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04 March 2013

More State Park events in March

There are several opportunities to see history first-hand this month as living historians and reenactors demonstrate Florida's history around the state.

Fort Cooper Days
Fort Cooper State Park
, Inverness
Saturday and Sunday, March 16 & 17, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Experience Second Seminole War and Florida history. Explore period military and Seminole camps. Take in living history demonstrations held throughout the day, visit the period craft vendors or grab a bite to eat from one of the food or snack vendors. Battle reenactments will be held twice daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Loud sounds may frighten young children and pets. $6 per person and FREE for children under the age of 12 (includes park admission).

Cape Florida Heritage Days
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
, Key Biscayne
Saturday, March 9, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tour the lighthouse and keeper's house and talk with park rangers and volunteers to learn about the history of Cape Florida. Park Biologist Elizabeth Golden will lead two nature walks highlighting the plants and vegetation that Juan Ponce DeLeon would have observed when he set foot on Key Biscayne in 1513. Tours are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Historic reenactors will re-create the 1858 pre-Civil War time period featuring a lighthouse keeper and Cape Florida family life. Enjoy demonstrations of candle making and a musician playing the dulcimer. A ship salvager and hunter/trapper will talk about life in the mid-1800s. Local historian Joan Gill Blank will answer questions and offer copies of her book for sale, "Key Biscayne: A history of Miami’s Tropical Island and the Cape Florida Lighthouse.” Members of the Dade Heritage Trust will explain the lighthouse restoration they co-sponsored with the Florida Park Service in 1992 and sell commemorative bricks for the walkway. Free admission to lighthouse. Park admission: $8 per vehicle, up to eight people.

Homosassa Heritage Day
Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
, Homosassa
Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Step back in time. This year's annual event will feature the park collaborating with Citrus County Historical Society, Florida Archaeological Society, Crystal River Archaeological State Park, Homosassa River Garden Club and other local groups. Enjoy displays of historic photos of the Homosassa area and Homosassa Springs Attraction in the Florida Room. Also learn about the people, places and lands of David Yulee's Margarita plantation from Jason D. Moser, PhD with the Florida Public Archaeology Network. Costumed reenactors will converse with Florida pioneer woman Dessie Smith Prescott, and novelists Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ernest Hemingway. Retired park rangers Jack Kearns and Patrick Dillard will reminisce about the early days of Homosassa Springs Attraction at 2 p.m. Local authors Barbara Cairns and Betty Berger will sell and sign copies of their books. J.D. Mendenhall, park service specialist, and Andrew Moody, park ranger, will discuss Ivan Tors Animal Actors and Gentle Ben; Clarence, the Cross-eyed Lion; Flipper and other famous animals that wintered here at Homosassa Springs Attraction in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There is no charge to attend the Homosassa Heritage Day event. Regular admission applies for entrance into the Wildlife Park.

Annual Fort Chokonikla Encampment
Paynes Creek Historic State Park
, Bowling Green
Saturday and Sunday, March 23 & 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s event will feature reenactment of the fatal attack by renegade Seminoles on the Kennedy-Darling trading post. Other demonstrations will include how United States soldiers, local pioneer settlers and Seminoles struggled to survive during the mid-1800s in central Florida. Reenactors will demonstrate their skills with bow and arrows and tomahawks. There will also be exciting black powder demonstrations with period rifles, pistols and cannons. The fully-stocked Kennedy-Darling trading post will be open for walk through viewing. Vendors will sell food and beverages. $5 per vehicle, up to eight people.

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