WHITE SPRINGS - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park today announced the cancellation of the Florida Folk Festival. Scheduled for May 25-27, the three-day music and arts festival is cancelled because of concerns for visitor safety due to the uncertainty of wildfire and air quality conditions in the surrounding area.

"Inviting an additional 10,000 people per day into a high-risk area would not only potentially endanger visitors and performers, but put a strain on the community's emergency response system as well as its natural resources," said Florida State Park Director Mike Bullock. "The Florida Park Service fully intends to hold the event in 2008 and is reviewing the logistics involved in rescheduling the event in 2007."

The Florida Folk Festival has historically depended on partner agencies from state, county and local cities and towns to assist in providing public safety measures. However, with current emergency fire conditions, the agencies are actively needed to provide support to wildfire response efforts. The decision to cancel the festival was made in consultation with the other agencies involved in the Bugaboo fire suppression and public safety issues. The leading edge of the fire is less than 15 miles from the park, and with conditions uncertain, the park will be temporarily closed beginning Saturday, May 19, 2007.

Transportation is also impacted by periodic closing of major roads including I-75 and I-10. These closings and re-routing of traffic stretch the limit of the local roads and the attendance of the festival by more than 20,000visitors would place an additional burden on the highway system.

The first two-time Gold Medal winner honoring the nation's best state park service, Florida's state park system is one of the largest in the country with 160 parks spanning more than 700,000 acres and 100 miles of sandy white beach. From swimming and diving in Florida's rivers and springs to birding and fishing or hiking and riding on natural scenic trails, Florida's state parks offer year-round outdoor activities for all ages. Battle reenactments and Native American festivals celebrate Florida's unique history, while art shows, museums and lighthouses offer a window into Florida's cultural heritage.

For more information visit, www.FloridaStateParks.org

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