Monticello Florida’s Annual Bike Fest
April 1, 2017.
This competition is routed around and through the unsurpassed beauty of rural Jefferson County, the heart of the Red Hills. Follow the curves of Gamble Road, surge along the Old Spanish Trail, idle past Lake Miccosuki or coast down the gentle slopes of Plantation Way.
Whether you ride for fun, feel a little competitive or are determined to win a trophy – this is it. You don’t want to miss the biggest happening scheduled for this Spring – APRIL 2017 — in North Florida.
Wander along historic streets lined with amazing nineteenth century houses. Eat in great restaurants. Visit stores filled with a wonderful variety of furniture, antiques, collectibles and art.
Meet great people you will never forget. There’s nothing formal about it, just say you are enjoying the town and Monticello people will jump at the chance to talk about the hometown they love.
The Monticello Bike Fest is handled by the Monticello/Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Katrina at 850-997-5552.
Is it Opinionnews or a Big Fat Lie?
There’s a new but insidious way of presenting “Facts” or “News” that is doing great damage in our society. The lead statement presented as a news story is true, then one or two words from that statement are artfully twisted and twisted again until it becomes unrecognizable – a lie. This is done so carefully and so well that the listener or viewer must be alert and watchful not to follow these twists and turns to be misled.
So called “Newscasters” on several television stations use this “opinionnews” constantly. Certain radio personalities have perfected the method and use it almost exclusively to make their opinion appear as real news. Each one of us must listen carefully and think hard as we follow these artful twists and turns so we will not be misled.
Recently opinionnews has crept into our daily newspaper. This story about Jefferson County Florida, presented on Feb. 21, 2017 in the Tallahassee Democrat on the front page above the fold, began in truth. The Jefferson County school system is a complete failure. This fact hurts our community in many ways. That does not mean however, as this story concludes, that we are a complete and dismal failure in every way.
Read carefully, and be aware that you are being led by this new opinionnews method to believe a lie in this piece. The City of Monticello and Jefferson County are not dying. We have several interesting and eclectic business districts. Downtown Monticello is thriving. We have businesses in all of our storefronts except one and that one is being remodeled for use. We have several outstanding restaurants and an active opera house.
Our town is full of beautiful historic buildings, some designed or restored by famous architects, others in the process of restoration with the help of Florida Historic Resources. We have great old houses, many large and elegant, but also streets lined with adorable cracker cottages, their porches shaded by big trees. People say hello to you on our streets.
Our City Council and County Commission are helping interested citizens improve our parking and infrastructure. Both governmental bodies support Monticello and Jefferson County’s progress. Our police force and fire fighters are hometown heroes.
Jefferson County’s natural environment is a pristine miracle in our modern world. You can really breathe here. The Aucilla and Wacissa River System, flatwoods, rolling red hills, deep forests and protected wetlands are precious to every Jefferson County citizen. Scientific studies are proving that Jefferson County is the home of the first settlers of North America.
We welcome visitors. Don’t be misled by opinionnews. Come and find out for yourself.
I’ve read of historic duels between several old families in Jefferson County. The stories always include the participants moving the actual event north about five miles to the “no-man’s’land” at the Florida-Georgia border. The story always further explains that the actual border had not been exactly pinned down at the time, so neither locale’s sheriff felt he had jurisdiction. Therefore the duelists did not worry that dueling had been declared illegal in both states. They were ready to fight!
It’s different now, in 2017 we still duel, oh yes, but we handle these contests in a legal way. Here are the rules: All antagonists must register with the Monticello/Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. It’s located on West Washington Street. Then they must gather at the dueling grounds on the appointed day – that’s the Old Apron Factory on south Jefferson Street – (you’ll see a Simpson’s Nursery sign) Don’t pay any attention, it’s still the appointed LEGAL dueling grounds.
Most of the historical antagonists tried to keep their duels a secret according to Shofner, but nowadays every one of them blatantly advertises his fight. They ask people to come and watch! It really is a DO NOT MISS event for the whole area. We even invite people from north of the Georgia border.
All the duelists will congregate in the Old Apron Factory, South Hwy 19, Monticello, Florida on February 18 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm United States + Google Map for the Monticello Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Chili Challenge, 2077 S. Jefferson (South Hwy 19), Monticello, FL Set-up 3pm to 4:30pm; Judging 4:30pm to 5pm; Open to the Public 5pm to 7pm –
BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY! Admission – Adults $8 (all you can eat) Children ages 5-12 $5; Ages 4 and under FREE! The Chaotics Dance 7:00PM to 10 PM – tickets $15.
My friend Tom Harmon invited me to be his guest at a Rotary meeting. Well–knowing the food would be prepared by Mary Frances Dawdry, I said yes immediately because EVERYTHING she prepares is delicious. Besides that, the company at a Rotary meeting is always excellent and they invariably offer interesting speakers.
Another tradition at the Monticello Rotary meetings is a drawing. As their guest, I was asked to draw out a number. I scrambled the tickets around a little and grabbed one. I didn’t have on my glasses (vanity) so I asked Tom to read out the numbers. He did and then checked my ticket for me and the numbers matched!
I won the prize! It was a canoe trip with Tom and Jeff Wilcox from the headwaters of the Wacissa to Goose Pasture.
This beautiful trip filled in a section of the Jefferson County Rivers I had never seen. I enjoyed the paddle to Blue Spring several times. Ed Green took me through the Slave Canal connecting to the Aucilla. David Ward treated me to a paddle on the north end of the Aucilla when it was in flood, entering at Snead’s Smokehouse landing.
With a larger group, David paddled so I could photograph a segment of the Aucilla from Lamont south to the site of a lost town called Cash Money. Back in 2010, Charlie Ward and Jack Carswell gave me a wonderful photographic tour of the lower Aucilla, Apalachee Bay and the Pinhook, entering the River at Mandalay in Taylor County. Someday I hope to photograph the section of the Aucilla referred to as the “Races.”
Another time I hiked the underground part of the Aucilla called the Aucilla Sinks. What are called “Sinks” are small and large windows into the underground river forming beautiful small ponds and lakes. I look forward to seeing the “Races” and completing my photographic tour of the rivers.
After eating breakfast (vegetarian Quiche, of course) at Tupelo’s, talking to my friends for about an hour, I drove to the post office to pick up the Main Street mail. When I came back to my truck to drive home I found a butterfly resting against my windshield. Happy I had my camera with me, I shot several pictures of the apparently comfortable butterfly, put my camera away and started the engine.
Fully expecting Mr. Butterfly to take off as soon as the engine started I was astonished and delighted to see he seemed to be content to stay where he was. I drove slowly across Jefferson and down Pearl to the corner beside Rancho Grande and eased along one block north on Cherry to turn right on High Street. The butterfly fluttered a little. I drove a slower yet, hardly moving. My pick-up barely rolling, I made it down High Street and turned into my driveway. Apparently Mr. Butterfly liked the quiet greenness of my yard and the overhanging branches of my orange trees.
He began to move around on the windshield as though checking out his new location, and with a couple of flaps of his wings flew off to disappear somewhere into the branches of my tall grapefruit tree leaving me to hope he had found his home right there in my yard.
I haven’t seen Mr. Butterfly again, but a Monarch visited me although I don’t have any particular plants the books say that butterfly needs to thrive. I snapped several pictures and when I had one enlarged, he has hair (sort of red) and a scruffy little beard which I thought astonishing.
My sister, who lives in Virginia plants shrubs and flowers known to attract butterflies and it is possible to photograph several at once. I even shot a photo of two I call “Patriotic” butterflies. In all, I took more than 1,500 photos of butterflies that day.
Some of the best butterfly photographs and the easiest to obtain were the ones I shot during a trip to the “Butterfly House” at Calloway Gardens in Georgia. I was surprised to learn that some of them are not native to the United States. My favorite photograph is a native of the Great Britain.
CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES in MONTICELLO, FLORIDA
The 2016 Christmas Tour of Homes in the City of Monticello in Jefferson County Florida is on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 12:00 to 6:00 PM. This event includes a self-directed tour of nine (9) historic venues and is presented by the Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association.
The tour costs $15.00 and you can buy tickets in advance from Monticello/Jefferson Chamber and several other venues in the town of Monticello and Southern Friends Framing and Antiques in Thomasville.
The most fun however, will be to go to the Women’s Club building at 985 East Pearl Street (Monticello’s prettiest street). They not only have tickets for the tour, they have their famous holiday cakes and if you are hungry they also offer a light meal for sale. The sponsors of this event provide a phone number if you have questions – 850-997-6552.
This tour encompasses an area of Monticello that is often overlooked except by local residents. You will see several houses that are truly beautiful as well as interesting historically and culturally.
One other thing you should look for during the tour is the magnificent Monticello Avenue of Oaks. These wonderful trees are worth the tour alone. Ask someone to direct you when you visit the Women’s Club.
The tour sponsor, Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association, works with our Women’s Club, Monticello/Jefferson Chamber, Jefferson County Tourist Development Council and Main Street of Monticello to encourage the preservation of the treasured buildings in this tiny 1827 town.
Monticello’s tree lined streets are full of small and large historic homes, many dating from before the Civil War. They are an expression of the best of our culture and we welcome your visit.
by Anne Haw Holt
Christmas starts this Friday evening — that’s December 2! Monticello Downtown Christmas is always the first to celebrate this beautiful season. Starting around 5:00 or 5:30 PM the streets just north of the festively decorated Courthouse will be full of families hurrying to the garden at the Wirick-Simmons House to see the lighting of the community Christmas tree and hear the choirs singing old fashioned carols.
Shoppers will be visiting the interesting displays of gifts in our town’s unusual collection of specialty shops. Children will be watching for Santa to arrive on a fire truck.
East Dogwood Street will be full of colorful booths offering everything from the Monticello Women’s Club’s fabulous “Old Fashioned Christmas Fruitcake” to handmade jewelry, books and unusual gifts.
Carolers will stroll by. You may even hear someone reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas.” Children will sit in Santa’s lap as parents take their picture. Many will pose to take a family photo in front of the Community Christmas tree—ask someone to help, you’ll make them happy.
A little later, right in front of the public library on Water Street (two blocks south of Washington St. or Rt. 90) our beautiful live nativity scene, “Bethlehem in Monticello” will open. Children will marvel when they men, women and child actors with live animals bring the real Christmas story to life.
Bethlehem in Monticello Photographs by John Hicks
Billed as a great family weekend, the Ninth Annual Farm Tour includes visits to more than twenty farms. Happening next weekend, October 22 and 23, 2016, visitors will learn about local farms, resource organizations, small gardeners and related vendors. There are farms near you in Leon County, Gadsden County, Jefferson County, Madison or Taylor County and farther west.
Jefferson County has a surprising lot of farms on this tour. Those farms will be open and welcoming you. I know of a farm where they specialize in Tennessee Fainting Goats, (be sure to see the great dogs who protect them). You will find farms that raise large varieties of vegetables, others that specialize in just a few or even in different kinds of fruit. There’s another near Monticello that raises bees and sells honey. You will find 20 farms in all, probably more than you can visit in a weekend.
Some of these most interesting places have mazes and other entertainment for your children and grandchildren, special entertainment besides the expected animals, chicken, turkeys and equipment they will be interested in seeing. Oh – there’s even a farm near Monticello where they grind Sugar Cane another that makes Mayhaw jelly.
Booklets with a map and complete information are available in many places in Monticello, Tallahassee, Greenville, Havana and other towns—even Bonifay and Eridu.
Remember, this is a self-guided tour. Each farm on the map gives you its own contact information. Don’t bring your pets, farm animals just don’t appreciate them as much as you do. Enjoy your weekend.
All the best people were there — ready for a great Saturday evening at the Harvest Dinner by the Jefferson County Historical Association. Tables placed around the Wirick-Simmons Garden in Monticello were all full. Guests ate venison, quail, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and more.
Barbara presided over yummy looking cakes, from pecan to double chocolate.
Then it sprinkled a little rain.
Everyone laughed a little and continued eating and talking to their friends around the large round tables.
Then it started to rain seriously. It began to pour. The wind blew and it rained — Oh my, how it rained.
As one, members of the group grabbed their plates and rushed under the large serving tent. Instead of six people at a table they crowded in twelve or maybe more – still enjoying their food.
Others stood along the serving tables. Some held their fine china plate in one hand and their real silver fork in the other. No matter the little rain problem, the food was delicious even interesting—and the company was better.
Some might want to say the Jefferson County Historical Association’s Harvest Dinner was rained out this year. They might want to say the event was a wash out, but that’s not what happened. We had a fabulous time and will never forget the wonderful Harvest Dinner when it rained buckets for hours. The dinner where we crowded in the serving tent, enjoyed our meal, our dessert. Some even finished with a cup of coffee, and we talked.
Yes, we talked. Groups formed and re-formed we reached out to everyone. Newcomers met life-long residents. We had time—time to find out what our old and new friends were doing and how things changed in their lives. We will certainly never forget this Harvest Dinner. When it was over, we realized — we didn’t mind a little rain at all.