The great manatee migration is underway at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida. Each year, weather depending, hundreds of the mammals take refuge in the warm 72-degree waters at Blue Spring.

The winter months draw visitors from all over the world looking to get a glimpse of Florida’s beloved icon. And every year, Orange City celebrates its most famous resident with a weekend festival. Jeff Allebach heads up the event and joined us by phone for this interview.

The Orange City Blue Spring Manatee Festival runs 9am-5pm January 23 and 24 at Valentine Park. Here’s what you need to know before heading out.

  • Admission is $8 for adults, $2 for children ages 4-10 and children three and under get in free. If you want to bring Fido, he’s an extra $10.
  • The Central Florida Zoo will have animal ambassadors and special presentations.
  • There will be plenty of arts & crafts, dancing, face painting, fair food, shows & rides, sand sculpting, bounce houses, and a zip line. You can also get your kids fingerprinted.
  • Live entertainment includes: Jeff Howell, Bubba Whoopass and the Whoopoffs, Caerbannog, Karegan Wodz, and Disc Connected K9s – World Famous Frisbee Dogs.
  • Proceeds benefit “Friends of Blue Spring State Park”, Educational scholarships, and other Greater Orange City Organizations.