Florida did not play a major role in America’s Civil War. Only two large-scale battles were fought here, but a number of smaller skirmishes and raids took place in the state, as its long coastline made it strategically important to both sides.
That heritage is celebrated throughout the year with battle reenactments, encampments and other special programs. Reenactments of the two biggest battles in Florida take place early next year — Olustee in February and Natural Bridge in March. A number of reenactments of smaller skirmishes and raids, however, are on tap this fall.
Visitors can watch the reenactments, explore encampments and watch living history demonstrations. A small entry fee sometimes is charged. Most battle reenactments take place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday of the event.
Here are a few such events taking place in Florida this fall.
FOOD AND WINE GALORE
Walt Disney World’s annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will run for 53 days this year. Starting Sept. 19 and running to Nov. 10, the wide-ranging festival gives visitors the opportunity to sample food and beverages, attend seminars and other culinary events, browse through 25 marketplaces, enjoy special meals, food demonstrations and attend a free concert series. Marketplace booths offer samples of food and wine from $3.50 up. Most events are held in the Festival Welcome Center (the former Wonders of Life building), except for Party for the Senses events, which are given in the World Showcase building on Saturdays. A number of events are complimentary. Premium events such as dinners are separately priced.
A number of new experiences have been added this year: Dining through the Decades, Experience Puerto Rico, Boot Camp Series, Food for Thought, Mediterranean Food and Wine Pairing and Italian White Truffle and Wine Pairing Dinner. These are priced variously from $55 to $295 per person.
DOINGS IN THE KEYS
• A chance to help preserve coral reefs in the Florida Keys comes Sept. 13, a day set aside for divers to capture and remove the invasive lionfish, which compete with native fish for food and territory. A $120 registration fee is charged to divers, who will compete for more than $3,500 in prizes. Details: 305-852-0030,www.reef.org/lionfish/keylargoderby
• Birders and other outdoor lovers get together Sept. 23-28 in Marathon for the 16th annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival. Features include guided walks, boat and kayak excursions. Information and required registration: 305-872-0774,www.keysbirdingfest.org
AROUND THE STATE