Collier-Seminole State Park is a nice quiet spot, centrally located from Marco, Naples and Everglades City and a mere hop, skip and a jump away from any of them. The park is a wonderful place to enjoy the natural beauty of our area. The park offers visitors a number of year round activities, including camping, canoeing, hiking, fishing, boating, bicycling and exploring the cypress swamps. The salt marshes, mangrove river estuaries and pine flat woods of Collier Seminole hold many different native species. Among them, American alligators, raccoons, osprey, white ibis, wood storks, bald eagles, red cockaded woodpecker, crocodiles, fox squirrels and even the Florida black bear. I know, y’all are starting to wonder what all this has to do with music. After all, this is a music column…isn’t it? Well, if you were a red cockaded woodpecker living in the swamp, wouldn’t you want to hear good music?
Of course you wood! So, the folks at the park have been planning an exciting season of events for all the park’s animals, and us humans! Filled with exciting music concerts featuring artists from around the globe, their Annual Jammin’ in the Hammock” Bluegrass Festival, a wonderful selection of guest speakers and even guided canoe trips through the parks waterways. OK, so maybe the animals aren’t quite so thrilled about paddling, but who wouldn’t want to go enjoy a taste of Old Florida at Collier Seminole Park?
I have surely enjoyed the park over the years living here only a few miles from, what the old time locals still call “Royal Hammock.” The Bay City walking dredge that lives in the park is quite a sight to see. It is the invention that basically built the Tamiami Trail, and is a giant menacing looking metal creature, bigger than most houses. If you haven’t seen it, that alone is reason to go to the park.
We will be seeing a different side of the state park this season with some fun for the community. So here’s the good stuff you don’t wanna miss out on.
“VELLAMO – Folk Tales from Finland”
Tuesday, January 29, 7 PM
Featuring Pia Leinonen and Joni Tiala from Vaasa, Finland. Their music combines the rich tradition of Finnish folksong with an appealing “retro” sensibility, creating an exotic and magical acoustic experience. Tickets are $5 and maybe purchased at the park.
6th Annual “Jammin’ in the Hammock” Bluegrass Festival
Saturday, February 9, 10 AM – 6 PM
Sunday, February 10, 9:30 AM – 6 PM
*At 9:30 AM on Sunday there will be a gospel jam to start the day
Hosted by the Friends of Collier-Seminole State Park, Jammin’ in the Hammock raises money for the park. Entry fee is $15 per person per day or $25 for both days. Children under 13, accompanied by an adult are free. Camping reservations can be made at Reserve America: 1-800-326-3521. Dry camping is limited and on a first come basis.
There will be plenty o’ bluegrass and arts and crafts, food and non-profit booths will line the park. Bring a chair!!! Here’s the schedule:
10-11 AM: Ernie Evans & Florida State Fiddle Show Bluegrass Band
11-12 PM: Gary Mackey Fiddle Show
1-2 PM: The Bean Pickers
2-3 PM: Danny Stanley and the Bluegrass Gentlemen
3-4 PM: Ernie Evans & Florida State Fiddle Show Bluegrass Band
4-5 PM: Bug Tussle Ramblers
5-6 PM: Gary Mackey Fiddle Show
9:30 -10 AM: Bluegrass Gospel Jam
10-11 AM: Gary Mackey Fiddle Show
11-12 PM: The Laws
1-2 PM: Bug Tussle Ramblers
2-3 PM: Gary Mackey Fiddle Show
3-4 PM: Danny Stanley & the Bluegrass Gentlemen
4-5 PM: The Bean Pickers
5-6 PM: The Laws
Located in the Campground Activity Screen Room
January 30, 7 PM
Rick Majors, author of “Dark Caribbean,” “The McKannahas,” “The Face Painter” and “America.”
February 6, 3 PM
Local historian, Marya Repko discusses “Marjory Stoneman Douglas – Famous author of ‘The River of Grass.’”
February 20, 7 PM
Rick Magers, author of “Dark Caribbean,” “The McKannahas,” “The Face Painter” “America.”
Collier-Seminole State Park is located at 20200 Tamiami Trail East, Naples. For further information call 239-394-3397 or flordiestateparks.org/collierseminole.
See you at the Hammock!
Nate Augustus is a native “Florida cracker” and a singer/songwriter from the Marco/Naples area. His band, “Gator Nate & The Gladezmen” and his “One-Man-Band” can be seen at many local venues. He has released multiple albums on his record label “SwampSong”. For more info on Nate and his musical doings, go to www.Gladezmen.com or facebook.com/NateAugustus His latest CD “Gator Nate Augustus-Only Child Family Band” is available on CDBaby and Itunes.
OTHER UPCOMING FESTIVALS:
* Goodland Mullet Festival with live music at Stan’s, Little Bar and Marker 8 Restaurant.
* Everglades Seafood Festival Feb 8, 9 &10. Featuring Jerrod Neiman, One Night Rodeo, GatorNate n’ the Gladezmen and lots more.
* Marco Island Seafood Festival March 28 & 29th at Veteran’s Park.