58th Annual Florida Forest Festival Set For October 26Oct 17th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News
With Florida celebrating the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Ponce De Leon in its Viva Florida 500 efforts, the 58th annual Florida Forest Festival in Perry is honoring the state’s timber history and its ties to the state’s economy and culture with the theme “Viva Florida Forestry.” In conjunction with this look back, several “fan favorite” events, including the Heritage Day Field Trip and the Great Race 5k Run are returning this year. More than 20,000 people from around the region are expected to converge on Forest Capital State Park on U.S. 19 Saturday, Oct. 26, but the festivities officially kick off Wednesday, Oct. 23, when the carnival opens for business on Industrial Drive next to Perry-Foley Airport. Everyone is invited to return the next evening (Thursday, Oct. 24) for the “fabulous” fireworks display at the airport beginning at 8 p.m. On Friday morning (Oct. 25), students from local schools will take part in the Heritage Day Field Trip to the Forest Capital State Museum, where they will be able to see demonstrations from Florida’s pioneer past along with programs by the Florida Forest Service and live lumberjack shows. Friday night will see festivities move to historic Downtown Perry for the Strut Your Mutt Dog Parade, held this year at Rosehead Park’s Grand Pavilion at 5 p.m.; the annual Kids’ Parade, a procession of children dressed in their best “theme-related” costumes around the courthouse square, at 6 p.m.; and the Gaslight Classic Car Parade at 7 p.m. Concessions, kids’ games and more will also be featured. The classic cars will stream down to Perry Square (Save-a-Lot shopping center) for a street dance featuring live music from the band Southern Rain. Back downtown, kids will be able to take part in a Kid’s Fun Run at 7 p.m. with scary stories following at the Grand Pavilion at 8 p.m. Saturday morning of “festival day” (Oct. 26) will bring the annual King Tree Parade passing through Downtown Perry along Jefferson Street beginning at 10 a.m. Main Street Perry will host a farmer’s market at the Grand Pavilion from 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Additionally, the festival’s “Great Race,” the downtown 5K run, returns after being absent for a number of years. Following the parade, everyone will travel to Forest Capital State Park for the rest of the festival. Some 65 arts and crafts vendors are expected at the festival, opening at 9 a.m., along with dozens of special concessions and food booths. Forestry-related events include professional lumberjack shows (at 12, 2:30 and 4 p.m.), a kid’s lumberjack camp (beginning at 2:30 p.m.), chainsaw competitions, loader competitions and cross-cut saw competitions. The World’s Largest Free Fish Fry begins serving at noon as an estimated 6,000 people will receive a free lunch of fried catfish, baked beans and hushpuppies. The mainstage entertainment begins at 12:30 p.m. and will include performances from Casey Weston, Betsy Badwater and the C.S. Holt Band. Weston returns to the Florida Forest Festival after performing there in 2010, which was her first public concert. She went on to star in the first season of NBC’s “The Voice,” making it to the top eight on Coach Adam Levine’s team. One of her recordings from “The Voice” made it to number 90 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since the show, she has performed on the national concert circuit opening for Top 40 and Country acts such as James Otto, John Anderson, Craig Morgan and Justin Moore. Badwater is a Perry native who now lives in Pensacola and returns to perform with her band, The Hillbilly Chrome. Her music has been called a stout distillation of rockabilly, country, blues, soul and high-lonesome. She writes the songs, sings, plays guitar and a tambourine-topped bass drum all at the same time. Badwater has performed in music venues and music festivals in 35 cities in eight states, has been featured on NPR radio shows as well as commercial radio stations in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, as well as featured on PBS television, CNN and Headline News. Her new record was completed at The Shed Recording Studio in New Orleans and features Grammy Award-winning musician and movie star Chris Thomas King (“O, Brother Where Art Thou,” “Ray”) as producer. Her performance here is part of a 47-date/eight-state tour of the South. C. S. Holt is a vocal stylist and songwriter who performs his own unique take on blues-flavored American music, combining blues, soul and roots influences. Born and raised in Virginia, he makes his home in Moultrie, Ga. For information about any of the festival’s events, or to get directions, call the festival office at 850-584-TREE (8733) or visit online at www.floridaforestfestival.com.