Spring Gets Spicy At the 30th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival
By: Kelly Woodard
Bugs are invading downtown Pensacola! Mud bugs, that is. Show your love for these spicy little critters at the 30th Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday May 2nd through May 4th in downtown Pensacola’s beautiful Bartram Park.
One of the state’s largest crawfish boils, this favorite festival brings a little of the Louisiana bayou right here to Pensacola Bay. There will be a wide range of Cajun fare such as crawfish poboys, crawfish pies, and of course, 16,000 pounds of boiled crawfish, as well as other traditional fare like hot dogs and hamburgers.
Along with great food, festival patrons will enjoy a variety of foot-stomping music straight from the Louisiana Bayous. Kicking off the live entertainment on Friday, May 2nd at 3 pm is The Upstarts, followed by The Redfield, and Wayne Toups at 8:30 pm.
On Saturday, May 3rd, the music gets started early with Hazy Ray at 11 am followed by the AJ Ghent Band at 1 pm. Later at 3:30 pm, Chubby Carrier takes to the stage followed by Roddie Romero & the Hub City All Stars at 5:30 pm, and Super Funk Fantasy at 8:30 pm.
Rounding out the music lineup on Sunday, May 4th is Gravy at 11 am, Rollin’ In the Hay at 12:30 pm, and Cowboy Mouth at 3 pm.
Get ready for the 9th Annual Cat Country 98.7 Crawfish Eating Contest. Choose from the kids, adults, and CrawDADDY divisions. Entry Fees: Kids - free, Adult - $5 and CrawDADDY - $10. Registration begins 30 minutes before the competition starts. Bring your cheering section and enter for your chance to win prizes from Cat Country 98.7.
Don’t leave the little ones at home! Saturday and Sunday, there will be plenty for the kiddos to do in the family area. Tons of crafts, games, face painting and the famous "NASCRAW" crawfish races.
Daily admission to the 2014 Pensacola Crawfish Festival is $5 for adults, with free admission to children 12 and under. A weekend pass for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is available for $10. Pop in for lunch on Friday and get in FREE before 3 pm. All active duty military with valid id will receive free admission all day on Friday, May 2nd.
Handicapped parking will be available Friday through Sunday, across the street from Bartram Park at Fountain Park. Additional handicapped parking for Saturday and Sunday will be available behind the Florida Public Archeology Network Building on Barracks Street.
The Fiesta 5K and 10K Run/Walk is sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association and will be held Saturday, May 3rd at 7:30 am. The 10K participants will begin at Pensacola State College, while the 5K runners will start from Scott Street and 12th Avenue. Both races will finish at Seville Square. Those who run in the race will receive free admission to the Pensacola Crawfish Festival on (Saturday) that day. Come Eat, Run & Relax with some Cajun flair! For more information, please visit www.pensacolarunners.com.
For more festival information, call 850-433-6512.
Mayor Hayward In Hot Water Again Over Using Tax Dollars For TV Show
By: Kelly Woodard
Controversy swirls around Pensacola’s Mayor Ashton Hayward once again this week as it was announced that he will be spending more than $23,000 of taxpayer money on a television show starring himself.
The weekly show, which is scheduled to air on Sundays for nine weeks on BLAB TV this summer, is said to promise viewers a look inside city operations with Hayward as their host. The show is scheduled to end just two weeks before the Aug. 14 primary election, a coincidence that Hayward’s opponents find a little too convenient.
Mayoral candidate Donna Clark said of Hayward’s decision to produce the show, “Hayward hasn’t chosen to institute such a program in his prior three years in office. Why now? He is using taxpayer money to benefit himself, and it's just wrong.” Tamara Fountain, the mayor's press secretary, fired back saying, “The timing of the show was intentional, but innocent.”
Pensacola City Councilman and fellow Mayoral candidate Charles Bare voiced his concerns on Monday saying, “The show will come from Mayor Hayward’s point of view. I highly doubt that the show will be unbiased in the presentation of the city’s needs. I'm not even considering this a campaign issue. It’s an agenda issue.” Bare went on to say that he intends to revisit the matter at Thursday's regular city council meeting.
Although Hayward’s opponents have been vocal about their opinions, local residents are still divided on the issue.
Jackie Sweetley of Pensacola said, “I think it will be interesting to see inside our local government. I personally have no idea what the Mayor of our city does, and it will be nice to know what is going on in our town beyond festivals and events.”
But Pensacola resident Pam Berindeaux disapproves, saying, “I think it’s sad that anyone would support this show. If people want to know what is going on in their city, they need to do their homework. Don’t be so dumb as to trust one person’s view on our issues.” She went on to say, “If he wants to produce a show, that’s fine. Just don’t do it with our tax dollars. What a waste!”
City Councilman Bare noted that for just $7,000 more than Hayward is spending in tax dollars on his television show, a new police officer could be hired and put to work on the street, a fact that Bare says is important due to, “Pensacola’s recent bad publicity regarding small town crime statistics”.
No official word has been given on the time slot in which Mayor Hayward’s show will air, but Bare and Clark suggest that “residents educate themselves” on the issues before watching and making any decisions regarding their city.
Local Cousins Go Viral With Possible World Record Mako Catch
By: Kelly Woodard
Milton cousins Earnie and Joey Polk set out for a promising night of fishing on local beaches last week, but never expected to become viral sensations when they hooked into an 805 pound mako shark that is suspected to be a new world record.
The two had intended to keep the potentially controversial catch under wraps, but when they stopped for gas with the massive fish strapped to the bed of their truck it’s no shock that they drew some attention. Passerby West Calhoun snapped a photo which set social media ablaze and was soon picked up by a local paper. Within hours, word of the Polk’s catch had gone viral.
The Polk’s say that the mako that weighed 805 pounds and measured 11 feet long was caught after they used a kayak to drop bait about 300 yards from shore. Once the monster was hooked, it took over an hour to haul the giant predator onto the sand. But not everyone thinks the shark should have been killed.
Pensacola Beach resident, Farrah Johnson said, “These creatures are such an important part of our ecosystem. Taking them out of our waters can potentially throw things off balance.” Gulf Breeze resident, Jeremy Hillson agreed saying, “Although I’m glad that this shark won’t be prowling where I’m swimming anymore, it’s a shame that these guys didn’t release it. It didn’t have to die.”
The Polk’s say that in the past two years, they have worked closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to tag almost all of their 300 catches for release. “Out of those catches, we have released all but about 20, including this guy,” Earnie Polk said. “That’s probably the best fish we ever caught.”
That’s really saying something for this duo. Earnie Polk already holds the current world record for a mako with the International Land-Based Shark Fishing Association. He and Joey worked together to take that 684-pound female shortfin in 2009 on Navarre Beach. Overall the pair holds a combined three world records from ILSFA.
The two went on to say that the decided against releasing the fish due to its fatigued condition once on the shore. “It wasn’t doing too well by the time we reeled him in, and we made the decision to take it rather than let it die a slow death,” Earnie Polk said. Joey Polk added, “We generally only keep what won’t swim off.”
The Polk’s say that they won’t be wasting any of the fish either. “We plan on giving about 600 pounds of it away to our family and friends.” Whatever is left will go to local consumers. “It's a $10-per-pound fish at the fish market. It will sell right along with tuna and swordfish. Between all of us, there won't be a bit wasted,” Joey Polk said. “We respect these animals, and hope people understand that we take their lives very seriously.”
For now, the cousins are basking in their unintentional fame saying, “We never intended on being approached by the national media, but it does feel good to be recognized as great anglers.”
Nature Lovers “Paddle Up” For An Amazing Journey Along the Gulf Coast Shores
By: Kelly Woodard
Gulf Islands National Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown wants you to “paddle up” and join him on the End to End Seashore Paddle, a series of eight paddles along the shores of the Emerald Coast, April 19th to April 26th, weather permitting.
The program, which Brown says is designed to educate visitors and locals alike about our shores and it’s delicate ecosystem, will host park rangers as guides to point out local wildlife and answer any questions fellow nature seekers may have along the way. Brown said, “We have so many amazing things to see here along our coastline from Osprey to dolphins to sea turtles. You name it, we’ll probably catch a glimpse of it. This is a great way to get active in our own backyard.”
The paddles begin at 9 am at the canoe launch area near Rosamond Johnson Beach on Perdido Key and concludes at the East Pass access on Okaloosa Island, (south of the Destin bridge). The paddle is segmented into eight consecutive days with varying degrees of length and difficulty. Participants may paddle the entire 58 mile length of the seashore or choose any number of the individual segments.
Participants should provide their own kayak or canoe, life jacket, paddle, drinking water, and lunch. A limited number of kayaks are available free of charge by reservation on a first come first severed basis. Please call Susan Teel at 850-934-2618 or Steamer Lawhead at 850-934-2629 for more details. Participants will also need to provide their own transportation for each leg of the paddle.
Each leg of the paddle is about three hours long, and camping is also available at the Fort Pickens Area of the Seashore. All sites are $26 per night with water and electricity hook-ups, grills/fire rings and picnic tables.
Superintendent Brown encourages visitors and residents to explore and enjoy the beautiful beaches, museums, programs, historic forts and recreational opportunities within the National Seashore, and added, “With so many things to see and do, this event is sure to give people the thrill of a lifetime.”
For a full description of the facilities and programs currently available, visit the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/guis or contact the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at (850) 934-2600.
Bubba Watson May Have Two Green Jackets, But He’s Still A Down To Earth Guy
By: Kelly Woodard
Pensacola’s hometown PGA hero, Bubba Watson, went home once again with the coveted green jacket last Sunday at the 2014 Masters in Augusta, Ga. Watson dominated the rest of the field through the week, especially in Sunday's final round where he broke a tie game just before Turn Four on No. 9, then cruised to an easy win by three strokes. For Watson, a fan favorite, a University of Georgia product and a gulf coast native, that makes two jackets in just three years. Not too shabby.
Watson says his success is still unbelievable even to him. “To win one green jacket is a dream come true. To win two is icing on the cake. I never thought I’d get this far…I’m just trying to keep my Tour card every year, and I’m lucky enough to have won two green jackets. I play the game not to be called a great player. I love it and want to grow the game,” he said.
Although Watson has remained humble, his success is no fluke. He trains hard. He plays hard. He takes risks. Although he may have had a 3-shot lead on 15 in the final round on Sunday, Watson chose to hit an iron between pines, over the pond and over the green’s backside, proving that when the pressure is on, so too is Watson’s ability to deliver.
Jordan Spieth, PGA’s Rookie of the Year in 2012, chased Watson all weekend for the coveted title but says Watson is a forced to be reckoned with. “When he’s driving the ball well, he’s tough to beat. Every time I’d hit a decent shot, here comes Bubba with a better one. He answered back every time.”
Watson’s recent win seemed to be a bit less dramatic than his first win in 2012 where in a playoff over Louis Oosthuizen, he pulled off a ridiculous shot; a slinging hook off pine straw under the most intense pressure. Despite the crowd pleasing antics he was able to deliver in 2012, Watson said, “Playing this way was a lot better…a lot easier.”
One thing that didn’t change from his 2012 Masters win was his emotionally charged reaction that makes him one of the most loveable characters in golf. As he sunk his final put to clinch the title, Watson embraced his wife Angie and their now three year old son Caleb as the tears began flowing down his face.
“Back in 2012, we adopted Caleb just a week before the Masters, and I thought about pulling out of the tournament because I wanted so badly to be with my new family. My wife encouraged me to play, and I never imagined that I would win,” Watson said. “This time around, things felt more stable and grounded. I was able to focus on my game. At the end of the day, win or lose, I owe everything to Angie and Caleb.”
Watson’s good friend and fellow PGA teammate Rickie Fowler said, “Being a dad has really brought out the best in Bubba. He was already a great guy, but now we can see how he has matured in both his family life and his game. He’s gone from being like 12-and-a-half years old to 14 mentally. He’s just a kid at heart.”
As he left the 18th green crying tears of joy, he did so with Caleb in his arms, high-fiving the fans on the way by. Watson said shortly after slipping on his green jacket and once again picking up his son, “Winning the Masters is a dream come true. To have two of these jackets is overwhelming, but it’s not what makes me great. This little guy is.”
After the excitement settled down, Watson, green jacket and all, headed out for a post win meal at the local Augusta Waffle House. Even though he may have made $1.62 million from his victory, Watson is still a down home boy at heart tweeting a late night pic that read, “Champ dinner @WaffleHouse! #hashbrowns #covered”.
Pat Warner, Waffle House's vice president of culture, told ESPN.com, “It's a testament to Bubba's character that even though he has two green jackets, he still comes to us for his grilled cheese and hash browns.”
Bubba’s down to earth personality and sincere tears are quickly becoming, like the Masters itself, a tradition like none other.
The End of Florida’s FCAT Brings Big Changes and Obstacles To Escambia County Schools
By: Kelly Woodard
Teachers, parents, and students breathe a sigh of relief as this week marks the last time state students will take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, known as the FCAT. The test, which by this time next year will be replaced by a new Common Core-aligned assessment, has been the topic of controversy for years.
The Florida Commission on Education Reform and Accountability under Gov. Lawton Chiles gave birth to the test in 1995. It was part of a series of recommendations that were meant to give local districts more control and a better sense of how their schools were doing. FCAT scores were then tallied ultimately giving each school a grade, A-F. The “grade” each school was given factored into funding, student advancement and whether a school required intervention.
So what’s next in the classroom?
The non-profit American Institutes for Research was chosen to design the new test. It’s still in development, which is a huge concern for teachers and superintendents. Escambia County teacher Susan Hill said, "We're setting both teachers and students up for failure when we don't have the standards written and the end of course exams that teachers are going to have to be implementing next year don’t even exist yet."
That being said, the new test is meant to be a better, more-comprehensive assessment. In both language arts and math, students are to take a series of exams with the scores combined into one final mark for each subject. In addition, students will now be taken these tests on computers rather than paper test packets allowing for speedier test results, cheaper printing costs, and the end of the hassle and security risk of collecting tests from more than 80 public schools in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
However, Escambia County Schools Superintendent Malcolm Thomas believes this new technology could cause bigger problems for our area schools. “We are going to need far more computers in every school to make the new testing efficient. Unfortunately, Escambia county just doesn’t have the funding to keep up with the demand,” Thomas said.
Thomas went on to say, “Our hope is that we are able to find the funding, supply the students and teachers with the equipment they need, and get this technology in our classrooms because our students need real world application. They need to know how to use advanced technology to become relevant in the future workforce.”
There is no word yet on any future plans to up the budget for technology in Escambia County schools, but Hill remains optimistic. “Although I’m not sure where the money will come from or how we are going to handle the changes, I think that the school board has the right attitude. Our kids need to learn not only what is on these tests, but how to adjust to a new way of testing and the use of new technology.”
Spring Weather Will Finally Arrive When Fish Fly ‘Over the Line’ At the Flora-Bama
By: Kelly Woodard
The beach time fun begins when fish fly “over the line” next weekend at the 30th Annual Interstate Mullet Toss at the world famous Flora-Bama Beach Bar and Lounge, April 25th through April 27th.
This three day phenomenon, often referred to as the Gulf Coast’s greatest beach party, allows beach goers to grab a mullet and let it fly as far as possible. A mullet is one of the more popular and plentiful fish indigenous to this area. It is the only fish with a gizzard and is said to possess mystical properties. Tossers will throw their fish from a 10-foot circle in Florida across the state line into Alabama. All tosses will be measured, and prizes will be given in each age division.
So why pay $15 to throw a fish? A contribution for each fish flung will go to Local Youth Charities, including local school education and prevention program from the Community Drug & Alcohol Council, Inc. (CDAC) which offers programs, community support and collaboration to address drug and alcohol abuse, tobacco, mental health issues and violence, both in the home and on our streets. Each year, the Flora Bama raises and contributes over $20,000 to local charities, especially youth organizations.
With the Flora Bama’s fabulous new venue is finally complete, the first major renovation to the building since Hurricane Ivan ravaged it in 2004. The new addition includes a new upstairs bar, balcony, stage, and elevator.
Before the Mullet Toss gets underway on Saturday, hundreds will compete in the 18th annual Mullet Man Triathlon. Men and women will compete in three consecutive endurance races that will start at 7:30 am. The race will consists of a quarter-mile swim in the Gulf of Mexico, followed by a 15-mile bike race that begins at the Flora Bama Lounge and heads west 7.5 miles in the north lane of Perdido Beach Blvd. to the Alabama State Park, then back. The third segment will be a 4-mile run that will begin at the Flora Bama, head west under Perdido Pass Bridge and back.
The fish flying action begins at 10 am on Friday with celebrity tossers participating in the toss at high noon each day. Entry fee to toss a mullet is $15 per toss, and a souvenir t shirt is included.
Each fish weighs approximately 1 pound, and no gloves or sand on the mullet will be allowed. After the fish has been tossed, it must be retrieved and returned to the bucket. Tossers who step out of the designated 10 foot circle or who throw their fish out of bounds will be disqualified. Each participant will only get one chance to qualify for the finals. 6 men and 6 women will make the finals in each division each day.
No outside alcoholic beverages will be allowed on the premises, and a cover charge of $10 per day will be charged at all entrances. No one under the age of 21 will be admitted after 6 pm.
Parking is available at the Flora Bama for $10, and all proceeds will benefit local charities. The Flora Bama bus will also be running throughout the weekend for $3 each way. Pick ups for the shuttle will take place at the Winn-Dixie parking lot on Sorrento Rd. and also at the Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce located on Perdido Key Dr. Busses will run from 9 am until the bar closes. Taxis will also be available.
Boat slips will also be available on a first come first served basis. Lease agreements must be filled out at the time of docking. Daily rates are $1/foot/day or you can stay for the night. Boats under 25’ are $35, and boats over 25’ are $75.
For more information, call 850-492-0611 or 251-980-5118. For registration or more information on the Mullet Man Triathlon, call Cheryl Lange at 492-0611.
City Councilman Bare and Mayor Hayward Go Head To Head Over Proposed Changes
By: Kelly Woodard
Pensacola’s City Charter may be facing some big changes in the near future, as Mayor Ashton Hayward and City Councilman Charles Bare go head to head on changes that could shift the power of our local government. Bare has proposed three separate amendments that will limit the Mayor’s power within the city and will keep closer tabs on funds and local deals that may not currently involve the city council.
If approved, however, the amendments would grant the council new powers to establish financial controls, fix the salaries of elected officials and make changes to the city budget. The amendments would also strip the mayor of the power to determine the organization of city departments and make him a voting member of the city council, a move that Hayward feels is part of a different agenda on Bare’s part.
But Bare claims his proposed changes will benefit the city in several ways including promoting more open communication between the council and the Mayor’s office. By withholding from the mayor the power to vote under the current charter, the mayor is allowed to meet privately with individual representatives, without regard to the state’s sunshine laws. In addition, by withholding the mayor’s power to vote in the city council, he cannot be recalled by voters as current city council members can be.
Last Tuesday, Bare addressed the issue with the council saying that the Charter Review Commission has “cherry picked” which elements to follow giving the Mayor more power then he deserves. “The people voted for separation of powers,” Bare said. “They didn’t vote for backroom deals.”
Hayward fired back at Bare’s accusations and proposal, releasing a statement saying, “The amendments proposed by Councilman Bare are a Trojan horse designed to dismantle the City Charter and take our city back to a form of government that simply didn’t work. I am disappointed that councilman Bare has chosen to pursue a path which undercuts the will of the voters and takes our city in the wrong direction.”
Since Hayward took office, his administration has interpreted the charter to give him the authority to reallocate money as he sees fit, without council approval, so long as he does not transfer money from fund to fund.
Hayward may be fighting for more than his current charter as Bare has received confirmation from the Escambia County Supervisor of Elections office that he had gathered enough signatures to be placed on the ballot in Pensacola Mayor’s Race for the 2014 Primary and/or General elections. He is the first Mayoral candidate to meet the requirement.
In a press release, Bare stated that most of the signatures were collected by visiting residents door to door. Bare says he began his quest for Mayor by walking the city’s 22 precincts in mid-November 2013, personally collecting petition cards from more than 1,300 homes. “For me, having the face-to-face discussions with voters in their doorways, living rooms and kitchens is invaluable. I learn so much just by listening to the voters,” said Bare.
As for the changes to the Pensacola City Charter, Bare’s proposal will go in front of Monday’s agenda conference, and could go before the council for a vote as early as April 24th. Before becoming a law, the council will need to vote on the matter twice and will then need to be approved by voters in the August primary elections.
14/04/14 11:08 Filed in: Events
Bands On the Beach is Back and Ready To Heat Up Your Tuesday Nights
By: Kelly Woodard
Fill your dancing shoes with some sand as the popular summer concert series Bands on the Beach has returned for another jam-packed season on Pensacola Beach. Located in the beautiful Gulfside Pavilion overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this series features regional artists performing a wide variety of music.
Every Tuesday night from 7 to 9 pm beginning in April and running through October, various local and regional bands will take the stage to entertain crowds of all ages. Bring your lawn chair and soak it up this summer as the air fills with warm breezes, smooth grooves, and a whole lot of good times.
This Tuesday, April 15th, Chris Martin of the Chris Martin Band will be taking you back to a simpler time with his uniquely recognizable "blue-eyed soul" meets "Nashville drawl" renditions of current country hits as well as original material. Martin says his roots are firmly planted in the heart of traditional country music and such artist as George Strait and Keith Whitley.
Backed by the “hottest little band in P’Cola”, the Chris Martin Band has made an indelible mark on the local music scene, having achieved some impressive milestones for a band just barely a year old. Not content to follow the typical “bar band” business model, the Chris Martin Band continue to hone their craft at fairs, festivals and concerts in NW Florida and beyond.
With a Nashville produced, all original EP just released in March, and plans to share the stage with the likes of Bo Bice, Charlie Daniels and Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, the future continues to look very bright for this new country artist and his band.
Bands on the Beach is free to attend and is family friendly. There will be restaurants and bars within walking distance to fulfill your food and beverage needs. The show will go on weather permitting, so check your local weather before heading out.
For more information on this week’s upcoming show, or for a complete list of bands scheduled for the remainder of the season, visit www.visitpensacolabeach.com/events/bandsonthebeach.
Ever’man Natural Foods Honors A Brand New Store With A Grand Opening Celebration
By: Kelly Woodard
Ever’man, Pensacola’s premier natural foods store, is ready to open its doors after a long awaited facelift. The grand opening celebration will begin this Thursday, April 10th with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 am. Sponsored by the Greater Pensacola Chamber, there will be a new sign reveal, and dignitaries including Mayor Ashton Hayward and Jewel Cannada-Wynn will be on hand to address the crowd.
The Grand Opening fun will continue on Friday, April 11th with storewide specials all day long and live entertainment from Sadie Blu, a local blues singer/songwriter who will provide a lunch concert on the outside lawn from 11 am – 3 pm. Then on Saturday, April 12th from 12 pm to 4 pm, celebrate the fantastic new Ever’man Grocery and Cafe with live music, food demonstrations and tasty samples from the various local and national vendors that Ever’man Natural Foods is proud to serve in its new and improved store.
Ever’man Natural Foods carries a wide span of conventional food items along with natural, organic, gluten-free and niche food alternatives. Whole grain breads and fresh peanut butter line shelves next to packaged cereals and a myriad of juice options. For on the go lifestyles, Ever’man offers bulk bins of healthy snacks and frozen meals and canned supplies that encourage healthy eating.
Some of the unique options that Ever’man offers is a sprawling dairy section dedicated to hormone-free, organic milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs and milk alternative products as well as environmentally friendly household items and cleaning supplies to keep people and pets safe.
Is gluten your enemy? Not any more thanks to Ever’man. They carry the largest selection of Gluten Free products in Pensacola. From pastas and breads to frozen foods and cheeses, ample gluten-free options are available to help you maintain your gluten free diet and your sanity while grocery shopping. Along with fantastic gluten free items, Ever’man Natural Foods offers gluten free cookbooks, support classes for those with celiacs disease, and an interactive website to help you not only search for gluten free items available on the Ever’man shelves, but to create a shopping list to save you time when in the store.
Ever’man Natural Foods also carries a wide array of vitamins and herbal supplements to boost your health and well-being. Ever’man carries high-quality minerals, herbs, essential oils, homeopathic products, teas and personal care supplies from several regional companies and favorite nationally known brands. Whether you need a suggestion for an ailment or want help finding a supplement, Ever’man’s knowledgeable vitamin specialist takes care of members and guests in-store at the help desk.
Before you hit the beach, check our Ever’Man’s new selection of high quality sunscreens made with the best ingredients to keep you and your family safe. Of the more than 600 beach and sports sunscreens analyzed by Environmental Working Group for the 2012 Sunscreen Guide, Ever’man Natural Foods only recommends one in five. Whether you are looking for a lotion or a spray, waterproof sport sunscreen or an organic option, the Ever'man Nutrition, Health and Beauty Team has done the research for you.
Ever’man Natural Foods is located at 315 West Garden Street in downtown Pensacola. For more information on the grand opening ceremony or any of the products that Ever’man Natural Foods Offers, visit www.ever’man.org or call 850-438-0402.
Everyone’s Favorite Berry Takes Center Stage At the 27th Annual Strawberry Festival
By: Kelly Woodard
That first bite of a fresh, ripe strawberry defines the taste of spring. Let your taste buds run wild at the 27th Annual Baldwin County Strawberry Festival this Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th at the Loxley Municipal Park located at 4198 Municipal Park Drive in Loxley, AL.
The festival, which began in 1987 as a result of a united effort between the Association of Retarded Citizens of Baldwin County (ARCBC) and the Loxley Elementary School, will feature fresh from the vine strawberries made into some of your favorite treats including pies, jams, tarts, and muffins. In addition to fantastic food, the festival will host an antique tractor show, car show, arts & crafts, live entertainment, carnival rides, and plenty of fun for the whole family.
"We are anticipating close to 100,000 people attending the festival and I hope to sell 10,000 strawberry shortcakes," said Mary Carolyn McDaniel, who has been involved with the festival since its beginning. McDaniel said the event is also held in the perfect location as the Municipal Park provides ample shade, and is easily accessible.
The Baldwin County Strawberry Festival held the 27th Annual “Little Miss Strawberry Pageant” at the Loxley Civic Center on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Sixty-one girls participated, representing both public and private schools. Kyra Rose Cornwell, who attends Magnolia Elementary School in Magnolia Springs was crowned “Little Miss Strawberry Queen” for 2014 by the reigning 2013 Queen, Georgia Kate Paradise. The Queen and her court will be presiding over the Baldwin County Strawberry Festival throughout the weekend, so stop by and meet Little Miss Strawberry.
Each year, the festival raises over $48,000 for its two beneficiaries. Proceeds from the festival have helped each organization with its daily operations. Loxley Elementary School has used their funds to purchase computers for their classroom and library, to air condition their multi-purpose building, and to upgrade their playground equipment. The Association for Retarded Citizens of Baldwin County (ARCBC) has used its funds to open new residential homes and to purchase vans used at these homes.
The festival has become one of the largest and is considered by many as one of the best organized festivals in the area.
The festival is free to attend. Donations will however be accepted. For more information, visit www.baldwincountystrawberryfestival.net.
The Mullet Man Triathlon Kicks Off the 2014 Mullet Toss Season With A Bang
By: Kelly Woodard
The world’s greatest beach party kicks off with the Mullet Man Triathlon Saturday, April 19th at 7:30 am at the world famous Flora-Bama Lounge located at 17401 Perdido Key Dr. This crowd favorite event promises a great course, super volunteers, awards three deep and overall, as well as a post-race party with fabulous food and fun.
The Mullet Man Triathlon has proven to be a fantastic addition to the Annual Interstate Mullet Toss, held this year from April 25-27th. The race will feature a swim, bike, run format and athletes of all ages and performance levels are encouraged to participate.
The swim portion of the race will be a 1/2 mile swim from the shore to a buoy and back in the Gulf of Mexico. The bike segment of 17 miles will be on paved four-lane highway (Alabama Hwy 182) heading west 8.5 miles and return to the Flora-Bama® Lounge & Package. Bike helmets are required.
Finishing off the race is a 4-mile run that will begin at the Flora-Bama® Lounge, heading west under the Perdido Pass Bridge and back. Runners are encouraged to bring extra socks and shoes to make their final leg of the race more comfortable in the event that their initial pair gets wet or sandy.
There will be several divisions in the race. The two major divisions are 39 and under and 40 plus. The Athena division is for women weighing 145 lbs. or more. All ladies wishing to compete in this division must “weigh-in” at registration packet pick-up. The Clydesdale division is for men weighing 200 lbs. or more. All men wishing to compete in this division must “weigh-in” at registration packet pick-up.
The Super Clydesdale division is for men weighing 225 lbs. or more. They must “weigh-in” at packet pick-up. The Fat Tire division is for men and women riding a Fat Tire or Mountain Bike. There will be two Divisions in this category: 39 and under and 40 plus.
The First Timers division is for men and women First Time Triathletes, who have never done a triathlon before. First Timers are also in age groups.
Registration is open now through Friday, April 18th. Registration fees are $65.00 for Individuals, $125.00 for Teams (2-3 Athletes), and $100.00 for Charity Slots. Register now online by visiting www.active.com/perdido-key-fl/triathlon/flora-bama-mullet-man-triathlon-m-lane-gilchrist-memorial-2014.
Early Packet Pick Up will be held April 18th from 4 pm - 7 pm at the Flora-Bama Lounge. Race Day and Last Minute Registration and Packet Pick Up will be held the morning of the race, Saturday, April 19th from 6 am - 7 am.
For more information on the Mullet Man Triathlon or the 2014 Interstate Mullet Toss visit www.florabama.com.
The Blue Angels Soar Back Into the Spotlight To Record Crowds
By: Kelly Woodard
The Blue Angels have proved you can’t clip their wings forever as the U.S. Navy's iconic flying team took to the skies again on Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year after the team was grounded because of forced spending cuts.
Record crowds packed Pensacola NAS for the first public practice of the season. The more than 25,000 fans erupted in a roar as the Blues took to the sky, and it was obvious that the ‘boys in Blue’ have been missed.
Jeanie Skofowitz, a visitor from Lansing, Michigan, said, “It’s something we always looked forward to when we came down this way for our annual visit. We missed it so much last year, and it just feels right seeing them do what they do best again.”
Local resident James Baxter agreed adding, “The Blue Angels are a part of who we are as a city. Having them back in the air over our homes is a great feeling. I’m proud to live in the Blue’s hometown. Hearing them scream past us regularly is such a privilege.”
While fans are ecstatic to have these local heroes putting on a show once again, the Blue Angels team says they too are overjoyed to be back at it. "Our mission is to connect with the American public. Last year, we weren't able to do that with our demonstrations, so we did it with community outreach. This year it will be great to do both," said Lt. Cmdr. David Tickle, pilot of the Blues Angels' No. 5 jet in the lead solo position.
Blue Angel Cmdr. Tom Frosch added, "It just really makes you realize it's a special thing and you never know how long it will last. We take what we do very seriously, and we are so proud to back in the air and putting smiles on people’s faces."
It isn’t just the pilots and their fans who are happy that the Blues are home. Local businesses are hoping that the scheduled practices and airshows will help bring back some of the lost revenue they suffered after last year’s cancelations.
An economic impact study of the 2012 Blue Angels Pensacola Beach Airshow alone concluded that it generated about $2.4 million for the local economy along with $622,000 in wages paid to employees, according to the University of West Florida Haas Center that conducted the study. This was all lost in 2013 after the show was canceled.
Pensacola Beach business owner Amanda Fontaine said, “Our store definitely suffered an economic loss after the July airshow was cancelled last year. We depend on the crowds from that weekend every year. Even though we still had a show last year, the numbers just weren’t there. We are so happy that the Blue Angels are back in business for the show this year, and hope to see even more record breaking crowds on the island this July.”
The team is scheduled for 68 performances at 35 locations between now and November 8th including the July 12th Pensacola Beach show and the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show November 7th through 9th.
The 5th Annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon Has Pensacola Beach ‘Running Wild’The 5th Annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon Has Pensacola Beach ‘Running Wild’
The 5th Annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon Has Pensacola Beach ‘Running Wild’
By: Kelly Woodard
Hit the pavement and have some fun at the 5th Annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon, Sunday, April 13th at 7 am on Pensacola Beach brought to you by Running Wild. This fast, fun run will get your blood pumping as you trot through one of the most beautiful scenic half marathon routes in the country.
Imagine running 13.1 miles with spectacular views of the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico on one side of the course and stunning visions of Santa Rosa Sound on the other.
All participants that complete the 5th Annual Gulf Coast Half Marathon @ Pensacola Beach will receive a special finisher medal at the finish line, and awards will be awarded 3 deep in various age groups for both males and females. The Gulf Coast Half Marathon @ Pensacola Beach will feature Mile Markers at every mile and 11 well supported water stations.
Runners will have a 4 hour course limit to complete the half marathon race (~18:00/mile pace). If any runners are unable to continue at this pace they will be helped into the SAG wagon and will be transported to the finish line. The SAG wagon will only leave after the last runner has crossed the starting line and will proceed at ~18:00/mile according to chip/tag electronic timing.
Free parking will be available at 6 Casino Beach Boardwalk, Pensacola Beach, FL 32561, and due to traffic conditions it is recommended that runners arrive at least one hour before the race begins. The National Anthem will kick of the race at 6:55 am, and the race begins promptly at 7 am. The nearly world famous Flounder’s Post Race Party begins at 8:30 am and will feature drinks, food, and fun entertainment for all participants. Awards will be given at the Post Race Party at 10:30 am.
Registration for the race is open now. Registration fees are $85 until 4/12/14 (in person only at Running Wild Pensacola), and $105 (04/13/2014 - Race Day but only if available). Registration will automatically close at 2,500 runners so register early to guarantee your spot.
Packet pick-up will be held at Running Wild, located at 3012 East Cervantes Street, on Friday, April 11th & Saturday, April 12th from 11 am-5 pm. Participants must present a government issued ID to pick up race packet. There is No Race Day Packet Pick-Up.
No Bikes / hand-crank cycles (chairs), Baby strollers/jogging strollers, Dogs, Rollerblades/roller skates, Scooters, or Skateboards will be allowed at the race.
For more information or to register for the Gulf Coast Half Marathon, visit www.gulfcoasthalf.com or www.werunwild.com.
Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition Set To Address Growing Lionfish Epidemic at Local Meeting
By: Kelly Woodard
Though they may be beautiful in your saltwater fish tanks, Lionfish have become a nuisance here on the Gulf Coast. Join the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition, along with Rick O'Connor of Florida Sea Grant, for the first Pensacola Lionfish Workshop Meeting this Wednesday, April 9th at 6 pm at the Perdido Key Visitors Information Center located at 15500 Perdido Key Dr.
This meeting will give an informational presentation that will help you learn more about the invasive species. Lionfish are not native to the Gulf of Mexico. They originate from the Indo-Pacific, and it is believed that they spread into the Gulf after they were released by aquarium owners in South Florida. Lionfish began showing up in our area in 2010, and had fully infested most public reefs by late 2012.
The venomous, fast reproducing fish are aggressive eaters and will consume anything and everything, gorging so much they are actually getting liver disease. With no known predators, except human beings, they can wipe out 90% of a reef and endangering some of our most important local species.
Ecologist James Morris with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science said that while this may not be the worst epidemic the Gulf of Mexico has faced, it does have the makings of a disaster. He said the lionfish has brought a "big change in biodiversity," and it is what he called "the most abundant top-level predator in the area”.
The meeting, which will be open to all citizens, will aim to educate the public by increasing awareness of the threats posed by the invasive lionfish to Gulf Coast fisheries and marine ecosystems along with ways to promote and facilitate the removal of lionfish by volunteer divers and encourage the consumption of lionfish by the public via restaurants and seafood markets.
The Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition is comprised of concerned scientists, scuba divers, fishermen, gourmet cooks, and other stakeholders who have a passion for protecting and enjoying our natural resources. They believe with the help of local residents through participation in the 2014 Gulf Coast Lionfish Roundup, to be held May 1st through May 4th, attending local meetings to educate our friends and neighbors, reporting Lionfish sightings, and joining in on the Lionfish hunt, we can control and protect our important aquatic species and their ecosystem.
The meeting will be held from 6 to 8:30 pm on April 9th and will begin with a short presentation of facts regarding the Lionfish. Audience members will then be allowed to ask any questions they may have about the issue or the Gulf Coast Lionfish Coalition.
The meeting will conclude with details regarding the upcoming 2014 Gulf Coast Lionfish Roundup. Cash Prizes will be awarded for the highest number of fish checked in (first through fifth place), biggest fish (first second and third place), and the smallest lionfish measured. There will also have a Team Participation trophy. In addition, there will be lionfish education booths and delicious lionfish dishes prepared by Chef Chris at the festival.
Those wishing to participate in the event will be allowed to register at the meeting.
For more information about the Pensacola Lionfish Workshop Meeting or regarding the lionfish problem here on the Gulf Coast, please visit www.gulfcoastlionfish.com or contact Andy Ross at 850-529-2475.
Who Let the Dogs Out? Wiener Dogs Take the Track By Storm
By: Kelly Woodard
With their tiny legs, you'd think wiener dogs (or dachshunds, if you're picky) would be slow. Think again. Every year, the quickest wieners this side of the Mississippi gather at the Gulf Coast Wiener Dog Races to turn on the afterburners and leave the doubters in the dust. Come place your bets at the 10th Annual Wiener Dog Races Saturday April 12th 11 am to 5 pm at The Wharf in Orange Beach Alabama, located at 4830 Main Street, Orange Beach, AL 36561.
Last year, over 50 Wiener dogs raced their legs off for prizes and glory. The races will be held on a 50ft track, and all dogs will be divided up into categories based on height and weight. There will also be a category for physically challenged and elderly wiener pups so everyone gets in on the fun.
In addition, lots of the wiener dog’s furry buddies attended the event with their Pet Humans in tow to support their friends and enjoy a fun day so feel free to bring your little guys along even if he isn’t competing. There will be plenty of food, drinks, and fun on hand so make a day of it.
Registration is open now for all categories of wiener dogs. Registration fees are just $10 and are to be paid upon entry to the race gate. All dogs entered are required to provide weight, age, county tag #, and veterinarian name.
All proceeds go to the FL Dachshund & Furrever Homes 501c3 Rescue Organizations. Last year, the races generated a donation of $3,734 for the Florida Dachshund Rescue, Inc.
For more information, please visit www.wienerdograces.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.