Florida Folk Festival – 2008
Every year, on Memorial Day weekend, a group of people who appreciate homegrown music gather on the banks of the Suwanee River near White Springs. The Florida Folk Festival is not the only state folk arts celebration in the country, but it’s the oldest one.
Actually, last year, the Memorial Day festival couldn’t happen because of the Bugaboo fire burning in the swamps and woods north of White Springs. Having spent time fighting brushfires, I applauded the decision to cancel it but was saddened that Florida was going to lose it’s status as the oldest festival in the country.
To their great credit, after spending a year getting ready for one festival that didn’t happen, the park staff in White Springs organized a second one in just a few months. They put on a excellent event in November on Veterans Day weekend. The Florida Park Service, the DEP and all the powers-that-be deserve thanks for allowing it to happen. The photograph with this posting is of the Bullard Brothers family band, a talented group from White Springs, the host town for the Festival.
The Florida Folk Festival is happening in just a couple of weeks on Memorial Day weekend. In my family, it’s become a bit of a tradition and I think that this year will be my 25th in White Springs.
I like the music and I like the food and I like meeting people from all sorts of different cultural enclaves from throughout the state, but I especially love the dancing. Over the years, I’ve seen Mideastern dancers, Hawaiian dancers, Irish step dancers, African dancers, stomp dancers and lots more.
Every night there’s a public dance.
If you’ve been to the Festival before, you’re probably making plans to go back. If you haven’t been, and know how to have fun, then a trip to White Springs should be in your future.
The 56th annual Florida Folk Festival will be held May 23rd, 24th and 25th at the Stephen Foster State Folk Life Center in White Springs Florida on the banks of the Suwanee River. I hope to see you there.