January Events Calendar for 2014

Happy New Year!

The January Events Calendar is here, bringing you ideas of what to do during our cold winter month. 

For instance, you can start the year off with some frigid fun with cold water plunges on New Year’s Day. No, you don't have to participate. You can stand on the beach with your latte and watch other crazy people take the Polar Bear Dip in Perdido Key and the Penguin Plunge in Navarre.

Then warm up with music, history, Apalachicola oysters and chili, though not necessarily all together. Birthday celebrations for Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. include parades in Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Fort Walton Beach, and other towns across the region, and the National Park Service celebrates with fee-free park entry January 18 through 21, 2014.

If there's something we missed, you can add it below, and if you see something that isn’t correct, please contact me and let me know so I can fix it. Meanwhile, browse through this list of January events and festivals in Northwest Florida and enjoy. 

Note: All times listed on the Northwest Florida January Events Calendar are U.S. Central Time Zone unless otherwise indicated.

America's State Parks First Day Hikes - Blackwater River State Park

Date: January 1, 2014
Hours: 10:00 a.n. to 12:00 noon
Where: Blackwater River State Park
Cost: Normal Park fees
More Information: Call 850-983-5363

Start the year off right with a park ranger-led hike on the one mile Chain of Lakes Trail along the beautiful Blackwater River. Participants should bring water, close toed shoes, and a picnic lunch. Meet at the South Bridge Picnic Area. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.

30A Songwriters Festival

Date: January 17-19, 2014
Hours: Vary
Where: 25 Locations along Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton
Cost: Tickets required
More Information: For ticket prices and performance schedules see 30A Songwriters Festival

If music stirs your soul, don’t miss this three-day music extravaganza produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County and presented by Visit South Walton. The festival features more than 150 songwriters including Loudon Wainwright III, Ani DiFranco, and John Oates, and over 200 performances. Venues range from intimate listening rooms to spacious outdoor amphitheaters all along South Walton's Scenic Highway 30A. A great way to see the festival is to stay on 30A. There is an endless variety of accommodations in the Santa Rosa Beach area, from 30A Suites, to Seagrove Beach and beyond. Check out of few of the offerings. 

Apalachicola Oyster Cook-Off

Date: January 18, 2014
Hours: 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm Eastern Time
Where: Riverfront Park, downtown Apalachicola
Cost: Free
More Information: Call 850-323-0385 or visit Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off

Help the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department find the best oyster recipes as area cooks vie for awards and praise with their original dishes. There’s a silent auction and oyster sampling Friday night to benefit the AVFD, then the cook off gets underway Saturday at 11:00 am. Taste oysters raw, steamed, fried and every way you can imagine. Activities include live music and dancing performances. If you're staying in Apalachicola over night, I recommend the Water Street Hotel on the waterfront. 

Gulf Islands National Seashore Fee Free Weekend

Date: January 18-21, 2014
Hours: Perdido Key Area 8:00 am to sunset; Fort Pickens Area 7:00 am to sunset
Where: Perdido Key and Fort Pickens, Gulf Islands National Seashore
Cost: Free
More Information: Call 850-934-2600 or visit Gulf Islands National Seashore

In honor of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Gulf Islands National Seashore will join national parks across the country by celebrating with a fee free weekend. Visit Fort Pickens, Perdido Key and all the beach areas free of charge all weekend (excludes camping fees).

20th Annual Great American Chili Cook-off

Date: January 18, 2014
Hours: 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Where: Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government Street, Pensacola
Cost: $10 per person
More Information: Call 850-434-6211 or visit Great American Chili Cook-off

January Events aren't complete without a bowl of chili and the 20th annual Great American Chili Cook-off is a great place to find it. Local teams compete for bragging rights for Pensacola’s best chili and visitors benefit by getting to sample and vote. Trophies are awarded to the top three winners along with a People’s Choice award and a Showmanship award for best costumes, theme, and fun. Some of the competing teams include Mardi Gras krewes so you can get a sneak peek on what to expect. Proceeds benefit the Seville Sertoma Club. If you're staying in Pensacola, you might want to consider one of the historic bed and breakfast inns

2014 Florida Chautauqua Assembly

Date: January 23-26, 2014
Hours: Vary
Where: DeFuniak Springs
Cost: Four-day tickets $135 per person, Individual prices for some events, also some events are free
More Information: Call 850-892-7613 or visit Florida Chautauqua Center for schedule and tickets.

Find out why Florida is called the "First Hollywood" at the annual Florida Chautauqua Assembly. This year’s theme, A Journey into the World of Motion Pictures explores the cinema from documentary film-making to the Wizard of Oz. Featured performances by Audrey Hepburn and the Keynote speaker, Demond Wilson of Sanford and Son. Educational sessions and free exhibits will be in various locations around town for this look at the Silver Screen. If you're planning on staying in DeFuniak Springs for the Assembly, I'd recomene you book early.

Know of Any More January Events?

There are a lot of Northwest Florida festivals happening all across the region and we can’t possibly list them all. But if you have an item you think should be on the January Events Calendar, please tell us about it below in the comments section.Tell us the name of the event, date, time, location, and if there is a cost or admission charge. If you think the event is worthwhile, other Explorers will like it too.

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