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Celebrating all that’s Florida: performer Tom Shed previews Florida Folk Festival

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A guitarist at the Florida Folk Festival in more recent years.
A guitarist at the Florida Folk Festival in more recent years.

A fiddle competition, banjo contest, and plenty of quintessential Florida food can be found at the 61st Florida Folk Festival this Memorial Day weekend.

Each year, the Florida Park Service, a division of the the Department of Environmental Protection, hosts the event at the Stephen Foster State Culture Center State Park in White Springs.

It’s an area just north of Lake City on the banks of the Suwannee River and it has hosted the festival each year since 1953.

Tom Shed is a country music singer and songwriter living in Gainesville, and he’s been on a regional tour promoting the Memorial Day weekend event for several weeks. Here, he speaks about all that can be found at the Florida Folk Festival.

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Here are a few photos from the state’s archives that capture moments in the event’s history over the years. Also, many years of festival performance audio can be found through the Florida Department of State.

Abner Jay performing with a young girl, year unknown.
Abner Jay performing with a young girl, year unknown.
Lucreaty Clark, basket maker, year unknown.
Lucreaty Clark, basket maker, year unknown.
Mexican dancers, 1961.
Mexican dancers, 1961.

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