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Bay Fest a sweet and sunny affair

The Franklin County Senior Center in Carrabelle was the big winner Saturday, as were the many participants and volunteers who took part in Bay Fest, an expanded all-day event at St. James Bay Golf Club.

More than $6,000 was raised for the senior center, which last year used donations to re-do their floors.

The day’s events began with the seventh annual Tate’s Hell 5K, which for the second straight year was held at St. James Bay. (See Sports on A6 for complete results)

In addition to the race, which BeLinda Wharton has overseen since its inception, a Pickleball tournament was held on the courts at the golf resort east of Carrabelle. The team of Marshall Masai and Jackie Redding won the Intermediate division, while the Advanced division title went to Keith and Ashley Blalock.

Wharton also coordinated a day-long series of events which included a Silent Auction and Key Lime Pie Contest.

With a zesty, traditional graham cracker crust pie that delighted the judges, Kathy Metcalfe, from Eastpoint was the winner, egged on by her husband, Richard, who likes to bake cookies. “I’ve never won a cash prize. This makes me a professional pie maker,” said Kathy, delighted at winning the $30 prize, along with an ornament that reads “I believe in Key lime pie.”

A Bike Safety Rodeo was also held, organized by Scot Benton, from Tallahassee Bicycle House, and Pat Tabuchi, from Carrabelle Bicycle House.

The event put the young bicycle riders through a series of road challenges, such as Starts and Stops, Rock Dodge and Demon Driving. The rodeo rewarded all the riders with t-shirts and bicycle helmets, as well as bicycle checks, and valuable lessons on hand signals and how to share the road.

The event also featured outdoor recreation information tents, which featured presentations by the Friends of the Sopchoppy River, as well as by the SUN Trail Network. 

Standing for “shared use non-motorized,” the trail network is the statewide system of high-priority (strategic) paved trail corridors for bicyclists and pedestrians. 

A large map, created by Michael Pace, showed the many area trails that will eventually crisscross the area from Tallahassee to Carrabelle.

The Surf Trail, which has been completed, runs from Sopchoppy to US 98 and Mashes Sands, while the Carrabelle Trail, the Capital City to the Sea Loop Trail, and the Sopchoppy to Carrabelle Trail are all in the works.

“A huge thank you to all of our volunteers, today would not have been so successful without you,” said Wharton. “The day went really well, we had tons of volunteers and lots of first time visitors to St James Bay.”

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