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59th Annual Florida Folk Festival returning this weekend

By Staff | May 27, 2011

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service will host the 59th Annual Florida Folk Festival at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29.

The Florida Folk Festival is the state’s premier heritage event, celebrating Florida’s land, people and diverse culture. Festivities will begin Friday at 6:30 p.m. on the banks of the Suwannee River featuring a performance by Grammy Award-winning country artist Billy Dean.

Since 1953, folk artists and musicians have come to the Florida Folk Festival to be part of one of the oldest state folk festivals in America. The 2011 Folklife Area by the Florida Department of State will celebrate the diverse cultures of west Florida’s Panhandle region, including interpretation on the region’s seafood heritage with presentations from oystermen, shrimpers and fishermen.

With a storytelling tent, three workshop tents to teach folk crafts and customs like net making, traditional costume making and unique Florida industries, the intense aromas of two food areas with rural foods to commercial seafood stands and a dedicated dance stage, the folk festival offers the traditional culture of all walks of life and regions of Florida.

The Festival features daily performances by native folk and roots artists; including national recording artists, songwriters and musicians of swing, folk, blues, gospel, country, Latin, jazz, bluegrass, Caribbean and zydeco. This year, the Florida Folk Festival has more than 300 scheduled performances featuring several stars, including Nashville recording artist Billy Dean, who will perform on the main stage Friday night, and superstar John Anderson, who will take the stage on Saturday night.

Other highlighted performances include Ben Prestage, Frank Thomas, The Morse Family, The Aaron O’Rourke Trio, Ariana Hall, Bullard Brothers & Friends, Chuck Hardwicke & The Hart Line, Ellen & Gary Bukstel, Jeanie Fitchen, Men of the House, Roadside Revue, Sam Pacetti, Tom Shed and the SAIL High School Acoustic Ensemble.

Advance discount tickets for the Florida Folk Festival are on sale now through May 20. Adult admission is $20 per day or $40 for the weekend if bought in advance; and $25 per day or $50 for the weekend at the gate. Children under six years of age are admitted free of charge. Ticket prices for children between the ages of six and 16 for the weekend are $4 in advance or $5 at the gate. Credit card purchases can be made by calling 877-635-3655 on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, visit www.FloridaFolkFestival.com. For more information on Florida state parks, visit www.FloridaStateParks.org.