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).

[Read more…]

Eight Awesome Adventure Races in North Florida

Looking to get out and do something different this fall?  Here’s a list of eight mud-soaked, fun-filled, free-beer-promising adventure races in Central Florida through the end of this year.  They all have a few things in common: free shirts, free beer, a completion medal and lots of mud.

Some are longer and have more obstacles, but they all follow a pretty similar formula.  And they’re a lot of fun and a good workout.  Don’t worry about being in tip-top shape either.  Other than the competitive heats in the morning, racers of all shapes, sizes and ages compete in these.  For most people, it’s all in fun – there are costumes, teams and plenty of goofing around.

Aug. 18 – Jacksonville – FL.ROC Running Obstacle Challenge 

This run, benefiting “26.2 with Donna,” a breast cancer charity, promises over 30 obstacles on a 3.5-mile course.  It’s being held at a horse farm (Diamond D Boarding and Stables), so you can bet they’ll have the stinkiest mud around. Their website gives the full obstacle list, and I’d be particularly interested in finding out what the “Triple By-pass Water Trudge” is.  Sounds cool.  Admission is $75 now, or $85 on race day.

FL.ROC mud pit. Photo from fl-roc.com.

Sept. 8 – Fort Meade – Dirty Foot Adventure Run

[Read more…]