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 — in every season.

JANUARY

Arbor Day Celebration
Date:  The Saturday following the Third Friday of January
Location:  Hudson Park in Crawfordville
Time: 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Sponsor: The Iris Garden Club of Wakulla

Wakulla County’s Arbor Day Celebration, organized by the Wakulla County Garden Club since 2005, provides over a thousand Free Trees for Wakulla County residents to choose from. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. This annual event is held on the Saturday following the third Friday of January, from 10:00 am- 12:30 pm, and includes food vendors, artisan & craft vendors, as well as live music.

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. The day begins with 5K “Cupid Dash” & 1-mile “Fit for Love” walk. The fun parade begins at 10 a.m., along with arts & crafts, food vendors. Entertainment begins on the stage at 11 a.m. with a cash prize drawing in the afternoon. Lots of heart-filled fun for the entire family!

Stone Age and Primitive Art Festival
Date: Periodically, check the website for date
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
The 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 the activity

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

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!

Sharks & Chablis Fundraiser
Date: Contact Gulf Specimen for specific dates
Location: Gulf Specimen Marine Lab
Time: 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Visit Website

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.

Run for Wakulla Springs 
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 Website

Experience the primal beauty of the old growth southern forest as you run through the sanctuary at Wakulla Springs State Park. Special arrangements have been made to open this rarely accessed area for this event.

JULY

Sopchoppy 4th of July Celebration
Date: 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 Website

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 begin 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: David Roddenberry
Email: sarracenia.nps@gmail.com
Phone: 850-556-9530

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 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: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Visit Website

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 signal 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 to 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 addition to nature-based educational demonstrations.

DECEMBER

St. Marks Christmas Jubilee
Date: December 7th, 2019
Location: St. Marks, Empty Lot Next to Miss Joy’s
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Bring your entire family to this Christmas event! Tree lighting, festive music, cookies, cider, ugly sweater contest, golf cart parade, and a special appearance by the man himself, Santa Claus!

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 Website

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 underway 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 of each month at 11:00 am.

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