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Horsin’ Around (and More) in Santa Rosa Beach

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In Santa Rosa Beach, Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables is tucked just out of sight between busy Highway 98 and 30A.


“It is solitude,” says marketing director Jennifer Sundal. “It can be the busiest day in the world around you, you’ve been stuck in traffic for seven hours, and go into that property and feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.”


The working horse farm offers a wide range of activities but recently added music events to its impressive roster.


“First and foremost, it is a horse farm,” says Sundal. “People can bring their horses and rent out one of the spots or trail ride.” The rides are offered for all levels and are quite a treat, as the property is adjacent to Point Washington State Forest. Lead horse trainer Jackie Fisher is also available for private lessons for those who want to expand their equine knowledge.


Visitors are welcome on the property, even those who would like to take a look around and meet Frank, the friendly miniature donkey.


Most special events, including concerts, happen in the newest building dubbed the Tack Room. With tall ceilings and a 200-plus capacity, the space is adaptable for everything from rock bands to Sunday morning church services.


From 16 RV slips to weddings on the green, Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables has something for everyone. Most locals are familiar with the space, but it has only recently become available as an event venue.


“The law changed,” says Sundal. “It is considered agri-tourism, and as a farm, states are looking at how farms are going to kind of redo what we are allowed to do on the property.  Once that happened, and it’s been over the course of the last couple of years, that has allowed us to do more things like weddings, concerts, festivals and community events.”


Those events include the annual Pumpkin Festival which approaches its eighth year this fall, and Christmas events like carriage rides in Grand Boulevard and Santa’s horse-drawn arrival in Gulf Place.


Arnett’s Gulfside Farm & Stables owners Tom and Karen Arnett are working towards unveiling other changes this spring, including concerts every Friday, a Sunday Farmers Market, even a name change to 30A Horse Farm. Through the remaining winter months, sporadic concerts are scheduled as the facility sets its eyes on growth.


“The response has made us want to do things,” says Sundal. “We feel like we are on the right track based on the response from the community.”


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