About the Bartram Frolic

SAVE THE DATES for the 2024 Frolic on the Riverfront!

Join us as we celebrate our St. Johns River and the 250th anniversary of William Bartram’s 1774 travels through Palatka. April 26, 27 & 28.

2023 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

2023 Bartram Flyer

 

About Our Bartram Heritage

In the fall of 1774 William Bartram experienced what is known as the Indian Frolic at Spalding’s Lower Store. His 9-month stay on his favorite river in Putnam County is documented in Bartram’s masterpiece TRAVELS. The annual St. Johns River Bartram Frolic on Palatka’s riverfront will celebrate our National Heritage River, the Bartram National Recreation Trail in Putnam County, and offer our county as a historic eco-tourism and recreation destination.

Schedule of Events

FRIDAY ACTIVITIES – April 21

Bartram Springs-to-Springs Kayaking Tour 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM. Guided kayak tour following the route of the Bartram’s’ hike from Johnsons Spring to Johnsons Bluff on December 28, 1765 with stops at 4 Bartram sites.

Register Here

Bartram Trail Cracker Horse Ride and Campout at Dunns Creek State Park – 8:00 AM Friday – 3:00 PM Sunday: Friends of Dunns Creek State Park will host equestrians for trail rides and camping in the park (Bartram site). Reservations are required and limited.
Location Address:
Dunns Creek State Park,
320 Sisco Rd., Pomona Park, FL

Register Here

Palatka Trail Town & Bartram Frolic Welcome Ride – 5:00PM – 6:30PM. Departing from the Azalea City Brewery 5:00PM and ending at the St. Johns River Center. Part of the Celebrate Trails Florahome event.

Register Here

VIP Frolic 6:00 PM 9:00PM – Invitation-only event. 100 dignitaries, sponsors and Frolic participants will be invited to the St. Johns River Center for celebration and frivolity.

SATURDAY ACTIVITIES April 22

Pride of Palatka Guided River Boat Tours– Reservations for all cruises are required. You must click on “get tickets” on Eventbrite to see the options for ticket purchase.

  • 12:00 PM Cruise #1 Bartram Heritage Tour
  • 1:30 PM Cruise #2 Putnam Historical Society
  • 3:00 PM Cruise #3 Family Tour – Children FREE with Paid Adults
  • 4:30 PM Cruise #4 St. Johns Riverkeeper Tour
  • 6:00PM – 8:00 PM Bartram Sunset Wine Cruise hosted by Billy Bartram, the Long Warrior and Trader Job Wiggins

Register for Any River Boat Tour Here

Bartram Historic Rollestown Kayaking Tour – 8:30 AM – 11:00 PM: A guided 2-mile round-trip paddle from the East Palatka Pico Road Boat Ramp to the site of historic Rollestown.

Register for any Paddling Tour

Tales and Songs of the St. Johns River 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM: This will be a schedule of storytellers, and musicians with tales and songs of the St. Johns River. Story Telling and Music will be in the St. Johns River Center or in an outside tent.

Celebrate Trails Florahome – Saturday AM – Bartram-themed trail and gravel rides routes from the Florahome Trail Head starting at 8:00 AM

Register Here

Pontoon boat tours 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: NORTHSTAR CHARTERS will provide guided tours from the Riverfront. No reservations required. Limited 6 passengers per tour.

Bartram on Dunns Creek Kayaking Tour – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – The Friends of Dunns Creek State Park will host a 6-mile paddle on Dunns Creek from Dunns Creek State Park. Shuttle service back to park will be provided. Call 386 329-3721 for booking information.
Location Address:
Dunns Creek State Park, 3
320 Sisco Rd., Pomona Park, FL

SUNDAY ACTIVITIES – April 23

Bartram Trail Guided Bus Tour – Palatka to Mount Royal 9:30AM – 12:30 PM – A guided bus tour that includes 12 Bartram Sites – Puc-Puggy Playground, Palatka Waterworks, Riverfront Park, Rollestown, Dunns Creek, Satsuma Spring, Welaka, Beecher Springs Run, Mount Royal. Tour will depart and return from the St. Johns River Center.  A $25 donation to the BTSF is expected. Reservations are limited and required.

Register Here

Mount Royal Paddle, Preaggregation and Prayer – 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Guided historic paddle from Renegades on the River in Georgetown to the Mount Royal Boat Ramp (.6 mile) followed by a hike to the top of Mount Royal (.6 mile) for a reading of Bartram’s prayer for the environment by a Quaker friend. Register here: XXX

Bartram Symposium – 3:00 PM – 6:00 pm: Westminster Hall of the 1st Presbyterian Church. The Symposium will feature six Bartram scholars and experts including dramatic alligator videos by National Geographic videographer Mark Emery and Bartram’s St. Johns River by Rob Mattson.

Advanced reservation is requested but not required.

Register

2023 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

2023 Bartram Flyer

Passport to the Past

Between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, April  22

The St. Johns River Center will host an educational adventure for families visiting ten educational stations and living historians to learn about our river’s nature, its history and our legacy. Those completing the activity will be rewarded.  This is great for the whole family. Register near the St. Johns River Center.

Kids can register to the St. Johns River Center to get a passport for the events.

Passport to the Past is an educational adventure that’s fun for the entire family. Visit each of the ten stations from William Bartram’s travels to Putnam County in 1765 and 1774.

With each one you complete, you collect a new sticker or stamp to place in your official Passport to the Past booklet Those completing the activity will receive a prize.

Living History – Visit with Billy Bartram, Long Warrior: King of the Seminoles, Job Wiggens and Fort Mose’ militia and families and 18th century residents of Florida

St. Johns River exploration – Join in the exploration of water-based ecology and adventures Bartram’s Florida Cracker horses – See Florida’s historic treasure of the Seminole horses known as the Florida Cracker horse.

Celebrate Trails Florahome Cycling Event

Saturday, April 22

Bartram-themed trail and gravel rides routes from the Florahome Trail Head starting at 8:00 AM

Details and registration

Pride of Palatka Riverboat Tours

Between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, April  22

Reservations for all cruises are required. You must click on “get tickets” on Eventbrite to see the options for ticket purchase.

Details and registration

12:00 PM Cruise #1 Bartram Heritage Tour

1:30 PM Cruise #2 Putnam Historical Society

3:00 PM Cruise #3 Family Tour – Children FREE with Paid Adults

4:30 PM Cruise #4 St. Johns Riverkeeper Tour

6:00PM – 8:00 PM Bartram Sunset Wine Cruise hosted by Billy Bartram, the Long Warrior and Trader Job Wiggins

 

 

Living History

Between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm on Saturday, April  22

William Bartram (1735-1823)

Mike Adams as William Bartram.

William Bartram’s exploration of Florida is familiar to people throughout the world, thanks to the publication TRAVELS in 1791 – America’s first literary masterpiece. William Bartram (his friends and family called him Billy) came to Putnam County two times. The first time was with his father, John in 1765. The second time, in April 1774 was to explore and document what he found. Bartram’s discoveries and illustrations of nature documented tropical flora and fauna and his vivid descriptions made his book a worldwide sensation. His book has descriptions of his encounters with the native people. While in Florida, he drew over 50 illustrations of plants, animals, fish, turtles and birds. Locally we are largely unaware of the importance of his explorations and subsequent writings to literary history, environmental science and the settlement and later development of Florida. He and his cast of characters are uniquely ours – “They belong to Putnam County – it’s your history and heritage.”

The Long Warrior

Jim Sawgrass as “Micco-Chlucco The Long Warrior, King of the Seminoles”

The Long Warrior is representative of the Native Americans present in our area during the time of Bartram’s visits to Florida (1765-1774). The Long Warrior is spoken of several times in TRAVELS always with respect and in a positive light. Bartram first met the Long Warrior at the Treaty of Picollata in 1765 near St. Augustine. He is seen as a strong and intelligent leader. Billy’s illustration of Mico-Chlucco, The Long Warrior – “King of the Seminoles” was his only portrait. The Long Warrior will be one of the living history actors at the Frolic. He was a much-respected friend of William’s and was instrumental in enabling him to safely travel throughout Florida in 1774.

Job Wiggens

Robert Wilson, aka Job Wiggens – Bartram’s friend, guide and interpreter.

William Bartram was befriended by Job Wiggens on his travels in Florida. Bartram said “the old interpreter, Job Wiggens, often my travelling companion, friend and benefactor.”

Bartram resided at Spalding’s Lower Store which was Florida’s main trading post with the Indians (Native Americans). Wiggens was the main negotiator and interpreter for the Store and took Bartram along on his ventures across Florida. Bartram calls him “the old trader” and “the old interpreter”.

Guided Kayak Tours

Friday, April 21

Bartram Springs-to-Springs Kayaking Tour 12:30 PM – 4:00 PM. Guided kayak tour following the route of the Bartram’s’ hike from Johnsons Spring to Johnsons Bluff on December 28, 1765 with stops at 4 Bartram sites.

Register Here

Saturday, April 22

Bartram Historic Rollestown Kayaking Tour – 8:30 AM – 11:00 PM: A guided 2-mile round-trip paddle from the East Palatka Pico Road Boat Ramp to the site of historic Rollestown.

Register Here

Bartram on Dunns Creek Kayaking Tour – 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM – The Friends of Dunns Creek State Park will host a 6-mile paddle on Dunns Creek from Dunns Creek State Park. Shuttle service back to park will be provided. Call 386-329-3721 for booking information.

Location Address:
Dunns Creek State Park, 3
320 Sisco Rd., Pomona Park, FL

Sunday, April 23

Mount Royal Paddle, Preaggregation and Prayer – 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Guided historic paddle from Renegades on the River in Georgetown to the Mount Royal Boat Ramp (.6 mile) followed by a hike to the top of Mount Royal (.6 mile) for a reading of Bartram’s prayer for the environment by a Quaker friend.

Register Here

Bartram Trail Equestrian Ride at Dunns Creek State Park

Between 8:00 am Friday April 21 – 3:00 pm Sunday April 23

Bartram Trail Cracker Horse Ride and Campout at Dunns Creek State Park – 8:00 AM Friday – 3:00 PM Sunday: Friends of Dunns Creek State Park will host equestrians for trail rides and camping in the park (Bartram site). Reservations are required and limited.

Location Address:
Dunns Creek State Park,
320 Sisco Rd., Pomona Park, FL

386-329-3721

Register Here

Bartram Trail Guided Bus Tour

Sunday, April 23

Bartram Trail Guided Bus Tour – Palatka to Mount Royal 9:30AM – 12:30 PM – A guided bus tour that includes 12 Bartram Sites – Puc-Puggy Playground, Palatka Waterworks, Riverfront Park, Rollestown, Dunns Creek, Satsuma Spring, Welaka, Beecher Springs Run, Mount Royal. Tour will depart and return from the St. Johns River Center.  A $25 donation to the BTSF is expected. Reservations are limited and required.

Register Here

Food and Drink

Saturday, April 22

10:00 am- 4:00 pm There will be Food Trucks available along the St. John’s river front.

Bartram Symposium

Sunday, April 23

3:00 PM: Mike Adams and the IXIA FNPS Chapter – The Story of Bartram’s IXIA –

William Bartram (Mike Adams) will describe his discovery of the beautiful Bartram Ixia. Pictures and Bartram’s painting will be featured. Bartram writes “its elegant form of growth with the brilliant coloring of its Flowers strike on the imagination delight” The IXIA Chapter of the Florida Native Society will provide current Ixia natural history details of the plant named after Bartram. You will hear modern naturalists describing the flower.

3:30 PM: Kathryn Braund – “The Attention of a Traveller” Bartram’s evolving influence in North American natural history.

Kathryn Braund, Bartram author and historian will discuss her book that is an assessment of Bartarm’s influence and evolving place in North American natural history, opening new avenues of research concerning the flora, fauna and people connected to Bartlam and his writings. Braundt will feature her research on the American Alligator which Bartram dreaded until his death.

4:00 PM: Mark Emery Films – Bartram’s “Alegator of the St. Johns”

Mark Emery is an award-winning filmmaker, musician, and photographer. Emery has worked for the BBC, National Geographic Society and Smithsonian Network. He will share dramatic videos of the alligators of William Bartram comparing Bartram’s descriptions and drawing with real life.

4:45 PM: Robert Mattson – Bartram’s St. Johns River

Rob Mattson – scientist, author, historian, reenactor and local expert will be speaking on the St. Johns River that William Bartram knew and loved. Bartram said “We had a pleasant and prosperous voyage down the grand river St. Juans [St. Johns]”. Mattson will tell you why.

5:15 PM: Joe Foy – Tracing Bartram’s land trail from Spalding’s Lower Store to the Alachua Savannah

Joe Foy is a long-time resident of Putnam County, a Property Appraiser and avid Bartramite. He has spent years in the woods tracking old Indian and Spanish trails. He has researched Travells, the Fothergill letters and Francis Harper’s writings and can prove that Harper was wrong. He will use maps and his backwoods woods experiences to share with us the actual route used by Bartram on his two trips to the Alachua Savannah.

5:45 PM: Sam Carr & Dean Campbell – Making the Bartram Trail in Florida Happen:

Sam is the President of the Bartram Trail Society of Florida, Past-President Bartram Trail Conference. Dean Campbell is Director of Bartram Trail Society of Florida, and Director of Bartram Trail Conference. Sam and Dean will close the symposium with a review of all that has happened because of the William Bartram legacy in the state of Florida and the 2023 St. Johns River Bartram Frolic. Efforts by Nassau, Duval, St. Johns and Alachua Counties to establish the Bartram Trail of Florida will be shared.

Details and Registration

BTSF Symposium Agenda

Local Lodging

Best Western Inn of Palatka                               
119 US Highway 17 S
East Palatka, FL 32131
(386)325-7800

Crystal Cove Riverfront Resort & Suites
133 Crystal Cove Riverfront Resort Dr
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)325-1055

Georgia Boys Fish Camp
217 Butler Drive
Satsuma, FL 32189
(386)325-7764

Grand Gables Inn Bed & Breakfast
603 Emmett Street
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)329-6166

Hampton Inn
100 Memorial Parkway
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)530-2420
Smita Patel, Manager

Holiday Inn Express Palatka Northwest
3813 Reid Street
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)325-2500

Quality Inn & Suites
201 N 1st Street
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)328-3481

Regency Inn
100 Federal Street
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)328-1587

Sleep Inn & Suites
3805 Reid Street
Palatka, FL 32177
(386)325-8889

Private Boat Tours and Boat Rentals

Available from the riverfront by local businesses ongoing from 10:00 – 5:00. Please make reservations directly with the vendors. For reservations contact: