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.
March 5 – Scott and Michelle Dalziel
March 12 – Gary Nichols
March 19 – Wyatt Espalin
March 26 – Lucky Mud

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 WWII history and more in a guided tour of Coffeen Nature Preserve Feb. 28

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.

Dates: Feb. 28, Mar. 11, March 28 (must register by 3/20), 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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Enjoy a guided hike to No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Feb. 28

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: Saturday February 28, 1 – 2 p.m.

Come shake off the winter cobwebs and get outside for this nature 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. 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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Bird walk in Fort Walton with Choctawhatchee Audubon Feb. 28

CAScolorlogoTime: 7:30 a.m.
Join local ornithologist, Alan Knothe, for a bird walk to the Okaloosa County Landfill and FWB Spray Fields. Tour the most productive birding area in S. Okaloosa Co. with a seasoned expert. Expect to see raptors, waders, ducks, and wintering songbirds. It is common to see more than 50 different species of birds in a single morning at this unlikely-sounding spot. Bring binoculars, good walking shoes, water, and sunscreen. Meet-up is at the parking lot of the Coach and 4 Restaurant at 1313 N. Lewis Turner Blvd. Call Alan at 850-208-1780 for more info. Free.

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

 Dates offered: March 3, March 18, 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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Take a guided tour of the wet prairies of Grayton Beach State Park March 3

firstdayhikesgrayton2Dates/time: March 3, 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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Taste of Home Cooking School coming to DeFuniak Springs March 3

The Taste of Home Cooking School is returning to DeFuniak Springs for the 21st annual spring show sponsored by WZEP Radio Station. The show will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at Walton High School. Culinary specialist Michelle “Red” Roberts will be featured. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with the show at 6:30 p.m. All are encouraged to come early to visit booths hosted by local vendors and register for door prizes. VIP tickets are $45 and general admission is $10.

Tickets can be purchased by mail, in person and on line.  For more information about the Taste of Home Cooking School, go to www.wzep1460.com or call WZEP AM1460 at 850-892-5130.

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Walton County Master Gardeners presents olive tree growing workshop in Santa Rosa Beach Mar. 4

olivesDate/time: Mar. 4, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

As part of their How Does Your Garden Grow lecture series, the Walton County Master Gardeners are hosting an olive tree growing workshop. This month’s the topic is Keep the peace – grow your own olive branch.  Certified Master Gardener, James Williams will talk about growing olive trees successfully here in northwest Florida.

The lecture will be on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 from 10: – 11:30 am in the Community Room at Padgett Park, 810 JD Miller Road in Santa Rosa Beach.

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

The program is open to the public and free of charge. Light refreshments will be served and Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions.  Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

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Shiitake mushroom production workshop in DeFuniak Springs March 5

shiitakemushrooms2Join the Walton County Extension Service March 5, from 6-8 pm for their Shiitake Mushroom Production Workshop. Come and learn all about growing shiitake mushrooms through hands-on demonstrations with our County Extension Director, Mike Goodchild.

Cost is $15. Each attendee will take home a log inoculated with mushroom spawn.

The workshop will be held at the DeFuniak Springs office at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs. Space is limited to first 15 registered, pre-register by March 3rd. Call 892-8172 to reserve a seat.

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Black Bear Affair at E. O. Wilson Biophilia Center March 7

blackbearsmYou’re invited to a Black Bear Affair! Learn all about Florida Black Bears at the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center. The Bear Management team from FWCC leads an interactive Mystery Bear Box program for kids in the theater at 11:00 and 12:30. Join in on the fun educational activities and arts and crafts going on ALL throughout the day including: “Be a Bear” interactive stations, cast your own bear track, bear masks, black bear moon-pies, and guided hikes. Also meet and greet the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition Team as they travel through Walton County.

General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children. 2 and under FREE Please visit eowilsoncenter.org to learn more about this non-profit educational center or call (850) 835-1824. E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center, 4956 State Hwy 20 East, Freeport, Florida 32439​

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Haz-mat collection day in north and south Walton Mar. 7

walton-county-logoHaz-mat collection day in both north and south Walton on Saturday, Mar. 7, from 8 a.m. – 12 Noon.

Pesticides – used oil – stale gasoline – solvents – fertilizers – paint – paint thinners – paint  strippers – batteries – furniture polish – brake fluid – engine degreasers – anti-freeze – pool chemicals – insecticides – spot removers

Waste tire amnesty will also be held on the same date, during the same hours and locations.  Walton county residents may bring up to 12 tires per residence.

Locations:
Walton County Fairgrounds, Highway 83 North (9th Avenue), Defuniak Springs,
South Walton Mosquito Control Office, County Road 393, Santa Rosa Beach

No gas cylinders or explosives, please. Due to hazardous nature of certain components in home computers, we will be accepting old computer hardware including processors, monitors, keyboards, printers, scanners, etc. Conditionally exempt small quantity generators (small businesses, schools, growers, etc.) will be accepted at a reduced rate.

For more information or to schedule a drop off time, contact the Landfill Department at 850-892-8180.

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Free trees for kids on Saturday March 7

hickoryTime: 10 a.m.

In observance of National Arbor Day, free trees will be given away to children and their families through the generosity of Florida Forest Service of Walton County and the National Arbor Day Foundation. The event is co-sponsored by Northwest Florida State College, CBA (Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance), Friends of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden, Walton County Master Gardeners and AmeriCorps. The event will be held at Northwest Florida State College, South Walton Center in the Native Plant Demonstration Garden, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

Five species of easy-to-grow, wildlife friendly trees will be given to children to take home and plant in their own yards: White Oak, Sawtooth Oak, Pignut Hickory, Red Maple and Chickasaw Plum.

Walton County Forest personnel, Master Gardeners, and AmeriCorps will be on hand to demonstrate the correct way to plant and care for trees, and answer questions about trees and other gardening concerns.

The Native Plant Demonstration Garden & Trail and the new Bog Garden at the College feature many other Florida native plants suitable for home gardens. Admission is free and open to the public daily.

For more information contact Rick Bray, Senior Forester, Florida Forest Service of Walton County (850) 892-8010 or Mary Lutz, Friends of the Native Plant Demonstration Garden & Trail (850) 622 5680.

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Camp Helen history tour Mar. 7

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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American roots music concert at Camp Helen State Park lodge Mar. 7

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., Mar. 7, Camp Helen Americana concerts features Scott and Michelle Dalziel, who are originally from Iowa and now call Florida home.  A singer/songwriting duo, they deliver “solid melodies, meaningful lyrics, heartfelt and amusing stories, tight harmonies and a solid instrumental foundation,” having performed at more than 200 acoustic venues nationwide.  They offer “an approachable performance of touching hearts and lifting moods.” Learn more at reverbnation.com/scottandmichelledalziel

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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Walton County Master Gardeners presents olive tree growing workshop in DeFuniak Springs Mar. 11

olivesDate/time: Mar. 11, 2 – 3:30 p.m.

As part of their How Does Your Garden Grow lecture series, the Walton County Master Gardeners are hosting an olive tree growing workshop. This month’s the topic is Keep the peace – grow your own olive branch.  Certified Master Gardener, James Williams will talk about growing olive trees successfully here in northwest Florida.

The lecture will be held at the Walton County Extension at 732 N 9th Street in DeFuniak Springs.

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

The program is open to the public and free of charge.  Light refreshments will be served and Master Gardeners will be on hand to take gardening questions.  Soil sample supplies and instruction will be available.

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Enjoy breakfast with a ranger at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park March 14

rangerDate/time: Saturday March 14th, 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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Learn how to surf fish at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park March 14

surffishingDate/time: Saturday March 14, 12:00 – 2:00 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 fishing gear. This program will take place at the Beach Access, park in the Day Use parking area and catch the 12:00pm Tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 12:00pm Tram arrives at the beach  This program is for all ages. 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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Walton County community clean- up day at Choctaw Beach Park March 14

walton-county-logoDate/time: Saturday, March 14, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sponsored by Walton County District 4 Commissioner and Vice-Chair Sara Comander and Walton County Solid Waste.

Dumpsters provided for Walton County residents to dump trash, yard debris, tires, appliances, and other miscellaneous items. A crew and equipment to off-load heavy items will be available. Recycling trailers will also be available for newsprint, glass, and aluminum. DO NOT BRING: POISONS, PESTICIDES, PAINTS, THINNERS, GASOLINE, AND OTHER FLAMMABLES.

Choctaw Beach Park, State Road 20, Choctaw Beach

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30A St. Patrick’s Festival and Parade at Gulf Place March 14

CLEGHORN will be one of the featured bands at the St. Patrick's Day fest.Ottawa based Celtic Band SEARSON will be headlining the musical entertainment at this year’s 30A St. Patrick’s Day Festival March 14. SEARSON has been described as “Fiddles on steroids” The group has toured throughout Canada, the United States, Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland and the Caribbean including playing with The Chieftains. The high energy won’t stop there as Texas based Celtic Rock Band CLEGHORN will also return. If you mixed ZZ Top with The Hobbit soundtrack, it might sound something like CLEGHORN. Their music mixes original folk/rock songwriting with high energy Celtic fiddle and bagpipe tunes.

The festivities start at 12 Noon at Gulf Place with the parade at 2 p.m.. The parade expects a record number of floats and parade entries, in all shapes and sizes. This year’s Grand Marshal is Catherine O’ Sullivan who hails from Cork Ireland. The Best in Parade perpetual trophy is up for grabs for the best decorated cars trucks or floats. Festival goers can purchase commemorative t-shirts, experience arts and crafts, including knitted jewelry and blacksmithing, wood carving, face painting, and of course a variety of food and drinks. A few sponsor spots, vendor table and tent spaces are still available, and businesses are encouraged to be a sponsor, details at www.30aparade.com.

The event will entertain the kids with the “wee folk” area containing costume prizes for fairy princesses and pirates, along with “Pot O’ Gold” treasure hunts, face painting and much more. The top notch Celtic entertainment will also be on hand all day starting with Dismal Creek who will pay tribute to bluegrass roots with Irish jigs, reels and brilliant banjo picking double base riffs. Proceeds support breast cancer 501c Fore Her golf tournament and Alaqua Animal Refuge.

Ticket prices begin at – $10 for adults, kids are $5 each and VIP Whiskey/Beer tasting tickets are $35 each, available now at www.30aparade.com.

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Take a Guided paddle tour Western Lake and enjoy lunch at the Red Bar with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance March 19

westernlakeDates/time: March 19, 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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Bird walk in Fort Walton with Choctawhatchee Audubon March 21

CAScolorlogoTime: 7:30 a.m.
Local birder, Dee Nickerson will lead a bird walk in the S. Walton Courthouse area. Expect to see early migrants, and possibly a Northern Parula. Plan to have brunch together afterwards.

Call Dee at 850-499-9269 for exact location.

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Learn about animal tracks at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park March 21

raccoontracksmSaturday March 21, 1 – 2 p.m.

This all ages program is designed to be a hands-on learning experience in the art of tracking. You will learn different types of tracks and which animal makes them. Then you will get to make your own tracks using the same techniques utilized at the parks and you will go on a short hike to see tracks in the wild. 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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Art in the Park at WaterColor March 21

art1On Saturday, March 21, 2015, the WaterColor Community Association will be hosting their 10th Annual Art in the Park from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in WaterColor’s Cerulean Park and Town Center.  This free event is open to WaterColor residents, guests and the public.

The following art mediums will be featured: oil, acrylic, watercolor paintings, charcoal, chalk, pastels, pencil Drawings, photography, printmaking, digital art, glass art, jewelry, fabric art, pottery, wood, and more. There is also live music and food available.

WaterColor is located just east of Grayton Beach State Park off of Hwy. 30A.

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Pleasant Ridge Arena hosts Neigh and Bray fun show March 21

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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Caverns to Coast Bike Tour March 21 – 27

cavernstocoastLocation: Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna, FL

The Caverns to Coast Tour, Bike Florida’s 2015 spring ride, is headed to the Northwest Florida Panhandle for a taste of its rural routes and salt air. Reserve March 21-27, 2015 for some early season riding. With 1, 2, 5 and 7-day ride options this tour is designed to fit just about any travel schedule. Only three “move days” allow you to take a day off the bike to explore our host community.

The tours are designed for active recreational riders. Ride at your own speed, stop to explore or push hard till the days end. You get to choose how many miles and what speed to ride.

Tour cost include: rest stops (about every 15 miles), SAG (support and gear), indoor and outdoor camping, marked routs, maps, cue sheets, entertainment, first class showers, a beach party, end of ride party and quality vendors to take care of your bicycle, camping services or meal needs. This a great tour for the hard core cyclists looking to lay down some early season miles, or the first time tour rider inspired to take a new challenge.
Indoor and outdoor camping are the most popular accommodation options, although hotels are available. Indoor campers enjoy a local gymnasium while the outdoor campers enjoy the pleasures of being outside. The Dixie Grill will cater this year’s meal plan; breakfast and or dinner options are available. They have served thousands of cyclists over the years. Lunch is on your own; available at the numerous towns we ride to and through. No Sweat Shower Service will join us again. If you rode the 2012 tour you will recognize their high quality shower truck. Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers is available if you prefer a tent service. They set up your tent, deliver your luggage and provide a place to sit and visit with friends. Or try Captain Quarter’s Sherpa Service. They carry your gear but leave the set up process to you. Captain Quarter’s also provide a place to sit with friends. Fair Shot Coffee will be there with premium fair trade organic coffee. Smoothies and limited breakfast options as part of their service.

Looping out of Blountstown to Marianna then down to Port St. Joe before heading back to Blountstown offers riders the chance to experience some wonderful farmland before heading to the coast. Blountstown sits on the banks of the Apalachicola River; Marianna is home to Florida’s only public cave system. Port St. Joe offers welcome views of the bay and rides to the beach. Once discovered, you will come want to back to these communities time and again.
Join the fun on the 21st annual spring ride, the Caverns to Coast Tour. For complete details visit http://bikeflorida.org/2015-spring-tour/ or contact Ken@bikeflorida.org 352-224-8602.

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Walton County community clean- up day at Legion Park March 28

walton-county-logoDate/time: Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Legion Park, Ponce de Leon Street, Miramar Beach

Sponsored by Walton County District 4 Commissioner and Vice-Chair Sara Comander and Walton County Solid Waste.

Dumpsters provided for Walton County residents to dump trash, yard debris, tires, appliances, and other miscellaneous items. A crew and equipment to off-load heavy items will be available. Recycling trailers will also be available for newsprint, glass, and aluminum. DO NOT BRING: POISONS, PESTICIDES, PAINTS, THINNERS, GASOLINE, AND OTHER FLAMMABLES.

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Birding by boat with Choctawhatchee Audubon March 28

CAScolorlogoLocal photo paddler, Walt Spence, will lead a canoe/kayak birding trip on a Niceville-area bayou. All attendees must register in advance by calling Walt at 850-582-7064, and they must also bring their own boat, safety equipment, drinking water, and sunscreen.

Meet-up will be at 7:30 a.m. in front of Badcock Furniture in Bayou Plaza on Hwy 20 in Niceville.  Space will be limited.

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Take a guided hike to No Name Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park March 28

nonamelaketopsail2Date/time: Saturday March 28, 1 – 2 p.m.

Come shake off the winter cobwebs and get outside for this nature 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. 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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Easter ExtravaganZOO at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge Zoological Park March 28

ExtravaganzooOn Saturday, March 28, 2015, the ECWR Zoological Park will be hosting the second annual Easter ExtravaganZOO. The event will feature springtime crafts, Easter egg hunts, keeper talks, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny.

Admission is $8.00 adults, children ages 2-10 $5.00, children under 2 free.

The park is located just west of Mossy Head off of Hwy. 90 at 5262 Deer Springs Drive, Crestview, FL 32539. For more information call 850-682-3949.

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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.

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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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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Duck Olympics fundraiser in Seaside April 5

Duck_PondTime: 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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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 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 tour of the wet prairies and rare plants of the Point Washington State Forest with Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance May 4

 Date/time: May 4, 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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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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