This month: The Florida Folk Festival
Some people pronounce itÂ swaa-’nee.Â Others say su-’wa-nee.Â In my life, it’s where I’ve spent Memorial Day weekend for the last 27 years or so camped out among the live oak trees, visiting with old friends, singing and dancing, cooking and eating, walking and listening.
The Festival has been around for a very long time.Â It was first celebrated in 1953, at what was then, the Stephen Foster Memorial; a park in White Springs Florida on the banks of the Suwanee River.Â I showed up at the festival when my wife decided to volunteer back in the 1970′s.Â I took care of the kids and the campsite while she helped to run the festival.Â The kids are grown and now a grandson has joined the circle of family and friends who camp together under the oaks along the riverside each Memorial Day weekend.
The festival opens Friday morning and runs through Sunday evening.Â During the daytime hours, there are musical performances, craft displays, folk life demonstrations, storytelling and much more.Â In the evenings, some of the best acts at the festival perform on the Mainstage, while the “balance and swing” crowd dances to live music in front of the carillon tower.
While I’m a big fan of all of it, my favorite spot at the festival is the big tent down by the Old Marble Stage where the local churces cook yummy breakfasts, lunches and dinners.Â My favorite meal is a bowl of collard greens and a big piece of cornbread cooked up by the ladies of the New Jerusalem Baptist Church.Â It’s delish.
For adults, admission to the festival is $25 for one day or $50 for all three days.Â Children under six are free and children between 6 and 16 get in for the entire weekend for just $5.Â If you buy tickets in advance it’s a little less expensive.Â White Springs is located on the Suwannee River near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 75.