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Twenty-two years ago, in the Spring of 1997, I moved my family to North Florida. We started our family in Boca Raton, Florida, then moved to Laguna Beach, California. Prior to the Centennial Olympic Games, we relocated to the Buckhead community in Atlanta, Georgia. After the Games, we decamped Atlanta for Ponte Vedra Beach. Once our children were literally off-and-running with their careers, we down-sized into one of Jacksonville’s historic neighborhoods, first platted in 1921.

Before coming here, we did enjoy our lives in those very pretty, and often celebrated, places.  It is true – wherever you are – it is what you make of it. In that regard, it is extremely easy to make our place thoroughly enjoyable. Here are a few things that are extraordinary about this place:

10. Regionally, we are steeped in history, heritage and traditions – from the settlement of St. Augustine in 1565 to the friendly, southern hospitality of today.

9. Friends and family are eager to come for visits – knowing there are numerous local and/or near-by unique events to experience and interesting destinations to explore.

8. The citizenry is active and engaged with a business, manufacturing and military legacy creating a viable, strong economy and a safe and secure community.

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The World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater is known for its breathtaking 3D nature documentaries, but plenty of action-adventure movies are headed to IMAX in the coming months!

IMAX Theaters are designed to deliver the world’s most immersive movie experience. The 275-seat theater includes the latest IMAX 3D digital projection system, state-of-the-art sound system and North Florida’s largest IMAX screen (50 ft. wide and 80 ft. high).

The theater also boasts large 2D screens with blockbuster movies and engaging documentaries. From super hero action films to family-friendly adventure movies, IMAX is the perfect place to take in a flick (without making the trek to Jacksonville or downtown St. Augustine).

Here are the current shows:

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The World Golf Hall of Fame is preparing for African American History Month by inviting everyone to see “Honoring the Legacy: A Tribute to African Americans in Golf”. The permanent exhibition contains rare photographs, audio, video and memorabilia to highlight the long, rich history of African Americans in golf from the game’s pioneers in the late 1800s to today’s superstars.

Visitors will see items that highlight the accomplishments of African Americans in the game despite facing steep challenges. This includes Hall of Fame member Charlie Sifford’s PGA Player Card from 1960, the document that officially broke golf’s color barrier. See other items marking the career of 1985 PLAYERS champion Calvin Peete and tennis great Althea Gibson, who was the first African American to join the LPGA Tour in 1964.

Interactive, touch-screen video displays make this one of the Hall of Fame’s most advanced exhibits. Screens show profiles of prominent African American players.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is an original sculpture designed by the renowned sculptor Mario Chiodo.  The piece represents a timeline of African Americans in golf, including 13 legendary players. Each step in the sculpture’s frame signifies a milestone of achievement, beginning with John Shippen in 1896, the first African American to play in the U.S. Open Championship. At the top, Tiger Woods is featured followed by an empty step, begging the question, “Who is next?”

The exhibit launched in 2014 and continues to provide insights into the many contributions of African American players to the game of golf.

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We never really grow out of our fascination with pirates, and St. Augustine is the best place in the country to imagine the time when plundering buccaneers roamed the high seas. There’s no better time to live the pirate’s life than January 25-27 at the 3rd Annual Old City Pirate Fest!

 

The weekend celebration is full of pirate-themed fun for the entire family in the Old City’s Colonial Quarter. Enjoy lots of food and drink options, live entertainment on two stages, games and prizes for the kids, vendors row with tons of pirate merchandise, and black powder and sword demonstrations. Entertainment includes live music, puppet shows and magic shows each day.

 

Special performers include Dirty James and the Rusty Anchors, Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers, Keith Hill, the Forged in Fire Champions and Knife or Death Grand Champion.

 

Be sure to look for The Ancient City Sirens, who will host a Gypsy Encampment throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Getting There:The Colonial Quarter is located at 33 St. George Street. Ticket booths will be located at the main entrance to the Pirate Museum on Avenida Menéndez and the Bull & Crown Publick House at 53 St. George Street.

 

Getting In: A Fest Pass, good for both Saturday and Sunday, is $7 for adults (15-65), $5 for seniors (65+) and $5 for kids (14 & under). Children 3 and under are free. Tickets for the Friday night concert featuring Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers are an additional $10.

 

Here are the event hours for each day:

Friday, January 25: 7 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.

Saturday, January 26: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, January 27: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mark your calendar for next weekend to open your imagination and live the pirate’s life! As always, the Old City Pirate Fest is hosted by the St. Augustine Swashbucklers. For more information, visit here.

 
 
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While the PGA TOUR prepares for the 60th anniversary of its Desert Classic, the World Golf Hall of Fame is also gearing up for the big event. Played every winter in Coachella Valley, California, the Desert Classic features the sport’s top players vying for a tournament win, as well as a celebrity pro-am tournament.

 

The pro-am has included among its competitors Bing Crosby, Desi Arnez and Frank Sinatra, and more recently Jimmy Fallon, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson. Several U.S. presidents have even competed including Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.

The most notable celebrity player, however, was Bob Hope. For years considered to be Hollywood’s greatest golfer, Bob first played in the tournament in 1965 when he stepped in as chairman of the board. The tournament bared his name from 1965 to 2011.

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Between shopping, wrapping, decorating and celebrating, the holidays are always a hectic time. Add to that the worry of what to cook for holiday meals. To help relieve some of that stress, the Renaissance World Golf Village Resort offers Christmas and New Year’s dinner options each year.

 

These are no run-of-the-mill ham dinners! Enjoy prime rib on Christmas Eve or seafood and steak on Christmas night, all served on an extensive buffet of tasty appetizers, gourmet sides and delectable desserts. Each dish is prepared and served with the unwavering quality and attention to detail for which the Renaissance is known.

 

Christmas Eve Prime Rib Dinner Buffet: On Monday, December 24, enjoy a delicious Christmas Eve prime rib buffet dinner. The buffet will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. The cost is $43 for adults and $39 for seniors.

 

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While Ringling Bros. ended its 147-year run last year, we still love the whimsical charm of the circus. St. Augustine Amphitheatre is helping to keep that charm alive by hosting the Venardos Circus from December 19 through January 27, 2019.

 

Unlike a customary circus, Venardos bills itself as “The American Circus with the heart of a Broadway Show” and features a theatrical style format along with aerialists, clowns, dancers, acrobats, magicians and more traditional performances.

 

The circus will hold 50 performances during its residency, allowing for plenty of chances to check out the show, including multiple daily performances on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). No performances are scheduled for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve.

 

During its St. Augustine residency last winter, Venardos Circus created quite a buzz and numerous shows were even sold out.

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St. Augustine’s signature nautical event, Regatta of Lights, will set sail this Saturday, December 8. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m. and be viewable from anywhere along Matanzas Bay between the Bridge of Lions and the Castillo de San Marcos (“the fort”).

 

Find a cozy spot along the bayfront (or grab a seat at a waterfront eatery like Harry’s Seafood or A1A Ale Works) and take in the show of brilliantly festooned boats of every shape and size. Personal fishing boats, yachts, commercial shrimping boats, sailboats—spectators will be treated to a bevy of decorated vessels. Participating boats will make two laps around the bay so don’t worry if you miss the first pass!

 

This is the 38thyear of the annual parade. According to event host St. Augustine Yacht Club, the Regatta of Lights “reflects the maritime roots and rich nautical heritage of St. Augustine.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The evening caps off with awards for best theme, most colorful, best in class and best overall (award winners will be posted on St. Augustine Yacht Club’s Facebook page).

 

Regatta of Lights accompanies St. Augustine’s Nights of Lights, the award-winning holiday lights display currently illuminating historic downtown. Nights of Lights runs until February 3, 2019.

 

For more information on the Regatta of Lights, call (904) 824-9725 or visit here.

 
 
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Why spend your Thanksgiving dedicating hours to cooking and cleaning up when you can relax and enjoy the Happy Thanksgiving Buffet hosted by the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village?

Each year, the folks at the Renaissance prepare a full Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. This Thanksgiving, which falls on November 22, the resort will no doubt exceed expectations with another delicious banquet.

The Turkey Day meal is perfect for an entire extended family looking to enjoy everyone’s company, or just a couple seeking a quiet, no-fuss holiday meal.

The Happy Thanksgiving Buffet will last from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes entertainment by Ken Edwards. The cost is $48 for adults, $42 for seniors and $26 for children.

Forget the stress of cooking this year! Make reservations today by calling (904) 940-8696.

The Renaissance is located at 500 South Legacy Trail, St. Augustine, 32092, in heart of World Golf Village.

 
 
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Historic St. Augustine’s 25th Annual Nights of Lights kicks off on Saturday, November 17, when the city turns on its 3 million twinkling lights to spread holiday cheer throughout the Oldest City!

Don’t miss Flagler College and the Lightner Museum, which are known for their especially spectacular displays. Lights continue throughout the Plaza de la Constitución, which also features a large Christmas tree.

Saturday’s festivities start with live music at 4 p.m. outside the Lightner Museum, followed by a special performance by the All Star Orchestra in the Plaza de la Constitución at 5:30 p.m. At 6:30 p.m., the big countdown begins to light the tree and all 3 million lights around town. Live music continues until 8 p.m.

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