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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in White Springs, FL

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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Insurance Agency in White Springs, FL You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance White Springs, FL

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance White Springs, FL

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

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Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in White Springs, FL

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in White Springs, FL

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance White Springs, FL

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
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 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers White Springs, FL

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

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 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote White Springs, FL

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance White Springs, FL phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance White Springs, FL phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance White Springs, FL phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in White Springs, FL that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance White Springs, FL

Latest News in White Springs, FL

6 Things To Do in White Springs, Florida

White Springs, Florida is a quintessential small Florida town and home of the annual Florida Folk Festival. Considered to be “Florida’s Original Tourist Destination”, this area attracted well-heeled tourists in search of the relaxing, medicinal waters of the White Sulphur Springs.Things To Do in White SpringsT...

White Springs, Florida is a quintessential small Florida town and home of the annual Florida Folk Festival. Considered to be “Florida’s Original Tourist Destination”, this area attracted well-heeled tourists in search of the relaxing, medicinal waters of the White Sulphur Springs.

Things To Do in White Springs

There’s not a lot remaining from its heyday in the early 1900s, but we have pulled together a list of the 6 best things to do in White Springs Florida today.

Table of Contents

Visit Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

In 1851, composer Stephen Foster wrote the popular tune “Old Folks at Home,” and White Springs became a destination “Way Down Upon the Suwannee River.” Nowadays, the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center and Park, known for its carillon-playing melodic Stephen Foster tunes, is home to the annual Florida Folk Festival and an antebellum museum that pays homage to Foster and his music.

Check out: Celebrate the 70th Annual Florida Folk Festival Memorial Day Weekend

Stroll Down Spring Street

While there is no longer a bubbly spring and Adam’s Country Store recently closed, we recommend a stroll around this small town to absorb its charm.

You will see churches dating back to the late 1800s and several historic homes that stand as authentic reminders of the past.

Bike, Hike, Paddle & Bird Watch

White Springs is an eco-tourism destination, as hikers and bikers enjoy nearby Florida trails and paddlers also enjoy the rivers and springs. Bird watchers flock to traipse through the woods where Eagles, Osprey, Pileated Woodpeckers, and Owls call home.

Outside White Springs, along the Suwannee River, is Big Shoals, State Park. This is home to Florida’s largest whitewater rapids. Hike the trails that lead to the shoals (shallow, rocky rapids). The well-laid out trail is in the pine Flatwoods, along wetlands, and beneath towering longleaf pines.

Stop at the Old Bathhouse

In 1908, the bathhouse was a four-story building with dressing rooms, examination and treatment rooms, and a concession stand. The circular balconies surrounded a 20 x 30-foot bathing pool cut from solid rock.

By the 1930s, the popularity of the resort had dwindled. The spring, which once flowed at a rate of about 47 million gallons a day, dried up in 1990. Today you can visit the old bathhouse for free and learn about its historic past.

Lodge in a Slice of Old Florida

The White Springs Bed ‘n Breakfast is an original 1905 Boarding House located in the Historic District of White Springs. Even today, guests love to gather on the front porch and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Back in the day, several fancy hotels provided lodging as the railroad brought visitors to the town. A fire destroyed most of the hotels, but The Telford Hotel has tried to remain open throughout the years and most recently served as a Bed and Breakfast.

Sadly, in 2020 there was a handwritten For Sale sign on the front door of The Telford Hotel.

Camping and lodging are also available at Suwannee River State Park, O’Leno State Park, and Spirit of the Suwannee to name a few. For a comprehensive list of local public and private campgrounds, cabins, and also motels, visit Suwannee Valley.

Dine at Fat Belly’s Bar-B-Que & Grill

There are not a lot of dining options in White Springs. We did enjoy a meal (the fried shrimp was excellent) and sweet tea at Fat Belly’s Bar-B-Que & Grill.

We heard they have good Southern bar-b-que, so we plan to try it the next time we’re in White Springs. If you want to find other places to eat, Lake City is not too far away and offers lots of choices.

If your future travels don’t include a trip to Florida’s Original Tourist Destination, Tampa Jay put together a very informative video of his visit to White Springs in 2020.

These 6 Drive-Thru Christmas Displays In Florida Are Pure Magic

One of the most enjoyable family holiday traditions involves everyone piling into a car and driving around in search of the best Christmas lights in FL. The best part of it all is that Florida is filled with incredible light displays no matter where you are in the state. In fact, some of the best holiday lights might be right in your own backyard – try these drive-through Christmas lights on for size! Check out some of the b...

One of the most enjoyable family holiday traditions involves everyone piling into a car and driving around in search of the best Christmas lights in FL. The best part of it all is that Florida is filled with incredible light displays no matter where you are in the state. In fact, some of the best holiday lights might be right in your own backyard – try these drive-through Christmas lights on for size! Check out some of the best Christmas displays in Florida in one solid list:

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11 Main Streets In Florida That Are Pure Magic During Christmastime

Visit St. Augustine, The One Christmas Town In Florida That's Simply Stunning This Season

The One Annual Winter Festival In Florida Every Floridian Should Bundle Up For At Least Once

Have you visited these displays before? What are your favorite drive-thru Christmas displays in Florida? Are there any drive thru light shows that we missed? Make sure to share with us in the comments section! We’d love to hear about new and up-and-coming displays that will illuminate the Florida skies.

Christmas lights make a wonderful road trip. Check out this road trip itinerary featuring several must-visit destinations. Just don’t forget the road trip snacks before you go!

More to Explore

Marisa Roman | October 22, 2021

What's the most beautiful holiday event in Florida?

Ask any Southern Floridian and they’ll tell you that Christmas in Florida isn’t complete until they visit Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami. Named one of the biggest and best Christmas displays in the state, Santa’s Enchanted Forest is one of the most beautiful wintertime adventures for the whole family. Come enjoy carnival rides, tons of games, carnival food, and so much more. There is winter decor throughout the park and tons of holiday ambiance, so it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit here. Plus, you may even score a visit from Santa Claus himself!

What will winter be like in Florida this year?

We’re lucky every year to have predictions from the Farmers Almanac that will tell us what to expect for the upcoming winter season. Don’t worry, the predictions this year will not affect any holiday events in Florida. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Floridians can expect a wetter, colder winter than normal. While we won’t really get any snow or any weather like other states up north, it’s still best to keep rain boots and a winter jacket handy this year.

What are the best sled riding hills in Florida?

Unfortunately, winter in Florida doesn’t really yield much in terms of snowfall. However, there is one tubing hill that opened last year that is the perfect winter wonderland. Snowcat Ridge in Tampa is the first snow tubing hill in the state and will bring all of your childhood dreams to come true. Enjoy a 60-foot tall, 400-foot wide snow tubing hill, plus a 10,000-square foot snow play dome. As the very first Florida snow park of its kind, this is not a winter adventure you’ll want to miss.

Road trip to White Springs for old Florida and the Florida Folk Festival

Special to Fort Myers News-PressWhat if there were an event you could attend this Memorial Day weekend that would be safe, and fun and refreshing to the weary spirit, without having to book a flight or take out a home loan to pay for the trip? The answer is an old-fashioned road trip to the annual Florida Folk Festival, May 27-29, at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida.White Springs is 60 miles north of Gainesville, making it a 4 1/2 hour or so drive from Fort Myers. It’s an “...

Special to Fort Myers News-Press

What if there were an event you could attend this Memorial Day weekend that would be safe, and fun and refreshing to the weary spirit, without having to book a flight or take out a home loan to pay for the trip? The answer is an old-fashioned road trip to the annual Florida Folk Festival, May 27-29, at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida.

White Springs is 60 miles north of Gainesville, making it a 4 1/2 hour or so drive from Fort Myers. It’s an “old Florida” town of mossy oaks and antique shops on the bank of the Suwannee River, populated by maybe, at a stretch, a thousand people.

If you have never visited White Springs or the Stephen Foster State Park, or the Florida Folk Festival, “one of the oldest and most revered state folk festivals in America,” and “Florida’s Best Cultural Event, ” “…recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as a ‘Top 20 Event’ in the southeast United States,” there is no better time than now to do so.

This three-day festival is your chance to discover the “music, dance, stories, crafts and food that make Florida unique.” And you will need all three days to experience and truly enjoy the whole of it, so book rooms NOW, anywhere as close as you can get to White Springs.

A Smorgasbord Feast for the Senses

The following is a mere overview of this phenomenal event that, best of all, takes place outdoors in the free, fresh, healthy air of north Florida country, where you can lean against a pine tree to sample some hand-cranked ice cream, and dance yourself sleepy under a star-bright sky each night. The festival is a feast for the senses—all five of them:

• Your first sense will be excited by the unusual, colorful, and fascinating sights you will encounter at every turn. In the Florida Remembered area, for example, you’ll see frontier trapper traders, and farmers in a cracker camp threshing barley and grinding corn. In the Seminole family camp area, you’ll find Seminole women at whirring sewing machines making traditional patchwork clothing. And in the crafts section, your eyes will widen in astonishment at the artistry of some 25 craftsmen and women selling everything from handcrafted acoustic guitars to gourd banjoes, from handwoven apparel to Hungarian embroidery, from Florida nature-inspired stained glass to handcrafted, primitive-Florida-style home furnishings. Here you can watch a blacksmith forge everything from barbeque tools to children’s toys, a spinner making rag rugs on a ridge heddle loom, and a woodcarver turning Florida bamboo into flutes, whistles, and bird calls.

• Your sense of hearing will be fully awakened by the sound of music—the music reflecting the wonderful diversity of cultures that have flavored the history of Florida, from Florida fiddling to Dôdô Awoko from the republic of Côte d’Ivoire of Africa; from old-time banjo (predating bluegrass!) to Spanish Flamenco performed by Master Artists of the dance. You can revel in Caribbean-style music, like reggae, as well as Haitian-style dance music performed by the Karibbean Groove, who are, incidentally, a band of Haitians who met in a church in Immokalee where their families were farmworkers.

Among these traditional artists (sponsored in part by the Florida Department of State Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts), you will enjoy the early 20th-century style of Cuban music performed by Grammy-nominated José Elias. Puerto Rico is represented by Plena Es, a band playing a combination of bomba, “the 17th-century music created by West African slaves on Puerto Rico’s sugar plantations,” and plena, “ mixed bomba with indigenous Taíno Indian music, jibaro music of the island’s mountain farmers, chamber music of the Spanish colonizers and the rhyming verse of urban satirists.” “The essence of the instruments…” says the band’s founder, “…creates such a powerful force that it doesn’t matter where you are from. I bet you will move.”

And, as if the international music of these traditional artists were not enough, music lovers can satiate their appetites at the amphitheater performances, over the three nights of the festival, of special-guest musicians who are international recording stars, inductees in every music hall of fame in existence, and winners of every known music award in genres as diverse as rock and roll and sacred steel (a type of music described as “an inspired, unique form of gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat”), of Americana, or “harmony-based folk-rock,” and psychedelic bluegrass by the Firewater Tent Revival, of Florida folk music and tropical rock. Songwriters/singers and Grammy winners like Jim Stafford, Billy Dean, Bertie Higgins, and Del Suggs are just a few of the featured artists performing under the stars each night of the festival. Not to mention John McEwen (co-founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt band, and producer of the platinum, Grammy Hall of Fame album “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” named by the 2004 ZAGAT survey, “the most important record in country music.”)

• Your senses of smell and taste will draw you irresistibly to the food that is as diverse and delicious as part of the entertainment as the crafts, history, and music of this folk festival phenomenon. Come hungry for breakfast and stay all day, because no invitation to sample the cultural diversity of Florida is as compelling as the aromas of fried chicken, cornbread, and collards, of smoked mullet, and hoppin’ John, Mexican empanadas and Greek gyros, fried okra, catfish, corndogs, and roasted turkey legs. In this multi-cultural extravaganza of food choices, you’ll find everything in beverages from chai tea and latte to fresh-squeezed lemonade and pineapple smoothies. And for dessert, how about homemade ice cream and fruit cobbler, fried snickers or sweet tater pie, a root beer float, or just for the fun of it, a cloud of spun-sugar, pink cotton candy?

• Your fifth sense, of touch, will find satisfaction in workshops where you can test your dexterity at weaving with saw palmetto and cabbage palms, or try your hand at drawing music from Florida pioneer-era instruments, like the dobro, the dulcimer, and the banjo. Matter of fact, you really ought not to leave the Florida Folk Festival in Stephen Foster’s memorial park without at least running your fingers over the strings of a banjo. It is inconceivable that anyone ever wrote more songs for and about banjos than Stephen Collins Foster.

Foster was not, as one might imagine, a native Floridian, or even Southern-born. The man who wrote “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Massa’s in de Cold Ground,” and the Suwannee River song was born, educated and lived all his life in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

PostScript

In the preceding description of the amazing Florida Folk Festival, I have not scratched the surface of its entertainment. I didn’t mention, for instance, that festival organizers provided for the gratification of your sixth (paranormal) sense, as well as your five (physical) senses. Modeled upon the spiritualist activities at the famous Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Volusia County, Florida, psychic readings are given throughout the festival.

Nor did I ask if you’d like to dance. If you love dancing, you may take contra dance, or 19th-century folk dance lessons, learn the swing or the Haitian voodoo pop dance. Or just get up on the Heritage and Dance stage under the stars on Saturday night and do your own thing.

But here’s what I’m thinking; the dreamiest way to end your long weekend at the Florida Folk Festival is to slow dance with someone you love, singing softly,

"Way down upon the Suwanee River,

Far, far away,

That's where my heart is yearning ever,

Home where the old folks stay."

For more festival information, please visit floridastateparks.org/FloridaFolkFestival.

Cynthia A. Williams (cwilliams1020@gmail.com)

If you go

What: Florida Folk Festival

When: May 27-29

Where: Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs

Information: floridastateparks.org/FloridaFolkFestival

Failure to treat springs as sacred places has led to their impairment

Guest columnistI had been swimming at Rum Island Spring one afternoon and when I climbed out of the water, I passed a young woman standing on the bank who was looking into the spring with a familiar expression of joy and reverence.“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I said.“It’s sacred,” she replied.Her answer surprised me because there was nothing going on that resembled any kind of sacred ceremony — just families swimming and splashing around, having fun, nothing like the ...

Guest columnist

I had been swimming at Rum Island Spring one afternoon and when I climbed out of the water, I passed a young woman standing on the bank who was looking into the spring with a familiar expression of joy and reverence.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I said.

“It’s sacred,” she replied.

Her answer surprised me because there was nothing going on that resembled any kind of sacred ceremony — just families swimming and splashing around, having fun, nothing like the baptisms that are sometimes held at the Ichetucknee.

But then I remembered that many of the world’s native people view springs as sacred. Even today in some Western cultures (such as the British Isles, where springs and wells are decorated to mark the change of seasons), springs are still described as holy places. There are examples from here at home, too.

The late Florida writer Bill Belleville wrote, “Water was enchantment, certainly. But it was also deeply feared and honored, held close to the heart in both mystery and awe. It was sacred.” He was describing the worldview of the Timucua, who lived in North Florida at the time of Ponce de Leon.

A historical marker in the town of White Springs acknowledges the special qualities of that area’s springs: “These sulphur springs were thought to have medicinal properties and were considered sacred by the Indians. Warriors wounded in battle reputedly were not attacked when they came here to recuperate.”

The idea that water and springs are sacred seems odd, however, in 21st century Florida. Most of us, especially our elected representatives and state water managers, view springs as objects — as natural “resources” instead of living systems with which we have give-and-take relationships. Our failure to honor these dynamic interconnections is one reason why the health of so many of our springs is now impaired.

I had a dream one night that revealed these relationships. Somehow, I was lifted high into blackest space and allowed to float there with no visible means of support.

When I looked down, I could see all of North Florida and parts of South Georgia from an astronaut’s eye view. I saw into the massive Floridan Aquifer and how water withdrawals from Jacksonville and Southeast Georgia caused flow reductions miles away in the Ichetucknee springshed. I saw how rainfall in different places recharged the aquifer and helped depleted springs bubble up out of pockmarked limestone. The whole vision was animated in living color, like the best of the old Disney movies I grew up with.

I saw that just as people and springs depend on the Floridan Aquifer, the health of that aquifer depends on us. The decisions we make or avoid seal the fate of the aquifer and the springs as surely as the long-term health of the aquifer seals our fate and the fate of North Florida’s economy.

I saw that we exist in a web of relationships with our springs, our aquifer and each other.

Our springs are many things to us. They are muses; teachers; adventures; healers; friends and spiritual friends; economic engines; social and community centers.

In turn, we are many things to our springs. We are restorers, preservers, protectors — or exploiters and destroyers.

When the opportunity to be part of this new “Messages from the Springs Heartland” series presented itself, I jumped at the chance because I want to bring greater attention to this idea of human-springs relationships. “Messages” will consider the messages we want to convey to each other and to the world about our springs; the messages we humans have for our springs, if we pretend they can hear us; and perhaps most important, the messages our springs may have for us.

We hope to give you many different ways to think about the deepest meanings of our relationships with the springs. Stay tuned!

Lucinda Faulkner Merritt is a writer and springs lover who lives in Fort White. This column is part of The Sun's Messages from the Springs Heartland series.

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OLD FLORIDA TOWNS ON US-41

U.S. Highway 41 enters Florida near the Georgia state line in Jennings. It meanders more than 212 miles south to Tampa, where it continues on to Naples and then across the state to Miami....

U.S. Highway 41 enters Florida near the Georgia state line in Jennings. It meanders more than 212 miles south to Tampa, where it continues on to Naples and then across the state to Miami.

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This highway was one of the earliest roads that funneled motorists from the American Midwest to Florida. It goes through some historic areas that you would never see if you stay on I-75.

Here are some of the towns you will pass through on this route: Jennings, White Springs, Lake City, High Springs, Williston, Dunnellon, Rainbow Springs, Inverness, Floral City, Brooksville, and Tampa.

JENNINGS is the first town you come to in Florida after crossing south on US-41. It's northern city limit line actually touches the Georgia state line. There is still one building up there that the state line runs through. Maybe it's this old bar.

JASPER is a small town that is the county seat of Hamilton County. It was at one time a railroad junction and busy town, but when I-75 got built in the 1960s, traffic slowed down in Jasper. Click on photo for more about Jasper.

WHITE SPRINGS is a small town not far south of the Georgia border. It is home to Stephen Foster Cultural Center State Park, and hosts the Florida Folk Festival each year. Click on photo for more about White Springs.

LAKE CITY is an old crossroads town that is at the intersection of US-90, US-441, and US-41. Today both I-10 and I-75 go through the city. Click on photo for more about Lake City.

HIGH SPRINGS is in the center of many of Florida's famous freshwater springs and is a staging center for kayaking and other outdoor activities. It is at the intersection of US-41 and US-27. Click on photo for more about High Springs.

NEWBERRY is 18 miles west of Gainesville. It is a small rural city that has many historical buildings and some modern athletic facilities. Click on photo for more about Newberry.

WILLISTON is southwest of Gainesville and has become home to many people who work at the University of Florida or other businesses. It is a charming town with interesting old homes. Click on photo for more about Williston.

RAINBOW SPRINGS is a former private attraction that is now a state park just north of Dunnellon. It is on the Rainbow River and is a great place to sight see and camp. Click on photo for more about Rainbow Springs.

INVERNESS is an old town on Lake Tsala Apopka. It has the historic Citrus County courthouse and a fine downtown area with good shopping and dining. Click on photo for more about Inverness.

FLORAL CITY is a tiny unincorporated community at the south end of the Lake Tsala Apopka chain. It has some of the best canopied roads in the state. Click on photo for more about Floral City.

BROOKSVILLE is an old town with a Southern heritage that is the crossroads for US-41, US-98, and State Road 50. It has many preserved old southern homes. Click on photo for more about Brooksville.

TAMPA is a huge urban city in the middle of a metropolitan area of 2.8 million people. It is loaded with history since it was one of the first places settled in this part of Florida. Click on photo for more about Tampa.

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