Two months after it was drenched by the rains of Hurricane Irma, then drenched and flooded by a punishing nor’easter, parts of Princess Place Preserve reopens to the public on Saturday, coinciding with the rescheduled Creekside Festival. But much of it remains boggy and inaccessible.
“While the Princess Place Preserve officially reopens to the public on November 11, the majority of the trails will remain closed until further notice due to flooding,” says Flagler County General Services Director Heidi Petito. “The only trail that will be open is Oak Trail (Blue Trail), which is concrete and ADA accessible.”
This also means that the horseback riding trails and other natural trail areas within Princess Place remain closed. The Lodge and the Stables are open, as well as the restroom facility.
Other Flagler County parks facilities have partial closures.
The Jungle Hut loop trail – near State Road A1A to the south – is also closed. The shell pathway on the east side of Betty Steflik Preserve is closed, but the remainder of the park is open. Shell Bluff Park and its boat ramp are open, but the trails are closed. Both sides of the River to Sea Preserve are open.
“We are really looking forward to getting everything back to normal and having all of our facilities open after the completion of hurricane cleanup,” Nate McLaughlin, chairman of the county commission, said. “Staff has been working very hard to get everything ready for Creekside, which is a wonderful event.”
Speaking of which: imagine the twang of a banjo and a blissful three-part harmony, accompanied by a lively fiddle, acoustic guitar and stand-up string bass finally replacing rain at the preserve. That’s the experience that brings thousands of people, including bluegrass fans and families, to Princess Place Preserve each fall for the annual Creekside Festival.
The poor thing has had its bad luck with weather from year to year, but in the end it pulls it off. Now in its 13th year, the festival, the chief fund-raiser for the Flagler Chamber of Commerce, is open for $7 per vehicle per day. Part of the proceeds return to county government and are used to maintain the preserve.
You can experience live music on two stages, shop handmade art and crafts vendors, play in the kids’ zone, watch old-time blacksmith demonstrations, take a hay ride, tour a historic hunting lodge or enjoy a cold beverage in the beer garden. And you won’t go hungry at the festival – there’s a wide selection of food vendors whether you’re looking for a snack, meal or treat.
There will be live music — both days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on two stages. The lineup can be found here. There’s bluegrass on the main stage, including Sunday’s headliner Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, and folk music on the barn stage thanks to organizers of the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival.
There’s plenty for younger guests to enjoy in the kids’ zone, sponsored once again this year by Florida Hospital Care Advantage and For Any Event, LLC. Here you will find face painting, inflatable slides, bounce houses, a train ride and much more.
The Creekside Festival will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This property should be privately owned bringing in tax revenue each and every year to the county. The cost to maintain and insure the property is now an expense to us tax payers as is the tax revenue loss since the county does not pay property taxes on property it owns. The Strickland’s, Johnson’s and others have events on their property, pay tax revenue to the county and make a profit—just like it should be. The county should not be using our tax dollars (whether it be grant money or what, it is still our tax dollars) to purchase property and then make money off of what belongs to us, the people. We the people also get burdened with the maintenance, upkeep and other expenses of these properties the county purchases which then allows us to be taxed the death on real estate that should be privately owned and bringing in tax revenue without being an expense to us at all. If a property owner wants to open up their property for mud boggin, rodeo’s cookouts, or events as Creekside they are free to do so. Lets be smart the next time the county wants to purchase real estate with our money and vote and say NO! The county buying property as this is not good business sense and you can bet there are hidden agenda’s that will eventually be exposed. Creekside is over rated….it is a bunch of high priced concessions and nothing more than some music and a bunch of vendors just like a arts event….we can do that in town center folks and not have to deal with the mud.
Been here just over 3 years. Have learned that voting against anything the council wants is useless.
When we are being charged to access property we own, which our tax dollars paid for, is double taxation! Shame on Flagler County Commissioners and County Administrator for gross mismanagement of our hard earned dollars that we trusted them with. Time for some new leadership!