Celebrate National Military Appreciation Month at Florida State Parks
National Military Appreciation Month serves as a time to honor, remember, recognize and appreciate military personnel and their families and the many sacrifices made every day, as well as those Americans who have given their lives defending our freedoms. In its 15th year, National Military Appreciation Month remains successful as volunteers from around the country continue to promote public patriotism, awareness and support for our troops, veterans and their families.
Florida State Parks invite everyone, especially active duty military, veterans and their families, to enjoy a day at one of our 171 state parks and trails. While there are plenty of activities offered at Florida State Parks, there are also many ways that visitors can show support and appreciation for America’s military members, veterans and families.
Top 5 Ways to Support America’s Military at Florida State Parks:
1. Bring a small American flag to the park and wave it proudly in honor of the sacrifices our military makes daily.
2. Gather friends and family and while enjoying the sunshine, make a care package to send to a solider through Soldiers’ Angels.
3. If you see a person in military uniform, thank him or her for the services provided to our country.
4. Take advantage of a good deal to visit state parks. Discounts on the purchase of Annual Entrance Passes are available to active duty and veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Free Lifetime Military Entrance Passes are available to veterans with service-related disabilities, surviving spouses and parents of members of the U.S. military who have fallen in combat and law enforcement officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Please see the Florida State Parks website and the Things to Know tab for more information.
5. Enjoy a state park this Saturday, May 17 for Armed Forces Day or on Monday, May 26 for Memorial Day. Armed Forces Day is a holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support for our country. Memorial Day serves as a day for America to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
62nd Annual Florida Folk Festival
~“Top 20 Event” takes place Memorial Day Weekend.~
JJ Grey with his guitar.
The 62nd Annual Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park kicks off in just one week. Beginning Friday, May 23, the festival provides the best of Florida’s music, arts and culture, providing something for everyone. Gates open at 8 am daily and tickets are still available.
Since 1953, folk artists have joined ranks for this spectacular event. As one of the oldest state folk festivals in America, this year’s festival will continue the grand tradition of celebrating Florida’s land, food, people and diverse cultural heritage. More than 300 performances are scheduled for the Memorial Day Weekend. With Florida’s greatest folk and roots artists attending the event, including national recording artists, songwriters and musicians of swing, folk, blues, gospel, country, Latin, jazz, bluegrass, Caribbean and zydeco music, the festival is truly an event not to be missed.
This year’s Florida Folk Festival features performances by groups with connections to all parts of Florida, including:
~Immerse yourself in the history of the forts at Florida State Parks.~
The American flag flies at Fort Clinch State Park.
Florida State Parks are filled with an enormous amount of history. Many of our parks are known as historical sites and can provide a wide array of information and insight into Florida’s past. Visitors are able to walk through areas where famous battles and wars took place and learn about the rich history Florida State Parks has to offer. We also have a wide array of forts to visit and learn about.
7 Best Forts of Florida State Parks:
1. Fort Clinch State Park: Named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, a prominent figure of the Second Seminole War, construction of Fort Clinch began in 1847. Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. No battles were ever fought at the fort, although it was garrisoned during both the Civil and Spanish-American wars.
2.Fort Cooper State Park: In 1836, the First Georgia Battalion of Volunteers built a stockade for the soldiers resting along the banks of Lake Holathlikaha. The Volunteers were forced to hold their own against the Seminole Indians through several skirmishes. The park is named in honor of Major Mark Anthony Cooper, commander of 380 First Georgia Battalion Volunteers.
3. Fort Foster Historic State Site: Fort Foster is part of Hillsborough River State Park and is a fort reconstructed from the Second Seminole War. The interpretive center of the park has more than 100 artifacts on display that were found at the Fort Foster Historic Site and offer an insight on both sides of the conflict between the Seminole nation and the U.S. military.
4. Fort Mose Historic State Park: Fort Mose is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. In 1738, the Spanish governor of Florida chartered the settlement of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or Fort Mose, as a settlement for those fleeing slavery from the English colonies in the Carolinas. Although there are no remains of the earth and wooden structures, visitors can still view the land where the settlement once stood.
5. Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park: Florida’s southernmost state park was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1973 and is popular for its recreation, as well as U.S. military history. The fort was one of a series built in the mid-1800s to defend the nation’s southeastern coastline. Fort Zachary Taylor played important roles in the Civil War and Spanish-American War.
6. Paynes Creek Historic State Park: During the 1840s, tensions between settlers and the Seminole Indians prompted authorities to establish a trading post in Florida’s interior, away from settlements. In late 1849, after the post was attacked and destroyed by renegade Indians, Fort Chokonikla was built as the first outpost in a chain of forts established to control the Seminoles.
7. San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park: The history of this National Landmark dates back to 1528 when Panfilo de Narvaez arrived in the area with 300 men. However, the first fort was not built until 1679. Andrew Jackson occupied the fort during the early 1800s. The final confrontation at San Marcos occurred in 1861 when the Confederates took the fort, renaming it Fort Ward. Pottery and tools unearthed near the original fort are displayed in the museum.
Mobile App for Smartphones Plan your state park adventures using the new Pocket Ranger® app for your smartphone.The FREE Florida State Parks Pocket Ranger® mobile app is available now on iTunes, Android Market and PocketRanger.com.