Upcoming Events

:: Ongoing ::

Farmer’s markets every Saturday and Sunday

tomatoesSeaside Amphitheater – Saturday, Market Shops Sandestin Sunday
Time: 8 a.m. – 12 Noon – 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::

Rosemary Beach Barrett Square – Sunday and Thursday
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.

Gulf Place – Sunday 
Farmers market at Gulf Place every Sunday specializing in exceptional homemade products, crafts, and goodies from local vendors around Northwest FL. Gulf Place is located at the corner of Scenic Hwy. 30A and CR 393, Town Center Loop, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call 850-200-6805 or 850-879-7296.

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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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Getting to Know the Natives – Garden & Trail Tour every Wednesday in Sept. and Oct.

 Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county. *Special host-plant education and milkweed planting in October*

Time: 3   – 5 p.m.

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.

Space is limited to 16 participants. Minimum of 4 required. Fee: $15

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

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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

luckymudTime: 6 – 8 p.m.
Starting with an open mic at 6 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.
September 25 – Beaucoup Blue
October 2 – 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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Enjoy a guided birding tour of Walton County on Saturdays in Sept. and Oct.

ashthroatedflycatcherHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county. Enjoy a birding tour on Saturdays in September and October (except. 10/18).

Time: 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

All tours will take place in Walton County, but individual destinations will vary depending on target species and time of the year. If you wish to have more information on the tour being offered on the upcoming Saturday, please feel free to call the instructor, Alan Knothe, evenings between 5  and 9 p.m. at 850-208-1780.

The Florida Panhandle offers some of the country’s best birding opportunities. Walton County is rich in migrant and resident species. Shorebird migration is going strong in September and songbirds and raptors peak in October. The renowned tour guide is Alan Knothe, a trained biologist, has taught birding and naturalist courses for more than 20 year in the Florida Panhandle. You will not only see a vast array of species on these tours, but you will also learn all the secrets to identifying them by sight, sound and behavior.

Please bring a pair of binoculars and your favorite birding guidebook. (A limited number of loaner binoculars are available). Other recommended items to bring are drinking water, snacks, sunscreen and insect repellent. It is recommended to wear close-toed shoes and long pants. Walking is light to moderate. Some tours may visit state parks and other areas that have an entrance fee. This fee is NOT included in the price of the tour and is the responsibility of the tour participant.

Space is limited to 12 participants. Minimum of 3 required.

Location: Meet at the South Walton County Tourist Development Council Welcome Center at the intersection of US 331 and US 98. Meet in the parking lot.

Fee: $35. Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Enjoy a guided tour and paddle of Morrison Springs Sept. 25

morrison1Time: 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Learn about Florida’s crystal clear springs as we paddle Morrison Springs in Northeast Walton County. We will paddle and explore around the spring and then out towards the Choctawhatchee River and back.

Learn about our precious local water resources, 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 inhabits the wetland area.

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. Basic kayak/canoe knowledge required. The paddle is approximately 2 hours. Travel time approximately 45 minutes each way.

Space is limited to 7 participants. Minimum of 4 required.

Location: meet at the Northwest Florida State College South College, 109 South Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. A van will be used to transport individuals.

Fee: $35 for the tour – Pay at the time of registration

Plus canoe/kayak rental fee of $35 – Pay directly to the outfitter the day of the tour; Cash or check. Specify kayak or canoe preference at the time of registration.

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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The Rise and Decline of the “Redneck Riviera” author featured at South Walton Community Council public forum Sept. 25

riseanddeclineThe South Walton Community Council (SWCC) is pleased to host author Hardy Jackson and Sundog Books at its next public forum. Join us as Hardy traces the development of the Florida-Alabama coast, or the “Redneck Riviera” as a tourist destination from the late 1920s when 30A was sparsely populated with small villages through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. Jackson will discuss his book, The Rise and Fall of the Redneck Riviera, and focus on the history of C. R. 30A in his Sept. 25 presentation at the Coastal Branch Library at 437 Greenway Trail. The program begins at 7 p.m. Sundog Books will be there with copies of the book for signing.

Jackson’s book is a culmination of sixteen years of research drawn from local newspapers, interviews, documentaries, community histories, and scholarly studies. From his 1950s-built Seagrove Beach cottage and on frequent trips to the Alabama coast, Jackson witnessed the changes that have come to the area and has recorded them in a personal, in-depth look at the history and culture of the coast. He writes about the gulf coast with an insight and love that makes you want to travel back in time and stick your toes in the sands of its history.

The SWCC is an organization of residents, business owners and property owners whose mission is to advocate for the preservation, protection and enhancement of the quality of life and natural environment of south Walton County. To contact the SWCC call (850) 314-3749 or visit its website at www.southwaltoncc.org.

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Take a guided canoe tour of Campbell Lake at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 26

rangersmTime: 9:30 – 11:30 a.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 sign up sheet will be available in the ranger station through 26th and will be on a first come first serve basis. Meet at tram stop 1 by 9:30 am on September 26th to catch the tram to the lake.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. 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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Celebrate National Public Lands Day by helping clean the beach at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 27

trashTime: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park invites you to come help beautify the park. The summer crowds are gone but their trash is not, come out to National Public Lands Day and help clean up the beach. We will meet in the day use parking area at 9 am to catch the tram to the beach, from there we will disperse down the beach. Trash bags and gloves will be provided, please bring water and sunscreen.

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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Community clean up day in Choctaw Beach Sept. 27

walton-county-logoWalton County will be supplying dumpsters 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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Historical tour of Coffee Nature Preserve Sept. 29

coffeenTime: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles) were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the 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 1. 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. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

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

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Florida Heritage Day at E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center Oct. 4

crackerhouseGo back in time with the E.O.Wilson Biophilia Center on Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Exhibits and demonstrations include: blacksmithing, flint knapping, wood turning, turpentining, whip cracking, local artifacts, pioneers and plants, tours of the historic Florida Cracker house.

Kids Activities include candle dipping, butter making, corn husk dolls, live farm animals, pioneer games, atlatl throwing, Forida Cracker stories.

Snacks available for purchase.
General Admission: Adults $8, Children $5 2 and under free.

The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is located at 4956 State Hwy 20 East. Freeport, Florida 32439. For more information, call 850-835-1824.

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Stinky’s inaugural Beach to Bay, Grand Slam Fishing Tournament Oct. 4 – Nov. 15

beachtobaytourneyOyster Festival will kick off  tournament Oct. 4

Stinky’s Bait Shack will be hosting their First annual Beach to Bay, Grand Slam fishing tournament on Oct. 4- Nov. 15, 2014. This tournament is a great way for locals to take the beach and bay back, and a perfect opportunity for visitors to come and enjoy our community during the months of October and November to win the grand prize, The tournament demands an individual angler catch and score a redfish, speckled trout and a flounder. The calcutta categories also include Pompano and biggest individual fish scored of each species.

The launch party is an “Oyster Festival” on October 4, 2014 from 12 -10 p.m. at Stinky’s Fish Camp & Stinky’s Bait Shack on Hwy 30-A in South Walton County, FL. The festivities will have lots of oysters prepared in many different ways, an oyster shucking contest, cooking demonstrations, an oyster shell painting contest for the kids and adults alike and live music.

Participants of the fishing tournament can register at the festival or pre-register online at www.stinkysfishcamp.com. Registration forms and a copy of your fishing license must be received 24 hours prior to weighing in your first.  Weigh-in begins at 8am on October 5 – Nov. 15 at Stinky’s Bait Shack. Participants are required by law to abide Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) fishing regulations.

For more information about the tournament or becoming a sponsor, please visit the website at www.stinkysfishcamp.com or email the marketing coordinator Amy Holliday at amy@trenasse.com

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Camp Helen history tour Oct. 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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Walton County Fair coming to DeFuniak Springs Oct. 6-11

The Walton County Fair, a tradition since 1924, kicks off six days of family fun on Monday, Oct. 6, 2013.

Sticking to its roots as an agricultural fair, there will be livestock competitions every day including rabbit, poultry, hog, horse, lamb, goat and cattle shows.

The Fair also provides an opportunity for youth and adults to showcase their artwork, handicrafts, growing crops. Other activities will include a dog show, hot dog and pie eating contests, baked goods for sale and live music. Food vendors along the midway with rides will provide hours of entertainment for the entire family.

Cost: Adults $3, children (6-12) $2, 5 and under free.

Visit waltoncountyfair.com to view full schedule and ride armband prices for the week.

The fair is located at the Walton County Fairgrounds on Hwy. 83 one mile north of Hwy. 90 (790 North 9th Street) in DeFuniak Springs. ::MAP::

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Learn the basics of surf fishing at Grayton Beach State Park Oct. 8

surffishingHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Time: 10 – 11:30 a.m. Guide: Park Ranger Patrick Hartsfield

Park Ranger Hartsfield 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)

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided tour of Peach Creek on kayak Oct. 9

peach1Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Karl Renelt. Time: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Launch from the astounding Eden Gardens State Park for a paddle tour through Tucker Bayou up to Peach Creek. Discuss environmental topics about marsh ecosystems and the local history including building of the Intracoastal Waterway, logging on the Choctawhatchee River, and turpentine industry.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring at least a quart of water, snacks if desired, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. Sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour. Paddle board options upon request.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 4. Location: Meet at Eden Gardens State Park, 181 Eden Drive, Santa Rosa Beach

Fee: $60 for kayak +$5 park entry fee / $40 if providing own craft+ $5 park entry fee

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Explore The Outdoors Festival comes to DeFuniak Springs Oct. 11, 2014

Walton Outdoors is excited to announce we will be hosting our annual Explore The Outdoors Festival on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. The event will be held from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. along the beautiful lakeyard in DeFuniak Springs along Circle Drive. This fun-filled day is geared towards introducing children to the wonders of exploring the outdoors. Hands on activities will include fishing, boating, kayaking, wildlife encounters, interactive educational exhibits, nature-based crafts and much more. The event is free. The water activities are geared for children six-years-old and up. Food vendors will be on hand.Exploretheoutdoors2012

Activities and exhibits include:

• Fishing from the pier with the pros
• Fish Florida fishing rod giveaways
• Fishing education with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
• Kayaking with Snaggy Bend Outfitters
• Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge wildlife exhibit
• Birding with the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society
• Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife exhibit
• Wildlife and education with E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center
• South Walton Turtle Watch exhibit
• Topsail Hill Preserve State Park exhibit
• Henderson Beach State Park exhibit
• St. Andrews State Park exhibit
• Northwest Florida Astronomy club
• Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance touch tank
• Smokey the Bear and his friends from Forestry
• Deitrich’s Honey Farm
• Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute
• Eglin Aero Modellers demonstrations
• Boy Scout “Leave No Trace” campsite exhibit
• Tri-County Head Start fun
• Florida Public Archeology Network
• Nature based crafts
• Live music by Dismal Creek
• Food vendors

If you would like to learn more about how you can sponsor this great event, send us an email at info@waltonoutdoors.com

About Walton Outdoors: Walton Outdoors is the online resource for outdoor adventure in Walton County, Florida and surrounding area. Our mission is to educate and share news about great places to explore and showcase outdoor family-oriented events. For more information call (850) 267-2064.

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Pickin’ on the Porch at Freeport City Hall Sunday Oct. 12

pickinontheporchLocal musicians gather at the Freeport City Hall to play bluegrass, country and gospel music every second Sunday of the month (except holidays) from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Bring your acoustic instruments for an afternoon of clean family fun. Bring a blanket or lawn chair.  A family-oriented non-alcohol event. Free.

For additional information call Latilda Hughes at (850) 835-2340 or via email at lhughes@freeportflorida.gov.

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Take a guided butterfly hike in Point Washington State Forest Oct. 13

americanpaintedladyHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: MaryAnn Friedman. Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Take a guided walk through Point Washington State Forest to observe and identify the native plants, trees, grasses, insects, and butterflies. Your guide is a butterfly and native plant expert and well-seasoned in leading tours and presentations. You will walk a light to moderate trail discussing the flora and fauna of the state park and surrounding areas. This tour is held at the peak season of butterfly migration and fall flower blooming in Florida. We hope to be able to identify a variety of butterflies and host plants while walking on the trail. Collection of plants or insects are prohibited; however, a net may be used for study and release. Please carry water, small camera, and close-focusing binoculars. Wear hat, sunglasses, sun screen and close-toed shoes. Insect repellent, long pants and socks are recommended. We may walk into wooded areas where there could be thorny plants, ticks and mosquitoes.

Location: Meet at NWFSC South Walton campus.

Space is limited to 15. Minimum of 5 required. Fee: $15 + $2 forest entry fee at entrance of park

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Historical tour of Coffee Nature Preserve Oct. 15

coffeenTime: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles) were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the 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 1. 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. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

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

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided tour of south Walton’s coastal dune lakes Oct. 16

greategretwesternlakeHosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Brooke Saari, UF/IFAS Sea Grant Extension

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This educational tour will introduce participants to the Jewels of 30A – the coastal dune lakes of Walton County, Florida. Coastal dune lakes are extremely rare ecosystems, which exist in just a few places around the world. They are primarily freshwater systems that sit along the coastline. But here in South Walton, the lakes periodically break through the beach and connect to the Gulf of Mexico. A saltwater exchange occurs, which supports an incredible biological community.

The tour of the coastal dune lakes will follow Scenic Highway 30A. We will make several stops along the way, visiting three to five coastal dune lakes. We will explore the unique character of the different lakes as we discuss ecology, water quality, and human impacts. We will enjoy photographic vistas, take a short hike within the dune system, and stop for a picnic lunch in one of the local state parks.

Participants should plan for easy to moderate short hiking, getting in and out of vans and/or bus, and being outside in the sunny and possibly windy conditions associated with coastal areas. Bring a camera and /or binoculars if you like. We suggest a hat, water bottle, sunglasses, sunscreen, and layered weather-appropriate clothing, including rain gear if needed. Tours will go on, rain or shine; stops may be adjusted according to weather conditions to suit the comfort of the participants. Lunch will be provided.

Space is limited to 30 participants. Minimum of 5 required.

Location: Meet at South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College, 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach. Participants will ride as a group in a van to all of the stops.

Fee: $45. Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Chautauqua Winery Annual Harvest Festival Oct. 18

chautaquavineyardsChautauqua Winery Annual Harvest Festival will be held on Oct. 18, 2014 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free wine tastings held under the large tent all day. Al Alvarado Project with guests Simply D’Vyne, plus Smokin’ Rodeo Band will be live in concert. Food plates sold by Pleasant Ridge BBQ. The Chautauqua Cruisers & friends will display striking vehicles for a Cruise-In. An array of art, jewelry, crafts, woodworking, & various vendors from the area will showcase their products. If interested to be a vendor e-mail

Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery is located on Hugh Adams Road, 
Defuniak Springs, Florida 32435
. For more information, call 850-892-5887
.

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Pleasant Ridge Arena hosts Neigh and Bray fun show Oct. 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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Back To Nature Festival, benefit for South Walton Community Council at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Oct. 19

SWCC_finallogo

South Walton Community Council is hosting its 13th annual Back To Nature Festival at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park on Oct. 19.

Fall is approaching and what could be more fun than a day in the park. Whether you like hiking, kayaking, face-painting, bird-watching, beach ecology, or simply resting in the grass or sand, October 19, 2014 is the day to visit Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and support one of the most beautiful environmental assets in the state of Florida.

Activities are scheduled at Topsail all day long on Oct 19. For early morning folks, there will be a sunrise meditation at 6:30 a.m., bird walk at 8:30 a.m., and beach ecology walk at 10 a.m. along the pristine Topsail Hill Preserve beach. Family friendly activities are scheduled throughout the afternoon from 1 – 6 p.m. with hiking, kayaking, interpretive talks, face painting, and information booths. There will also be an opportunity to view the artwork available for the SWCC 2014 silent auction. Barefoot Bar-B-Que will be onsite selling food and SWCC providing refreshments.

The evening schedule from 6 – 10 p.m. will orient more toward adult activities with musical entertainment provided by the Owsley Brothers and the Courtyard Saints, a presentation by Elam Stoltzfus, beverages by Grayton Beer and a raffle drawing.

Silent auction items will be on display before the festival on Oct. 17 – 18 in Seaside as well as on Oct. 19 at Topsail. For further information about any of these events, visit www.southwaltoncc.org.

So come on out and support your community and its natural environment while helping the SWCC. SWCC is an organization of residents, business owners and property owners whose mission is to advocate for the preservation, protection and enhancement of the quality of life and natural environment of south Walton County.  To contact the SWCC call (850) 314-3749 or visit its website at www.southwaltoncc.org.

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Enjoy a guided tour of the wet prairies and rare plants of Point Washington State Forest Oct. 20

wetprairies2Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Guide: Tom Green ($10 for instructor, $5 CBA) Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

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.

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Enjoy a guided tour of the Choctawhatchee River and Morrison Springs Oct. 24

Golden cypress trees at Morrison Springs in North Walton. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Time: 8:30– 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in 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 hour 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

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Festival of the Arts in Destin Oct. 25-26, 2014

mattie4fbMattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents the 19th Annual Festival of the Arts on Oct. 25-26, 2014 at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. One of the Southeast’s premier festivals, the event showcases the original artwork of more than 100 juried artists from across the U.S. who will compete for $10,000 in cash award prizes. Festival features include live music, art activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art raffle and more. A food bistro, wine bar & beer garden as well as convenient parking and motor coach shuttle are also available. Admission is $3/adult; children 12 and under are free. For more information, visit MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org or call (850) 650-2226.

Event Details:
Event Name: Festival of the Arts
Hosted by: Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Foundation
Description: The 19th annual festival showcases the original artwork of more than 100 juried artists and features live music, art activities for kids, souvenir posters and t-shirts, art raffle and more. A food bistro, wine bar & beer garden as well as convenient parking and motor coach shuttle are also available.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014 and Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014
Location: Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin, Florida on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast
Cost: $3/adult; children (12 and under) are free
Website: MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org
Phone: (850) 650-2226

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Public workshop on Choctawhatchee River infrastructure improvements Oct. 29

 An important workshop concerning the future of the Choctawhatchee River will be held on Oct. 29 from 3 – 5 p.m.  Learn about efforts to forge a multi-county partnership to seek funding through a grant application for BP RESTORE funds.  The focus of the grant will be to improve public access and create infrastructure similar to the Suwanee River Wilderness Trail to help promote the river as an outstanding outdoor recreation destination for diverse user groups. The long-term goal is to bring economic benefits and job creation to local communities through promotion of sustainable tourism. We will also present a proposal for development of map guides for the Choctawhatchee River as a boating and paddling trail.

The event will be facilitated by Cameron Morris, Preble-Rish, Inc.

The workshop will be held at the Lewis Bear Company, 6484 Dog Track Rd., Ebro 32437  Map:  http://binged.it/XFxDL2
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Jail Break Zombie 5K Fun Run Nov. 1

jailbreakzombiesDate: November 1st, 2014
Location: Walton County Sheriff’s Office – 752 Triple G Road – DeFuniak Springs, Fl. 32433
Registration and Packet Pickup begins at 7:00 am
Race begins at 8:00 am
Runners $50.00/Zombies $25.00  (T-Shirt with registration)
Call 850-892-8186 for more information
Early Packet Pick-up will take place the day before the race, Oct. 31st from 12:00pm-5:00pm at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (located at 752 Triple G Road in Defuniak Springs.)
If you register to be a zombie and would like your zombie makeup done, you will need to arrive early. Please note that the course for this race will have obstacles.
Additional t-shirts will be available for purchase on-site for $15.
All funds raised by this event will benefit the North Florida Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF.) JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. JDRF’s goal is to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure T1D.

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Gulf Coast Agritourism and Ecotourism Business Development Conference Nov. 4-6 in Milton

blueberries2Conference geared for agri and eco tourism businesses

The University of Florida (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension Escambia and Santa Rosa counties and Naturally EscaRosa, would like to invite agriculture and eco-tourism providers to the 2014 Agri/Eco-tourism Business Development Conference on November 4-6, 2014. The meetings will be held on the 5th and 6th. The conference is geared for businesses wishing to enhance and develop their offerings.

Owners, operators and employees of u-pick operations, fresh produce markets, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, wildlife/bird watching, paddling, camping, fishing, etc. tourism businesses or those considering similar business startups are invited to attend this event.

The conference will be an exciting blend of informational sessions, hands on activities, and an opportunity to explore local agritourism and ecotourism businesses. The conference will provide important information for new business startups as well as long established companies in agritourism and ecotourism.

The keynote speaker, Eric Eckl, will address stimulating information on messaging and direct marketing campaigns. Other topics in the educational program include: starting a business, liability, local success stories, liability, staffing, benefits, & healthcare.

The conference will be held at Adventures Unlimited in Milton Fl., 8974 Tomahawk Landing, Milton, Fl. 32570. The conference begins at 9 am Nov. 5 and 8:15 am Nov. 6, 2014. Conference registration is $25.00, to register go to:

http://santarosa.ifas.ufl.edu/agritourism-ecotourism-conference/

For more information on the 2014 Gulf Coast Agritourism & Ecotourism Business Development Conference, contact Chris Verlinde (850) 623-3868 or Carrie Stevenson (850) 475-5230.

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Seaside hosts annual Seeing Red Wine Festival Nov. 6-9

seeingredThe community of Seaside is hosting its 24th Annual Seeing Red Wine Festival Nov. 6-9. The Seeing Red Wine Festival, in partnership with the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), is part of a four-day wine event held at various locations in Seaside.

The Saturday Grand Tasting event allows guests to stroll through tasting areas to sample more than 250 different kinds of wines while enjoying music, southern hospitality and cool autumn air at the beach. Each event and tasting area features live music, food samplings from several local restaurants and served wines available for purchase on site at the retail tent.

The four days of festivities extend even further to reserve wine tastings, dinners and a brunch with featured guest winemakers. Several of Seaside’s well-known restaurants feature specially prepared meals for the event, pairing meals with the ideal reds.

The festivities kick off Thursday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. with the Vintner’s Dinner at Bud & Alley’s restaurant, featuring Seaside’s new wine label, the Seaside Wine Project. Admission is $125 and a limited number of reservations are available.

To reserve tickets, call Elijah Shelly at (850) 231-1846 or email elijah@budandalleys.com.

Friday, Nov. 7, brings the Al Fresco Reserve Tasting at 6 to 8 p.m., featuring an elegant evening of delicious hors d’oeuvres and wines paired perfectly by celebrated local chef, Jim Shirley, all complimented by jazz music. Admission is $200 and a limited number of reservations are available. Tickets can be purchased online at SeeingRedWineFestival.com.

The Grand Tasting, from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, takes place in SEASIDE®’s Central Square with an extensive array of tasting tents featuring highly sought after wines from around the world, live music, food booths from top local restaurants, and the opportunity to purchase wine on site. Admission is $145. Tickets can be purchased online at SeeingRedWineFestival.com.

Sunday, Nov. 9, wraps up the weekend at Great Southern Café with a Celebration of Bubbles, as sparkling wine enthusiasts explore Champagne, Cava, Prosecco and more accompanied by great music and perfectly paired eats. Admission is $60. For reservations, please call 850.231.7327 or visit us online at TheGreatSouthernCafe.com.

Shuttle service will be available with free parking at Publix at WaterColor Crossings on County Road 395. For more information about the Seeing Red Wine Festival, visit SeeingRedWineFestival.com.

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Historical tour of Coffee Nature Preserve Nov. 12

coffeenTime: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

Explore the Coffeen Nature Preserve and its history of World War II missile testing. The 220-acre nature preserve is owned by the Coffeen Land Trust, a local environmental non-profit organization dedicated to preserving it “as a place of peace and quiet and a haven for all God’s creatures.” Its history however is far from quiet. It was used as a secret missile test site by the Army Air Force during World War II. Hundreds of JB-2 “Buzz Bombs,” (the first pilotless, jet propelled missiles) were launched from the dunes into the Gulf of Mexico.

Join Susan Paladini, the 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 1. 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. This is the most western of Walton County’s globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes.

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

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Take a guided kayak tour of Western Lake Nov. 13

greategretwesternlakeTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

This tour is kayak only. Travel from the water entry point of Western Lake to the lake outfall into the Gulf of Mexico. Discussion topics will include history, coastal dune lake ecology, and local anecdotes, as well as, efforts to preserve the lakes and how the lakes preserve us.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring at least one quart of water/person, 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 4. Location: Meet at the Boathouse at WaterColor, 34 Goldenrod Circle

Fee: $60 for kayak, $45 if supplying own craft

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Winter Solstice Run benefits Project Congo Dec. 21

solsticerunAmavida Coffee & Tea is helping to host The 2014 Winter Solstice Run in Santa Rosa Beach on Dec. 21. The Run is an all-day ultra-run, starting at sunrise in Rosemary Beach, the run is 40 miles along the beaches, around the many lakes of South Walton, and through Florida state forests until sunset.

It is all about fun, adventure and camaraderie without being a race. The purpose is to raise awareness and funds to support On The Ground’s Project Congo. Project Congo concentrates on gender equality and raising awareness about the key issues faced by coffee farming families in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The work aims to break the chains of poverty and conflict while supporting women empowerment groups in coffee communities of the region.

Distance Options:
40 miles – The whole shebang. Start at sunrise and finish at sunset!
20 miles – Half-Solstice option: Begin with the team and run the first 20 miles!
Relay – You and three others each run a 10 mile leg (4 per team)!
The First 10 – Begin with the team and run the first 10 miles!

Participating runners are asked to raise $1,000 each, although we will not turn anyone away who does not reach the goal (minimum suggested donation of $100). Participating runners will have approximately 12 hours to finish the 40 miles (minimum pace of about 18 minutes per mile).

There is no registration fee for The Winter Solstice Run. Instead, participating runners are asked to solicit pledges from friends and family to support Project Congo – a goal of $1,000 per runner, but all contributions are welcome. Funds will go directly to OTG’s Project Congo supporting women’s empowerment programs in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

After registering you will receive a packet about the run details, fundraising and more information about On The Ground and Project Congo. Contact sarah.hamon@amavida.com to learn more and answer any questions. Sign up to run at www.wintersolsticerun.org.

You may sponsor a runner through Razoo. Go to http://www.razoo.com/team/2014-Winter-Solstice-Run and choose a runner to support. All funds go directly to Project Congo.

You may donate through On The Ground’s website: http://onthegroundglobal.org/project-congo/.

 

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