Seas the Day this weekend or have a pint at Ye Olde

It’s a busy—and fun– weekend here on Navarre Beach.

Saturday, March 30, beachgoers can have a ball free of charge at the Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center’s Seas the Day. This celebration will have crafts, animal encounters, games and activities for the whole family focused on the center’s mission: sea turtle and marine conservation.

Safari the African Spurred tortoise will be greeting visitors to the festivities.

Activities are free, but there is a $5 charge to enter the center where visitors will also have the opportunity to meet Sweet Pea, the center’s resident sea turtle. Other marine creatures also occupy the center.

The event honors the beginning of April, an important awareness month for children as it is Military Child Month, Autism Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Center treats this as a day to celebrate children with stress-free fun for everyone on the backdrop of our beautiful beach.

For the adults, Navarre’s first craft brewery will be hosting Craft Beer Fest 2019. More than 20 local and regional craft brewers will be offering samples of their beers. Admission to the festival includes live entertainment, beer tasting and a souvenir glass. There will be other vendors as well, including home brewing and other fun.

Guests will be asked to sample the brews, from IPAs to Stouts to Porter, determining best beer.

You won’t want to miss this one. Ye Olde is local staple known for good food, downhome fun and delicious beer. Best part is 10 percent of ticket sales go to the winning beer’s charity of choice.

Whether your looking for an entertaining and engaging day with the little ones or a little adult fun, we’ve got you covered on Navarre Beach, so book your stay at

Know before you go: ‘Pier pellies’

The brown and white seabirds are a common sight along the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier, shuffling along the railing or dive-bombing the water.

It’s easy to see why. Our pier is frequented by their favorite food: fish. These birds have earned themselves the nickname “pier pellies.” Pier pellies can become habituated to humans if they find it is easy to get food around people.

But when pelicans and people mix, issues can arise said Caroline Stahala, Audubon Western Florida Panhandle shorebird manager.

It can be tempting when a pier pelly approaches asking for a snack to feed them spare bait or even people food. They can seem like feathered dogs, begging for a treat.

But do not give in.

Stahala and birds advocates say it is critical that we not feed these feathered friends.

“The easier they can get food for them, the better. It is low-effort food to them basically. We highly encourage people to not feed the pelicans. That includes directly and indirectly,” Stahala said.

This can be especially harmful when the food they are getting from people is not part of their natural diet.

“That sort of food is junk food to the birds. Nutritionally, it is not what they need,” Stahala said.

The feeding encourages the pelicans to interact with people, which can lead to trouble. Sometimes the birds can get caught in fishing line, swallow hooks or even fall ill after people have fed them things their systems are not equipped to handle.

Another big issue for pier pellies can arise when people try to touch the birds.

It is a very, very bad idea to pet a pelican.

For starters, pelicans have a hook-structure on the end of their beak used when they dive for fish. That hook-structure can cause deep cuts if the bird bites a person, which is all too likely if you try to pet them. The birds are also prone to feather mites and may carry contaminants on their feathers.

The birds may also have been previously hooked by fishermen or caught in fishing line. These hooks can cause cuts to those handling them.

Human touch can also damage the natural waterproofing of pelicans’ feathers that they need to be able to dive down and catch fish.

So don’t touch. Instead use that up close vantage of these pier dwelling birds to get a great photo.

If you see a destressed pelican on the pier, call our local wildlife refuge at 850-650-1880 or Florida FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). Use care when handling the bird. A towel over the face is extremely helpful. When possible, leave it to the professionals.

Pelicans are graceful creatures, and symbolic to coastal communities. If we respect them, it can be a wonderful experience to see them up close on our pier. Come see for yourself through

2019 Spring Jam coming to Navarre Beach

Thousands of visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy live music with their toes in the surf and sand along Navarre Beach Sunday, March 24, during Spring Jam 2019.

Juana’s Pagodas and Sailors Grill has partnered with Cat Country 98.7 once again to offer the second annual Spring Jam, a one-day music festival along the Santa Rosa Sound. The event will be hosted at Juana’s.

Last year was a blast with fantastic music, food and fun on the beautiful backdrop of our white sandy beaches.

“The great thing about this event is we are able to bring artists that are in the top ten of country music charts,” said Juana’s event coordinator Dannie Hall. “Most of those are performing at the Wharf in Destin for $60 a ticket, where here you can see them for $10. And it helps Santa Rosa Kids House.”

This year’s headliner is Michael Ray with special guest Jimmie Allen and Everette to benefit Santa Rosa Kid’s House. Kid’s House is a local nonprofit supporting child victims of sexual abuse.

Other announced performers include Drop Dead Dangerous, James Adkins, Chloe Channell, and other bands to be announced. The event is presented by Gulf Winds Credit Union.

“It is top ten on country, and some of them are in the top five already. One is a really new artist, and he is rocking it. That is Everette,” Hall said. “The ones that were here last year are now on the CMAs. This is really the best time to see them.”

Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and the show will start at 6 p.m. The event is an all ages. I highly recommend arriving early. Seriously, you want to be their at least an hour ahead of doors opening to get settled. Don’t worry, you won’t be bored waiting to get in.

There will be a parking lot party with food and live performances, sort of a pre-party to the beach fun.

Tickets are $10 online ahead of time and $20 at the door if available. Ticket sales are limited to 3,000, and Hall said they expect to sell out again this year. Children 2 and under are permitted without a ticket. There will be food and beverages on-site.

This is a rain or shine event. Seating is first come, first served. Beach towels are allowed.

Restricted items are:

• Tents

• Drones

• Umbrellas

• Strollers

• Chairs

• Coolers or outside food or drink

• Pets (registered service animals are permitted)

Professional video or photography is not allowed.

Book your vacation at, then get your tickets at and click on Spring Jam 2019.

The life of Eliza captures history at Arcadia

When Milton business­man Joseph Forsyth died in 1855 just outside the then-non-existent community of Navarre Beach, the dozens of slaves that called Arcadia Mill home faced an uncertain future.

“There would have been a lot of uncertainty. They are not told about the ways of the world,” said Adriane Walker, Arcadia site manager. “When they find out that their owner has died, they have no idea what is going to happen to them.”

But one young woman and her children were given a chance at a better life. “My girl Eliza” and her three eldest children were listed in Forsyth’s will. He expressly called for them to be transported to a free state, a state where slavery had been abolished, and he called for a stipend for living expenses to be paid out of his estate to her and her children.

Eliza’s story is one of many shared as part of the rich history of Arcadia Mill Archaeological Site and Homestead. This “museum” is located just north of Navarre Beach, and offers a variety of ways to dive into history in the region.

Whether you choose to walk the expanse of boardwalks through the site, tour the interactive homestead property, attend a history talk or check out the mill site exhibits, this site is a history buff’s dream.

Eliza’s story captures a big part of the debate around slavery at the time.

A large population of African-American slaves lived at Arcadia throughout the years working the dangerous wood mill equipment. But when the complex added a cotton mill in 1845, roughly 40 female slaves were purchased and brought to the mill.

Walker explained that conventional wisdom at the time held that women and girls were better at working the machinery because of their smaller fingers.

But the mill also called into question some deeply held prejudices.

One of the notions used to justify slavery was that African-Americans were less capable of skilled labor than white workers, Walker explained. As the cotton mill thrived in the area, those prejudices were challenged.

A Pensacola Gazette article at the time read: “To suppose, as many have pretended to do, that they are not equal to white girls in a factory is ridiculous nonsense. It is to suppose that the power of manipu­lation depends on the color of the fingers.”

Multiple generations began to occupy the slave cabins that lined the property.

But with Forsyth’s passing, many of these families were in danger of being separated. Eliza’s family was no different. While Forsyth’s wishes were expressly listed, Walker said it was not guaranteed that those wishes would be carried out. Luckily, Forsyth’s representatives did work to free Eliza.

The journey would have been long and dangerous. The family was making its way to the free state of New York, but to get there they would have to travel through Southern states that heavily supported slavery.

Despite having legal documentation freeing her and her children, the family would have faced danger of being detained or even sold back into slavery if they were spotted along the way. They were likely escorted by one of Forsyth’s business associates.

“I would imagine a lot the journey meant them literally hiding, covertly traveling to get to a free state. It was probably a very dangerous trip. It is amazing they made it,” Walker said.

At just 29 years old, Eliza’s entire life was about to change. She was accompanied by her three freed children: Laura, 9, Francis, 8, and Augustus, 7. Walker said researchers were unsure whether she had successfully made the journey until a student was able to find census records in New York showing her name a year after the trip.

There is another surprise in Eliza’s story.

In the census records confirming her successful escape, there are not three children listed but four. A 1-year-old girl named Susan was among the family. Adding to the mystery, the infant Susan was found listed among an inventory of slaves to be sold after Forsyth’s death.

Susan had somehow escaped.

Further records showed that stipends of $1,200 were paid to Eliza and her children by the Forsyth family for years after Joseph Forsyth’s death, as requested in the will. Only through records uncovered and archaeological work done by the university students and employees could these lives be revealed.

Many questions regarding Eliza’s story remain unanswered. Walker said no one knows why Forsyth chose to free her, though it was not an unheard-of practice, especially for slaves that worked in the household of their owner. Walker said it’s also possible that Forsyth was the father of Eliza’s children. On census records, their race is listed as mixed. But there is no way to know for sure, at least not yet.

Exploration of Arcadia’s history continues. The site hosted their grand opening of the homestead site to the public this month, offering a new perspective on the history of the region from the days of slavery and into the 21st century.

Make this unique stop part of your vacation plan at