Now that we’ve recovered from the holiday party binge, we can wrap our heads around some good, old-fashioned northeast Florida-style entertainment.
Where else can you be an eco-friendly, environmentally-correct tourist and get straight with some old-time Florida cracker culture all in one weekend?
Nowhere but here.
And there’s a sunset river cruise to boot.
We Crackers heart our manatees
Especially this time of year when they show up in our warm sulfur springs to over-winter.
Not surprisingly, every January Florida plays host to two of the longest running manatee festivals in the US.
It’s worth the drive.
Clogging is not morris dancing
Although it has elements in common with morris dancing and did originate in the British Isles, clogging incorporates steps and routines from Holland.
The official state dance of North Carolina and Kentucky, clogging has been a staple of Appalachian and Cracker culture since at least the 18th century.
And then there’s the circus and massive science – all waiting for you.
26th Annual Florida Manatee Festival – Sat., Jan. 19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. & Sun., Jan. 20, 9 a.m.-4-p.m. Beautiful downtown Crystal River, Fla. Admission: $3 per person, kids 12 & under FREE. Celebrate Florida’s beloved manatees all weekend – boat tours, beer garden, fine arts, craft fair and live entertainment. 352-795-3149. www.floridamanateefestival.com/external/wcpages/manatee_festival/index.aspx
Let’s Go Science – Sat. Jan. 19, 1:30 & 4:30 p.m. Wilson Center for the Arts, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: $16. Prof. Smart and Dr. Knowitall join forces for an education, entertaining, family science extravaganza. Kids learn science concepts through impressive and memorable demonstrations. 904-442-2947 or artistseriesjax.org.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus – Thurs. Jan. 17-Mon., Jan 21. Jacksovnille, Veteran’s Memorial Arena, 300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd., Jacksonville, Fla. Admission: Call for ticket prices. The circus is back in town. All of the animals and high-flying fun you’ve come to expect. Come an hour early and get to meet the performers, try on costumes and learn circus skills at the All-Access Pre-Show – FREE to all ticket holders. 1-800-745-3000 or ringling.com
Sunset Cruise on the Annabelle Lee – Sat., Jan. 19 & 26, 5 p.m. Green Cove Springs City Pier, foot of Walnut St. at the St. Johns river, Green Cove Springs, Fla. Admission: $20 per person, 50% benefits the Green Cove Springs Library. Celebrate the paddle-wheeler Annabelle Lee’s arrival at her new home port at Green Cove Springs. An entertainment icon since 1984, the Annabelle Lee cruises the St. Johns year round and is perfect for enjoying nature along the shoreline or hosting family gatherings. Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres available. Contact: The Crossroads, 904-529-1940. www.jaxrivercruises.com
Waldo Flea Market Country Music & Clogging Festival – Jan. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Waldo Flea Market, 17805 NE US Hwy 310, Waldo, Fla. Admission: FREE & open to the public. Kick up your heels as the Cross Creek Cloggers take the stage to perform several sets of good old country clogging. Sit back and listen to the smooth southern sounds of Alligator Town, Anna Holmbraker and Kathleen Taylor, then make your way from the stage to the nearby booths to find that perfect gourmet treat to take home and share with your family and friends. Join the traditions of the Waldo Flea Market that have been going strong for over 35 years. 352-468-2255. www.waldofleamarket.com
Whistle Talk – Thurs., Jan. 16, 5:50-7:30 p.m. Beaches Museum & History Park, 381 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville Beach, Fla. Admission: $5 per person. History of the construction of the St. Johns jetties and ferry. 904-241-5657.
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org