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Music, magic and moonlight will be back at Maclay Gardens this Sunday

Celebrated Tallahassee musician Scotty Barnhart strikes up the band during a previous Moon Over Maclay jazz fest.
Maclay Gardens State Park
Celebrated Tallahassee musician Scotty Barnhart strikes up the band during a previous Moon Over Maclay jazz fest.

One of Tallahassee's most popular outdoor concert happenings takes place this coming Sunday evening. The event happens in what is arguably the area's most attractive setting. That setting is Maclay Gardens State Park just north of town off Thomasville Road. Anna Hopkins, the event coordinator, said last year's Moon Over Maclay event, scrubbed the previous year because of COVID, was like a great, community-wide sigh of relief.

"Last year we could tell that everybody was ready to get back out to events. So we had the best attended Moon Over Maclay that we'd had in recent memory. It's been going on for 11 years."

But before getting into the details of this year's occasion, Hopkins provided a bit of information about Maclay Gardens itself.

"Nearly every inch of Maclay Gardens has some kind of interesting historical account behind it. So obviously the formal gardens and Maclay House; those tell the legacy of the Maclay family and who they were. They came here in 1923 and purchased the 28-acre formal garden area and that has over 150 varieties of camelias and azaleas that bloom every year. Outside of the story of the Maclays, we've also found Native-American artifacts around the park, including a dugout canoe at the bottom of Lake Hall and arrow heads in the garden."

Hopkins said the history just keeps on coming as visitors wander around the property.

"Even our present day hiking trails have their own story that they tell. That part of the park was acquired separately from the Maclay purchase. It was once to the Overstreet Community, which was one of Florida's first land-owning African-American communities. Every step someone takes inside Maclay Gardens, they're stepping into different histories of this region of North Florida."

And with that extensive history in mind, Hopkins shifted the focus to the upcoming Moon Over Maclay happening this coming Sunday, October 9th, when the music kicks off at 6:00 p.m.

"Opening the night is Thursday Night Music Club and they offer big band style music. They play jazz, swing, funk and rock, all kinds of different things. They perform at a lot of community events in Tallahassee like concerts in Kleman Plaza. And this group is unique because they're made up of volunteer musicians."

And they'll be followed by the jazz quintet at the top of the bill.

"We're going to have the spectacular headliner Scotty Barnhart. He'll be joined by a couple of really talented musicians and he is an internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter and also a professor of jazz trumpet at FSU. He does lecture around the world, he's a composer and arranger and author and directs the Grammy-winning Count Basie Orchestra. So we're really happy to have Scotty Barnhart joining us."

There's also a fun "Scarecrow in the Garden" contest, and the Wine House on Market Street will be decanting some of its premier vintages.

"If you haven't got your tickets yet, head to the Friends of Maclay Gardens web site and everything you need to know about the concert will be right there on the web page."

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.