Back To Nature Festival Oct. 14-16, 2011

Enjoy outdoor adventures and family fun at the annual fall festival

South Walton Community Council is pleased to announce their 10th Annual Back To Nature Festival October 14-16, 2011. The cool fall season and natural beauty of South Walton are the perfect backdrop for the annual festival. Each fall South Walton Community Council hosts the Back to Nature Festival to inspire visitors and locals alike to discover the wonders of our unique coastal environment.

• Opening Night Party on Oct. 14 in the Backyard of Love located at Hibiscus Coffee and Guesthouse in Grayton Beach. Enjoy a low country boil, live music under the stars and preview the silent auction items.

• Enjoy Outdoor Adventures with experienced guides Oct. 15 – 16. Sunrise meditation, Deer Lake shorebird and beach walk, Peach Creek kayak tour, Stand up paddling at Grayton Beach State Park, wildflower and butterfly hike in Pt. Washington State Forest, longleaf Greenway trail bike cruise, astronomy walk at Grayton Beach State Park, tracking the wild critters at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Western Lake kayak tour, forest ecology hike and Hogtown Bayou sunset paddle.

Learn about wildlife and more at the Back To Nature Festival. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Most outdoor adventure events are about two hours long and cost $10 unless otherwise noted.

• Explore Nature at Grayton Beach State Park on Saturday, Oct. 15th. Walton Outdoors will be hosting a hands-on day geared towards introducing children to the wonders of exploring the outdoors. Activities include learning to fish in the Gulf with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, rod/reel giveaways, kayaking and YOLO boarding on Western Lake, a guided hike along the sand dune trail, sea life touch tank, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge wildlife exhibit and interactive activities.

This event is free and geared for children ages 6 and up.

• Celebrate Nature at the Seaside Amphitheater on Saturday, Oct. 15th. Live music from Chris Alvarado, E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center wildlife exhibits, Choctawhatchee Audubon, Florida State Parks exhibits, Shoal Sanctuary, local community groups, arts and crafts for the kids, green business exhibits, demonstrations, farmers market and silent auction.

• Silent Auction Saturday, Oct. 15th at the Seaside Amphitheater. Bid on great items with proceeds going to the South Walton Community Council.

• Art Show at the Hidden Lantern Gallery Sept. 26 – Oct. 29. Located at Rosemary Beach, “The Jewels of 30A,” a juried art show, will feature artwork inspired by our globally rare and imperiled coastal dune lakes. Artwork will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the South Walton Community Council.

For more information and registration, go to


Walton County Fair comes to DeFuniak Springs Oct. 10-15, 2011

The Walton County Fair, a tradition since 1924, kicks off six days of family fun on Monday, Oct. 10, 2011.

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.

Armbands for rides are $12 Tues. and Thurs. $15, Mon., Wed., Fri., and Sat. On Saturday, armbands are good from 10 a.m until 5 p.m. Then a new one must be purchased for the 6 p.m. until closing time. The rides will be closed from 5-6 p.m. on Saturday for a state required inspection.

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::

For entire schedule: Click here

Sixth Annual Camp Helen Park State Ghost Walk and History Tour Oct. 8

Wear your costume for a night of entertainment and story telling

Ghosts, spooks, pirates and witches will be hanging out at Camp Helen State Park, Sat., October 8th. And everyone is invited to join them for an adventuresome evening of continuous storytelling and historic re-enactment from 5:00 – 8:30 p.m.

The sixth annual Ghost Walk and History Tour, hosted by the Friends of Camp Helen, is suitable for children. New stories, pre tour entertainment and activities are being planned for this year’s event. Costumes are encouraged and flashlights are recommended. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

Camp Helen State Park is located at 23937 Panama City Beach Parkway (Highway 98) near the Walton/Bay County line, on the south side of the highway just west of the Phillips Inlet Bridge.

Parking at the state park is limited to the handicapped. All others are requested to park at Winn-Dixie and ride the free shuttle to the park. Winn Dixie is at the junction of U. S. 98 and FrontBeach Road a mile east of the Philips Inlet Bridge and about five miles west of Florida Highway 79.

The Friends of Camp Helen State Park is a not-for-profit citizen support organization who is dedicated to protecting, preserving, and restoring the park for optimal enjoyment now and for future generations.

For more information please contact Lynn Cherry at 850.215.4651 or

Take a hike or a paddle with the Florida Trail Association

Florida Trail Association – Choctawhatchee and Western Gate Chapters
Activity Participants Please note: Contact the activity leader well in advance for more information and/or to reserve your place (Space is limited.) Unless instructed otherwise by the activity leader, each participant should bring: day pack, plenty of water (recommended minimum, 2 quarts), sun protection (hat, glasses, screen), insect repellent, lunch and or snacks, adequate clothing for the forecast, and comfortable, sturdy close toed shoes with socks. Long pants, work gloves, and extra water are recommended for work hikes. Activity leaders may deny participation to anyone who is inadequately prepared.

Northwest Florida has two Florida Trail Groups. Click the links below for upcoming events:

The Choctawhatchee Chapter:

The Panhandle Chapter:

Upcoming canoe/kayak 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.

Nick’s September Showdown fishing tournament Sept. 24, 2011

Anglers compete for speckled trout, redfish, catfish and ladyfish on the Choctawhatchee Bay

Nick’s Restaurant in Basin Bayou is hosting speckled trout, redfish, catfish and ladyfish September Showdown fishing tournament on the Choctawhatchee Bay Sept. 24. Starting time will be at daybreak. This is a Choctawhatchee Bay tournament and all fish must be caught on the Bay or estuaries from Brooks Bridge to Peach Creek.
Tournament hours/weigh ins: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Entry Fee-$ 50.00 per person
All payouts guaranteed.
(Guaranteed payouts – Based on a minimum of 50 anglers)

SPECKLED TROUT $500 $300 $200
REDFISH $500 $300 $200
CATFISH $300 $200 $100
LADYFISH $300 $200 $100
All contestants are subject to a polygraph test.

Learn about alligators at Topsail Sept. 22

Time: 1:30 pm – 2:30 p.m.

El lagarato was the name coined by the Spanish explorers and early settlers of Florida who came upon the American Alligator. These giant “lizards” live in or near almost every water body in Florida and have fascinated people for many years. Come out and join us to learn more about these sunbathing, cold-blooded critters.

Park at the Day-Use area and take a short hike to the clubhouse. $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Call (850) 267-8330 for more information. ::MAP::

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Outdoor fun on tap for September in Seaside

Join your friends and neighbors along 30A for Seaside Tailgate! Featuring some of the country’s biggest college football games on the giant 35-foot inflatable screen at the Seaside Amphitheater. Games will be screened on Saturdays, Sept. 10, 17, & 24, and will begin at sunset. The specific games will be chosen the week of the event and will be added to the Seaside Facebook page, as well as their website ( Fans of the SEC, ACC, and other conferences will have the opportunity to “tailgate” with the Seaside Merchants and then head into the Amphitheater to cheer on their teams to victory. Whether you say “Roll Tide,” “War Eagle,” “Geaux Tigers,” or anything else, Seaside is the best place to catch the big game on the biggest screen.

For more information on our community & events, please visit Seaside online at: or find them on Facebook by searching “Seaside.”

E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center open every Saturday

The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center offers education on a better understanding of our environment; with its focus on the importance of biodiversity, ecosystems, conservation, preservation and restoration of our natural resources.
Each weekend, the Center will focus on a different theme, featuring specialized programs such as birds of prey, remnants of a forest, gopher tortoises and nature based movies.
Admission is $5 per person.
Children ages 6 to 12 are $2.
Children 5 and under are free.
Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Open Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center is located at 4956 State Hwy. 20 East, Freeport, FL. 32439. To learn more, go to

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