Fall is perhaps the busiest time of the year for most of us, not only because of the holidays that seem to arrive one after another following Labor Day, but also due to a number of popular events that occur locally like the county fair, homecoming festivities and the Christmas parade.
Add to the mix a few lower-profile community events, fundraisers, charity drives and church activities and you get a jam-packed fall calendar. So, in an effort to ensure Baker County residents don’t get lost in the avalanche of fall happenings this year, The Press has compiled a comprehensive guide to community events occurring from October through the end of the year, including ways to contribute to a host of good causes this season.
• The Baker County Fair
The Baker County Fair will be October 4-13 at the fairgrounds, 5567 Lauramore Rd. in Macclenny. Armband and admission prices drop beginning October 7, and a two-for-one special will be October 9 only. See thisi week's edition for a full list of midway specials.
The 2012 fair will feature “the largest midway ever assembled” at the fairgrounds, according to the fair’s website. For more information, please see this year’s fair book available at the fairgrounds, the Ag Center and other locations.
• Baker County Sheriff’s Office Golf Tournament
The 16th Annual Baker County Sheriff’s Office Golf Tournament and Charles Miller Memorial will be October 5 at the Eagle Landing golf course in Oak Leaf Plantation. Entry fee is $75 per person or $300 per team. For more information, please call Lynn Taylor at 259-2231.
“Spirit Week,” October 15-19, will culminate with the homecoming football game October 19 against Terry Parker. The homecoming parade through downtown Macclenny will start at 5 pm October 18, though parade floats will line up an hour before. The deadline to submit homecoming parade entry forms, available for download from the high school’s website is October 15. The Cat Growl pep rally will follow the parade at Memorial Stadium at 6 pm. The homecoming game the following evening, October 19, with the king and queen crowning at halftime, will begin at 7:30 pm at the stadium.
• Pumpkin Patch
First United Methodist Church of Macclenny will open its annual Pumpkin Patch to the public beginning Friday, October 12. Visitors will be welcome through October 31. The patch is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, Wednesday from 11 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 7 pm and Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. A family day is tentatively set for October 20. Call the church at 259-3551 for more information.
• Rededication of the Confederate Monument in Olustee
The Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy will be at Olustee Battlefield State Park October 13 for the Rededication of the Confederate Monument at 11 am.
The event celebrates the 100th anniversary of the monuments original dedication on October 23, 1912. A picnic will follow the rededication ceremony.
For more information, please call Larry Rosenblatt at 904-993-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• General Election Candidate Forum
The Press’ second 2012 Candidate Forum will be October 20 at 3 pm at the high school. Sheriff candidates, incumbent Democrat Joey Dobson and Republican Cameron Coward, will be invited to attend along with the four remaining county commission candidates: Democrat incumbent
Mark Hartley and his Republican challenger Eddie Davis, Jr., and Democrat incumbent Gordon Crews and his Republican opponent Leonard Davis.
Each candidate will be given two minutes for opening remarks before fielding questions from The Press staff and those sent in by readers.
Please e-mail your question suggestions to Joel Addington at email@example.com or call 259-2400.
• Veterans Observances
Baker County Veterans Services is hosting a Pre-Veterans Day Ceremony and Veterans Stand Down October 27 from 10 am to 12:30 pm at the Extension Office, 1025 W. Macclenny Ave.
The ceremony honoring veterans begins at 11 am. The Stand Down will focus on employment and veterans benefits information. Vets should bring copies of their resume. A small lunch will be provided after the ceremony. Veterans are also asked to bring ID for recognition (DD-214, VA orDoD).
For more information, please contact the veteran services (904) 259-2516 or Mrs. Jessie Joyce at (904) 259-7355.
• Annual Haunted Jail
The BCHS history club’s annual Haunted Jail will take place October 26 and 27 from 6 pm to 11 pm and October 31 from 6 pm to 10 pm. There will be two haunted jail tours with separate themes one each floor of the historic jail on McIver Street. It will be the first time both floors are included in the tours. Tickets are $3 per person per floor and concessions will be available as well. Jail tours will also be given by the history club the day of the Christmas Parade (December 1). For more information, please call Mark Hartley at 654-3087.
• AR-15 raffle
Baker County Friends of the Instrumental Arts will raffle off a Smith and Wesson AR-15 M&P 15 Sport rifle to benefit band programs at the high school and middle school. $5 raffle tickets are available by calling Pam Gaylord at 275-3051.
The drawing will be October 27 at 1 pm at Gibson-McDonald Furniture on S. 6th St. You must be able to pass a background check and be at least 18 years old to enter. The firearm must be picked up within 30 days of the drawing at Big Cash Pawn, 4556 Blanding, Blvd. in Jacksonville. You don’t have to be present at the drawing to win. Visit http://www.bcfia.org for more information.
• Samaritan House food bank
In the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Samaritan House food bank is seeking both volunteers to help distribute goods to needy families and donations of non-perishable food items for the upcoming holiday season.
The food bank serves more than 1100 families in Baker County and Georgia, said food bank coordinator Pam Clark.
“We are coming into fall when the needs are higher,” she said. “Check your pantry. I am sure you will find duplicates of food you could spare.”
The food bank is located on the south side of US 90 between Macclenny and Glen St. Mary. For more information, please call Pastor Mitch Rhoden at 904-305-2131.
He said the food bank needs the typical holiday fare like cranberry, pumpkin, sweet potato, green beans, corn and instant mash potatoes, but also any other nonperishable foods like cereals or baby food.
“All that we could use in addition to the holiday meal items,” said Pastor Mitch.
• Baker County Relay for Life kickoff
The 2013 Baker County Relay for Life kickoff event is set for October 23 at 6:30 pm at Calendar’s in downtown Macclenny. Anyone interested in forming a relay team, volunteering for the event or donating to the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser should attend. Relay for Life will also have booths at the fair and Christmas parade to answer questions.
For more information, please contact Lea Rhoden at 904-284-2661 ext. 3458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Heritage Park Fall Festival is scheduled for November 17 at 102 S. Lowder St. Please call 259-7275 for further information.
• The City of Macclenny’s annual Christmas-4-Kids toy drive is currently accepting donations of new toys, clothes, shoes, etc. They can be dropped off at the downtown Macclenny fire station across from city hall. City staff can also pick up large donations. The deadline for making donations is December 8. Please call Stacy Mills at 509-5349 for more information.
• The city-sponsored Lighted Christmas Parade will take place December 1 at 5 pm in downtown Macclenny.
• Baker County Friends of Instrumental Arts will hold its 6th annual Breakfast with Santa on December 8 in the BCMS cafeteria beginning at 8 am. The fundraiser to benefit local school bands is $7 at the door or $5 in advance. Tickets will be available at the Christmas parade booth or online via paypal here.
Tickets include a picture with Santa, breakfast of eggs, sausage or bacon, biscuits and gravy, grits, fruit and drink. Both the BCHS and BCMS bands will perform and door prizes will be awarded. Please call Ms. Gaylord at 904-275-3051 for more information, to donate to or volunteer at the event.
• Items for Joy Boxes that will be distributed to nursing home residents in January are being collected now. The care packages are about the size of a shoe box filled with non-food or candy items like personal hygiene products, magnifying glasses and other small gifts for seniors.
Volunteers are needed to sort and pack the boxes and area youths typically help distribute them at nursing homes in Baker County and Lake City. Monetary donations will also be accepted. Please call James Croft at 386-867-3199 for more information or visit http://www.jamescroft.org for a full list of items and drop off locations. Mr. Croft can also be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.