Each year, the first weekend in May brings the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. Did you know that more than 80% of the Florida Atlantic shrimp is still harvested in the water here?
Enjoy arts and crafts, food, entertainment, and of course, plenty of shrimp. The activity is downtown along historic Center Street, and admission is free.
There are many exciting activities going on in the First Coast area this weekend. Here are two of my favorites:
Mandarin Art Festival, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 5:00 on the Mandarin Community Club grounds at 12447 Mandarin Road
This year marks the 46th Mandarin Art festival, and I think I have attended almost all of them. Classical guitarist Don Thomas will be back this year playing acoustic tunes under the oak trees. Enjoy food, vendors from all over the country, family activities and great camaraderie!
There will also be Mandarin themed items available for purchase. Here is a picture of the t-shirt design by artist Julie Fetzer:
Manatees Rule by Julie Fetzer
St. Augustine Easter Parade, Sunday 3:00-4:00 downtown St. Augustine
What’s not to love about a parade in our nation’s oldest city! See bands, clowns, horses and, of course, the Easter Bunny. The parade begins at Mission Nombre de Dios and proceeds down San Marco Street and Cathedral Place.
The One Spark Event last week provided a rare opportunity to see the inside of the former Snyder Memorial Church, located in downtown Jacksonville just across from Hemming Park.
Snyder Memorial Building Renovation is seeking funds to “Renovate, Re-purpose, and Renew” this beautiful, historic building.
As you can see, the interior is gorgeous with its hardwood floors and stained glass windows. I hope there will be a way to bring this historic building and others downtown back to life!
The Jacksonville Zoo, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, recently opened its much-anticipated “Land of the Tiger” exhibit. Five tigers – two Sumatran and three Malayan – are the main attraction. Other Asian animals sharing the 2.5 acres include pigs, otters, and hornbills. Asian plants complete the immersion experience.
One of the most notable aspects of the exhibit is a fenced-in walkway, made to look like a strangler fig, which gives the tigers an opportunity to pass over the pedestrian courtyard to move to a different environment. (Yes, this walkway is for tigers – not people!)
At the time of my visit, three Malayan tigers were out – one walking along the back fence, the others sunning by the pond. I read not to expect to see both species roaming around at the same time. The explanation – “they just don’t play well together”.
“Land of the Tiger” is the most significant addition to the zoo since Range of the Jaguar opened in 2004 and is an experience not to be missed! For more information, visit the Jacksonville Zoo website.
Photo taken at Hagan Ace Hardware on San Jose Boulevard. Both Hagan Ace Hardware & Halls on San Jose Boulevard have allowed a few of our community cats to call their gardens “home”. THANK YOU!
In addition to sleeping kitties, you will find lots of beautiful plants for your spring garden and knowledgeable answers to your lawn and garden questions at your Mandarin Ace Store..
Last weekend, visitors to Fernandina Beach, FL were treated to tours of two replica ships given by the Columbus Foundation. Here are some interesting facts and pictures from the event:
Both of the replica ships were built in Brazil by a group of master builders using design and construction techniques dating back to the 15th century.
Construction began on the Nina in 1988. The Pinta was built 16 years later to accompany the Nina on her tours. The replica ships have no home port because they are on tour 11 months a year.
The Pinta is the larger ship at 85′; the Nina is 65′ in length. The ships are black because they were coated in pine tar, a natural water resistant. They have auxiliary power to use when traveling between destinations, but can sail when there is a strong aft wind and a big body of water.
The crew are volunteers from all over America, and the Columbus Foundation is always looking for more! You may apply online at thenina.com.
The Pinta returned home from the 1st Voyage and disappeared from history. The Nina accompanied Christopher Columbus on the 2nd Voyage, and Columbus chose her as his flagship for his voyage to Cuba. She was the only vessel to survive a 1495 hurricane in West Indies, and returned to Spain in 1496.
There are no plans at present to build a replica of the Santa Maria, as she would be too big to make it through the waterways where the other ships travel. Also, it appears Christopher Columbus did not like her and called her slow and clumsy.
Fernandina Harbor is located at the base of historic Centre Street. After leaving Fernandina, these ships will travel to Savannah.
Seafood and Sailboats will grace Florida’s First Coast this weekend. In St. Augustine, there is the Lions Seafood Festival Friday through Sunday. There’s an Arts and Crafts Village, live entertainment, and lots of seafood.
In Fernandina, visitors can tour not one, but two replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships. The Nina, and her larger sister, the Pinta will be docked at the base of Centre Street through Monday.
This little guy loved swimming in the adult pool! I took this photo last week while with my sisters at the Rio Mar Resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Two events in March honor two very special women who contributed to our communities. Come enjoy the festivities and (hopefully) our much-awaited spring weather while learning more about our area history.
Saturday, March 15th – Carrie Clark Day
Our neighbors across the river in Clay County have invited us to join them in the Carrie Clark Day festivities this year. The Clarks were one of the early families in Clay County and were very active in the community. Their home and surrounding land was later purchased by the town of Orange Park and now serves as a community park. Come enjoy music, games, crafts, food, and a tour of the Clark house.
Sunday, March 16th – Miss Aggie Day
Stop by the Old Mandarin Store and Post Office (corner of Mandarin Rd and Brady Rd) between 12:00 and 4:00 pm for a Moon Pie and RC Cola. Miss Agnes Jones served as Postmistress and owner of this historical building from 1911 to 1964. Each year, there is an award given to a contemporary woman honoring her contribution to our community. This year’s Miss Aggie Award will be presented to Linda Levin, Executive Director of ElderSource. The Ancient Oaks Arts and Farmers Market will also be open.
The most highly-anticipated show in the Jacksonville Artists Series is here at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts through Sunday, and you don’t want to miss it!
The stars of the show are puppets, made of leather, cane and aluminum struts. It is the puppeteers who bring Joey, the War Horse, and the other assorted horses, birds and farm animals to life. A head puppeteer stands outside each horse and two other puppeteers inside the body. The movements are incredibly life-like, and it takes no time at all for one to become emotionally attached to the horses.
How was Jacksonville fortunate enough to be chosen for this show? Well, it seems that Michael Morpurgo, author of the novel “War Horse” requested the show come to Jacksonville so his 90 year-old cousin, Betty Bergmark, could see the production. “War Horse” is also being performed in London and Berlin, the capitals of the countries who fought each other in World War I.
The journeys of Joey, the horse, and Albert, his young owner who joins the army to search for him, are not always easy to watch. But ultimately, the ending is happy and the show is breath-taking. I loved this show!
Information and tickets are available by phone (904) 442-2929 or online at the Artist Series website.