CHIPLEY — Friday and Saturday, the past will come to life at Falling Waters State Park.
This year will mark the tenth year that the Friends of Falling Waters, with the help of many great demonstrators, crafters and volunteers been able to give young and old a like a glimpse of a more carefree time.
The festival will take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.
The festival will have a wide variety of unique and seldom seen sites and well as great arts and crafts, live music and great food.
The annual event will feature Civil War Re-enactors, a blacksmith, candlemakers, basket weaving, live alligator, wood crafters, storytelling and much more.
“You sometimes don’t know where you are going until you get there. The Legends & Lore Festival started out as a Saturday night program in the fall of the year and now we are celebrating the 10th Annual Legends & Lore Festival,” said Park Service Specialist Scott Sweeney.
“The event now takes place the third Friday and Saturday in April and has grown into one of the most significant cultural and historical events in the Florida panhandle,” he said.
All proceeds and donation will be used by the Friends of Falling Waters support the many programs in the park and community outreach programs.
“We now live in a world of instant gratification, but not so many years ago you would have bartered for the necessities of life like food, shelter and a good bar of soap,” Sweeney said.
“This spring festival at Falling Waters State Park recreates that time were neighbors helped neighbors and instead of running to the store for every little thing, we knew how to make things with our own two hands and fix stuff that broke,” Sweeney said. “In today’s world most everything has that little ‘Made in China’ sticker and is quick to hit the bottom of the trash can at the first sign of failing. One of the unique things about this event is that all of the crafts, artwork and unusual items are made locally and that little sticker earlier mentioned is not allowed in the park.”
This event also gives children the opportunity to experience many of the crafts and skills their grandparents relied on for day-to-day living, Sweeney said.
“The main focus for Friday is set aside for the fourth graders from Holmes, Jackson, Bay and Washington County to educate our area youngsters about these various crafts and skills to take them back in time to experience life from over 100 years ago, but the general public is always welcome. On Saturday, the energy level gets bumped up a notch with live music throughout the day, Civil War re-enactors, living history demonstrations, animal exhibits, local artists and crafters, great food and more,” Sweeney said.
Falling Waters State Park is a place filled with natural wonders and a rich cultural history. The park was established in 1962 to preserve what is considered one of Florida's most unique geological features but the park is so much more.
During the ensuing five decades, Falling Waters State Park added many amenities and to this day continues to improve.
The park’s improvements can be attributed to the dedicated staff that continue to strive to make this state park one of the best, said Sweeney. However, in recent years the local community has become more involved with assisting in preserving and protecting one of the Florida's panhandle hidden treasure.
This year’s event is in memory of Raymond Smoker.
Smoker was a big part of the success of the Legends & Lore Festival.
“This year’s event is dedicated to his memory for all of his hard work and effort in the countless events he played a part in,” Sweeney said. “His love for the simple things in life has inspired us all. We will miss him seeing you here with us.”
Smoker was one of the festival’s most avid supporters.
“He was lost to us this year while working with horses and helping others. He is a great loss to our event and the community as a whole,” said Sweeney.