Upcoming fall festivals and nearby adventures in north Florida

It’s fall, y’all.

On Sunday morning, I ambled my way over to the Micanopy Fall Festival, which was a great deal larger and more interesting than I had expected.  Lots of food, crafts, music, animals and presidential signage.

I saw a few things I had never seen before – like ceiling fan blade covers – and succumbed to the irresistable temptation to buy bread from people who bake it in outdoor ovens.  (I got a loaf of rosemary sourdough that, I kid you not, I ate in its entirety within 24 hours.)Micanopy Fall Festival sign

But more importantly, it made me think about how you can use fall festivals as a good spring-board for more adventurous activities.  That’s one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday, as I did with Micanopy’s Independence Day festival and a mid-afternoon hike through nearby Longleaf Flatwoods.

This week, the weather in north Florida is perfect.  Highs around 80, lows in the upper 50s, sunny and calm.  There’s no reason not to be outside, exploring small towns and the lesser known activities around them.  There’s several upcoming festivals in central Florida, and I’ve saved you some time and made your fall to-do list.  Beneath each festival is my recommendation for how to spend the rest of the day – hikes, paddles, trails, and hang gliding (yes, hang gliding).

I’ll be checking in on some of these, and I’ll let you know the highs and lows.  If you’ve been, or plan to go, drop me a line in the comments section!

(But first, some photos from the Micanopy festival)

MIcanopy Fall Festival

Antique Bottles

Antique bottles being sold by a vendor.

Micanopy Fire Truck

A Micanopy water tanker, borrowed from the U.S. Forest Service.

Junk table

Micanopians browse a table full of trinkets and knick-knacks.

Inverness – Great American Cooter Festival

Oct. 26, 27, 28

“Step out of your shell and into the fun at the Great American Cooter Fest at Liberty Parkin historic downtown Inverness. You’ll enjoy an overflow of outdoor events steeped deep in down-home Southern entertainment. From Cooter races to Cooterween, and everything in between, the festival celebrations will fill this marshy month with old-time activities.  Your fall is sure to be an unforgettable experience with dozens of festivals, races, and parties.”

Adventures nearby: Kayak the Withlacoochee River; Hike in Withlacoochee State Forest

McIntosh – Fall 1890’s Day Festival

Saturday, Oct. 27

“The annual 1890’s Festival will be held in Victorian McIntosh Florida on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. This will be the 39th anniversary of the fall festival that will number 280 arts, crafts and antiques vendors from all over the country. Vendors demonstrating their crafts will include a blacksmith, candle maker, basket weaver, sand artist and loom weaver. Admission is free.”

Adventures nearby: Hiking in Longleaf Flatwoods; Hike the Bolen Bluff trail in Paynes Prairie.

High Springs – High Springs Fall Festival

Saturday, Oct. 27

“This festival will celebrate the cooler weather and the kick off to the beginning of the holiday season. We will be running along with the Annual High Springs Rotary Car Show. 1,500 attendees expected.”

Adventures nearby: Kayak the Santa Fe River; Fishing in River Rise Preserve State Park; Swimming at Blue Springs.

Mount Dora – Mount Dora Craft Festival

Oct. 27 and 28

“Throughout this historic community, the streets come alive with more than 350 talented crafters & artists from all over the country displaying and offering for sale their finest works to the more than 300,000 visitors who are expected to attend this two-day event. Plus there’s food and entertainment to round out a perfect day outdoors.”

Adventures nearby: Hike the Clearwater Lake Nature Trail in the Ocala National Forest; Learn to hang glide with Quest Air Hang Gliding; Kayak at Silver River State Park.

Alachua – Alachua Harvest Festival

Sunday, Nov. 11

“Relax after Saturday’s Homecoming Game – a great family Sunday afternoon!  Stroll downtown historic winding Main Street, city of Alachua, lined with original Victorian homes and businesses, lanterns, benches and bricks, towering trees, wafting music, and friendly shopkeepers and vendors.”

Adventures nearby: Hike in San Felasco Hammock;  Kayak the Ichetucknee River.

(OK, I couldn’t resist – the bread!)

Rosemary Sourdough

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