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 67th Annual Florida Azalea Festival.
So what’s is the big deal about azaleas?
Mostly for southerners it’s that they’re so pretty.
In fact, 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 17th 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.
- Florida Azalea Festival Parade
- Florida Azalea Festival Beauty Pageant
- Bowling Tournament
- Car Show
- Sales of the Azalea Cookbook & festival t-shirts
- Crafts, music, food & fun for the whole family
More about the Florida Azalea Festival
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.
67th Annual Florida Azalea Festival
- Mar. 2 & 3, 9 a.m.-6 p.m
- Admission: FREE & open to the public
- Ravine Gardens State Park & downtown Palatka, Fla.
- Contact: Sam Deputy, Chair
- Mailing Address: PO Box 832
- Palatka, Fla. 32178
- Phone: 386-312-6266
- FAX: 386-329-3842
- E-Mail: email@example.com
©2013 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 and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s special kind of sink hole
The Ravine Gardens State Park looks like this most of the year – lots of greens, water lilies and spatterdock, shade and quiet. In geologic terms, the sinkhole is a steephead ravineformed by water flowing underground west to the St. Johns river. It’s horseshoe-shaped with a sulfur springs running along the bottom.
Ravine Gardens State Park this weekend
With more than 100,000 blooms, the springs flowers at Ravine Gardens may for one of the most impressive displays in Florida. In addition to the native grasses and trees that grew up the sides of the ravine, Palatka invested in formal plantings(nearly 400,000 ornamental plants) beginning in the 1930s. The City of Palatka maintained the park until 1970, when it was deeded to the state.
There’s something for everyone
Even you doggie can find something to love in Palatka this weekend. From the festival parade to the Miss Azalea Pageant to the annual bowling tournament, you’ll enjoy your time on the river, in town and at the show.