Top 10 Events of 2018 to Attend in Columbia County, Florida 

Don’t let 2018 pass you by without attending some of Florida’s fabulous events this year. Columbia County, Florida, is an hour west of Jacksonville and an hour north of Gainesville, making it an easy destination to visit. Bust out your calendar and get ready to fill it in with some of the top 10 events to attend in 2018 in Columbia County. 

 

Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment - Feb. 16-18

If you’re a history lover, this event is for you. During the Olustee Battle Festival and Re-enactment, hundreds of volunteers and living historians dress up in authentic Civil War period attire to recreate the Civil War battle that took place on the very same soil in 1864. You’ll get a glimpse of what the battle looked like as the drama unfolds before your eyes. But the fun doesn’t end there. Downtown Lake City will come alive for its annual craft show, where hundreds of talented artists showcase their artwork for sale. At this family-friendly event, your encouraged to bring the kids since the event has a designated Kids Area outfitted with pony rides, bounce houses, kid-friendly rock climbing walls, train rides and more. 

Union Troops at Olustee Battle Reenactment
Photo: Union Troops at the Olustee Battle Reenactment, Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park.

 

Florida Gateway Pro Rodeo - March 16-18

You don’t have to visit the Wild West to get a dose of a rodeo. Instead, you can find it right here during the 24th Annual Florida Gateway Pro Rodeo in Lake City. This three-day long event has multiple arts and craft vendors for you to stock up on Western goods before watching hair-raising shows of brave cowboys and cowgirls riding bucking bulls.

Bull Riding at the Florida Gateway Pro Rodeo
Photo: Bull Riding at the Florida Gateway Pro Rodeo, Lake City, Florida.

 

Gateway City Craft Beer and Wine Festival - Mach 24

Put your beer connoisseur palate to the test at Gateway City Craft Beer and Wine Festival. Up to 20 breweries and wineries will offer their best flavors for you to sample. Enjoy the live music as you enjoy your barbecued meals that pair perfectly with your beer or wine. The event is held on the banks of Lake DeSoto, so you can enjoy the stunning nature as you sample new flavors. 

Gateway City Craft Beer and Wine Festival
Photo: Breweries from around Florida participate in the annual Gateway City Craft Beer and Wine Festival.

 

Infinity Con - April 14-15

 Show off your cosplay outfit at Infinity Con this year. If DragonCon is too overwhelming, Infinity Con is an excellent alternative to dabble in comic culture. Talented vendors sell gaming goods, comics, anime and sci-fi products, artwork and steampunk gadgets. The event is also kid-friendly, so bring the kids so they can meet their favorite Disney princesses, Wonder Woman, Star Wars characters and watch a panel of their favorite actors. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, don’t forget to purchase your tickets to the VIP Night of Muggles and Magic on April 14, an event for like-minded wizards and witches who share their love of magic. 

Infinity Convention Lake City FL
Photo: Darth Vadar and the 501st Legion attend the annual Infinity Convention in Lake City, Florida.

 

Wanee Fest - April 19-21

One of Florida’s most popular music festivals is held right in the heart of the Columbia County area. Each year, Wanee Fest has big-name acts to headline the event, such as this year’s Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh, North Mississippi Allstars and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood (from Black Crowes). The festival will have an arts and crafts section, and food vendors will be throughout The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak. 

Wanee Music Festival, Live Oak FL
Photo: Wanee Music Festival, Live Oak, Florida. 

 

Florida Folk Festival - May 25-27

Florida Folk Festival is a fantastic event to jam out to foot-stomping tunes while square dancing the night away. Multiple bands play catchy folk music using various traditional instruments like the fiddle and mandolins. In between concert breaks, you can browse through several exhibits featuring native plants, animal species and join workshops to learn the art of basket weaving. Come hungry as there will be plenty of old Florida-style cooking, including cornbread, hoppin’ john, shrimp gumbo and more. 

Performers at the Florida Folk Festival
Photo: Performers from across the southeast take center stage at the Florida Folk Festival, White Springs, Florida.

 

Party in the Pines – Oct. 19-20

See the top country music stars from across the globe in action at Party in the Pines in White Springs. For three days, you can camp out in the pines and watch country musicians belt out their hit songs (Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert ruled the stage in 2017). You have the choice to purchase general tickets or get the VIP Experience that includes gourmet meals, prime seats and complimentary drinks. 

Top Country Artists at Party in the Pines Country Music Fest
Photo: Keith Urban rocks the crowd at the 2017 Party in the Pines Country Music Fest, Bienville Plantation. 

 

Columbia County Fair – Oct. 27-Nov. 4

A Ferris wheel, helicopter rides, a bear exhibition, drag racing, a livestock show—you name it, Columbia County Fair has it all. For $5 per person, the fair is one of the most popular events in the state. The fair will be celebrating its 63rd year in 2018 and will continue to wow attendees with exciting activities like a petting zoo, helicopter rides, pedal tractor pull and more fun events.

Columbia County Fair 
Photo: The Columbia County Fair is an annual treat that has something for everyone.  

 

Old Tyme Farm Days –Nov. 23-24

Celebrate your Thanksgiving weekend by learning how the early pioneers lived their lives. The Spirit of Suwanee Music Park is proud to host another big event, Old Tyme Farm Days, where you can step back in time to the 19th century. Bring the entire family to learn about rural American life and heritage through a series of demonstrations and exhibitions like syrup making, cane grinding, biscuit making and more. The staff will dress up in period attire for a more authentic experience. A Thanksgiving meal is also available on Nov. 22 for families. 

Old Tyme Farm Days
Photo: Expierence hands on learning at Old Tyme Farm Days, Live Oak, Florida.

 

Festival of Lights – Dec. 1-24

‘Tis the season to get festive. At Festival of Lights, the entire Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park will light up with thousands of holiday lights for you to admire. After browsing through the Christmas wonderland, enjoy  free hot cocoa and s’mores to roast over the roaring bonfire. Additional fun activities include snow flurries—to get your snow fix in Florida— a train display, craft activities and more.  


Photo: Enjoy thousands of holiday lights at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, White Springs, Florida.