I’ve lived in the Florida Panhandle for quite some time, and I’m still shocked by the local culture on a regular basis. A friend of mine recently told me about the Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin’ Festival to which I replied, “WHAT.” and then immediately burst into laughter. As a Sopchoppy native, he seemed unfazed and went on to explain how the whole town turns out every year for food, music, art and of course, worms.
So, what IS worm grunting?
Just as this little gent is doing above, a metal rod is inserted into the ground and a textured piece of metal is run over the rod to send vibrations into the ground. Worms think these vibrations are moles burrowing into the earth for a snack, and so they instinctively migrate to the surface. If worm grunting sounds like your new favorite hobby, you can learn more here.
Ten minutes outside of Tallahassee you can feel a shift in the air. There’s a casual feel in the Panhandle’s friendly people and the closer you get to the coast, the more peaceful you feel. When I first moved from Orlando to Tallahassee to go to Florida State, I was outraged that a drive to the beach took two hours one way. (Blasphemy!) But now, I kind of feel like it’s one of the Panhandle’s best kept secrets. There is nothing better than bee-boppin’ through the tiny towns of Wakulla County on a sunny day with the car windows down and the tunes on the radio.