Way down upon the Suwannee River in White Springs, Florida, the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is preparing for its biggest weekend of the year.
For 63 years, the Florida Folk Festival has brought together the state’s music and culture over Memorial Day weekend. Organizers say it’s the country’s oldest state-run festival.
“The Florida Folk Festival is like a melody of all the cultures of Florida , so it’s the best of Florida’s music, arts and culture,” said festival spokeswoman Andrea Thomas. “We like to showcase everything that makes Florida unique.”
This includes Florida food, and a variety of music.
“We have everything from country to rock, we have the storytelling, we have the open mics and the jams. We have all of that,” she said.
State Folklorist Amanda Hardeman is in charge of the folk life aspect of the festival. She say the weekend is an opportunity to see the diversity and history of Florida.
“This festival is definitely representative of the real life Florida so you’re going to get to see much more than beaches and Disney,” she said. “This is going to be the cultural communities that make up the fabric of our state.”
Hardeman says more than 13,000 people attend the festival every year.