4th Annual Heritage Festival Jan 8, 2011
We knew we were in for a special day when our first wildlife sighting of the day was a Red-tailed hawk in the parking lot where our group was meeting to drive the 2 hours from Tampa to Sarasota. We were not disappointed!
Upon arriving we were greeted my many cowboys on horseback. They were showing off their tricks and they were quite impressive! Then we checked out the display showing how sugar cane was processed, this was very interesting and tasty to! There were corrals of Cracker Cattle, a Civil War era camp, on the back porch of the restored homestead a class was given on what it was like to get medical treatment in the old days…very scary! I pick up some all natural lip balm and a salve from 4 Bees Herb Farm – great products! After watching the “soldier” clean their black powder rifles we went back to a display where we had stopped earlier – butter making. This time the butter was ready for tasting – WOW, this was some good stuff!
We moved on to another part of the festival and checked out another wonderful cabin set up just as if someone was still living there, and we visited a group of blacksmiths from Florida Artist Blacksmith Association, all were very talented. It was time for a snack and what would a festival be without kettle corn and funnel cakes? After all sharing our treats we checked out a wonderful museum that was set up just like a general store. There was too much in there to even talk about – you have to go see this for yourself!
Crowley is set up on 190 acres and it was time to take a hike and burn off some of that sugar! Larry Roberts from My Florida Wildlife was onsite to teach various skills (like fire starting) and to give guided hikes on the property. While hiking we learned the history of the land, about the families who settled here and we even nibbled on some oranges and violets we harvested on the trail. Some of us grabbed our geo-caches that we were there to get to. Crowley has a wonderful group of 8 caches you should check out at geocaching.com. Just another reason for visiting!
After our hike we went to check out yet another park of the festival where they were doing a Civil War Re-Enactment. That was fun to watch and soon we were making friends with more vendors. We visited the pony ride set up by Jasmines Dream horse rescue of Arcadia and Matthews Wildlife Rescue who work with many types of animals in the Sarasota area but specialized in birds of prey.
It had been a long and full day, we were the first ones there and the last to leave, but we were not done yet! There was an eagle’s nest that my friend Barbara of Riverbanks Outdoor Adventures Florida had to photograph in the parking lot!
Many thanks to the folks at Crowley Museum and Nature Center for a fantastic event! Next year we will be there for sure!
For more photos of this event visit: http://www.facebook.com/notaclueadventures?v=photos