One of Florida’s longest-running art festivals (since 1964), the Cedar Key Arts Festival now attracts over a hundred artists—painters, sculptors, and photographers, to display their finest work and compete in the festival’s juried competition.
In 1867, before he moved to California and founded the Sierra Club, naturalist John Muir hiked for seven weeks, from Indiana down to Florida. He arrived on the east coast first, and then veered southwest until he ran into the Gulf of Mexico at Cedar Key. Muir had contracted malaria along the way, and stayed in Cedar Key for several months to recuperate. Muir described his arrival in his book A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf: “October 23. Today I reached the sea. While I was yet many miles back in the palmy woods, I caught the scent of the salt sea breeze which, although I had so many years lived far from sea breezes, suddenly conjured up Dunbar, its rocky coast, winds and waves; and my whole childhood, that seemed to have utterly vanished in the New World, was now restored amid the Florida woods by that one breath from the sea.” The town may have grown (although very little) but the palmy woods and the scent of the salt sea breeze are much the same as Muir found them.