Pensacola Beach Proves To Be One Of the Best On TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Beaches List For 2015
By: Kelly Woodard
As residents of the Gulf Coast, we all know that our beaches are some of the most beautiful in Florida, but thanks to TripAdvisor’s third annual Travelers' Choice Awards which includes the Top 25 Beaches, not only in the U.S., but the world, we now have official bragging rights.
The list for 2015, which will official be posted this Memorial Day weekend, ranks our very own Pensacola Beach at 5 in the US, beating out such other popular Florida beaches like Panama City Beach (#10) and Clearwater Beach (#8). In addition, Pensacola Beach beat out several other exotic beach hotspots like Kailua Beach Park, Kailua, Hawaii (#8), Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu, Hawaii (#11), and South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida (#21).
The beach rankings, in their third year, are determined by analyzing the quality and quantity of a year's worth of TripAdvisor user reviews of beaches across the globe.
According to an official statement made on the TripAdvisor website, “Pensacola Beach is an undiscovered gem that boasts undeniable beauty with a family friendly atmosphere that is as magnetic to visitors as the sugary white sands that lie next to its emerald waters.” TripAdvisor went on to say that Pensacola Beach beat out other popular choices due to its “tight knit community feel, delightful beachside eateries, and ease of access”.
One of the highest rated TripAdvisor reviews of Pensacola Beach read, “It’s clear that the beaches are beautiful, but what made our trip extra special was the kindness of the people who live there. We met tons of locals who were so inviting and helpful. We have been other places where we never felt this welcome. Do yourself a favor and see this gorgeous beach and hang with the wonderful people that call it home.”
All in all, out of the top 25 beaches listed on the Best List, Florida landed 8 spots, but Pensacola beach ranked #2 for best Florida Beach, just behind Siesta Beach (#1 on the Top 25 in the US list). Not too shabby, Gulf Coast.
Escambia County Law Enforcement Cracks Down With ‘Click It or Ticket’ This Memorial Day Week
By: Kelly Woodard
Not wearing your seat belt can get you in some hot water this Memorial Day weekend as the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office participates in the national seat belt enforcement campaign ‘Click It or Ticket’ this May 18th through 31st.
Officers will be out in full force to ensure that drivers and passengers alike are wearing their seat belts just in time for the holiday weekend traffic. Sheriff David Morgan said in a press release, “Every day, unbuckled motorists are losing their lives in motor vehicle crashes. As we approach Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one thing that can save them in a crash, buckling up.”
Seat belts protect you from being thrown from a vehicle. If you are thrown from a vehicle your risk of death is five times greater. By securing you in your seat, a seat belt protects you from being thrown into other people in the car and parts of your car. In addition, seat belts keep the driver in their seat so they can control the car. According to reports by the Florida DMV, nearly 60 percent of fatal crashes in the State of Florida last year involved victims who were not wearing their seat belts.
In Florida, the law states that seat belt laws apply to all cars, pickup trucks, and vans operated on Florida roads. All passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt, and all passengers under 18 must wear a seat belt. In addition, children 3 and younger must be secured in a federally approved child-restraint seat, children 4 through 5 must be secured by either a federally approved child restraint seat or safety belt, and the driver is responsible for buckling up the child.
The cost for a seatbelt violation in the state of Florida is $30. For a child that is not properly restrained the violation is $60. These violations can be up to tripled at the officer’s discretion, depending on the individual situation.
The Florida safety belt laws apply at all times. Regardless if you are on a short trip in your neighborhood or driving hundreds of miles on the highway, always wear your seat belt. Remember, Click It or Ticket.
Spain’s Grandest Ship Celebrates Its Shared History with Pensacola This Fiesta Season
By: Kelly Woodard
With Pensacola’s rich naval history well known around the world, Spain is returning the favor by allowing its renowned naval training ship, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, to return to Pensacola for the seventh time for the annual Fiesta of Five Flags celebrations.
The four-masted topsail schooner standing at 113 meters, the third largest Tall Ship in the world, will arrive at the Port of Pensacola on May 27 around 9 am for a five-day visit. Following the ship’s arrival, an informal welcoming ceremony will take place for the ship’s commander, Capt. Enrique Torres-Piñeyro, at the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum.
Expected in attendance are Maria Davis, Ramon Gil-Casares, the Ambassador of Spain to the United States, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and other local dignitaries and city and military officials.
“Pensacola is very dear to Spain because of our long history,” said Davis. “Spain is sending the Elcano here this year to honor the U.S. citizenship of General Bernardo de Galvez, a Revolutionary War hero who won the Battle of Pensacola 234 years ago in May.”
Spanish commander Galvez defeated British troops in the Battle of Pensacola on May 9, 1781, reconquering West Florida for Spain and aiding the 13 American colonies in their quest for independence. Each year, Pensacola, which boasts a large population with connections to Spain, celebrates that victory.
In December of 2014, the United States Congress conferred honorary citizenship on Galvez, citing him as a hero of the Revolutionary War.
Adelene Lovelace, executive director of the Fiesta of Five Flags Association said, “We are one of only two ports in America that the ship will be calling on this year. This helps us celebrate our heritage and connections with Spain. We are so proud and excited to have the Elanco back in Pensacola.”
The public is invited to attend a formal wreath-laying ceremony to honor Gen. Galvez on Thursday, May 28th, at 9:30 am at Fort George. In accordance with Spanish tradition, the Elcano and Corry Station naval bands will both perform. The ceremony also will include the observance of a 21-gun salute and performances of the National Anthem and Taps.
Free tours of the naval ship are available to the public from 10 am to 1 pm and 3 to 5 pm on Friday and Saturday, May 29th and 30th, and from 3 to 5 pm on Sunday, May 31st. The ship will depart Pensacola on Monday, June 1st, at 4 pm.
For more information, contact the Fiesta Of Five Flags Foundation at 850-433-6512 or www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.
Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon Help “Surrender the City” For the Fiesta Season
By: Kelly Woodard
Emmanuel Sheppard and Condon, one of Pensacola’s premier law firms, is proud to present the kick off party for the 66th Annual Fiesta of Five Flags celebration Wednesday, May 27th from 7-10 pm at Seville Quarter.
The celebration salutes the rich history of Pensacola under the flags of the five governments that have flown over our city – Spain, France, England, the Confederacy and the United States. Seville Quarter will host five different rooms representing each of these important influences on our city.
This year, the City of Five Flags will honor the visit of the Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a four-masted topsail schooner standing at 113 meters, the third largest Tall Ship in the world, and the honorary citizenship of Bernardo de Galvez.
Tickets for the event are $35 and include live entertainment from some of the best local a regional bands the gulf coast has to offer. Tickets will also include a delicious variety of food and two drink vouchers, as well as an exclusively designed 66th annual commemorative pin.
The ever popular ‘Surrender the City’ ceremony where local dignitaries such as Mayor Ashton Hayward, Police Chief Chip Simmons, Supervisor of Elections David H. Stafford and Pensacola Naval Air Station Commanding Officer Capt. Keith Hoskins are captured by the Fiesta Forces and surrender the City of Pensacola and its citizens to DeLuna, his queen, and the Fiesta Forces for the Fiesta season, starts at 7:15 pm in Phineas Phoggs.
All tickets include food, two drink tickets, live entertainment and commemorative Fiesta medallion. Tickets are sold in advances through the Fiesta of Five Flags office, located at 2121 W. Intendencia Street, Pensacola, FL 32502.
For more information about the Emmanuel Sheppard and Condon Fiesta Days Celebration or Surrender of the City, call the Fiesta of Five Flags office at 850-433-6512 or go online to www.FiestaofFiveFlags.org.
Pensacola Honors Those Who Gave All This Memorial Day
By: Kelly Woodard
To honor those who have given all for our freedom this Memorial Day, the Gulf Islands National Seashore at Fort Pickens and Veteran’s Memorial Park in downtown Pensacola will celebrate with two separate patriotic ceremonies to remember the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families have made throughout our nation’s history.
On Sunday, May 24th join this year's guest of honor and keynote speaker is President of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, Mr. Butch Hansen. The Veterans Memorial Park is also pleased to welcome Lieutenant General Duane Thiessen as a guest speaker, and the NAS Pensacola Color Guard, the NAS Pensacola Honor Guard and Bugler. The Memorial celebration festivities at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, located at 200 S 10th Avenue in downtown Pensacola, will begin at 1 pm. There will be music, a speech by General Nyland, followed by a moment of silence. The event is free for everyone to attend. For more information, call 850-290-7561 or visit www.veteransmemorialparkpensacola.org.
Then, join the Gulf Islands National Seashore at Fort Pickens as they host a living history encampment by Company C, 3rd U.S. Infantry (1860-1865) from 9:30 am to 5pm this Monday, May 25th.
Uniformed re-enactors will conduct period "Colors" and "Retreat" ceremonies at 9:30 am, 12 pm and 5 pm. Company drill demonstrations will be conducted at 10 am and 3:30 pm, and Artillery drill demonstrations are at 11 am and 3:30 pm.
Take a Fort Pickens ranger-led tour at 11 am or 2 pm, or explore on your own, and view the incredible brick construction of these historic fortifications. The majestic white beaches and emerald green waters are also a beautiful place to swim, picnic, relax, and enjoy the beautiful Florida sunset.
At 3 pm, a special moment of silence will be observed as an act of respect and remembrance to the brave men and women who have given their lives for their country.
The program is free, but there is an $8 entrance fee to the Fort Pickens Area. For additional information about this program or others offered at the Seashore, call the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at 850-934-2600 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/guis.