The Forgotten Coast of Florida lies along the Panhandle. It is bounded on the West by Mexico Beach, St. Joe Beach and Port St. Joe. Going East you come to Simmons Bayou, Cape San Blas, Indian Pass, and The City of Apalachicola on the banks of the Apalachicola River. Continuing east you come to Eastpoint, St. George Island, Carrabelle, Lanark Village, St. James Island, St. Teresa Island, and Alligator Point in Franklin County, FL. As you cross the Ochlockonee River on Highway 98 you enter Wakulla County, FL and Ochlockonee Bay, Mashes Sands, Panacea, Live Oak Island, Shell Point and St. Marks. The St. Marks Lighthouse and nature preserve is the easternmost place on the Forgotten Coast. Each area is different, and all are uncrowded Natural Wonders.



May 2015  

Month Starts off with Florish 

By Chuck Spicer

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The distribution schedule for this May issue (Volume 25, No. 5) began quite a bit earlier than usual (April 27) in consideration of the many major events scheduled for the early days of the month.

In addition to the Plein Air Paintout (May 1-11), which has venues all the way from Alligator Point in eastern Franklin County to Mexico Beach in eastern Bay County, The 23nd Annual Historic Apalachicola Home & Garden Tour will be staged in the port community on May 2. Also slated for May 2 is the fun-filled Panacea Blue Crab Festival (and parade), which had its origins in 1975.

Chip in a significant kayak fishing tournament in Wakulla County on May 2 &3 plus Cape St. George Light sunset/full moon climb on the 3rd and you have the makings for one heck of an opening week in May. And they are all followed by Camp Gordon Johnston Days (May 8 & 9) in Carrabelle.



Simply put, the 10th Anniversary Plein Air Paint-Out is a 10-day open air painting event featuring national artists creating memories of the Forgotten Coast on canvas.   Artists will be painting on the beach, across the marsh, beside the lakes and throughout the streets of waterfront towns from Mexico Beach, WindMark, Port St.  Joe, Cape San Blas, Apalachicola, Eastpoint, St. George Island, Carrabelle, and inland at Wewahitchka. There is even an “Artist Spotter” contest. There are so darn many special events (70 and still counting) planned that it is near impossible to keep with the activities without a “program.” Details on how, when and where you can pick up your complimentary “Commemorative Collectors’ Guide” are contained in our page 1 “Dash of Spice” column.

You are cordially invited to join in at this premier art exhibition and sale featuring on-location artists and experience beauty through the eyes of America's finest plein air artists!    Be sure to visit www.PleinAirFl.com


 One of the oldest and longest-running festivals to dot the Wakulla County landscape, the May 2 Panacea Blue Crab Festival gives Wakulla County an opportunity to celebrate and thank the city of Panacea for one of its most precious commodities Started in 1975, the festival begins each year with a 10 am parade down U.S. Highway 98. Just about everyone in the immediate area participates and if you are “just traveling through” it is recommended that you simply pull to the side of the road and enjoy.

 Then the party really begins at Woolley Park on the waterfront with live music and clog dancers, local arts and crafts vendors and all the fresh Wakulla County blue crab -and all types of other seafood - you could ever desire. And don't forget to enter the famed "Blue Crab Pickin' Contest" to become the next Panacea Blue Crab Festival champ! The event continues on until about 3 pm. There is a small entry charge. http://www.bluecrabfest.com

The 23nd Annual Historic Apalachicola Home & Garden Tour (10 am-4pm) always takes place the first Saturday in May. And as always, the tour is expected to attract hundreds of visitors to Apalachicola. All of the homes featured on this year's tour are vintage homes with interesting histories, contemporary touches and homeowners who take pride in their houses and have found a perfect fit for their unique style in this community. The fun event is sponsored by friends of Trinity Episcopal Church (at the corner of Highway 98 and 5th Street). Trust me, you can’t miss this massive and enthusiastic gathering. Lunch is also available at a reasonable donation.

A presentation, called “Giving words to Our Forgotten Coast” will be provided by Mary Jane Ryals. May 2, 4-8pm., at the Florida State University Coastal Marine Lab Auditorium. Actually there are two presentations. The Lab Auditorium is located in the Turkey Point area of Franklin County at 3618 Coastal Highway 98, St. Teresa. The Phone Number is 850-697-4120 Website marinelab.fsu.edu/


North Florida's biggest annual kayak fishing tournament on May 2 &3 is right here in Wakulla County. Featuring freshwater and saltwater divisions, hundreds come out every year to lay claim to the title of Big Bend champ and help support the local Wakulla County Meals on Wheels Program. The categories include biggest trout, redfish and freshwater bass. So no fish are harmed, the tournament runs on a photo-catch-and-release format to determine its winners. http://bigbendkayakclassic.com

On May 3 you are encouraged to climb to the top of the Cape St. George Light (on St. George Island) to watch the sunset and the rise of the full moon. The Sunset/Full Moon Climb includes light hors d'oeuvres and a sparkling cider toast to the full moon.  Cost is $15.00 for the general public and $10.00 for members of the St. George Lighthouse Association.

After sunset, people are invited to climb to the top of the lighthouse for a breathtaking view of the full moon, as space and time permit.  Cost is $10.00 for the general public and $5.00 for SGLA members. Because space is limited, reservations are recommended.  For reservations or more information, contact the Lighthouse Gift Shop at 850-927-7745; Address 2 East Gulf Beach Dr., St George Island; Website www.stgeorgelight.org ; Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


This is something new...the Carrabelle Artist Association CBA) presents a new Canvas & Cocktails Series on May 7 at the Franklin County Senior Center in Carrabelle. The event, each Thursday evening, is a fun, informal way to unleash your creative side.   Bring your favorite beverage, possibly a snack, and relax.  A talented team of instructors will guide you step by step through the featured painting.  Classes are $25 for a 2 hour painting. The Address is 201 NW Ave F, in Carrabelle.


                                           EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE

The Camp Gordon Johnston Association (CGJA), which created and sponsors the quite amazing World War II museum in Carrabelle, invites all who are interested in showing their support for our veterans to either view or participate in their annual Camp Gordon Johnston Days parade in Carrabelle on Saturday May 9.

Kindly note that this is not a misprint and the date is an extreme departure from the early March dates that prevailed over all these many years. But there is good reason for the change.

On Friday, May 8, there will be a Veterans Social at the Camp Gordon Johnston American Legion Post 82 in Lanark Village. This event is open to all veterans with one guest and any widows of WWII veterans On Saturday, May 9, the Masonic Lodge will be serving breakfast at 7 A.M. All active duty and WWII veterans eat free. All others pay $6.00 per person. This is a great time to meet and bond with fellow Americans. Also, meal tickets will be provided for one free meal in area restaurants to all Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) members for Friday and Saturday. The parade will take place on Saturday, May 9 and the parade line-up begins on Elm Street at 9:30 a.m. EST with the actual parade starting at or about 10:45 a.m. EST. 

This year, for the first time, Camp Gordon Johnston Days will be partnering with the “Military Vehicle Preservation Association (First Florida Chapter)” so one might expect an extended parade lineup of military vehicles. At the end of the parade the military vehicles will be placed on display on Hwy 98 at the former Gulf State Bank. There will be plenty of parking available and the “meet and swap” groups will be able to set up shop at that location. There will be no vendor charge this first year, which the association hopes will become an annual event. On Saturday night there will be a dinner/dance at the Carrabelle Senior Center and the general public is invited and encouraged to attend. Last year’s event, with entertainment by Greg K and Krewe, was completely sold out so get your tickets early.

The Camp Gordon Johnston World War II Museum (which was recently featured in the Tallahassee Democrat) operates on donations and you are encouraged to visit the museum located in the Carrabelle Municipal Complex. There will be transportation provided at the display area on May 9 to carry visitors to and from the Museum.  Vendors and Parade participants can register on-line at: www.CampGordonJohnston.com and click on “Events” - fill out the application and submit or call the CGJA at (850) 697-8575.  

On May 9 there will once again be a Free “Kid's Fishing Clinicat Woolley Park in Panacea. The Weigh-in begins at 1:00 pm. Teaching children a lifelong hobby; instilling appreciation for marine environment and providing fun, family outings are the objectives for the Kid's Fishing Clinic. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this Kid's Fishing Clinic provides each participant a free rod & reel and opportunity to learn and practice their new skills.http://www.visitwakulla.com/Festivals#sthash.8rw4qCDj.dpuf


There will be a “Concert in the Parkpresented by Ilse Newell Concert Series on Sunday May 10. It will feature the Franklin County High School Band and Apalachicola Area Artist Exhibit plus other entertainment and amusements. It will be staged at Lafayette Park on the Apalachicola waterfront 3-6 PM. By the way, this is a most magnificent park (with gazebo and long pier) that originated in 1832. Celebrate and support local artists.

Make plans to join all on St. George Island for Rock By The Sea. May 14-17. This is reportedly a 3 Day charity music festival featuring headliners Chuck Cannon and Will Hoge along with other bands and singer/songwriters who will perform throughout the weekend.  This year's beneficiary charities are Pediatric Brain Tumor Program @ Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Now I Play Along Too, and Franklin County Library.

If you are a golfer and would like to participate in a round for a cause, give ‘em a call. According to the “Rock By The Sea” Website… Rock by the Sea, led completely by volunteers, has no employees.   It is a community, a family...of volunteers, musicians, charities and fans of music who travel from all over the country to attend these events.  All donating their time, talents and dollars in pursuit of making a difference while having a GREAT time.  Over 38 states have been represented and just under 80 bands and singer/songwriters have participated in our events.  Each event is about more than just the charity.  It’s about discovering your new favorite band and hanging out with them.  It’s about talking to people or their parents who have benefited from our efforts.  It’s about making new friends and bringing your old ones into a community of some pretty fantastic people and talent you don't get to hear on the radio anymore.  It does the soul some good.  Everyone is happy to be at the event, happy to be a part of it and happy to be able to help. Venue: 28 W. Bayshore Drive, St. George Island, FL. Phone Number 850-222-0000.Website: www.rockbythesea.org. Email   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




Paddle Jam 2015 (May 15-17) is a festival celebrating the Forgotten Coast through paddle sports, music & food.  Paddle Jam is a “fluid festival” with events happening at various locations in Apalachicola and St. George Island.  If you love2paddle,  organizers invite you to join with them and “paddle2love as we help those in need!”

During Paddle Jam organizers and participants will again attempt to set a new Guinness Book World Record for the largest floating gathering of kayaks.
On Saturday May 16th that attempt to set a World Record on the Apalachicola River is aimed at involving a "raft up" over 3500+ kayaks. The current Guinness World Record was set by One Square Mile of Hope (USA) in Inlet, New York, USA, on September 13, 2014 when 3150 kayaks and canoes rafted up together. The event will take place at the confluence of the Apalachicola River and the Apalachicola Bay (1 mile from the Apalachicola High Bridge) 

Put-in locations will be spaced out at public landing and private marinas along the Apalachicola River.  Kayaks will gather and be linked by boaters arm in arm or paddle to paddle and assembled for 30 seconds. Proceeds from the "kayak raft" event will go to helping “at risk” children, youth and families in need through the Outreach Ministries of the ASGI Cooperative Parish.

Paddle Jam will also showcase live local music and local food.  The festival grounds at Battery Park in Apalach open at 5 pm Friday. There will also be Saturday morning events as well as Sunday activities on St. George Island. See our separate article for additional details. You can also visit the various Festival information booths or local museums and parks.  Stroll the historic district or shop with the local vendors.  Paddle Jam offers something for everyone and is for people who are passionate about life on the Forgotten Coast. See additional events in separate article. Website www.paddle2love.com/paddle-jam-2015.html Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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