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Events of the Hidden Coast

Winter and spring in Florida is a special time of the year and it’s what attracts all the Yankees down to the south. As the weather starts to warm up, the fish bite turns on, and folks start to get out and about. Believe it or not, the Hidden Coast has an array of local festivals throughout the spring time that feature artists, food artisans and other talented locals that offer a plethora of goods and services. Although the Hidden Coast festival activities for 2024 have already begun, it never hurts to know what areas are hosting events so you can plan accordingly and visit with your family and friends.

Crystal River starts out the year with the Florida Manatee Festival in January. You can find local artists, food vendors and state and conservation advocacy groups promoting at this festival. Manatees head into the rivers around CrystalRiver and you can see tons of these sea cows up close and personal throughout the winter and into the spring. If

you plan accordingly, you can make it to the Homosassa Springs Shrimpapalooza hosted by the Rotary Club, March 16. The fishing is also firing around March in the Crystal River/Homosassa Springs region. I went last year for my birthday and scheduled a charted fishing trip for the family and caught more red fish that day than I had in my entire life up to that point. It is a fun place to be during the spring.

During the month of February, you can find a pretty big festival in Steinhatchee, Florida called the Fiddler Crap Festival. There is a fishing tournament hosted by the Fiddler Crab Festival and the SeaHag Marina. The main streets throughout the town are closed to car traffic. You can find vendors of all types, live music, and family fun throughout the weekend of February 16-18. If you are staying for the day, make sure you plan for a bit of traffic and pedestrians all over the place. Other than that, enjoy the spirit of community during the Fiddler Crab Festival.

A little further south of Steinhatchee down the Hidden Coast you will run into Suwannee, Florida. This is where the mouth of the Suwannee River flows out to the Gulf of Mexico. The fishing is fire in Suwannee as well. In early March, the Dixie County Suwannee Library Technical Center is hosting the Lower Suwannee Arts & Nature Festival. This festival will be featuring local artists and food vendors on Saturday, March 9th. I will have a booth setup at this festival with local prints for sale. So plan to come visit and say hello.

To round out the spring art festival schedule, you can visit the Old Florida Celebration of Arts in Cedar Key the weekend of April 6 and 7. The Main Street of Cedar Key is closed down and there are tons of tents with vendors showcasing their masterpieces. Whether you are going for the art exhibits or fishing for the weekend, Cedar Key is

one my favorite places to be in the Hidden Coast, especially for inshore fishing.

The Hidden Coast of Florida has so much to offer and still has that Old Southern charm everywhere you visit. You can find up close connections with nature and witness amazing wildlife experiences throughout this region of Florida. The people and culture are super special and to top it off, there are amazing events hosted throughout the Hidden Coast that showcase the raw talent of old Florida. Don’t wait too long to book your spring or summer plans as hotels and rentals book up quickly. You won’t wait to miss the opportunity to create lasting memories with your loved ones.

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