Detour Through Downtown Starke

Since opening in 2019, a bypass around Starke, Florida on US 301 has saved travelers about 5 minutes on their drive. But for those with enough patience to bypass the bypass, Downtown Starke’s historic Call Street is a great place to get out and take a stroll.

When you turn off 301 and on to East Call Street, fast food restaurants and auto shops give way to all the hallmarks of small town America– mom-and-pop businesses, tidy shopfronts, and a charming Normal Rockwell feel. For 75 cents, you can still read a copy of the Bradford County Telegraph, headquartered on Call Street and operating since 1893. A clock tower topping the old county courthouse and large columns in front of the old county bank greet you as you stroll down the street, home to 23 historic buildings.

One of Starke’s most prominent structures is the Florida Twin Theater, towering over the circular brick intersection of East Call and Walnut Streets with its art deco style and light blue neon lights. Family-owned and operated since 1941, the theater plays new releases on its two screens. With $7 movie tickets and a $3.50 large popcorn, it’ll be your cheapest trip to the movies in years; the cash-only biz helps keep costs low.

Call Street’s dining options include Tony and Al’s Deli, a cozy Italian place with authentic food and hearty portions that won’t leave you hungry. Sapp Station Coffee shop and the Call Street Cafe are both open until early afternoon and are a good option for breakfast, lunch and coffee. If you’re craving a frozen treat after dinner, Dink’s Place is a highly rated frozen yogurt shop just around the corner from Sapp Station. Another option is Powell’s Dairy Freeze, a Starke staple – think Dreamette but even cheaper. The waiters at Powell’s come to you and take your order from your car. Enjoy a $1.65 ice cream cone or try Powell’s famous footlong steak sandwich if you’re feeling glutonous.

Next time you’re on 301, don’t settle for a bathroom break and a bite to eat at McDonald’s-experience small town charm and throwback prices in Downtown Starke. Swing by Call Street for dinner, a movie date, or even just a quick walk to stretch your legs.

Starke to Temporarily Suspend Electric and Water Disconnections


Effective August 3rd and until September 30th of 2022, the City of Starke will suspend customer disconnections of electric, water, and gas services due to delinquent payments of accounts with balances less than $300.

In addition, the City will waive newly accrued late fees through our September 30th grace period. From October 1st through the 31st, the same policy will exist for that month for those accounts with a balance of less than $150.

The City of Starke encourages customers to do their best to stay current on their bills. It is important to note that payments are being deferred, not waived. Beginning in November all current and past due amounts will have to be paid and your bill made current. This grace period will apply to any city customer, residential or business, who needs more time to pay their bill.

In addition, water and sewer bills have risen as a result of the Department of Environmental Protection requiring the City to upgrade its water and wastewater systems.

A customer’s sewer bill is determined by the amount of water used each month that is eventually treated by the wastewater plant. That cost can be mitigated in some cases by installing an irrigation water meter. Those wishing to explore the feasibility of installing an irrigation meter may contact the City Manager’s Office. To help with the cost, the City is offering a 30% discount until the end of the year.

These relief measures are a part of the City’s strategy to address high utility bills due to a combination of increased fuel costs and higher consumption during extreme summer temperatures.

We understand that costs are increasing in nearly every aspect right now, and the City is committed to continuing to find solutions that will bring down costs for our residents.

If you need assistance with your electric bill, the Suwanee River Economic Council may be able to help. More information can be found on their website at If you are over the age of 60, please call 904-964-4545. 


Starke Hosts First Independence Day Celebration in Decades

Starke has something completely new in store for the celebration of our nation’s independence, and it promises to keep you cool and make your heart soar. The inaugural Starke Splash Bash will take place Sunday, July 3, sponsored by the city, Bradford County School District and Funtastic Fire Brigade, which is helping organize the event. 

While annual community events for the Fourth surround the city, infrequent events in Starke have mostly been one-offs. 

City Manager Drew Mullins saw a hole that needed to be filled, and thanked city commissioners  for supporting his small vision and the volunteers — including Michael Heeder of Funtastic Fire Brigade — who helped turn it into the Splash Bash set for Sunday, July 3.

“People are hungry for things to do in Starke and Bradford County. We’re excited to partner with these organizations to make this happen for our residents, and we hope the community will join us for the celebration,” Mullins said.

The day will include food, entertainment, an opportunity to get wet and then celebrate Independence Day with patriotic performances and fireworks. It all happens at Bradford High School.

First off is the parade of golf carts, beginning at 4 p.m. Participants will gather at First Christian Church on West Call Street before the start time. Carts will head east on Jefferson Street, north at Bay, west at Center, north at Broadway, west at Adkins and then parade around the track at Bradford High School until around 5 p.m., when the festivities are scheduled to begin. 

The water park area, including water slides and a kiddie pool, will be open for play until around 7:40 p.m. Cornhole registration begins at the track at 5 p.m., and the games begin at 5:30 p.m. The vehicle cruise-in will take place outside of the stadium, with parking on Washington Street. Starke Police Department will also have multiple K9 demonstrations every 15 minutes, beginning at 5:15 through 7:15 p.m.

Hungry? Food trucks will be selling a variety of good food throughout the evening.

When the water park closes, the evening festivities begin with the introduction and recognition of the American Legion, followed by several performances from Byron Bagwell, Jaelyn Jackson and Lee Ann Purvis. Around 8:45 p.m., there will be a ceremony presenting the flags of the U.S. armed forces with musical themes. These will include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

All active military members and veterans present will be recognized, followed by patriotic performances from the event’s talented singers. Following the national anthem, fireworks will begin around 9 p.m., and the event will conclude at 9:30.

There are multiple parking areas to meet the needs of those attending. The city is requesting everyone to respect the private residential area and not park on or block private property.

The primary parking area is at Bradford Middle School on Orange Street. Overflow parking areas include North Florida Technical College and the Bradford School District (former Starke Elementary) parking lots, with the exception of the parking lot directly across from the high school, which is reserved for handicapped parking.

Other parking areas include the Bradford County Public Library on Pratt Street and the courthouse.

Starke Splash Bash is free to attend, and the city hopes to see you there!