Dear Readers, not outside of Hawai’i will you find more flowers than you can see in Palatka this weekend.
Most of you will remember Palatka because of its very famous sink hole and the blue crab festival at the end of each May.
This is bigger than both of those – it’s the 66th Annual Florida Azalea Festival.
What Is The Big Deal About Azaleas?
Probably mostly that they’re so pretty.
Except for magnolias and honeysuckle, you almost can’t find a flower more typical of the south and Florida.
And azaleas only bloom in March and April, so it’s easy to plan a big party around them – and the pinks and oranges whites are stunning. There are almost too many to see.
Southerners love their azaleas, too, so not so surprisingly the Florida Azalea Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the state.
Don’t Miss the 16th Annual Azalea Days At Ravine Gardens State Park
A big part of the Azalea Festival is Azalea Days at Ravine Gardens State Park, convenient to downtown Palatka (1600 Twigg).
With over 100,000 blooms, it has one of the biggest displays of azaleas in the state.
For the $5-per-carload park admission, visitors can take a wagon ride around the rim of the ravine and learn more about the history of the park while enjoying not just azaleas but dogwood and camellias as well.
Dating back to the 1930s, Ravine Gardens played a very important role in the economic recovery of Palatka.
Today Azalea Days brings more of the Azalea Festival proper into the park with food and craft booths, live music, original artwork in the Civic Center and visits by the Misses Azalea and their courts.
2012 Florida Azalea Festival Schedule Of Events
Friday, March 2nd
- Mayor’s Reception – 6:00 p.m. Bronson Mulholland House
Saturday, March 3rd
- Vendors, Children’s Area and Activities – Open 9:00 a.m. St. Johns Ave. Downtown Palatka
- Azalea Festival Motorcycle Rally – 9:00 a.m. sign up Downtown Blues Club 714 St. Johns Ave (park in Prosperity Bank Parking Lot)
- Riverfront Car Show – 9:00 a.m.
- Outdoor Show – 9:00 a.m 100 block of St. Johns Ave. New R.V.’s Boats, etc.
- Azalea Shriner’s Parade – 10:00 a.m.Main Street (one block north of Reid Street – Hwy. 17)
- Azalea Festival Entertainment – 10:00 – 5:00 p.m. Stage1 – Putnam County Courthouse; Stage 2 – Corner of 6th and St. Johns Ave.; Stage 3 – 700 block of St. Johns Ave.
- Azalea Festival Canoe and Kayak Poker Run – 11:30 a.m. Starts at Palatka’s amphitheatet
- North East Florida Humane society “Pet Show” – 1:00 p.m. (Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.) Amphitheater at the Riverfront Park
- Florida Azalea Bicycle Polo Games – 1:00 p.m. Fred Green Park
- Monster Truck! – Late Saturday afternoon, 800 block of St. Johns Ave
Sunday, March 4th
- Vendors, Children’s Area, and Activities – 10:00 a.m. St. Johns Ave.
- North East Florida Humane Society “Pet Show” – 10:00 a.m. Amphitheater
- Outdoor Show – 10:00 a.m. St. Johns Ave./Riverfront, New R.V.’s boats, etc.
- Riverfront Car show – 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Azalea Entertainment – 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Stage 1- Putnam County Courthouse; Stage 2 – Corner of 6th and St. Johns Ave.; Stage 3 – 700 block of St. Johns Ave.
- Florida Azalea Bicycle Ride – 1:00 p.m. Putnam County School Board parking Lot, East Palatka Loop 32 Mile ride
There’s also an Azalea Festival Bowling Tournament on Sunday.
The festival is sponsored by the City of Palatka and the Palatka Main Street project.
A Florida non-profit corporation, Palatka Main Street’s mission is to “enhance and promote the vitality and historic charm of downtown Palatka to the benefit and enjoyment of all citizens of Putnam County.
Plus they got more azaleas than the Masters in Augusta.
66th Annual Florida Azalea Festival
- Mar. 3 & 4, 9 a.m.-6 p.m
- Palatka, Florida
- Contact:Anglea Murtaugh, Co-Chair
- Mailing Address:PO Box 835
- Palatka, Florida 32178
- E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
©2012 All rights reserved.
OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: email@example.com