Watermelon Festival 2018

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.

Grilling watermelons
Grilling watermelons. Too freaking hot for this, but people still wanted it!
Watermelon fun! Kids having a great time rolling watermelons. Who’s the fastest?
little girl gets her face painted at watermelon festival
Face painting during the watermelon festival
Two watermelon smoothies side by side.
Watermelon & Strawberry smoothie on left. Watermelon smoothie on right.
Kids posing at watermelon stand during watermelon festival
Say Cheese. Ooopps.. Say Watermelon!!
A kid-moving train passes by at watermelon festival.
Watermelon train fun.

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.

Gold Head State Park in Keystone Heights

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?

Primitive Camping

kids by campfire gold head state park
Keeping warm by the fire. Image: Instagram / kevin.p.snow

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!

dog and owner in campsite at gold head state park, keystone heights, florida
Dogs love Gold Head state park! Image: Instagram/ @ohmissbell

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!

lake in mike roess gold head state park
Lake in Mike Roess State Park. Image: Instagram/ @my_best_shots

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!

coral snake seen in grass at mike roess gold head state park
What where you step! coral snake at Mike Roess State Park. Image: Instagram / @lordmuddyfeet

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.

Deer in Mike Roess State Park
Deer just spotted us. I believe they’re thinking “should we stay or should we go?” Image: Instagram / @lilyro
owl perched on tree in mike roess gold head state park, keystone heights
The day is coming to an end…hello, dinner. Image: Instagram / @a_photogsreallife

Moss Man!

Woman and child in front of Moss Man at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights
Moss Man hangs out, greeting guests at Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park

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

man in front of controlled fire in mike roess gold head state park while he smiles
Controlled fire in Mike Roess Gold Head state park. Image: Instagram / @wzegan18

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.

women facing away sitting in middle of road in Mike Roess State park with hands up, signaling peace sign
Until next time Gold Head State Park. Image: Instagram / @___carol____

Yesterday’s Festival

Just down the street from Keystone Height’s downtown is an actual wormhole – it literally takes you back into time!

Well, it did this past weekend. At Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park, one of Florida’s first state park (how befitting), the Yesterday’s Festival was held.

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.

civil war reenactment in yesterday's Festival, Keystone Heights
Resting for a spell before the big fight.
Reenactment of civil war fighting
Reenactment of civil war fighting
Churning butter in Yesterday Festival in Keystone Heights
Churning butter with old tech!

Iron skillet cooking a beautiful breakfast or lunch…not really sure.

Keystone heights, yesterday festival
These two tried hot-wiring the Model T. Didn’t work.
Moss man in keystone Heights
This guy usually hangs out in Keystone Heights. Moss Man!


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.

Christmas Parade 2017

**Information for: 2018 Keystone Heights Christmas Parade**

On December 9th, the streets of Keystone heights closed down so the local parade can celebrate the coming of Christmas. Enjoy the pics below!

christmas parade keystone heights
ROTC leads the parade in Keystone Heights. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
Keystone Heights’ Indian Football player in Keystone Heights parade. Photo by Anne Byrnes

Keystone heights xmas paradeKeystone heights xmas paradekeystone heights xmas parade

keystone heights christmas parade
Winter wonderland in Keystone Heights
christmas parade keystone heights
Paddy wagon and shriners in Keystone Heights parade. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
Frosty in Keystone Heights Parade. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
Saluting a hello. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
The band plays in Keystone Heights parade. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
The Magic of Christmas. Photo by Anne Byrnes
christmas parade keystone heights
Wonderful float of kids &  light up decorations. Photo by Anne Byrnes

If you have any pictures of Keystone Heights Christmas parade you would like to add, please contact us.

Things To Do On A Lake

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.

Kayaking On A Lake

 

Enjoying the sunset on a kayak in a lake
Wishing the sun farewell. image by hayleymurphyyy
you can kayak on a lake, kayak on keystone heights lake
yes image by delamaravilla

Fishing On A Lake

said yes video by tyler.oliver

Flaunt Your Awesome Float On A Lake

raft on a lake
Who has the coolest raft in town? She does! image by fabulousles17

Dogs On A Lake

swim with dog on lake
You can take it easy on a float with your best friend. image from hannahmayer

Hanging Out On A Lake

hanging out on the keystone height lake
image by makayla.vk
boating on a lake
image by krrenee

Wakeboarding On A Lake

wakeboarding on lake
image by
wake boarding on lake
image by

Tubing On A Lake

tubing on lake
image by maclayneee

Paddle Boarding on A Lak

paddle boarding on lake in keystone heights
image by laurenrae51

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!

Images: Homecoming Parade 2017

cheerleaders homecoming parade
Cheerleaders at Homecoming Parade 2017
float being pulled
Float being pulled during Homecoming parade 2017
greatest show homecoming parade
Greatest Show on Earth Float
Watching as floats go by, Homecoming parade Keystone Heights 2017
Watching as floats go by, Homecoming parade Keystone Heights 2017
Spectators for Homecoming parade 2017 in keystone heights
Spectators for Homecoming parade 2017
Spectating at Homecoming parade in Keystone Heights
Spectating at Homecoming parade in Keystone Heights
homecoming royalty in keystone heights
Parade participants got to display the few of the homecoming royalty
keystone heights homecoming parade
Running theme of Parade – Caged animals.
homecoming 2017 in keystone heights lrg
The start of the Homecoming parade in Keystone Heights, Florida
color guard keystone heights homecoming parade front of school
Color Guard representing in Homecoming Parade.

If you have pictures you’d like to contribute, please contact us.