“Way down upon the Suwanee River”…idst the canopy of tall pines and great oaks the Stephen Foster Memorial Park is home to the Florida Folk Festival, now in its 58th year. Just a short hour drive west on I-75 brings you to the quaint oasis of Florida Folk culture, White Springs, along the banks of the Suwanee River.
The Florida Folk Festival has a storied tradition of bringing together some of America’s foremost folk music artists, and hundreds of them. Walking around the festival it seemed one in every dozen people carried a gig bag or a fiddle case. There were five stages that were always in a constant state of rotating performers and the music varied from traditional Americana to modern country, bluegrass and Appalachian.
The spacious setting of the Stephen Foster Sate Park provided a delightful atmosphere of relaxed Southern charm. As the aromas of the food midway mingled with the crack of a nearby bullwhip exhibition, the festival was a genuine exhibit of true Florida culture and craftsmanship. “Jimmy crack corn & I don’t care” an authentic corn mill was the delight of many youngsters. You could help build a log cabin – by hand (no power tools), check out the forge of a real blacksmith and watch as a leather craftsman fits a custom made belt around your waist.
What a refreshing change to the hectic surge of frantic fans at a rock festival. The crowd, caught the charm of the setting and was as gracious and considerate as our famed Southern hospitality is well noted for. The Park staff were abundant, helpful and constantly refilling the hundreds of iced water cooler dispensers positioned at every turn.
Next year, plan a day trip to White Springs during the Memorial Day weekend for the Florida Folk Festival. It will make you remember why we love living here.