Garth Brooks.

Garth. What can you say about the man who revolutionized county music in the 90s? I grew up listening to Garth Brooks every day on the radio and he was who every country music loving 80s kid idolized. I remember the covers of his album cases, the box sets and singing along at home and in the car to every single released. It’s Garth and he’s back.

Garth announced his world tour for 2014. How could I not go to his concert?

GARTH BROOKS!

I watched his website for tour announcements to make sure I knew the cities he announced and the on sale time for tickets. The Chicago shows were not possible, but Atlanta was. Atlanta is a six-hour drive from Pensacola and completely feasible. My bestie and I were able to secure tickets for Saturday, Sept. 20 in section 116 in the Philips Arena. The plus is that is was just three days after my birthday! No better way to celebrate!

That’s exactly what we did with a road trip up to Atlanta to see some family. It was a quick trip, but 100 percent worth it. It was an amazing concert, performance and experience. I went from screaming and singing to chill bumps and teary eyes and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. Truly my favorite concert.

I don’t want to give away too many concert secrets and details and ruin it for others. Garth did travel with his beautiful wife Trish Yearwood. He also still runs and jumps around the stage like he use to do 18 years ago. My favorite quote from the night is when Garth said, “We’re not signing the new stuff, we’re singing the OLD stuff.” The crowd went wild. I doubt Garth really had to sing any of his songs because the entire crowd was doing a karaoke sing along.

When Garth makes it back to the South, I will be buying tickets for me and my momma. I suggest you do the same.

IMG_6886

IMG_6997

IMG_6888

IMG_6899

IMG_6919

IMG_6955

IMG_6989

Pensacola Seafood Festival

It’s that time of year again for the annual Pensacola Seafood Festival. For many years, this event was very near and very dear to me. I was the PR and Marketing Coordinator for at least four of the festivals in recent years. Now, I am a volunteer for this great event. The 37th annual Pensacola Seafood Festival is this weekend – September 26 – 28 in downtown Pensacola. Make your way downtown for this family friendly free event with great food and entertainment. Visit the Fiesta of Five Flags website for ALL of the most up to date information, or check out the Pensacola News Journal Weekender.

When will you see me? I’ll be volunteering on Friday at the Information Booth run by volunteers in the middle of Seville Square. Of course I have to stay to see JJ Grey & Mofro at 9 p.m. Friday night. I’ll also be out there volunteering with the Entertainment Committee when Chris Stapleton hits the stage on Saturday night.

pensacolaseafoodfest
Savor delicious seafood and enjoy the historic surroundings of downtown Pensacola during the 37th annual Pensacola Seafood Festival, produced by Fiesta of Five Flags and presented by Florida Blue. The FREE three day festival will take place September 26, 27 and 28 in Downtown Pensacola’s Seville Square, Fountain and Bartram Parks. Bring the entire family for a weekend filled with a variety of foods, arts and crafts, and live entertainment.

Festival Hours
Friday, September 26 | 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Saturday, September 27 | 10 a.m. – 11 p.m
Sunday, September 28 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Pensacola Seafood Festival is one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in northwest Florida with more than 150 artisans and craftsmen who travel from around the country to participate in this three day festival. This year’s festival will feature a plethora of seafood dishes and other delicious festival fare. Treat your taste buds to a variety of cuisine prepared by carefully selected food vendors bordering the park along Government and Alcaniz Streets.Taste of Pensacola will feature a Gulf to Table area where local restaurants will prepare tapas size portions of their signature recipes.

Featured Restaurants:
Fisherman’s Corner
Nancy’s Haute Affairs
Sons of Italy
Nick’s Boat House
The Fish House
The Fishing Hole
Chet’s
Dharma Blue
Flounders

Bring your chair or blanket and join us in Bartram Park for FREE entertainment including indie rock, country and even a competitor from NBC’s The Voice.

Entertainment Schedule

Friday, September 26
5 p.m. Hotel Oscar
7 p.m. Bo Henry Band
9 p.m. JJ Grey & Mofro

Saturday, September 27
1 p.m. The Wildlife Specials
3 p.m. Bonerama
4:30 p.m. Amanda Shires
6:30 p.m. Chris Stapleton
8:30 p.m. The Revivalists

Sunday, September 28
12:45 p.m. Nick & the Ovorols
3 p.m. Cole Vosbury

Be sure to also visit the Fiesta Seafood Grille sponsored by Pensacola Energy where live cooking demonstrations by Pensacola celebrity chefs will take place throughout the weekend.

Fiesta Seafood Grille Schedule
Friday, September 26
5 p.m. – Florida Blue’s Chef DeJuan Roy

Saturday, September 27
11:30 a.m. – Florida Blue’s Chef DeJuan Roy
1 p.m. – Hemingway’s
2 p.m. – V. Paul’s
3 p.m. – Culinary Productions
4 p.m. – Jackson’s

Sunday, September 28
11:30 a.m. – Florida Blue’s Chef DeJuan Roy
1 p.m. – Pensacola Cooks Kitchen
2 p.m. – Portabello Market
3 p.m. – Savor…Pensacola

The Children’s Area will feature fun activities for children of all ages including arts and crafts and face painting. New to the Children’s Area this year is the SeaMobile! With the help of local educators and Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, we will be able to offer a variety of FREE touch pools for children and families to experience live sea creatures! Hours for the Children’s Area are Saturday, September 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, September 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Pensacola Seafood Don McCloskey 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, September 27. Sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association, the run kicks off the fall racing season in Pensacola and will commence at 7:30 at Seville Quarter. Visit the PRA’s website to sign up at www.pensacolarunners.com.

For additional information about the Pensacola Seafood Festival contact the Fiesta of Five Flags office at 850-433-6512, visit www.fiestaoffiveflags.org, or become a fan at facebook.com/PensacolaSeafoodFestival.

Redneck Christmas Parade Canceled.

The end has come to the Redneck Christmas Parade. It’s a sad day. The Redneck Christmas Parade was a staple event in Chumuckla, but its not that surprising that the organizers decided to cancel.

380432_693721934022_1255603096_n

Photo provided by Ryan Campbell

Here is the quote from Chumuckla’s Facebook page: “We the members of the Chumuckla Athletic Association are saddened to inform you that the Chumuckla Redneck Parade has been cancelled. The parade has gone from a wholesome family event to a trashy beer fest. We hate to end what started as a family event but it has gotten out of hand over the years with the drinking, the trash people leaves all down the road tearing up the fields and vandalizing and disrespecting the property of others. In place of the parade we will be holding a Mud Run, for more information on this event please go and check out and like our facebook page Chumuckla Redneck Run. Thank you and we hope you all have a wonderful evening.”

I love attending events and festivals, including parades, but over the past few years, the parade was uncontrollable. No fault by the organizers, but the citizens that attended. Sadly those that I’m talking about were visitors coming to have a good time. The biggest nuisance was the trash left behind. Not just the beer cans the the paper trash, but literally couches, broken chairs and tents. It’s like the beach’s campaign to only leave your footprints, the attendees to this parade were disrespectful and ultimately caused the end to this event.

According to NorthEscambia.com, “proceeds from parade entry fees and t-shirt sales used to purchase the gifts for needy children in the Chumuckla community. Each child received about $100 worth of gifts.” I’m proud of the Chumuckla Athletic Association for coming with another event to provide funds and gifts for their cause. They have decided to host a Chumuckla Redneck Run, which sounds exciting in itself to help make up for the lost funds.  I’ll make sure to attend this fun run and spread the word about this new event! I hope the community returns the support.

The Chumuckla Redneck Run will be held on Saturday, November 1. Find out more about the event on their Facebook page and website.

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area Finalists

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, is pleased to announce the 15 grant finalists selected for 2014. These finalists were announced at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014. Ten of the 15 finalists will receive a grant of $102,500 at the IMPACT 100 meeting on Sunday, October 19, 2014.

Impactlogo

IMPACT 100 has focus area committees that help determine the finalists in each area. Read more about the Eligibility/Guidelines for IMPACT 100 applicants here.

The finalists for IMPACT 100′s 2014 year:

ARTS & CULTURE
Ballet Pensacola, Inc.
Project: Technology and Infrastructure for Production – Moving Ballet Pensacola Forward with IMPACT

First City Arts Alliance, Inc. dba First City Art Center
Project: Increasing Capacity, Building Community

The Santa Rosa County Creek Indian Tribe, Inc.
Project: Infrastructure Development of Tribal Grounds

EDUCATION
East Hill Academy, Inc.Project: The IMPACT 100 Autism Learning Center: “Use Your WORDS”

Escambia County Public Schools Foundation for Excellence, Inc.
Project: Shoot for the Stars!

The Pensacola MESS Hall, Inc.
Project: The MESS Hall Project

ENVIRONMENT, RECREATION, and PRESERVATION
Miracle League of Northwest Florida dba Miracle League of Pensacola
Project: Field of Dreams: Finishing the Work

Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center, Inc.
Project: Conservation and Protection: Sea Turtle Center Improvements

Rotary Club of Pensacola Foundation, Inc.
Project: Rotary Centennial Playground

FAMILY
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Inc.
Project: 100 Men in 100 Days

Manna Food Bank, Inc. dba Manna Food Pantries, MANNA
Project: Preparing for a Brighter Tomorrow

Society of St. Vincent De Paul Council of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Inc. dba Society of St. Vincent De Paul, Alfred Washburn Center
Project: Living on the Edge

HEALTH & WELLNESS
Alzheimer’s Family Services, Inc.
Project: Project Lifesaver

Health and Hope Clinic, Inc.
Project: Strengthening the Safety Net

Our Lady of Angels St. Joseph Medical Clinic, Inc.
Project: Improving and Expanding Patient Services

Finalists will present their project at the IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area Annual Meeting on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at the Hilton Pensacola Beach where final voting will take place.

Information submitted by the IMPACT 100 Board of Directors

Epicureans for Epilepsy

I attended an event, Epicureans for Epilepsy, on Friday, September 12 in downtown Pensacola. The event took place at SoGourmet, which is an amazing store converted to an event space for special occasions.

to bali

Epicureans for Epilepsy was a fundraiser that consisted of a food and wine tasting tour of France. It featured French wines paired with delectable appetizers prepared by SoGourmet’s culinary instructors. It was delicious with caramelized onion and goat cheese toast points, grape stuffed mushrooms with boursin cheese, and mini boeuf bourguignon en croute to name a few.

Board member, Michael Bell started off the event, speaking on behalf of Quint Studer, with information about the Epilepsy Resources Center and the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. He thanked many people and made introductions. He spoke that ARC Gateway is a one stop shop for those in need because of the people and resources available to those with epilepsy. A short video with testimonials was played for everyone in attendance.

image(7)

Michael also mentioned the new addition to the team, a rising star of Pensacola, Amber Kelley will be joining the team as the Director of the Resource Center.

The fundraiser helped raise funds for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida (EFOF), and the Epilepsy Resource Center.

image(8)

image(5)

image(6)

It was interesting to hear about the foundation and mission as an adult and to think about how each person with epilepsy lives every day. As a teenager, I remember my sister would always volunteer as a camp counselor through the Escambia County 4-H Program for Epilepsy Camp every summer. You are never fully aware until it happens to someone close to you, but this organization is doing a great job spreading awareness.

The EFOF Mission: The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida leads the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome challenges created by epilepsy.