The Seminole Tribe will ring in the 118th anniversary of its Big Cypress Reservation, one of its six reservations, located roughly midway between Naples and Miami, the weekend of January 23-25 with a special concert by award-winning country music star Alan Jackson on Saturday, January 25 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at bigcypresscelebration.com and completeticketsolutions.com.
The 82-square-mile Big Cypress Reservation is home to the Junior Cypress Rodeo and Entertainment Complex, formerly known as the Big Cypress Entertainment Complex, with an arena that sits 3,000 people. The complex is surrounded by 360 acres for outdoor events.
Phish held their millennium concert at the reservation December 30, 1999 to January 1, 2000, attracting 85,000 people—the earliest and largest sold-out millennium concert.
Other major tourist attractions on the reservation include the Billie Swamp Safari and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum.
The Big Cypress 118th anniversary celebration will kick-off on January 23 at 7:30 p.m. with The Bill Osceola Memorial Rodeo (taking place for two consecutive nights) in the Junior Cypress Rodeo Arena. This free event showcases the best of the best local cowboys.
On January 24 at noon, festivities begin with a Seminole Tribe of Florida rib cook-off and include a clothing contest (Seminole Tribe of Florida members only). At 3 p.m., the fair will feature a gator and critter show, performances by the Seminole Stomp dancers and a Northern Tribes dancing exhibition, the Eastern Indian Rodeo Association (EIRA) rodeo, and carnival rides, along with food and craft vendors. Historical displays showcasing the history of the Big Cypress Reservation are sponsored by the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Indian Museum. Food vendors will be available throughout the festival.
On Saturday, January 25, gates will open at 10 a.m. with a grand entry by Seminole Tribe of Florida leaders and royalty. Wildlife shows will continue throughout the day with entertainment beginning at 4 p.m. with the Blues Brothers Soul Band, one of the hottest tribute bands this side of the Mississippi.
At 5 p.m., Tom Jackson will open the concert. Jackson’s driving, aggressive country style has been likened to Jason Aldean and Charlie Daniels. He has shared the stage with Nashville recording artists including Aldean, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town. Billy Currington, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, Craig Morgan, Randy Houser, Craig Campbell, Darius Rucker, Josh Thompson, Lee Brice, Justin Moore, Eric Church, Colt Ford and recently, Brantley Gilbert and Randy Travis.
At 6:30 p.m., country music superstar Alan Jackson will take the stage. Jackson has sold nearly 60 million albums worldwide, topped the country singles charts 35 times, and scored more than 50 Top-10 hits. He has written or co-written 24 of his 35 #1 hit singles. He is an 18-time ACM Award winner, a 16-time CMA Award recipient, and a two-time Grammy-winning artist whose songwriting has earned him the prestigious ASCAP Founders Award and an induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame as a 2011 Songwriter/Artist inductee. Jackson joins the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. His current work, The Bluegrass Album, was released September 24 and debuted #1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums Sales Chart.
Immediately following the concert, the Southern States Bull Riding Competition will take place at 8:15 p.m.
Admission for The Bill Osceola Memorial Rodeo on January 23 and January 24 activities is free; admission for January 25, which includes all festivities and the concert, is $50 and tickets are available at bigcypresscelebration.com and at completeticketsolutions.com. Tickets will also be on sale at the Junior Cypress Rodeo Grounds the day of the concert. Parking for the event is $5.
The Junior Cypress Rodeo Arena is located on the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, midway between Fort Lauderdale and Naples off I-75 (Alligator Alley). Take I-75 to exit 49, then drive north 16 miles.