Moon Over Maclay

Tallahassee Democrat

September 25, 2015

By: Kathy Kinsey

What an enchanting evening awaits you, your family and friends … waiting on the moon to make its grand appearance … enjoying that lovely dinner you packed and listening to some music, but not just any music for this is a jazz festival and in my book, there is just nothing better than an evening like this!

The 6th annual Moon over Maclay has been scheduled at Maclay Gardens State Park for Sunday, September 27 beginning at 6:00 and ending at 9:00PM, after all Monday is a work day. This is a very special night for it is the Harvest Moon that will make a grand and beautiful appearance. It is one of the most enchanted moons of the year and on this night, this super moon will stage a total lunar eclipse.…it is truly a night you will not soon forget as you sit out under the stars.

You may want to make sure you bring a blanket or two to sit on and maybe some to wrap up in – you just never know what the weather will do – or maybe lawn chairs if you find the ground too hard to sit on. Pack a wonderful dinner, don’t forget a yummy dessert, your choice of beverage and then sit back and listen to some jazz music under the most perfect moon of the year. But first, a little bit about the Gardens…

The Maclay Gardens, which are now a public treasure, were at one time one of the finest privately owned gardens in the South. They were conceived by the Maclays, Alfred B. and Louise, and were originally purchased as a winter home. Mr. Maclay, a New York financier, began developing the gardens in 1923. He spent hour after hour planning and developing his garden, deciding on which plants would be used and where they would go. Little did he know this garden would eventually become his legacy! First known as Killearn Gardens, after a village in Scotland, the Gardens have achieved the recognition as one of the most beautiful spots in America. Upon his death in 1944, Mrs. Maclay continued the development of the Gardens according to her husband’s plans and in 1953 she donated the Gardens to the State of Florida. In 2000, the gardens were included on the National Register of Historic Places. A true legacy!

But Maclay Gardens is more than just plants – much more…there are pools of water surrounded by hundreds of blooming shrubs, trees, a walled garden, a reflecting pool, a peaceful little nook for a quiet moment. It is a garden that will speak to your senses and will provide a calming sense of well-being – nowhere else but in a peaceful environment provided by a garden will you ever achieve this. There are also over 5 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails on the Lake Overstreet portion of the park and a picnic and recreation area.

Wildlife? Of course, no garden would be complete without them. And with such a natural setting, there are birds, bobcats, deer, grey foxes just to name a few. Park includes picnicking, swimming, boating and nature study. With a Florida Fishing License, you can catch your dinner from Lake Hall which is also perfect for canoeing! Lake Hall is a small lake that forms the western, the south and part of the northern boundaries of the Gardens. There are private homes and private properties that line the rest of this small lake. It is also the practice site for the Capital City Rowing Club, Maclay School Rowing Team and the Tallahassee Rowing Club. According to TAPP, (Think About Personal Pollution), Lake Hall has the best water quality of all the lakes in Leon County.

Now for the music…..jazz – after all this is a jazz festival – but it is not a loud jazz… is an “approachable” jazz….you won’t fall asleep but instead you will find yourself listening to it and enjoying all the park has to offer you on this evening. After all, a lot of planning has gone into this event…it would be a shame for you to miss it. The musicians: some of you may know all about them but for those of us who do not….

Presenting Tallahassee’s very own Thursday Night Music Club which began in 2006 and is made up of musicians that volunteer their talents and time, which in turn, provides them with the perfect opportunity to get together and play in a relaxed atmosphere. Their music includes jazz, swing, funk, blues and rock with a little Latin jazz thrown in. As they are a non-profit organization, any money earned goes to buying sheet music, supplies…etc…this band also donates hour upon hour to local organizations and causes and will always offer discounted rates to the events they are scheduled to play at. They have played at several events around the Tallahassee area over the past 10 years….to name a few recent performances….the Tallahassee Downtown Winter Festival, the Downtown Marketplace, a private event at the Governor’s Club, Lake Ella Food Truck Thursday and of course the Tallahassee Jazz and Blues Festival. The group is directed by Patrick Dunnigan…..what a great band and what a great lineup for this night.

Headlining the music this evening will be Longineu Parsons Group. Mr. Parsons hails from Jacksonville, Florida and is a Professor of Music at Florida A&M where he teaches Trumpet (Classical and Jazz) and Composition and he not only has mastered the trumpet, to say the least, his compositions include orchestral works and chamber music. He has performed in some 30 countries and has entertained such dignitaries as the King of Morocco, the President of Gabon, the Royal Family of the Netherlands and UNESCO, to list a few. With supplementary jazz studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he also has extensive studies in composition on the Master’s and Doctoral levels. Mr. Parsons has also been critically acclaimed to be one of the finest trumpet players the world has ever seen….What an honor to have someone of this caliber entertain us this night.

Tickets! Tickets! $25 for adults, $10 for children, and $10 for students, with your ID, and are available in advance at the Ranger Station located at Maclay Gardens State Park. Tickets are also available online at Parking for this event – – the gates will open at 5:30…

Now where else can you have such a good time listening to some really talented musicians and enjoy great food and drinks for less? So much planning has gone into this night…..I just don’t think a finer evening can be had…. so come on out and get your jazz on….I know you will not be disappointed…..

I hope to see you there…..

Kathy Kinsey is a Master Gardener volunteer with the UF/Leon County Cooperative Extension Office. For gardening questions, email us at






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Posted: September 25, 2015

Category: Natural Resources, Wildlife
Tags: Birds, Bobcats, Deer, Grey Foxes, October-December 2015

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