Corn mazes, a haunted theater, sea turtles, vintage cars, bluegrass, a fishing rodeo. The 19th annual Beaches to Woodlands Tour is about to begin.
“(It) was designed to showcase the fall events in Santa Rosa County during the shoulder season many years ago,” said Julie White, director of the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Office, which organizes the tour. “We serve them by having a dedicated website, promotional materials and marketing.”
Inviting the public to “Celebrate, Santa Rosa Style,” the tour is an index of local events that highlights the county’s history, culture and natural treasures.
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Here are some of this year’s offerings by category:
Outdoor Market and Art Fest at Pik-itz
Local artists, food trucks and live music convene at Pik-itz Art and Antiques, a Navarre oasis for rustic finds and roadside memorabilia. Owners Terry and Dean Light started a monthly art market in April 2021 as a response to the area’s lack of exhibition space.
The Lights decided to start their own festival due to the large number of artists in the area who didn’t have exhibit space.
The markets, held on the first and second Saturdays of each month, were so popular that the Lights added a larger festival for the tour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 8.
Gulf Coast Kiln Walk
As a tour staple, Holley Hill Pottery has a 40-year history of firing local clay, finished with their signature glazes. Every fall is the studio’s anticipated “kiln opening” when its unique 32-foot anagama-style kiln reveals its cornucopia of new ceramic works.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
Holland Farms Pumpkin Patch and Maze
The Holland family has been the heart of the county’ peanut heritage for over a century. Every year the “Nuttiest Place Around” invites the public to take on their 8-acre corn maze, as well as zip lines, cart racing and to select a pumpkin of their choice.
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 to Nov. 5
Sweet Season Farms Corn Maze and U-Pick
This family farm stages a corn maze and pumpkin patch as well. It also pairs it with a blooming u-pick sunflower patch, cow train and much more.
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays, Oct. 1 to Nov. 6
Munson Heritage Festival
Go completely old school through demos of such past times as dulcimer making, cobbling, turpentining and cross-cut sawing.
Fall Festival at the West Florida Railroad Museum
The newly renovated West Florida Railroad Museum is an interactive time capsule of Milton’s past. This one-day open house offers a free all-access pass.   
“We’re doing more than what we normally do,” said George Wilson, president of the museum’s Board of Directors. “Volunteers will be posted throughout to tell about what’s going on in each area.”
The campus is anchored by the rail station built in 1909, along with a caboose, vintage dining car, a restored bridge tender house and train rides for children, ages 3-12. Food trucks and other vendors will be on site as well.
21st annual Navarre Car, Truck, and Bike Show
Up to 200 prized vehicles are expected for the annual fundraiser by Pirates on the Panhandle.
“We are not a crew,” said Jersey Jerry Jones, a co-founder of the nonprofit. “We are a small group that is committed to helping others in our community.”
Since the show’s inception, the Pirates have raised over $170,000. The show is previewed with a Friday Night Cruise-In for a meet and greet and awards. On Saturday, the Navarre High School parking lot will be packed with muscle cars, ’57 Chevys, Maseratis and everything in between.  
Batty Fang-Tastic Halloween
The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge returns to the tour to educate the public about the area’s native wildlife. Costumes are encouraged while exploring this nonprofit founded in 1994 that rehabs well over 100 animals a year. 
“We learned a great deal from last year and are excited to bring that knowledge to the table to make the event bigger and better,” said Emily Bucey, conservation and rehabilitation educator.
The event includes a haunted trail, pumpkin painting and food trucks.
Boo at the Zoo
Trick or Treat with the animals! The Gulf Breeze Zoo opens its grounds for a daytime tour of treats and Halloween activities.
Annual Ghost Walk
Follow the trail of Milton’s haunted past, if you dare. This annual procession leads victims to the city’s historic landmarks, beginning at Imogene Theatre.
Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center
Visit the home of Sweet Pea, Navarre’s beloved sea turtle, during the center’s annual Sea Turtle Extravaganza. Free admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oct. 8.
The facility goes dark for Spooky Shark School from 9-10 a.m. Oct. 1, 15 and 29, and ends the month with Trash Bash, an opportunity for locals to give back by collecting the detritus along the nearby dunes from 8 to 10 a.m. Oct. 29.
Science Spooktacular
This annual fundraiser for the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station celebrates Halloween by the sea. Santa Rosa County teachers will guide victims through a haunted beach walk, dissections and glow-in-the-dark demonstrations.
Terror in the Theatre
If you made it through the Milton Ghost Tour, are you brave enough to investigate the horrors of the Imogene Theatre? Hosted by Second Sight Paranormal, Terror in the Theatre is a literal ghost hunt within the bricked fortress of the 1912 opera house. SSP provides ghost hunting equipment for a possible encounter with the late Imogene Gooch, whose father purchased the theatre in the 1920s.
“She roams this auditorium, along with many others. Some report hearing things and some claim to see a girl wandering the balcony. The location is rumored to be built on an Indian burial ground,” said Ericka Boussarhane, psychic medium and Second Sight Paranormal founder.
New this year is a Halloween Haunted House featuring special effects, actors and storytelling. Guests are promised a spine-chilling mix of special effects, actors, costumes, storytelling and exhilarating surprises, plus the added challenge of “Can you make it out alive?”
Bands on the Blackwater
The annual fall concert series is a Friday night tradition in downtown Milton.
Bluegrass in the Woods
Listen to bluegrass as it was intended: around the campfire. This musical evening comes with s’mores and the accompanying sounds of the Blackwater State Forest at Sunburst RV Resort.
Juana Good Time Regatta
It’s off to the races at the 32nd annual edition of Juana Good Time Regatta on Navarre Beach.
“The boats will sail the protected waters of the Santa Rosa Sound,” said owner Juana Rudzki. “If you really want to catch some great photos, then come to the Juana’s deck at the beginning of each race, around 11 a.m. That’s when the boats will all be taking off from the beach together.”
Saturday features a distance race, a round-trip to the Pensacola Beach Bridge. On Sunday is a triangular course closer to home.
“Saturday and Sunday starting at around 2 p.m. is usually the time the boats are heading back,” Rudzi said. “This can make for some great photo finishes.”
Navarre Beach Fishing Rodeo
A casting call goes out for anglers to compete for prizes in various categories during two days of saltwater fishing.
Road Races
Runners will be on their marks at the 14th annual Run for the Reef 10K/5K and the Pink Pirate’s Get It Off Your Chest 5K, both races at Navarre Beach.
Fenner McConnell/Matt Wantz Heritage Century Ride
Enjoy nature by bike with this long-distance course hosted by Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the West Florida Wheelmen Bicycle Club. Rides, ranging from 18 to 100 miles, wind their way through the county. 
Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall
The American Legion 382 in Navarre organized this public display of a 3/5 replica of the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C. The post is also putting on its second annual Challenge 22 Event Walk and Ride, which raises money and awareness of the average 22 veteran suicides that occur each day.
“The main goal is to reduce veteran suicides,” said Jason Skobel, an Air Force veteran and the post’s first vice commander. “The way to do that is to address PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) and let veterans know about the services available to them.”
Challenge 22 is a 2.2-mile walk and a 22-mile motorcycle ride. The day includes speakers, food, music.
Sept. 11 Memorial Stair Climb
First responders will be honored at this fundraiser for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

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