Outdoor Expo with the Friends in Tow
By Barbara Toeppen-Sprigg & Marianne Marcoux
On Saturday August 14, three intrepid members of the Friends group, MJ Walsh, Marianne Marcoux, and Barbara Toeppen-Sprigg, took all the paraphernalia needed to promote the Park, the Friends organization, and the two Drawings of Chance, to Ocala’s World Equestrian Center for the North Florida Outdoor Expo. Joining the multitude of other exhibitors from RVs to wellness coaches, tractors to the King’s Bay Restoration group, golf carts to fishing boats to the Audubon Society, they handed out more than 400 maps of Silver Springs State Park, as well as other literature, and giveaways which included little blue tote bags and sunscreen spray pens which were a hit! Donations in the amount of $320 for the kayak and paddleboard packages filled a model of a Glass Bottom Boat beautifully built by Dale Shannon and Walter Nickerson. For about half the visitors, the opportunities Silver Springs offers were entirely new, and they were delighted to learn about the many ways to explore the Park. Still, many had obviously visited in past years, but were pleased to know about the all-accessible Glass Bottom Boat, the Silver River Museum’s new wing and exhibits, and the miles of hiking, biking, paddling, and equestrian trails. We gained one new member, and we believe, a number of converts and enthusiasts who have put their local State Park on their list of places to visit. Although hoarse by the end of the day, we were pleased to have engaged hundreds of locals, plus many visitors from other parts of the state, all looking for ways to be outdoors in balmy Florida!