The most thoughtful present to give is a gift certificate for upcoming outdoor activities on and near the Santa Fe River. There is something for everyone to enjoy at these special events, called RiverFest 2019, to be held over three days in March in the High Springs area.
The “explore, learn and play” events are sponsored by Our Santa Fe River, Inc., an all-volunteer non-profit organization working to bring some much-needed attention to area water resources.
RiverFest events include educational land and water tours as well as a family fun music event that features original songs about the Santa Fe River by area musicians. The 9th Annual Our Santa Fe River Songwriting Contest on March 31 also will feature a silent auction, blues music by The Deviljays, locally crafted beer and food, and more.
“Our goal is to make it easy for area residents and visitors to have fun and learn more about our precious water resources,” said Rhonda Long, RiverFest Event Chair. “The events also will enable us to raise funds so we can continue our grassroots efforts to protect the aquifer, springs and waters in this area.”
The following RiverFest events include:
Plant Hike a Floodplain Forest and Swamp
Saturday, March 23
9 to 11 am, Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park
Colette Jacono, PhD, a botanist and plant ecologist specializing in aquatic and wetland plants, will lead a short hike through a low-lying hardwood forest and swamp adjacent to the Santa Fe River. Springtime ground covers of lilies, ferns, violets and sedges will pave the path to springs and sloughs where otters may be seen foraging for breakfast. Learn how to recognize tree species such as pop-ash, elm, and hornbeam that characterize a community that is in many ways part of the river itself.
$25 donation, which includes ticket to March 31 Songwriters Contest; limited to 25 people
Paddle the Santa Fe
Saturday, March 30
10 am to 3 pm, Hwy 27 Boat Ramp at Santa Re River
(386) 454-0611 or RiverGuide2000@yahoo.com
A nine-mile section of Santa Fe River, from Hwy 27 to Hwy 47, will be paddled over five hours, guided by Master Naturalist Lars Andersen. The route will include the river’s most famous springs: Poe, Rum Island, Blue, Ginnie, Devil’s Ear & Eye, July and Myrtles Fissure. In addition, paddlers will pass swallets, where the water drains through underwater cracks into the underground aquifer. Andersen, a fulltime river guide, also will discuss the river’s unique geology, history and lore of the area plants and animals.
Tour includes shuttle and ticket to Songwriters Contest: $50 (with or without boat); limited to 25 people
9th Annual OSFR Songwriters Contest
Sunday, March 31
1 pm to 7 pm; Song Contest 2 pm to 4 pm
Rum 138, Fort White
This competition of original songs written about the Santa Fe River brings local and regional songwriters and music lovers from around the state to celebrate and learn about a special spring-fed river. This annual fundraising event, emceed by Storm Roberts of 98.5 KTK, offers music, food and drink, a silent auction and an afternoon of family fun. Proceeds go to educational and advocacy activities, all designed to protect the aquifer, springs and waters in this area. Rum 138 is located at 2070 Southwest County Road 138 in Fort White.
Songwriters are encouraged to submit original song submissions about the Santa Fe River no later than March 5, 2019. Judges will look for originality, quality of lyrics, melody and performance. The finalists will take the stage during the afternoon and will have an opportunity to win cash prizes. Each finalist will receive a professional video of their performance, which also will be placed on YouTube.
$10 tickets; 12 and under free