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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2010
CONTACT: Donna Rhein, (386) 329-3721
  Jessica Kemper Sims, (850) 245-3029, (850) 251-0834 (cell)
  Kristin Lock, (850) 245-2112, (850) 778-7294 (cell)


14TH Annual Azalea Days Happening Now at Ravine Gardens

~14th Annual Azalea Days coincides with Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary~

PALATKA - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Ravine Gardens State Park today celebrates the 14th Annual Azalea Days which will continue through tomorrow, Sunday, March 14. Visitors are encouraged to attend a special Florida State Parks 75th Anniversary cake cutting ceremony and presentation on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

“Azalea Days is a great event for families to get outdoors and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks,” said Florida Park Service Director Mike Bullock. “Visitors can enjoy the blooming azaleas and experience the history of Ravine Gardens State Park.”

One of the 25 signature events highlighting the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks, visitors can begin today to enjoy a weekend of old-fashioned family fun. A ranger-led wagon ride around the 1.8-mile loop of thousands of blooming azaleas tells the history of Ravine Gardens State Park and the important role the park has played in the economic recovery of the city of Palatka. While walking along the extensive hiking trail system at the bottom of the ravine, visitor can enjoy a spectacular view of color and beauty, including azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias and camellias.

Miss Azalea and her Court are on hand to visit with guests and talk about the history of the Miss Azalea Pageant. Vendors, crafters and CREATE will be located around the Court of States within the park all weekend. The sounds of music provided by live entertainers will echo throughout the ravines, and kid’s activities, food and refreshments will be available through 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

Throughout 2010, DEP’s Florida State Parks will celebrate 75 years of recreation and preservation. Florida State Parks will host special activities and interpretive events from coast to coast, including 25 signature events which highlight individual parks’ histories, as well as the history of the state park system as a whole.

Created in 1935 by the Florida Legislature, Florida State Parks has grown from eight to 160 parks over the last 75 years. Today, the Florida Park Service manages more than 700,000 acres of Florida’s natural environment, including 100 miles of beaches, eight National Historic Landmarks and 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Florida State Parks has been recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association as the nation’s first and only two-time Gold Medal winner for the nation’s best park service.

To learn more about 75th Anniversary events, and the history of Florida State Parks, visit www.floridastateparks.org/history. To follow Florida State Parks on Twitter, visit www.Twitter.com/FLStateParks.

azalea blooms

"Azalea Days is a great event for families to get outdoors and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Florida State Parks."

Mike Bullock
Florida Park Service Director

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Last updated: March 16, 2010

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