Suwannee Valley Times is distributed into the following cities and towns: Lake City, Live Oak, Madison, Branford, Dowling Park, Falmouth, Lee, Wellborn, Jasper, White Springs, Fort White, High Springs and Alachua

A great day at the Wildflower Festival

The Live Oak Artists Guild sponsored kids activities in the Don Allen Center at Heritage Park and Gardens during the Wildflower Festival, held April 27. -SVT Photos by Tami Stevenson

By Tami Stevenson

The inaugural Wildflower Festival, held Saturday, April 27, at Heritage Park and Gardens in Live Oak, was a huge success. Visitors were scrambling for better parking spots and any vendor will tell you that is the best kind of problem to have.

With three music stages, the pavilion, Don Allen stage and the back porch stage, visitors had the opportunity to listen to multiple genres while browsing the many vendor booths.

Live music included Kentucky Sleepy Hollow Bluegrass Band, Live Oak 386, Dr. Jules’ Blues Society, SongFarmers, River Rats, Debbie Hallett, Dick Grillo and so many more, too numerous to list.

There was something for everyone at the festival.

The Live Oak Artist’s Guild was in the building next to the Don Allen Stage and stayed busy all day with kids activities.

Vicky English from the Art Guild said, “We have been swamped!” She was there along with Glinda Pennock, helping with the kids activities. Pennock said it was a great event for the community. “It’s more than we expected.”

Sarah Strautmann, owner of Heaven Sent Ranch out of Live Oak, is explaining how soft an alpaca’s wool is to visitors. -SVT Photo


Daniel Greeley is showing a llama. He helps out on Heaven Sent Ranch. -SVT Photo

Erin Greeley with son, Johns (JJ) Greeley helping Heaven Sent Ranch. -SVT Photo


Heaven Sent Ranch, of Live Oak, brought their alpacas and llamas for visitors to learn about. Sarah Strautmann has owned the ranch since 2004 and shows no signs of stopping.

Erin Greeley, along with her son, Daniel Greeley, 15, help Strautmann on the ranch.

They were selling something peculiar – alpaca manure – they say needs no time to cure. It can be used directly in a garden or flowerbed immediately.

The manure may be ordered. for a very reasonable price, by calling Sarah Strautmann at 352-200-9408 or Erin Greeley at 727-480-6092 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fascinated with the ducks from City of Refuge exhibit. R-L: Camren with her father, Richard Joseph Smith, Jr., mom, Casey Story, holding Camren’s twin, Carmen, from Live Oak. Said they wanted to come rain or shine and they got both! -SVT Photo

City of Refuge, a farming and agricultural campground, near Tallahassee, was also at the event and brought ducks, Jersey Giant Chickens, Nigerian Dwarf Goats and rabbits to the festival.

The campground has been around for more than ten years. They said Hurricane Michael and the pandemic hit them really hard. Especially the hurricane, they are still rebuilding. Their main goal is to teach the youth how to raise live stock, and learn about fishing and farming.
Campground Coordinator Keishann Corley said, “We are in a rebuilding process, people are donating animals. Just the growth that God is allowing us to go through (is amazing).” She added that it is a lot of fun to have student volunteers come for clinics and on three day weekends, fishing clinics, BBQ’s, etc. They said they were glad they came to the festival to help spread awareness about the campground and are already making plans to attend next year.

L-R: City of Refuge Campground Coordinator Keishann Corley, Facility Manager Joe Telus and Campground Manager Antonio Rutledge brought ducks, Jersey Giant Chickens, Nigerian Dwarf Goats and rabbits to the festival. -SVT Photo

So where were the wildflowers?
As pointed out by a UF/IFAS volunteer, the wildflowers were actually all around us happily growing on their own, no muss, no fuss!

Coreopsis, Butterweed, Blackeyed Susan, Buttonsage, Aster and more.

Visitors could design their own wildflower seed pack to take home in the Don Allen Center throughout the day.

Vendors and visitors alike were already talking about next year’s Wildflower Festival and making plans to attend.

The Wildflower Festival was presented by Suwannee Festivals. This was the last of three festivals organizers hoped would become community favorites in the years to come. Their hope was not in vain as each of the three festivals were supported whole-heartedly by the community turn out for each of them. The first was the Heritage Festival, held in November and the second was the All Aboard Festival held in February.

Suwannee Festivals is a collaboration of the Suwannee River Regional Library, UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension, and the Live Oak Artists Guild.

The committee would like to thank everyone involved that helped make these events a success.
Suwannee Festivals is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Suwannee Regional Library’s newest collections called “The Library of Things” was a popular tent. -SVT Photo

Dick Grillo performed at the festival. He said his favorite song is “Shall We Gather At The River.” -SVT Photo

L-R: White Springs Library Branch Manager Lesa Leming along with Lori Brosseau, from the youth desk at Suwannee River Regional Library. -SVT Photo

Visitors exploring the many activities and vendor booths during the Wildflower Festival last weekend. -SVT Photo

The Live Oak Artists Guild spent a lot of time making these flowers with love, just for the festival. They also created the butterfly display. -SVT Photo