Second annual Watermelon Festival was held this past June 2018 at the Clay county fairgrounds.
We took a ride out there from Keystone Heights to check out the Watermelon Fest. There were about over 50 vendors welcoming visitors as they grinned and bear’d the summer heat.
The day was sunny – too hot to be out; but hey, it’s a festival, a watermelon celebration, so there had to be cold watermelon to munch on.
Immediately upon entering we ran to the air conditioning sanctuary (exhibit hall), then regrouped to thoroughly check out the outside vendors (poor guys).
The kids had fun as the above 90 degree weather didn’t phase them. They wanted to be everywhere: on the bounce house, at the petting zoo, riding horses, on the bungee trampoline, at the face painting tent, which we didn’t mind as it gave us another opportunity to be out from under the sun and not running around under that blazing sun.
Entrance fee was $5 per person with $1 off discount (you had to bring a canned food to receive discount – food was being donated).
Would we go again? Yes…but later in the day (like an hour from closing). Hopefully, they’ll be more vendors to pass the time as the kids go watermelon crazy.
Experience the real Florida – Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park.
Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is one of Florida’s oldest state parks. The park was created by the Civilian Conservation Core in the 1930s, opening its doors on 1941. With a total of sixteen vacation cabins overlooking scenic Little Lake Johnson, and nine of these cabins were built by the Civilian Conversation Core, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park is a city-free and historical getaway for the everyone.
Along with its rich history, the park is home to many of Florida’s natural beauties. Let’s find out below…
What else can you find in Gold Head State Park?
What’s not to love about camping outdoors? You’ll be surrounded by nature, experiencing a low-tech getaway, and unwinding from the everyday grind.
Mike Roess Gold Head State Park offers guests two primitive campsites. Campsites include picnic table, fire ring and a pavilion. You won’t find water or electricity. Of course to enjoy the primitive campsite you must be able to hike to it, which is about a 3/4 mile walk. Learn more about primitive camping at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park.
Gold Head allows pets!
Great news pet owners! You can bring your fur-baby with you hike Gold Head’s natural scenic trail; unfortunately though, pets are not permitted in these areas: inside of any buildings, the cabins and cabin area, the playground, the primitive group camping area, the primitive camping area, the swimming area, the beach, and the lake.
But they get to enjoy being in one of Gold Head’s 73 campground sites, which are equipped with a picnic table, fire-ring, grill and potable water, also 20 and 30 amp electrical service are available in certain sites.
Water lovers rejoice!
Fishing, canoeing, and swimming can be done at Gold Head Branch State Park. Canoes are available for rent, swimming & fishing can be done at Little Lake Johnson in the park, though fishing is prohibited in Sheelar Lake, Deer Lake, and Pebble Lake (the other lakes in the state park).
There is Wildlife!
You’ll see many cool things at Gold Head Branch State Park, but the coolest would probably be the woodland creatures that live at the park.
The animals you’ll have the opportunity to see are: gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, and white-tailed deer, gophers, gopher tortoise, southern fence lizard, six-lined racerunner, green anole, as well as many kinds of snakes.
Legend has it (well, at least the Moss Man’s origin tales) that Moss man was once a young Air Force fighter pilot stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. During one of his flying training maneuvers, the plane unexpectedly malfunctioned and crashed into the forest. The young pilot managed to escape from the burning debris, but his flight suit was set ablaze and began melting to his skin. Frantically, the pilot tried desperately to extinguish the flame by rolling on the ground. As he did, the Spanish moss on the ground began to solder to his sizzling skin. The young pilot panicked and went into a frenzy; terror-strickened, the young pilot’s eyes began to redden as the blood raced to his head. The pilot, despondent about his physical appearance and situation, left into the woods to live the remaining years of his life as Moss man.
FYI: When at the park it is customary to tell campfire stories…be prepared to tell your scary tale!
Controlled fires are prescribed burns that are intentionally set for forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. At certain times of the year, sections of the park will be closed because of controlled fires. But don’t fret, there is much more park to be seen. You’ll just have an excuse to come back and check out the section that you missed.
See You Next Time at the Park
As all good things go, so must we. FYI: maximum stay at Mike Roess Gold Head State Park is 2 weeks. So enjoy the two weeks and visit the surrounding cities: like Keystone Heights, Gainesville & Jacksonville, and don’t forget to take a dip in one of the many Florida springs.
Go deeper to learn more about Mike Roess Gold Head State Park with this interview from 50Campfires.
Yesterday’s Festival is a celebration of the past. From the old West to vintage tractors, the “Yesterday’s” was represented well.
We’ve added a few pics and videos from the Yesterday Festival. Hope you enjoy!
Stumbled on dining cowboys.
Iron skillet cooking a beautiful breakfast or lunch…not really sure.
One of many weapons being shot in Yesterday’s Festival in Keystone Heights. This one is a Greaser Gun!
Have any pics from Yesterday’s Festival in Keystone Heights? Please send them over to us, we’ll place them on here.
Life is a beach lake. This saying holds true to the close-knit town of Keystone Heights, Fl. The town is surrounded by lakes; so much that it can get quite intimidating trying to figure on what to do on a lake. To help those uninitiated to lake life, we’ve posted a few images of people doing normal lake stuff.
Hope the images below inspire you to check out a lake; and if you’re in the area check out Keystone Heights lakes. Images were taken on one of the many lakes around Keystone Heights, Fl.
Of course, these images only cover a fraction of what can be done when visiting a lake. Once you become acquainted to the beautiful nature and wildlife of a lake can you truly enjoy and respect these bodies of water! So go out there and visit a lake!