Rum Island Spring, the Santa Fe River,  Rum 138 (OSFR Headquarters) to appear in TV show Saturday, August 3 2019.

tourist council tv In: Rum Island Spring, the Santa Fe River,  Rum 138 (OSFR Headquarters) to appear in TV show Saturday, August 3 2019. | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Tourists float down the Ichetucknee in this file photo.

Rum Island Spring, the Santa Fe River,  Rum 138 (OSFR Headquarters) to appear in TV show Saturday, August 3 2019.

The film is shot and in the can, so let’s hope. County gets its moment to shine on statewide TV.

Ready for your close-up?

Episode to showcase outdoors life here

‘HOW TO DO FLORIDA’
Episode to showcase outdoors life here

Host visits Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, plus local fixtures like Halpatter

By CARL MCKINNEY
[email protected]

Local tourist attractions and hidden gems are getting the small-screen treatment in a Columbia County-centered TV adventure expected to reach millions of viewers throughout the Sunshine State.

In an upcoming episode of “How to Do Florida,” which airs in every major market in Florida, host Chad Crawford will take viewers scuba-diving in Ichetucknee Springs, kayaking up the Santa Fe River, exploring downtown Lake City and sampling beef from one of North Florida’s oldest cattle farms. It airs at 1 p.m. Saturday on WCJB, Channel 20 in Gainesville, and will hit other stations on different dates.

“There’s only 10 episodes in a year, so this is a huge opportunity for us to promote our area,” said Paula Vann, director of the Columbia County Tourist Development Council, which collaborated with the show’s producer to make the episode happen. “There’s a lot more to Florida than beaches and theme parks.”

tourist councio tv falling crek In: Rum Island Spring, the Santa Fe River,  Rum 138 (OSFR Headquarters) to appear in TV show Saturday, August 3 2019. | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida LEFT: Falling Creek Falls is one of the many scenic locales Columbia County has to offer tourists. The region’s natural beauty is the main selling point used by county tourism officials.

Vann connected with the show’s crew in September at a conference hosted by the state’s tourism marketing wing, Visit Florida. “And we worked out a deal, and they came and did an entire show based on Columbia County,” she said.

The county Tourist Development Council paid $24,225 for the episode and made most of the travel arrangements, Vann said. “We picked things a little different from the traditional stuff,” Vann said. “Something unique and not your typical Florida destination.”

About 6.4 million people are expected to watch the episode over the next year, either on TV or through digital platforms. This season of the show has a heavy emphasis on coastal communities such as the Keys, the subject of the episode immediately before this one. “When you’re talking about the Keys in one and Columbia County in the next — that’s a big deal to be in the running against those,” Vann said.

With gear provided by Lake City Dive Center, Crawford went scuba-diving in Ichetucknee Springs at the popular spot known as the Blue Hole.

Rum 138, a Fort White based canoe and kayak rental business — which also functions as a music venue — is featured in the segment exploring Rum Island Springs and the Santa Fe River by kayak.

The episode also highlights Fifth Generation Farms, a farm-to-table grocery store on West U.S. Highway 90, and Halpatter Brewing Company in downtown Lake City.

“It’s a 30-minute show, so they can’t show everything there is to do here,” Vann said. “But it gives you a taste to make you want to explore a little bit more.” The show’s website, www. howtodoflorida.com, has a schedule with air dates for other cities, plus information about how to watch on a streaming service.

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