Winterfest Kicks Off the Season With A Little Help From Santa’s Friends
By: Kelly Woodard
Santa’s little helpers are taking to the streets to kick off the holiday season in Pensacola this Friday November 29th with the 2013 Pensacola Elf Parade beginning at the T. T. Wentworth Museum. The parade marks the beginning of the 2013 Winterfest, a magical Christmas town that will make you holidays merry with tours and performances that light up beautiful Downtown Pensacola from Historic Seville to the Palafox Business District.
Follow Frosty, Rudolph, and other holiday celebrities along the parade route as they trek to the Plaza Wonderland in front of the Old County Courthouse where Santa will greet all the good boys and girls in a flurry of song, dance, and snow. Then watch as Santa lights the tree to brighten the season and heads back to his sleigh to hear all of your Christmas wishes.
The excitement begins at 3:30 pm as the elves start to gather behind the T.T. Wentworth Museum. Join in on the fun for all the contests, including Best Elf Ears, Best Costume, and Best Elf Stroller or Wagon.
Then, join Parade Marshall Mollye Barrows of WEAR-TV 3 as she leads the merry crew to the Old County Courthouse Plaza Wonderland where you can watch Rudolph's Revue, a free song-and-dance show in the Plaza with your favorite holiday characters like Rudolph and Frosty. Stop in to see Santa Claus in his sleigh for your holiday portrait. This year we're also playing reindeer games in the plaza, with face painting, snowball fights, and snowman transformations for kids.
The Performance Tour features 12 fun performances with your favorite holiday characters including Snoopy, Elvis, Frosty, and the Whos of Whoville on an hour-long trolley ride around downtown Pensacola.
The Elf Parade and tree lighting is free, but the Performance Tour is $15.50 per person. Hot chocolate is provided on the tour.
After you get in to the spirit of the season, head over to the Pensacola Saenger Theatre for a viewing of a Christmas classic, The Polar Express. Slip, slide, and fly across snow banks and frozen ground on a magical train in search of the true meaning of Christmas. The show starts at 6 pm, and tickets are just $5.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.pensacolawinterfest.org or call 850-417-7321.
Bellingrath Gardens Lights up the Night with Holiday Tradition
By: Kelly Woodard
The holiday tradition continues as Bellingrath Gardens and Home celebrates Magic Christmas in Lights. Kicking off this Friday and running nightly through December 31st, this family event allows guests to stroll through over 3 million sparkling lights and over 928 displays throughout the 65 acre Garden estate. The Bellingrath Home is decorated in whimsical holiday décor while poinsettias encompass the Gardens.
Nightly choral performances are held on the South Terrace of the Bellingrath Home, and don’t miss your chance to have your picture made with Santa. Bellingrath’s specialty gift shop is also stocked with unique handmade crafts and gifts perfect for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
Supper is served nightly in the Magnolia Cafe from 4 pm to 8 pm. Experience the entire spirit of the holiday season with hot chocolate or hot apple cider in hand as you walk through the glow of millions of twinkling lights. Sample menus include turkey and dressing, baked ham, cheesy grits, and sweet potato casserole. Snacks are also available and are located adjacent to the Bellingrath Home.
The estate is open nightly from November 29th until December 31st from 5 to 9 pm, with the exception of Christmas Day, December 25th, on which the gardens will be closed. Tours of the Bellingrath Home are available every half hour until 8 pm.
Tickets are required for this event, and pricing varies. To view the Magic Christmas in Lights only, ticket prices are $15 for adults 13 and older, $7 for children 5-12 years old, and children under 4 are free. To view both the Magic Christmas in Lights and the Bellingrath Home Tour, ticket prices are $24 for adults 13 and older, $13 for children 5-12 years old, and children 4 and under are free.
If you are looking for the perfect spot to host your next holiday party, then check out Bellingrath’s Party Tent at Magic Christmas in Lights. Accommodating up to 160 guests, the Party Tent is perfect for corporate gatherings, birthday parties and other social functions. Renting the Party Tent includes the enclosed tent, tables, chairs, lights, heaters and electrical outlets.
Please note the rental fee does not include catering or linens. Bellingrath will provide a list of preferred caterers upon request. Prices to rent the tent are $400 for 20-99 guests and $500 for 100-160 guests. For more information, or to book your party now, call Shanna Bennett, Bellingrath's Group Tour Coordinator, at 800-247-8420 extension 163.
Regular tickets are also available at the door during regular hours of operation. Advanced tickets can be purchased at participating Regions Bank locations or online at www.bellingrath.org. All advance ticket holders will not be required to wait in line. They will be allowed to enter through the Will Call entrance. For more information, call 1-800-247-8420.
Get Tacky This Holiday Season At The Wonderful Wacky Women’s Ugly Sweater Party
By: Kelly Woodard
Get tacky with the wackiest women and mightiest men on the Gulf Coast at the Wonderful Wacky Women’s 2nd Annual Holiday Ugly Sweater Party this Wednesday, December 4th at 6:30pm at The Sports Bar of Perdido Key, located at 13583 Perdido Key Drive in Perdido Key.
This fun filled event will feature live music, food, and drinks for everyone to enjoy while sporting their favorite tacky holiday looks. Prizes will be awarded for the ugliest sweater, wackiest sweater, and the most creative sweater.
The event is hosted by the Redneck Riviera Chapter of the Wonderful Wacky Women, a local charitable organization benefiting ovarian cancer founded on the concept of “women who rise above all obstacles to turn tragedy into triumph, and who answer the call to make a difference in the world”.
Jimmie Sue Walters, WWW Director/Founder and cancer survivor, believes that bringing awareness to this “silent killer” is imperative to saving women’s lives. Walter’s said, “Early detection is vital, and many women don’t have any symptoms or simply ignore the signs until it is too late. Our goal is to provide education on warning signs, support to those who are already struggling with this disease, and raise as much money as possible to fund research for a cure.”
The event is free; however donations will be accepted to help benefit the fight against ovarian cancer.
For more information, contact Jimmie Sue Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-525-1975.
The Track Heats Up At the 46th Annual Snowball Derby
By: Kelly Woodard
The race is on as the 46th Annual Snowball Derby speeds into town this Wednesday, December 4th through Sunday, December 8th at Five Flags Speedway. A victory in the Snowball Derby is the most coveted prize in Super Late Model racing.
The Speedway hosts an open test the weekend prior to Thanksgiving each year to provide teams one last chance to prepare for the event. This year, Mason Mingus scored the first blow in the 2013 Snowball Derby, winning $500 by posting the fastest time in the Open Test on Saturday.
Seven Super Late Model teams of the 60-plus registered for the Derby turned laps in addition to Mingus. That list included 2011 Derby runner-up DJ VanderLey, two-time pole-winner and NASCAR Camping Work Truck Series winner Cale Gale, Kyle Grissom, TJ Reaid, Allen Karnes, Chase Oliver and Casey Smith.
Mingus went out 20 minutes into the final hour of the event to take the top spot with a lap time of 16.644 around the 15 degree banked half-mile, which was fast enough to hold off one final attempt by Jeremy Pate in the closing minutes. Pate's final attempt came within 0.008 of Mingus' fast lap but ultimately came up short.
Qualifying for the Derby will take place on Dec. 6 and will lock in the top-30 teams. The rest of the field will be set by three provisional and three last chance race qualifiers, making practice all the more valuable.
The fun kicks off on Wednesday, December 4th at 9 am where the parking of the team rigs will take place. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in a meet and greet with the teams and drivers until 5 pm. Then from 5 pm to 9pm, join Cat Country 98.7 for the Green Flag Party where guest can get autographs, take pictures, and enjoy food, drinks, live entertainment, and much more.
Then on Thursday, December 5th, the Pits open at 8 am followed by Snowball /Snowflake Practice from 10 am to 4 pm. Then from 5 to 6 pm, Bomber & Sportsmen Practice begins followed by Bomber & Sportsmen Quals at 6:15 pm where the top 20 will advance.
On Friday, December 6th, join 102.7 WXBM for Pole Night. The action begins at10 am with Snowball & Snowflake Practice followed by Super Stock Practice at 11 am and Modified Practice at 11:45 am. At 6 pm, the top 30 teams that will compete in the finals will be locked in.
Saturday, December 7th kicks off with practice in all categories followed by Snowflake Qualifying at 2 pm. Then stick around as the real race action heats up at 7 pm with the Snowflake Drivers Intro followed by the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 at 7:30 pm.
On Sunday, December 8th, Pits open at 9 am followed by a worship meeting at 10 am. At noon, the action begins again with Engine Warm Ups and Cars to Grid followed by the Drivers Introduction and Pre Race Festivities at 1 pm, and the main event, the Snowball Derby 300, at 2 pm.
Tickets for the Snowball Derby are on sale now at www.5flagsspeedway.com. Ticket prices for a 4 day pass are $75. A VIP all access pass which is good for Reserved Grandstands, Pits, and all 4 days, are $120. Individual day passes are available for $45.
For a complete list of teams, schedules, and Derby events, visit www.5flagsspeedway.com or call 850-944-8400.
Touch-a-Truck To Help Put Toys Under Trees This Holiday Season
By: Kelly Woodard
Kids always dream about what they’ll be when they grow up. Whether it is a firefighter, police officer, or race car driver, there is one special thing that goes along with their dream; the perfect car or truck! Now they can try one on for size as Play Pensacola presents Touch-a-Truck on Saturday, November 23rd from 10 am to 3 pm at the Community Maritime Park, located at 301 W Main Street in downtown Pensacola.
Children are encouraged to touch, climb and discover construction vehicles, police cars, fire trucks, semi-trucks, buses, heavy duty tractors and more. Kids will learn about what these cars and trucks do, and how they help the community. There will also be live music, food, face painting, and inflatables!
Home Depot will be on hand with fun, kid friendly activities and hands on demonstrations throughout the day. For a small fee, kids can enjoy additional activities like face painting, carnival games, and special sugary treats.
Admission is free with a new, unwrapped toy for Toys For Tots. All proceeds will benefit the Gulf Coast area Toys For Tots Foundation.
For more information, visit www.pensacolacommunitymaritimepark.com.
Get Your Body And Mind Connected At the 2013 Mahabhuta Yoga Festival
By: Kelly Woodard
Find your inner Zen at the 2013 Mahabhuta Yoga Festival this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, November 15th-17th at the Sanders Beach Community Center, located at 913 South I Street in Pensacola. The 2nd Annual Mahabhuta Yoga Festival will host 24 regional yoga studios in an amazing 17,500 square foot state of the art water view facility.
There will be twenty-four yoga workshops over the weekend with the “Water” room suitable for 300 people and the “Serpent” room suitable for 75 people. In addition, there will be LED Hoop performances, a marionette show, henna artists, organic & vibrant food, numerous artists and yoga-inspired vendors.
The talented Sean Johnson & the Wild Lotus Band will offer Kirtan, a practice that involves chanting hymns or mantras to the accompaniment of instruments, on Friday evening, and on Saturday evening, Rising Appalachia will perform on location at Sanders Beach Community Center.
Pensacola was chosen to host the event for its’ natural beauty and Southern charm, however the area also boast a tremendous amount of talented regional yoga teachers, artists, healers, and musicians. With several specialty yoga classes to choose from, there is sure to be something fun, new, and exciting to try, even for the most experienced yog-ees.
Get some are at the festival’s Aerial yoga class. Aerial yoga employs a fabric hammock or “yoga swing” to enhance and deepen traditional yoga postures. Students will receive guidance and support in this beautiful outdoor setting overlooking the water. Enjoy the views of the festival as the swing cradles your body towards a relaxed state. The rhythmic and fluid nature of an Aerial yoga practice connects us to the strength and stability of our core, which allows you to fully release into the depths of surrender.
Sharpen your focus while strengthening your core at the Intro to Slackline yoga class. Come learn this award winning practice which redefines balance as you know it! In this 90 min playshop you’ll learn the basics of the Slackasana series. This includes standing (commitment), kneeling (core strength), sitting (focus), arm balancing (breath), as well as exercises for more seasoned slackers to expand their comfort zone on the line. The Slackline Series is a unique practice that teaches complete body awareness, helping you to redefine your sense of balance and mental focus. This class is for all ages and skill levels; no experience of any kind required. Whether you are a slackline star or have never even heard of slackline before come discover why Yogaslackers Slacklining is one of the fastest growing and most popular yoga practices in the country!
Tickets are on sale now by visiting www.mahabhutayogafestival.com. Single workshop tickets are just $35 or you can buy a workshop bulk pass. A 4 workshop pass is $135, a 6 workshop pass is $200, and an 8 workshop pass is $270. Be sure to purchase your specialty passes for acupuncture for $75, an aerial workshop for $30, reflexology for $75, and 60 minute spa sessions for $75.
A portion of all the proceeds will fund the Mahabhuta Yoga Foundation which will fund a scholarship for a Gulf Coast resident to participate in a local yoga teacher training from one of the participating studios.
For more information or for a full schedule of events, visit www.mahabhutayogafestival.com or call 850-279-4102.
Local Artist Mikaela Sheldt Paints Live At Gallery Night
By: Kelly Woodard
The Pensacola Museum of Art will feature Mikaela Sheldt, one of the nations’ fastest up and coming artist, at Gallery Night, this Friday, November 15th from 6 to 9 pm. Sheldt, who resides in Pensacola, is an avid surfer, philanthropist, and artistic visionary who has displayed her large art installations at galleries all over the country.
At the age of seven, Mikaela Sheldt’s first community based project was a fund-raiser for children affected by AIDS and HIV. Eight years later with the National AIDS Fund Caring Counts award under her belt, Sheldt lost her best friend and older brother. Life came to a stand still for Sheldt until she began to paint on her first canvas, her barren bedroom walls, a canvas ultimately covered with explosions of the memory of her brother.
In 2012, Sheldt continued to work from a personal place, and whether or not she is performing, painting, or working with the community, Sheldt bridges the gap and engages people in the dynamic experience of simply being human. Sheldt said, “In a world increasingly dependent upon virtual means of connection, art is able to engage us in a visceral and physical way. My work uncovers the dynamic experience of simply being human. Through emotional and intimate portraiture, I ask viewers to connect with the universal human experience.”
Sheldt, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that effects behavioral development, claims that she never wanted to be an artist but found solitude in consuming herself in her creativity. “My studio is the one place where I cease to be a person with Asperger’s Syndrome and I am only Mikaela. When I make art I am challenged, elated, strong, and full. The process and the end of making are my purpose, and with this purpose I am happy.”
When she isn’t producing intriguing art, Sheldt can be found catching a few waves here on the Gulf Coast. Her latest project includes incredible surf photography with a front row seat to all the action on the beautiful emerald water.
In honor of Sheldt’s appearance at Gallery Night, the Pensacola Museum of Art will be open to visitors free of charge. Be sure to stop by to witness Sheldt paint live from 6 to 9 pm.
In addition to PMA’s live Sheldt exhibition, Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola will be closed for the duration of Gallery Night so that patrons can enjoy all that our local businesses have to offer.
For more information or for a complete list of Gallery Night events and specials, visit www.pensacolamuseumofart.org/gallerynight or call 850-432-6247.