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Florida Heritage Travel, December 2010
November 26, 2010

December 2010 News And Events


Many newcomers to Florida are not aware that most travel in the state was by water in the 19th century before the railroads came. Florida has 34 navigable rivers, including the majestic 273 mile long St. Johns. The steamer shown in the postcard is on Lake Monroe, a wide spot in the St. Johns at Sanford north of Orlando.

Early Florida tourists would sometimes arrive in Jacksonville on ocean going ships. From there they would board a shallow draft steamer, usually a paddlewheel, and head south toward Sanford with stops along the way at places like Green Cove Springs and Palatka. Steamers also ran from near Fort Myers on the west coast all the way up to Kissimmee by way of the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River.

All told, Florida has more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams and waterways including the Intracoastal Waterway along Florida's Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Central Florida has several lake chains, including ones in Winter Park, Winter Haven and Mount Dora.


Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Florida Backroads Travel continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates.

I have added a new feature to the website on Florida Genealogy. It ties into Florida history, and I am looking for submittals by Floridians whose families were here at least 100 years ago. I haven't found that many, so may have to relax the criterion to 75 years or so.

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November was a great month here in Florida. The air conditioning has been turned off and the cool breeze has been airing out the house from its long summer staleness. December will be a bit nippier, but should bring more of the same great weather.

Here are some interesting events around Florida for December 2010.


FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 18 wineries scattered across the state.

FLORIDA FESTIVALS. December sees the beginning of the mass southward migration of snowbirds, but there are very few outdoor art festivals during the month. There are quite a few folk and bluegrass music festivals , however.

FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.

FLORIDA THEATER. This is an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.

FLORIDA AUTHORS. December is a good time to relax on the beach or in a park and read a book by a Florida author.


Port St Joe
Celebrate Safe - Celebrate Twice!. December 31. No need to wait another 12 months to celebrate the next new year. Ring in the New Year twice. Start in the Eastern Time Zone in Port St Joe and St. Joe Beach, then travel west just five minutes to Mexico Beach and celebrate all over again an hour later in the Central Time Zone. Shuttle buses will be carrying passengers to local hot spots and everywhere in between. The shuttle bus is FREE to all riders (must be 21 or older to ride). For further details please contact the Gulf County Tourist Development Council 850-229-7800 or the Mexico Beach Community Development Council 850-648-8196..


Light Up Williston, December 10: 600pm. Linear Park. Long before the starting time of 6 p.m., folks fill up parking spots and gather along Noble Ave. to claim the best vantage points for the parade. The Williston High School marching band, fire department and local floats make the parade a hometown celebration. After the parade, everyone treks to the pavilion in Linear Park to hear children and adults alike sing holiday favorites.


St. Augustine
17th Annual Nights Of Lights Celebration, December 4. From November 20, 2010 through January 31, 2011, this event was named by AAA as one of the 12 best events for holiday cheer in the U.S. and Canada and named one of the American Bus Association's top 100 destinations for 2011. Nights of Lights is a two-month long celebration of the Holiday Season. More than two million tiny white lights glow along the ancient streets and historic buildings of the Nation's oldest city. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a lighted white candle during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting in St. Augustine reflects the city's 445-year history while creating a beautiful setting for the holidays through January 31.


Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade, December 13: 600pm The 30th Annual Cocoa Beach Christmas Boat Parade will float through the canals of Cocoa Beach beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 13. The parade starts at marker 101 on the Banana River, in Cocoa Beach, proceeding east to Sunset Bar and Grill and then south through the residential canals in the city, ending at the west end of the Cocoa Beach Golf Course. Sponsored by the Cocoa Beach Boating Club, awards will be given for best decorated boat over and under 30 feet. For questions or more information, call Walt Blazer, (321) 783-1207.


Mount Dora
Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade, December 4: 700pm. See the annual Mount Dora Lighted Boat Parade from the shores of Lake Dora. Featuring boats of all sizes and shapes lighting up the waters with brightly colored Christmas lights and festive displays. The lighted boat parade lasts for about an hour. Be sure to bring your cameras! When the last boat sails by, stroll along the grounds near the Mount Dora Boating Center to see more Christmas light displays adorning the entire marina buildings and surrounding areas. Extra Info: For more information on Lighted Boat Parade, please contact: Mount Dora Lions Club, Phone: 352-735-9629 .


St Petersburg
The St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, December 2-5. The largest boat show on the Gulf Coast is set to sail into the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, Fla., from Thursday, Dec. 2 through Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010. This year’s show will feature an impressive selection of power boats and sailboats in a new, significantly larger waterfront area and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot clearspan tent housing all types of marine gear. Show-goers will find hundreds of power boats and sailboats including family cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, magnificent sailing yachts, personal watercraft and much more.


An Evening With Garrison Keillor, December 15: 800pm. One of America's great storytellers and humorists is Garrison Keillor, celebrated for his radio program A Prairie Home Companion and for his folksy, entertaining concert performances. Each week, millions of listeners travel with Keillor to the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, "where the women are strong, the men are good-looking and the children are above average." In this program, Keillor will share hilarious anecdotes about growing up in the American Midwest, the aging process and other topics, captivating audiences with his dry sense of humor and singular charm.


The Nutcracker, December 10-12. Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. Snowflakes, sugarplums, naughty little boys, and magical dolls! The charm of the Holidays fascinates all audiences, as Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida presents the classic ballet "The Nutcracker" to Tchaikovsky's popular score.

Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.

If these events aren't convenient for you, try here for ADDITIONAL EVENTS.

In our current slow economy, some events are canceled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I recommend you call before leaving for the event to make sure it's still on.


Pisces Rising
239 West 4th Avenue
Mount Dora, Florida 32757

Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.

Regards, Mike Miller
Chief Backroads Traveler

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