Festivals

From Worm Gruntin' to Blue Crabs to Christmas in Panacea, Wakulla County celebrates its holidays and other annual traditions like no other place on earth. With nearly 40 festivals each year, there's something for everyone -- every month.

JANUARY

Arbor Day Celebration

Date:  3rd Saturday in January 

Location:  Hudson Park in Crawfordville

Time: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sponsor: The Iris Garden Club of Wakulla

Wakulla County's Arbor Day Celebration has been going on for more than a decade and features artisan and craft vendors, nature art and countless interesting outdoor yard and lawn items for sale. Local Wakulla County Green Guides and other nature-based businesses typically attend to showcase their unique products and services.

FEBRUARY

St. Marks NWR Wildlife Heritage & Outdoor Festival

Sponsored by St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Date:  1st Saturday in February

Location: Visitor's Center at St. Marks NWR

Time:  11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Seeking to "Connect People with Nature," the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge's Heritage and Outdoors Festival has grown into one of Wakulla County's largest displays of outdoor culture every year. From wildlife exhibits and dog-hunting demonstrations, to turkey call contests and fly fishing or archery tutorials, this festival has a little bit of everything. Local food vendors and nature-based businesses are always on hand, and each festival features live music and wildlife artwork from area artists.

Rotary of Wakulla County Valentines Celebration

Sponsored by Rotary Club of Wakulla County
Date: Saturday before (or on) Valentine's Day 

Location: Hudson Park in Crawfordville

Time: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Participate in the fun and excitement of the Valentine Celebration and contribute in a very special way to the community's effort to raise money for Wakulla County charities. Day begins with 5K "Cupid Dash" & 1-mile "Fit for Love" walk. Fun parade begins at 10 a.m., along with arts & crafts, food vendors. Entertainment begins on the stage at 11 a.m. with cash prize drawing in the afternoon. Lots of heart-filled fun for the entire family!

Stone Age and Primitive Art Festival
Date: Periodically check website for date: www.floridastateparks.org
Location: Ochlockonee River State Park, 
429 State Park Road, 
Sopchoppy, Florida 

Time: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Wakulla County's homage to the stone age and primitive times, this annual event offers guests demonstrations on primitive weaponry, the art of arrowhead making, hide tanning, basket weaving, pottery making and lessons in carving shell, bone, antlers or wood. The festival also offers several kinds of ancient contests, such as an archery/atlatl competition, for guests to participate in.

African American Heritage Celebration

Sponsored by Wakulla County Christian Coalition
Date: 3rd Saturday in February

Location: Hudson Park in Crawfordville

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


This celebration is Wakulla County's tribute to African-American culture and co-insides with America's annual recognition of Black History Month. From ethnic food to African American arts and crafts and live performing artists, there's never a dull moment. The event always features an African American-themed parade, complete with the sounds of local high school marching bands.

MARCH

Lion's Club St. Patrick's Day Celebration

Sponsored by Crawfordville Lions Club
Date:  Saturday before St. Patrick's Day

Location: 319 & Hudson Park in Crawfordville

Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Lion Club's annual founder's day celebration is a mix of live folk music, Irish food and beverage offerings -- and a sea of green and gold arts and crafts merchandise. The Lion's Club St. Patrick's Day Celebration is preceded by an eclectic parade that streams through downtown Crawfordville.

APRIL

Low Country Boil
Sponsored by Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce
Date: First Saturday of April
Location: 3Y Ranch, Crawfordville Time: 6-10 p.m.

No one does a Low Country Boil quite like Wakulla County! This annual festival is easily one of the area's most popular events because of its wealth of live music and great food, featuring an enormous pot of a traditional low country boil -- with favorites like shrimp, sausage, crawfish, potatoes and corn on the cob -- for all to sample. Tickets are usually made available around the middle of January and sell out fast!

Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival

Date:  2nd Saturday in April 

Location:  Downtown Sopchoppy

Time:  7 a.m. to 10 p.m.


The Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival has easily become one of Wakulla County's most popular and largest events each year. The celebration draws thousands from Wakulla County and the surrounding areas who come to see the famed Sopchoppy worms rise from the ground and crown a new Worm Gruntin' King. This all-day celebration begins bright and early with a 5K race, then features a "Worm Gruntin' " demonstration and competition in the afternoon, and ends with live music late into the night. The event attracts nearly 100 food, arts and crafts vendors every year, and the evening culminates with the Annual Worm Grunters' Ball, featuring a slew of live performances from local artists.

Wild About Wakulla Week
Week between Worm Gruntin Festival and the Wakulla Wildlife Festival
Location:  Different activities and events in Crawfordville, Sopchoppy, St. Marks and Panacea to celebrate all that is "Wild About Wakulla"

Times:  Vary depending upon activity


Wakulla Wildlife Festival
Date: 3rd weekend of April, spans Friday and Saturday

Location:  Wakulla Springs State Park


This two-day festival is truly a wildlife lovers dream that features a bevy of exotic creatures for visitors to see up close -- all set to the backdrop of picturesque Wakulla Springs State Park. The Wakulla Wildlife Festival is a celebration of outdoor activities and area heritage as local musicians, artists, and experts offer festival participants one-of-a-kind experiences. Activities include artwork displayed on the terrace, living history demonstrations, live music both on the green and inside the lodge, food vendors and wildlife-related kids activities.

Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta

Sponsored by Shell Point Yacht Club and the Shell Point Sailboard Club
Date: Last weekend of April

Location: Shell Point Beach
Time: Sat. 8 a.m. to 8: p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As Wakulla County's longest-running festival, the Steve C. Smith Memorial Regatta benefits the American Cancer Society and is held each year in memory of Stephen Smith, a local sailor who died from a rare form of leukemia at the age of 29. With hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for charity over the years, the nationally renowned event -- which began in 1973 -- features races for yachts, sailboats, catamarans and windsurfers. The festival attracts local food and art vendors, and is also highlighted by an enormous auction each year with prizes donated by local Wakulla County businesses.

Rock the Dock Fishing Tournament

Date: Last Weekend in April 

Location: Rock Landing Marina in Panacea

Times: Captains' Meeting:  Friday night; 7:00 p.m.
Weigh-in:  3pm to 6pm on Saturday; 10am to 3pm on Sunday
Sponsored by: Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership


Founded in 2009, this saltwater in-shore fishing tournament was created to benefit the city of Panacea and to promote the excellent fishing and boating opportunities in and around Wakulla County's famed coastal community. The two-day tournament routinely pays out thousands in cash and prizes and features several fishing categories, including youth, master's, recreational, women's and kayak.

MAY

Big Bend Kayak Classic
Date: 1st weekend of May
What: Fundraiser to support local Meals on Wheels Program.
Time: Captains Meeting Fri. 4: pm & Weight-In Sat. Noon-4 p.m. (must be in line before 4 p.m.)
Location: 3 Y ranch, Crawfordville, Florida
Website; www.bigbendkayakclassic.com

North Florida's biggest annual kayak fishing tournament is right here in Wakulla County. Featuring freshwater and saltwater divisions, hundreds come out every year to lay claim to the title of Big Bend champ and help support the local Wakulla County Meals on Wheels Program. The categories include biggest trout, redfish and freshwater bass. So no fish are harmed, the tournament runs on a photo-catch-and-release format to determine its winners.

Panacea Blue Crab Festival

Date:  1st Saturday in May

Location:  Woolley Park in Panacea

Time:  10:00 a.m. 


One of the oldest and longest-running festivals to dot the Wakulla County landscape, the Panacea Blue Crab Festival gives Wakulla County an opportunity to celebrate and thank the city of Panacea for one of its most precious commodities Started in 1975, the festival begins each year with a parade down U.S. Highway 98, then the party really begins at Woolley Park on the waterfront with live music and clog dancers, local arts and crafts vendors and all the fresh Wakulla County blue crab -- and all types of other seafood -- you could ever desire. And don't forget to enter the famed "Blue Crab Pickin' Contest" to become the next Panacea Blue Crab Festival champ!

Free Kid's Fishing Clinic

Date:  2nd Saturday of May 

Location: Woolley Park in Panacea

Time: Weigh-in begins at 1:00 pm 


Teaching children a lifelong hobby, instilling appreciation for marine environment and providing fun, family outings are the objectives for the Kid's Fishing Clinic. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Kid's Fishing Clinic provides each participant a free rod & reel and opportunity to learn and practice their new skills.

Sharks & Chablis Fundraiser

Date: Contact Gulf Specimen for specific dates
Location: Gulf Specimen Marine Lab

Time: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Website: www.gulfspecimen.org

This annual benefit for one of Wakulla County's most prized attractions, the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab, is a celebration fundraiser that also honors the life, work and activism of Dr. Anne Rudloe, co-founder of the Gulf Specimen who died of cancer in 2012. The event features a seafood buffet, wine tasting, silent auction and live music, as well as guided tours of the Gulf Marine Specimen Lab's aquariums.

Children's Fishing Tournament
Sponsored by the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office

Date: 3rd Saturday in May 

Location: Woolley Park in Panacea

Time: Weigh-in from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


With nearly two decades of service to the children of Wakulla County, the Children's Fishing Tournament puts new rods and reels into the hands of hundreds of kids and gives them a chance to compete in either the freshwater or saltwater categories for prizes. Games, rides, exhibitions and food vendors are on hand in the park all afternoon prior to the weigh-in and trophy presentation.

Friends of Wakulla Springs Grand Prix 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run

Date: 3rd Saturday in May

Time: Registration Begins at 7 a.m. 
1 Mile Fun Run 8 a.m.
 Grand Prix 5K Run 8:30 a.m.

Location: Wakulla Springs State Park

Visit www.wakullasprings.org

A unique run that winds through "The Sanctuary" of Wakulla Springs State Park -- a wilderness area of the State Park not normally open to the general public. There is a 1-mile and 5K division for runners, who will get a chance at a rare peek behind the scenes at Wakulla Springs, one of the most treasured features of Wakulla County.

JULY

Sopchoppy 4th of July Celebration

Date: Closest Saturday to July 4th.
Time: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Location: Myron B. Hodge City Park in Sopchoppy.

Contact: Sopchoppy City Hall at (850) 962-4611.

Another of Wakulla County's oldest traditions is the Sopchoppy 4th of July Celebration in the heart of downtown Sopchoppy. The festivities begin the morning of Independence Day with a parade, followed by an all-day and all-night festival -- complete with arts and crafts and food vendors -- at Sopchoppy's famed Myron B. Hodge City Park, which rests on the banks of the Sopchoppy River. The evening is then capped with a spectacular fireworks display that will illuminate the sky over the picturesque waterfront.

SEPTEMBER

Wakulla County Coastal Cleanup

Date: 3rd Saturday in September

Location: St. Marks Wildlife Refuge/Shell Point Beach/Mashes Sands/Panacea

Time: 8 a.m.

Visit www.kwcb.org

This program is run by volunteers who make it their goal to both beautify the area's beaches and coastlines and educate about how to keep Wakulla County clean and litter-free. Cleanup crews begins at 8 a.m. at various beaches in Wakulla County, and the cleanup culminates with a celebration at noon at Woolley Park in Panacea.

Fall Wildflower Walk at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Date: Last Saturday in September 
Location: St. Marks Wildlife Refuge
Time:  9 a.m. to Noon
Contact: (850) 925-6121 or saintmarks@fws.gov
This is a one-of-a-kind Wildflower walk offered during spring and fall blooming seasons. Featured is a nature walk "Behind the Gates" to areas not usually open to the public. Wildflower experts identify species and give an an oral history of Wakulla County's area wildflowers.

OCTOBER

St. Marks Stone Crab Festival

Date: 4th Saturday in October

Location: Port Leon Drive, St. Marks, Florida

Time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit www.stmarksstonecrab.com
With nearly 20 years of history in Wakulla County, the St. Marks Stone Crab Festival -- which was founded by the owners of St. Marks' Riverside Cafe -- brings thousands of crab-lovers from far and wide to the tiny fishing village of St. Marks once a year for a celebration of these seasonal treats. The festivals signals the opening of the Wakulla County's stone crab season, which begins in October and ends in May. The event is full of local vendors and arts and crafts dealers, and guests will be treated to live music all day.

Monarch Butterfly Festival

Date:  4th Saturday in October 

Location:  St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact: (850) 925-6121 or saintmarks@fws.gov.


Wildlife seekers can come watch the migrating monarch butterfly pass through the Wakulla County coast around this time, specifically at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. The festival has numerous wildlife exhibits in additional to nature-based educational demonstrations.

NOVEMBER

FWMA Hearts Gone Wild Music Festival

Sponsored by the Florida Wild Mammal Association
Location: Crawfordville

Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit www.wakullawildlife.org  

This annual fundraiser for the Florida Wild Mammal Association features various musical artists playing live music for guests. The FWMA will also spend a portion of the festival educating its guests on wildlife issues and pledge its commitment to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ailing, abandoned wildlife in North Florida.

DECEMBER

Christmas in the Park
Sponsored by the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office

Date: 2nd Saturday in December

Location: Hudson Park in Crawfordville

Time: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

This annual event put on by the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office is a way to give back to the kids in the community. An arrangement is made by the WCSO for Santa Claus to pop by Hudson Park for pictures with children and to accept gift wish-lists. There will also be games, prizes and train rides, as well as a host of vendors with holiday-themed products.


Christmas in Panacea
Sponsored by Panacea Waterfronts Florida Partnership

Date: 1st Saturday in December

Location: Downtown Panacea

Time: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Panacea-Waterfronts-Florida/178566238854726

What started in 2005 after the town of Panacea was rocked by Hurricane Dennis as a way to lift spirits, has grown into an annual affair. The Panacea Christmas celebration will include snow to play in, children's activities and a bounce house, vendors and entertainment, free admission to Gulf Specimen Marine Lab (2 p.m.-5 p.m.), and the annual parade down U.S. Highway 98 at 6:30 p.m., complete with decorated boats sponsored by local businesses and civic organizations. Local homeowners and businesses also participate in bringing the Christmas spirit to life by decorating their homes and storefronts for the event.

Christmas in Sopchoppy

Date: 2nd Saturday in December 

Location: Downtown Sopchoppy

Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The city of Sopchoppy opens its doors for the holidays when this festival gets under way every year. Local arts and crafts retailers with festive seasonal merchandise, along with food vendors and live Christmas music, make up just a few of the features. And, of course, Santa Claus pops in for a few hours for a visit each Christmas to spend time with area children.

Family Nature Programs

Sponsored by St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge

Tots on Trails - A 45-minute program designed to acquaint preschool children with the plants and animals of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and with the natural world in general. Bring your kids (ages 1-4 years old) to the Refuge for fun activities and a short ranger-led hike. Meets on the second Thursday and the second Saturday of each month at 11:00 am.

Families in Nature - A program designed to engage the whole family in learning about the plants and animals of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and the natural world in general. Meets on the fourth Saturday of each month between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Contact: Visitor Center at (850) 925-6121 or saintmarks@fws.gov
Registration required for both programs.