The 2018 Race the Tortoise 5K is officially scheduled
for March 3, 2018!

The Friends of O’Leno, Inc. is proud to announce that the next Race the Tortoise 5K is officially scheduled for March 3, 2018 at O’Leno State Park. Planning is already in the works to make this the race everyone looks forward to! “CARE FOR YOUR HEART, TAKE PART!

*** CANCELLED Due to Hurricane***  Literacy Day – Take Time To Be Kind!  – September 9th, 2017 10:00am-2:00pm

Come join us to celebrate Literacy Day and meet the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses and Sunrise Wildlife Rehab’s Owl, Einstein! Free entry to the park by bringing a new or gently used children’s book or library card.

Booths will be set up by High Springs and Columbia County libraries. There will be entertainment a’plenty – ranging from music and singing to storytelling and a ranger led river walk. Hot dogs and burgers available for purchase.

Click Here for Flyer

Click Here For More Information

National Public Lands Day – September 30th, 2017 9:00am-2:00pm

Lend a hand and have fun at the same time by bringing family, friends, classmates, students or coworkers to spend the day outdoors celebrating public lands through volunteering. Our work project will start with a brief educational introduction on volunteering in state parks, followed by a clean-up along the banks of the Santa Fe River and will conclude with an appreciation luncheon provided free to registered participants. Register by calling 386-454-0723 or email

Participants will meet at the main parking lot at O’Leno State Park. We recommend you bring plenty of water, bug spray and gloves.

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Next Membership Meeting

To be determined, check back for upcoming dates!

All are welcome to attend, members as well as those interested in joining! You do not need to be an equestrian to join. We love diversity!

Friends Of O’leno Poker Ride – November 4th, 2017 9:00am-2:30pm

High Springs, River Rise Preserve, 373 SW US Hwy 27

Bring your horses to the park for a fun family oriented event to raise funds for future projects in O’leno & River Rise parks! RIde along clearly marked trails, collect a card at each stop and whoever has the best poker hand at the end gets a cash prize! $15/rider for the first hand/scorecard. Riders can purchase additional hands/scorecards for $10. There will be an opportunity to exchange one for your cards at the end for $1.

For more information or if you have any questions please call Jean at 352-318-4276.

**We need volunteers to be “the dealers”.  If you are interested please call Cathy at 407-325-8581**

11th Annual O’Leno Ole’ Chili Cook-Off

Bring your favorite chili recipe April 7, 2018, and compete with the best during the CASI sanctioned category of this chili cook off. You do not have to be a member to participate. There will be prizes for 1st – 10th place in the Cook-off, and 1st – 3rd place for Showmanship. CASI rules can be found at

Or, compete in the Open category where anything goes! As in prior years there will be 2 Open categories – Open with Meat and Open Vegetarian. There are trophies for 1st – 3rd place winners, and cash prizes of $50 for 1st place and $25 for 2nd place in each Open category. Contestants must be 18 years or older.

Purchase a sample kit and vote for the winner of the “Peoples’ Choice” Award. A cash prize of $100 will be presented for the “Peoples’ Choice”!

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.
Cook-off runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Chili Cook-Off Registration Fee: $20.00 per team for either category, or both for $35.00. Park admission for this event is free with the donation of one can of food per person to be donated to a local food bank. For pre-registration and more information email Friends of O’Leno at or contact Harriet Walsh at 386-454-4806. For a registration form Click Here.

Tickets will be on sale for a drawings of chance for items generously donated by local business in support of the mission of helping O’Leno State Park be the best it can be.

All proceeds from the Chili Cook-off will be used for the care of our animal ambassadors at the O’Leno Nature Center, and to enhance the public’s understanding of their unique contributions to our environment.

2018 Springs Celebration

The Springs Celebration is co-sponsored by Alachua County Environmental Protection Department and Friends of O’Leno. The Springs Celebration partners with the Chili Cookoff every year and adds fun for the whole family. It will be held at O’Leno State Park on April 7, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Join us to learn about the Sink to Springs connection and the Floridian Aquifer, and enjoy hands-on water activities, presentations, videos and live music. For more information, click on Springs Celebration under Upcoming Event Details.


More O’Leno State Park Events

A complete list of all scheduled Park events is at
Scroll down the list to find an event and detail information about it. The following recurring annual events are on the Park’s list.

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