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Each year the Florida Folklife Program conducts fieldwork on an aspect of Florida's traditional culture to increase knowledge about Florida artists and folk arts. Topic selection is based on assessments of previous research, dominant cultural topics, and needs for the future. The State Folklorist then selects folk artists and tradition bearers documented over the course of the survey to be featured in the Folklife Area of the Florida Folk Festival. The nation's oldest state-sponsored folk festival, the Florida Folk Festival is held each Memorial Day Weekend at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, Florida. The theme for the Folklife Program's annual survey in 2007 and 2008 was Florida Cattle Ranching. This two-year fieldwork project resulted in Florida Cattle Ranching: Five Centuries of Tradition, a 2,400-square-foot exhibit that traveled to museums throughout the state as well as to the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada.

Summary of Folklife Research

Year Theme
2024 Elements: Air
2023 Elements: Earth
                 2022 Elements: Fire
2020 Elements: Water
2019 Culture on the Move
2018 Culture on the Move
2017 Southwest Florida
2016 Miami-Dade County
2015 St. Johns County
2014 Upper St. Johns River Basin Region
2013 Lower St. Johns River Basin Region
2012 Panhandle's Inland Counties
2011 Panhandle's Coastline Counties
2010 Alachua County
2009 Nature Coast
2008 Ranching
2007 Ranching
2006 Agriculture
2005 New Communities of Central Florida
2004 Dance
2003 Rites of Passage
2002 Eastern Mediterranean
2001 2001: The Space Coast
2000 Swampways: Traditional Culture of Our Wetlands
1999 Traditional Sports & Games
1998 Asian and Pacific Island Arts
1997 South of the South
1996 Storytelling; Mexican Music Survey
1995 Sesquicentennial/Florida's Oldest Communities
1994 Central Florida
1993 Transportation
1992 Cultural Crossroads: 40th Anniversary Retrospective
1991 Rediscoveries: African American and Anglo-Celtic American
1990 Celebrations: Caribbean Carnival, Greek Epiphany & Jewish Purim
1989 Timber Industries
1988 Southwest Florida Region
1987 Maritime Industries
1986 Miami-Dade Region
1985 St. Johns River Basin Region
1984 Ranching
1983 North Florida Region and Folklife of St. Augustine Minorcans
1982 Seminole Folklife and Traditions of Traveling Entertainers
1981 Big Bend Region and Panhandle Region
1980 Tampa Bay Region
1979 Traditional Crafts of Florida