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Matt Boster

Viewed: 1637

Posted by: Matt Boster
Date: Aug 16 2019 12:03 PM

MARIANNA, FL – On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael disrupted the normal operations of many communities and businesses across the Florida Panhandle.  Unfortunately, the community of Sunland Center, located just north of Marianna, also experienced a disruption of activities at their campus.  Due to the storm’s devastation at the Center’s Environmental Park, Sunland had no choice but to cancel their annual Fall Festival.   The 2018 event would have marked Sunland’s 40th annual celebration of this festival.  The event began as a family day activity where Sunland residents and staff enjoyed a day of festivities with residents and their family members.  Over the years, the local community was invited to join in the event, which became widely known as the Sunland Fall Festival.  The festival grew in size and popularity, becoming one of the largest community events in Jackson County.  Each year, thousands of visitors have spent the day at the Center’s beautiful Environmental Park where they enjoyed live entertainment, art and craft vendor booths, festival food and many other activities. 

Despite having sustained storm related damage, Sunland has persevered.  The ongoing clean-up effort has been phenomenal, yet the work is ongoing.  While a major debris removal was completed at the Environmental Park, the property is not yet ready for public use.   Not to be deterred however, the Center will resume their annual Fall Festival in 2019.  In keeping with tradition, the date will fall on the last Saturday of October, which will be October 26.  This year’s festival will take place at the Center’s sports complex, located behind the Gymnasium and adjacent to the softball and track and field areas.  The festival will still begin with the traditional opening parade at 9 a.m. CDT, with festivities continuing throughout the day.  Festival-goers will be delighted to find a wide array of family friendly activities to include live entertainment, over 75 art & craft vendors, a multitude of children’s activities and festival foods galore.  When asked about this year’s event James Godwin, Sunland Centralized Support Services Director stated “We are so pleased that Sunland will be resuming our annual Fall Festival.  This is such an important community inclusion activity for the individuals who reside at Sunland.  They truly look forward to seeing friends and family at the festival each year.  We really pour our heart into this event for the people we are so privileged to serve.  Most of all, we want to make sure the Fall Festival continues to be a strong community event at Sunland for many years to come.”

Applications are being accepted for food and craft vendors through September 6, on a first-come, first-served basis.  To register as a food or craft vendor, call Maria Johnson, Event Organizer at (850) 482-9373; for information regarding parade entries, call Clint Cox at (850) 482-9387.


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