The City of Sebastian invited high school students from Sebastian River High School to participate in the Centennial Essay Contest — “What Makes Sebastian Special?”
Students were invited to write an essay telling readers, their opinion on what makes Sebastian special.
Instead of listing all the things that are special about Sebastian, I am going to tell you what makes Sebastian so special to me. Before I moved here, we would come down to visit family for holidays or long breaks. Every year, we would have a family reunion during Memorial Day weekend at Camp Oklawaha. The land was donated by my ancestors Claud and Anna Smith to the Boy Scouts as a memorial to her husband.
In the mornings, my older cousins would make everyone pancakes for breakfast. We would swim out in the pond to a floating raft and jump off it with all my cousins. We could also borrow canoes and paddle down the Sebastian River. It was so cool going out to the camp because I got to meet some of my family I had never met before. On hot days, my first cousin twice removed would make us snow cones.
Coming back to Sebastian in my early childhood always felt like coming home because I have very deep family roots here. When we came to visit, we would stay at my Granny’s house, who also inherited ancestral land from Anne and Claud Smith. She still has that land today and our 100-year-old farmhouse that has been passed on throughout generations.
Indian River was known for its Citrus and, when my mom was growing up, they were neighbors to the Sextons who still own Natalies Orchid Island Juice Company. My Granny also had horses and chickens and we always helped with the animals and sometimes we would go riding early in the mornings.
We also loved visiting the Inlet and the beach. We would snorkel down the line of rocks that protected us from the waves from the boats passing through. Sometimes, if we were lucky enough, manatees would find their way into the inlet, and we would get to see them up close.
Over the summer, we would go out on the boat and explore the Spoil Islands of the Indian River Lagoon. We would explore and walk around the entire island as the boys fished.
This town is the perfect blend of country and coastal. I fell in love with the Sebastian lifestyle and the small-town feel compared to the city life up in Jacksonville.
When my dad retired from the Navy in 2020, we finally got to move down here. Since then, living here has let me experience the true feeling of a community. I can go to the grocery store or anywhere around town and see people I know.
I love to go to Riverview Park to play volleyball with my teammates and other groups come out there and join us. I recognize people from my school and family friends. I love going to the craft shows on the weekends and seeing all the local businesses that set up their booths and I love contributing to them. I found my two favorite rings from a local artist here in Sebastian.
Another special thing about this town is its fairs and festivals. From Bluegrass to Barbecue, we have a festival for it, and it is always an awesome time. The live music is so fun, and the food is always amazing.
To conclude, I feel like Sebastian is a wonderful place to live because of my familiar roots and this amazing community. There are so many things to do, and it is a beautiful town. From the beach in the morning to the festivals in the evenings, everything about this town is perfect. It is so peaceful and happy.
This is why Sebastian is so special to me.