June in Gainesville is packed full of athletic, musical, artsy, and festive events. Read on to discover how summer in a college town can really surprise you!
The Sunshine State Games are happening throughout the summer all over Florida. The Sunshine State Games offer an Olympic-style festival program that gives amateur athletes of all ages the ability to show off their skills. There's an event for everything from figure skating to archery to martial arts. If you're looking for a way to see the best of the best from Florida put their best skills forward, consider giving this event a try. Below are the events in Alachua County.
- June 3-5, 2022 Swimming (Makos Aquatics Club of Gainesville)
- June 11-12 Archery (Newberry) - qualifier for Sr Games
- June 18 - Track and Field (Santa Fe High School) age groups 8 yrs old to 99 yrs old!
- June 25 - 26 Fencing (Legacy Park Multipurpose Center)
The 2022 U.S. Junior Olympic Championship for Artistic Swimming (aka synchronized swimming) will be held in Gainesville June 25- July 2, 2022. The Junior Olympic Championship averages about 1,100 athletes competing across a nine-day schedule. "The 2022 event will be staged June 25 to July 2 at the Stephen O'Connell Center on the University of Florida campus. The facility boasts room for just over 1,000 spectators and the 50-meter pool is considered one of the fastest in the world.
When in town, be sure to check out the Parkrun 5K at Depot Park. It's a weekly, timed 5K, perfect for anyone training for longer races or for people who just want to get out there and mix up their cardio routine. Parkrun is a global movement that began in the UK to help get people outdoors and moving. You can register for free, and if you're looking to meet some like-minded people, they meet up at Opus Coffee after the run. It's a great way to explore the outdoors and meet people along the way!
Festivals & Music
Nothing says summer like an outdoor festival or concert and Gainesville has a lot scheduled for this summer.
Also on Saturday, June 18, the City of Gainesville Office of Equity and Inclusion is hosting its 2nd Annual Freedom Walk from 7-11 a.m. in Depot Park. This celebration of Juneteenth, the day which marks the official end of slavery in all 50 U.S. states, is open to all people and will have live music, games, presentations, and of course, a walk through several historic neighborhoods in Gainesville. It's a great way to celebrate the rich history that Gainesville has to offer.
In addition, PinkFest is coming back to Gainesville for its 2nd inaugural event as well on June 25th from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Celebration Pointe. PinkFest is an event that brings awareness to all cancers as well as uplifts and celebrates the community. The event is free and offers educational tools and products for those currently battling cancer as well as celebrating survivors.
When it comes to music, Gainesville is known for collecting eclectic artists to perform in local venues, and this summer is no different. Love Kills Joy, a self-described rock band with punk leanings out of Ocala, Mike & the Nerve, a Gainesville-based punk/folk-rock band, and Saturn Lights, a rock band out of Tallahassee, are playing a concert on June 3rd at the Fox Lounge in downtown Gainesville from 8 p.m. to midnight. It's a great way to check out some of these local rock bands before they hit big!
Award-winning violin legend Tim Kliphuis returns to Gainesville with gypsy jazz guitarist Jimmy Grant to celebrate the music of famed musical duo Stéphane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt. The duo will be recreating 1930s Paris while blending the sound with modern folk music at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville on June 10th. Tickets are $25 or $15 for students.
Mark your calendars to check out the Playground Music & Arts Festival at Heartwood Soundstage on August 27th. In fact, the Heartwood has some pretty great concerts happening throughout the summer as well. But, at the festival, the band flipturn, a band out of Fernandina Beach, FL with a modern indie sound with a punk vibe, along with several other bands will be featured during this all-day music festival. Lunar Vacation, a band with a sound that has been described as "dreamy pool rock from Atlanta" will also be performing from 7-11 p.m. Small town and local artists are the lifeblood of some of these venues, and by showing your support to them, you're also helping out the businesses in the city of Gainesville as well.
Camps at the University of Florida
The University of Florida offers some amazing camps for kids over the summer, particularly for kids who play sports. For example, Women's Basketball, Football, Boys Golf, Lacrosse, Softball, Swim, and Volleyball all have camps in June and Baseball, Girls Golf, Gymnastics, Softball, and Volleyball all have dates in July. There are specific camps for specific age groups and skill levels, but it's a great opportunity for your children to learn from the very best and have fun while doing it!
Additionally, the University of Florida's College of Journalism is offering a Summer Media Institute for high school students who are immersed in journalism and communications from June 19 to June 24. It's a five-night, six-day workshop that offers a variety of electives, specializations, and hands-on opportunities to learn from award-winning professors and industry professionals. The athletic camps and the Summer Media Institute can be a little expensive, but the benefits for your child are endless. And, while your kids are learning the ins and outs of Division 1 athletic and academic programs, you can find something fun for yourself to do in the meantime.
Professional Development for Teachers
The Teachers on Tap FL is a unique professional development opportunity for teachers to discuss technology integration in the classroom in an environment that encourages collegiality and socializing. The event gives teachers two hours of professional development discussing technology use in the classroom as well as a free beer and networking opportunities with other, like-minded teachers. This event is taking place on June 29th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and costs $25. Leave it to Swamp Head Brewery to provide an out-of-the-box event for teachers to develop their creativity and skills in the classroom.
For people coming into town and who have some time to meander the city, you should check out some of the amazing (and mostly free) ongoing events that are happening in and around town.
The Free Friday Concert Series hosted by the City of Gainesville is the perfect summer activity whether you're into music or not. In Bo Didley Plaza in Downtown Gainesville on Friday nights from 7-9 p.m., enjoy the sounds of the summer at this outdoor concert. Every Friday from May to October, grab a blanket, the kids, and some food and enjoy the atmosphere created by the likes of bands like Heavy Petty (June 10), a Tom Petty tribute band, or Fast Lane (July 8), an R&B band that blends together funky beats to create music to move to. Whether you want to discover some new music to enjoy from local bands or you want to take full advantage of Florida summers, check out this free concert series every Friday.
In addition to free concerts, there are other free opportunities to support local artists. The Downtown High Springs Artwalk is a showcase of local artists in Downtown High Springs, just northwest of Gainesville. It's held every third Saturday of the month from 12-5 p.m., and it's a great opportunity to view art from local artists while enjoying deals from local businesses as well.
If art and music aren't your things, then maybe check out Trivia Night at Blackadder Brewing every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Blackadder Brewing is a microbrewery established in 2016, located in Gainesville. In addition to enjoying the microbrews and craft brews offered by Blackadder, you can also check out a food truck located on-site as well. Stretch your mind over a beer with friends. It's a great way to explore one of the many local breweries Gainesville has to offer, and it makes for a nice evening out during your visit.
The Great Outdoors
Gainesville is home to a surprising amount of stunning outdoor activities. Birds and bison are just the beginning...
You can take a hike at one of the state parks located in and around Gainesville. Paynes Prairie boasts wonderful hikes through unique terrain giving you the chance to see several species native to the area, including bison and wild horses. In addition to Paynes Prairie, you can visit Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, which gives you the chance to take a look into a large sinkhole after a half-mile hike (only open Wednesday-Sunday). For more hiking and biking options, visit San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park, 3.5 miles west on Millhopper Road (County Road 232). Bobcats, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, turkeys and many species of songbirds inhabit the 18 natural communities found in the preserve. Before heading out - you can download georeferenced hiking, biking and equestrian trail maps (PDF).
If you're looking for a way to escape the heat of the summer in Florida, you should try some of the springs nearby. Ginnie Springs, located just outside Gainesville, offers inner tubes, kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes for a cool and refreshing 72-degree dip. There's also Devil's Den Prehistoric Spring located in Williston, just north of Gainesville. So many cool options!
Be sure to add Kanapaha Botanical Gardens to your list. The first Saturday of every month, they offer guided tours that are $10 for adults and $5 for children. However, on Mother's Day and Father's Day, they are offering free admission to mothers and fathers respectively.
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