from 12 Noon – 4 p.m. on Sunday, 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: http://www.ccaflorida.org

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Joffrey Ballet Concert Group performs in Seaside May 2

©Lois Greenfield 2013The Merchants of Seaside will host the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group for a debut performance in Seaside, Saturday, May 2, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. There is no admission to attend the performance. For accommodations, visit www.seasidefl.com/vacation/rentals/.

The one and a half hour show will include 30 Joffrey company members performing a variety of dances ranging from modern and jazz to classical ballet. The Joffrey Ballet Concert Group is under the direction of Davis Robertson, choreographer and artistic director of The Joffrey Ballet Concert Group, the performance company of the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

For more information about Seaside, visit www.seasidefl.com.

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Take a guided tour of the wet prairies and rare plants of the Point Washington State Forest with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance May 11

 Date/time: May 11, 9 a.m. – 12 Noon

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

We will visit several wet prairies in Pt. Washington State Forest.  Observe and identify pitcher plants, sundews and other carnivorous plants, plus many other native plants that are typically found only in this kind of habitat.  Several of these species are threatened or endangered.  The history and ecology of the prairies will be discussed, as well as, the role of fires in these precious ecosystems.  This tour is led by an accomplished biologist who has been involved in describing and mapping wet prairies in south Walton County.

Moderate difficulty, walking about a mile, including over boggy ground that may have some standing water.  Bring water, sunscreen, insect repellant, and hat.  Wear long pants and closed-toed sturdy shoes (no sandals or flip-flops) that can get wet and muddy.  A walking stick and camera are recommended.

Space is limited to 15 participants.  Minimum of 4.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549.  Vehicle caravan to event location.

Fee: $15 + $2 forest entry fee at entrance of park

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Old Nick’s Redfish Roundup tournament May 16, 2015

redfishtourneylogo2015

Nick’s Seafood Restaurant will be hosting their 10th Annual Redfish Roundup tournament on Sat., May 16, 2015.  The tournament is brought to you by Treylermade Tournaments in a partnership with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.

Payout: $12,000.00 in cash and prizes. Prize money: 1st-$5,000.00, 2nd-$2,000.00, 3rd-$1,500.00, 4th-$1,000.00, 5th -$500.00. Mystery Weight: $500, Spots Division: $500, Smallest 2: $500. Payout is based on a 50 team participation.

All contestants must be registered by 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16. Click here to download tournament rules and entry form: redfishtourneyform2015

Call Trey Nick for more details at (850) 835-2222 or (850) 830-6161.

Entry Fee: $210.00 Per Two-Person Team ($10 goes to Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance).

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Take a guided tour of the Choctawhatchee River and Morrison Springs with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance May 18

morrison1Date/time: May 18, 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), in partnership with Northwest Florida State College, announces the spring season of its popular eco-tourism initiative, Eco Adventures of Walton County.

Learn about unique places tucked away along the Choctawhatchee River. Learn about our precious water resources, flood plains, where the river flows, and why it is ever changing. Then we will drive to Morrison Springs. Lean about how many millions of gallons of water Morrison Springs emits every day, and where the water comes from.  We will also discuss the flora and fauna that inhabit the area. We will then take a dip in the cool, clear spring water.

Bring water, a snorkel, waterproof camera, sunscreen, towel, and your swimsuit. Pack a lunch if you wish, as there is a pavilion and restroom facility available at the park.  The event and swimming is dependent on river conditions.

Moderate exertion level. Travel time approximately 1.5 hours each way. Space is limited to 7 participants. Minimum of 4 required.

Location: Meet at Northwest Florida State College South College, 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.  A van will be used to transport individuals along the tour. Fee: $35.

Discover Roads Less Traveled offers visitors and local residents extraordinary opportunities to explore, discover, and learn about the pristine natural resources that make Walton County unique. Descriptions of the tours being offered are available online at www.basinalliance.org by clicking the Eco Tours information box. Registration is available by phone at 850-200-4160.

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Camp Skyway offered at Camp Helen State Park in July

campskyway

Camp SkyWay is returning for another fun summer at Camp Helen State Park. Skyway offers a full day and half day camp for ages 5-12, with a one of a kind adventure. There will be two four-day camps offered July 20 – 24 and July 27 – 31.

Activities include crafts, soccer, drama, games, science, cooking, gardening, beach activities, football, geocaching, nature adventures, and more.

For details and registration, go to www.campskyway.com. Call camp director “Tink” at 210-878-9241 or email at CampSkyWay@hotmail.com for more information.

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