Monday, June 13, 2022

“Dig It” Event and Calendar Theme to Feature Local Pets

St. Augustine, Fla., June 13, 2022 - The St. Augustine Humane Society has launched its 12th annual Pin Up Paws pet calendar photo contest with a Pop Art theme this year, “Dig It”. The fundraiser was created in 2010 to support the non-profit’s mission of promoting healthy lifelong pet ownership while reducing the rate of relinquishment to shelters.

For a chance to have a local pet featured in the full color, high-quality calendar, photos and entertaining descriptions are submitted to inform members of the community why they should vote for the pet. Each vote is a $1 donation. Last year, more than $23,000 was raised by calendar votes and donations to the campaign. The campaign, calendar sales and events will benefit St. Augustine Humane Society’s spay, neuter and surgery clinic, along with services and programs.

The pet with the most votes at the end of the contest will be the first-place winner and will receive the coveted cover spot on the 2023 Pin Up Paws Calendar. Each of the 12 second place winners will be featured on one of the months in the calendar. All first and second-place winners will receive a professional photography session along with gift certificates from Columbia Restaurant as part of the prize package. The 12 pets with the next highest number of votes will be runners-up and will have the image they submitted to the contest and a brief description of their pet featured in a one-and-a-half-inch space in the calendar. The top 80 pet contestants will have their submitted photos included in a calendar collage. The “Dig It” calendar will feature the winning pets in a groovy Pop Art scene. Voting ends on Saturday, August 13 at 8:00 pm EDT, when winners will be revealed.

Styling and photography sessions will take place with award-winning photographer Addison Fitzgerald, who has donated his talents to the Humane Society since the calendar’s inception. Local fine artist and graphic designer, Maribel Angel, continues to donate her creative talents to designing the distinctive calendar publication.

The completed calendar will be revealed at the Pin Up Paws Party on Friday, November 4 at the Renaissance St. Augustine Historic Downtown Hotel, 6 West Castillo Dr, St Augustine, FL 32084. The price per ticket is $95 for dinner, live music by Rob Ellis Peck and the Matanzas Inlet Allstars, a silent auction, wine pull, refreshments, and more.

The calendars will be available for $12 each this October with purchases available online, by phone, or at the St. Augustine Humane Society, in addition to local retailers. The St. Augustine Humane Society is located at 1665 Old Moultrie Road. All proceeds from submissions, votes, sponsorships, and sales will benefit the programs and services of the St. Augustine Humane Society.

For more information, call (904) 829-2737 ext. 111 or email Visit the contest website at

About St. Augustine Humane Society

The Humane Society’s resource center includes a wellness and preventative care clinic, low-cost spay and neuter clinic, grooming facility, dog training, and a pet food pantry. These and other services enable local pets to live happily and healthfully in their homes for life. Business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am until 4 pm. Closed Sunday. Pet owners must pre-register for spay and neuter surgery and for clinic visits. The Humane Society is located at 1665 Old Moultrie Road in St. Augustine.

St. Augustine Humane Society promotes healthy responsible lifelong pet ownership by serving the medical and rehabilitative needs of companion animals in our community. The programs are designed to strengthen human-pet relationships and reduce the need for pets to enter shelters, with a goal to ensure that all pets have access to quality veterinary care, prevent overpopulation, and prevent animal suffering.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

St. Augustine Youth Chorus - "Where in the World"

 Come hear the St. Augustine Youth Chorus perform their spring concert, "Where in the World". Your musical journey around the world will include songs from Africa, Sea Islands, Sweden, Brazil, China, and Italy.

The St. Augustine Youth Chorus is comprised of children ages 8-18 and is directed by Kerry Fradley and Barbara Mattingly. Accompanied by Natalia Green.

St. Augustine Youth Chorus - "Where in the World"
Cost: FREE
THURSDAY, MAY 5, 2022 AT 5:30 PM
Location: Ancient City Baptist Church - 27 Sevilla Dr., St. Augustine, FL
Parking: Free parking across the street in the church parking lot
Link for more information:


 Long-running, family-friendly festival will take place in downtown Palatka along scenic waterfront


PALATKA, Florida (April 26, 2022) – For nearly 30 years, the popular and family-friendly Palatka Blue Crab Festival has become an annual tradition – attracting thousands of guests to the scenic waterfront in downtown Palatka. This year’s festival will run Friday, May 27th through Sunday, May 29th and will feature 34 musical acts spread across three stages. Headliners include R&B singer Ginuwine who is known for hits like “Pony” and “So Anxious,” Grammy-nominated Country music band Little Texas, and reggae icons The Original Wailers as well as Meachum L. Clarke & Company Gospel Choir, The Band Be Easy, Fortune Child, Papercutt, Chillula, and more.


“The City of Palatka hired us this year to help them transform a hometown event into a world-class festival that will attract people from all over,” explained Jeanetta Cebollero, co-owner of Ancient City Entertainment, which is producing the event this year. “We chose musical acts that would appeal to a wide range of fans from Country and classic rock to R&B and even a popular local ‘80s cover band. After the Palatka Blue Crab Festival had to be canceled  a few years because of funding and the pandemic, we’re excited to help bring this iconic, family-friendly festival back and make it bigger and better than ever.”


The Palatka Blue Crab Festival will also feature dozens of vendors and food trucks, carnival rides, a kids’ zone, petting zoo, Gatorland Water Ski Show, karate demonstration, full Gospel program on Sunday, fireworks, New Orleans-style brass band, and, of course, plenty of blue crabs. The blue crab, which is a highly sought-after shellfish that live up and down the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, can be prepared dozens of ways including steamed with Old Bay, marinated in a salad, added to a gumbo, or simply boiled with butter.


“Traditionally, this festival has been held along the riverfront in downtown Palatka to honor the members of the U.S. military who died while serving our country,” said Cebollero. “It’s an amazing opportunity to get to help grow this small town festival, give remembrance to our military, and spend an amazing Memorial Day Weekend with friends and family watching live music and feasting on fresh seafood.”


ABOUT PALATKA BLUE CRAB FESTIVAL: The Palatka Blue Crab Festival will be held on Friday, May 27th from 6pm to 11pm, Saturday, May 28th from 9am to 11pm, and Sunday, May 29th from 8am to 11pm in downtown Palatka, 210 St. Johns Avenue. Admission and parking is free. The festival is hosted by the City of Palatka and produced by Ancient City Entertainment. For vendor and sponsorship opportunities, contact Jeanetta Cebollero at For more information, visit Follow along on Facebook @bluecrabfestivalpalatka and Instagram @palatkabluecrabfest


Marketing Minute with Mindy Lepp of LEPPDESIGN (Local)

Still deciding whether or not it's worthwhile to create a social media presence for your business online? The average adult spends 144 minutes PER DAY on social media. This means that your customers are spending over 2 hours of their day scrolling through sites like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Creating and maintaining a presence on social media increases your brand awareness, which ultimately increases the chances that they will do business with you.

-   Mindy and her husband Eddie run LEPPDESIGN, a marketing firm based out of St. Augustine, FL, but serve clients all over the US. They moved to St. Augustine four years ago and have four children. Follow them on social media @leppdesign or visit their website:

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


The Marshall Tucker Band performed to a sold out crowd for the fourth Concerts For A Cause


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Florida (April 13, 2022) – The fourth in a series of fundraising concerts, Concerts For A Cause raised $79,051 for Builders Care, the philanthropic arm of the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA), which provides low-cost and no-cost construction services to the elderly, disabled, and other nonprofits in Northeast Florida. The sold out event at Tringali Barn at Heritage Farms welcomed Southern rock icons, The Marshall Tucker Band, with special guest Channing Wilson, on Saturday, April 9th


“Last year, our first Concerts For A Cause raised $34,000 for Investing in Kinds (INK!), our second brought in $72,000 for Alpha-Omega Miracle Home, and our third event raised just over $73,000 for St. Augustine Youth Services (SAYS),” explained Chris Shee, owner of Tringali Barn at Heritage Farms and Founder and CEO of MasterCraft Builder Group. “Bringing in a classic act like The Marshall Tucker Band, and the consistent and unwavering support of our community, helped us raise more than $79,000 this time around for Builders Care.  Donating over $250,000 to local charities by hosting four concerts is incredibly exciting and humbling.”


Shee says that the next Concerts For A Cause event will be held in November 2022. He plans on hosting the fundraising concerts twice a year and offering even more well-known and popular national touring acts. Each concert will benefit a different local nonprofit organization. People can sign up for email notifications about upcoming events at


“With this donation, Builders Care will be able to provide services to those who have limited financial means, but are in the most need throughout North Florida,” said Krissy Barkas, Executive Director of NEFBA. “We have a large demand for ramps to provide those confined to a wheelchair accessibility to exit their home safely. We also have a great need for new roofs and roof repairs due to Florida’s climate. This donation will be a blessing to so many of our neighbors in need and I cannot wait to get out in the community to make a difference.”


ABOUT BUILDERS CARE: Founded by the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA) in 2001, Builders Care is a faith-based nonprofit organization with a mission is to provide affordable to no-cost construction services to the elderly, disabled, and other nonprofits in Northeast Florida. For more information, visit and follow along on social media Facebook @BuildersCareJax and Instagram @builders_care


ABOUT TRINGALI BARN: Spanning 54 acres nestled against Fort Matanzas State Park, Tringali Barn at Heritage Farms is just 10 miles from downtown St. Augustine and less than five miles from the Atlantic Ocean coastline. A property peppered with hardwoods, bald cypress and towering pine trees, as well as two beautiful lakes, come see why Heritage Farms is a hidden gem in Northeast Florida’s natural landscape. For more information, visit and follow along on social media Instagram @tringali_barn and Facebook @tringalibarn


Sunday, February 6, 2022

Local Entrepreneur Creates Space-Themed Board Game

Stephen DiMare, owner of The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops + Mayday Ice Cream, has released Black Hole Rainbows with a 30-day Kickstarter Campaign

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida (February 3, 2022) – Local entrepreneur and creative, Stephen DiMare, owner and founder of popular brands such as The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops, Mayday Ice Cream, Cousteau’s Waffle and Milkshake Bar, and Mustache: Merchant of Man-Crafts, has created and released a luxury, collectible board game called Black Hole Rainbows, produced under new brand June Dune Games. The space-themed board game officially launched, Wednesday, February 2nd, at a Kickstarter Launch Party at The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine. 

“I’ve been working on this board game for just over two years,” DiMare explained. “I started it right before the pandemic began and it became a creative outlet during some pretty unprecedented times. In all my projects, the quality of the products and branding is incredibly important to me. I want people to be able to feel that each time they pick up a game piece or experience a high point in the game. This is an heirloom board game that people will hopefully keep for generations.”

Described as “An Energy-Packed Strategy Game of Cosmic Proportions!,” Black Hole Rainbows is suitable for ages 8 and up, ideal for 2-6 players, and takes between 20 and 40 minutes per game. The game retails for $60 and will be sold on Amazon after the Kickstarter campaign ends. DiMare worked with local illustrator and graphic designer, Tommy Davis, to create all of the artwork and design.

“Each player is an intergalactic being that is trying to save the Universe from being slowly crushed into nothingness by Supermassive Black Holes,” DiMare said. “Players will go around the board collecting gems, trying to win supernova coins the fastest, and even engaging in some friendly sabotage to get ahead. I think with the age of space exploration we are entering right now, Black Hole Rainbows will resonate with and bring a lot of joy to players. And, if nothing else, it’s a great occasion to bring friends together to learn a new game!”


ABOUT BLACK HOLE RAINBOWS – The brainchild of local entrepreneur and creative, Stephen DiMare, Black Hole Rainbows is a production of June Dune Games and is available for purchase for $60 per game at or by supporting the 30-day Kickstarter Campaign. Follow along on social media @blackholerainbows     


Tuesday, February 1, 2022

NEWS FLASH: The Beachcomber is now OPEN!

The Beachcomber, the local restaurant that touts they are "The only restaurant directly on the ocean in St Augustine Beach. Great Food, Cold Beer, and Specials Daily. Where 'A' Street meets the Ocean", was closed from January 24th until Wednesday for cleaning and renovations. Welcome back to one of our favorites!

Source: Facebook

Monday, January 31, 2022

St. Johns Cultural Council names 2022 Dr. Gail Pflaster ROWITA Award winners, event on March 26

St. Augustine, Fla. – January 31, 2022 - Each year the St. Johns Cultural Council recognizes women who have profoundly influenced the artistic environment of St. Johns County with the Dr. Gail Pflaster ROWITA ("Recognizing Outstanding Women in the Arts") Awards. Nominations were received from the community about numerous women who have made significant contributions to the arts in St. Johns County through their work, leadership, and philanthropic support.

This year, three local women have been named as ROWITA recipients including Donna Guzzo, Executive Director and CEO of First Coast Cultural Council, arts philanthropist, women's professional empowerment leader and mentor; Teresa Radzinski, Trustee for the Lightner Museum, philanthropist and supporter of the arts and renowned museums, and Managing Director with Bank of America; and Jane Sims, Tale Tellers of St. Augustine founding member and professional storyteller, educator, and fine arts promoter.

According to Christina Parrish Stone, the Cultural Council's Executive Director, this year's nominees have all positively impacted the cultural community. "Our final selections are women in the visual, literary, and performance arts, and are educators, presenters, and philanthropic supporters as core leaders in our regional arts community. They were eligible for the award as were past nominees who have not been selected," said Parrish Stone.

Honorees were selected by a panel of community members in January and the annual ROWITA celebration will take place on Saturday, March 26 from 2 pm until 4 pm at the Lightner Museum, 75 King Street in historic, St. Augustine, Fla. The event is open to the public. For more information, email sjcc@historiccoastculturecom. 

Former honorees will also be recognized at the March event including St. Johns County arts professionals Roxanne Horvath, a preservation architect and artist, arts advocate, and current member of the City of St. Augustine City Commission; Dr. Leslee Keys, Assistant Professor of Humanities, Director of Historic Preservation at Flagler College, and a leader in the conservation of historical and architectural resources; Carole Prior, an award winning drama instructor, Teacher of the Year, artist, writer and director; Leslie Robison, a Kenan Distinguished Associated Professor of Liberal Education in Art at Flagler College, arts advocate, and artist,  and Karla Wagner, film aficionado, former proprietor of the Corazon Cinema and CafĂ©, and film and entertainment festival producer. Additionally, the March 26 event will feature Junior ROWITA scholarship recipients.

ROWITA Nominations may be submitted electronically between November 1 and December 31 of each year at Junior ROWITA awards and scholarships applications are available at

The mission of the St. Johns Cultural Council is to support local artists and arts organizations and to promote St. Johns County as a premiere destination for cultural travelers, ensuring that the lives of residents and visitors are enriched through art, culture, history, and heritage. The nonprofit was established in 2000 and designated as the official local arts agency by the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners in 2007.

The St. Johns Cultural Council supports the development of arts institutions, community arts partners, cultural programs, and activities and audiences in St. Johns County. Professional development programs assist local artists and art organizations in obtaining grants and to grow their capabilities which help develop, market, and promote local programs and events. Visit the website at

The Cultural Council manages the Cultural Center at St. Augustine Beach, where partners including The Dance Company, The St. Augustine Beach Art Studio & Gallery and other community-based organizations offer daily artistic and movement classes to hundreds of individuals. Weekly arts, culture, and heritage e-newsletters and the website provide online cultural resources for residents and visitors in St. Johns County.

Contact:    Christina Parrish Stone                                                                                                                                                                                  904.434.0959          

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

St. Augustine Beach Civic Association Member Meeting Today at The Art Studio

Email to St. Augustine Beach Civic Association Members from President Bill Jones

Dear Friends,

Hope the New Year is off to a great start! We are all getting older and some of you have parents that are getting older too. We are fortunate to have an incredible Council on Aging that serves our community. The COA, like other organizations has worked its way though Covid 19 and continues to help Seniors and their families. We thought this would be a good time to invite our friend and Executive Director of the COA Becky Yanni to come and speak to us. Becky will talk about programs and services available to all of us here at the beach and throughout St Johns County.

We meet THIS Thursday evening at the Art Studio, located in the old hotel at Pier Park. The doors open at 6:30 and the meeting will start promptly at 7 PM. Refreshments will be served. Members are encouraged to attend and guests are always welcome.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Thinking about taking a cruise? We just took three.

by Michael Trufant

My wife, Carole, and I were blessed to experience three cruises in the last two months, December and January. One each on Carnival Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. I'll share my opinions and experiences from what actually happened versus all the chatter in media and social media.

We had three delightful experiences. Overall, here's our experience across all three ships:

  •  Each ship's occupancy rate was anywhere from thirty-five to seventy-five percent capacity. That was a gift.
  • All three permitted only fully-vaccinated passengers onboard and everyone provided a COVID test no more than two days before sailing.
  • Passengers provided documentation for their vaccinations. 
  • All of the cruise lines required masks in ALL indoor spaces except when eating or drinking. It was not a big inconvenience. Outdoors and out by the pool areas, no masks were required.
  • Crew provided hand sanitizer before entering dining areas, theaters, and entering or exiting the ship.
  •  The crew cleaned the surfaces almost right behind us. We felt very safe.
  • Hand sanitizing stations were available in various locations on each ship. There was no lack of cleanliness.
  • All ports were open, although a few ports restricted entry to passengers who only had a cruise-provided excursion or a government-approved excursion if not provided by the cruise line.
  • The theater shows were often re-configured and scaled down for health and passenger safety.
  • The dining was spaced out, so much of the time it was just Carole and me. 
We thought that being onboard was safer than going to the local grocery store. People who we met shared the same thoughts with us about the prevention measures we witnessed on the ship. The ships were hyper-focused on cleanliness and health to a much higher degree than any venue on land.

It was delight to be on a cruise. It was joyful, pleasant, fun, relaxing, safe, rejuvenating and a wonderful experience. Because the ships are sailing with lower capacities, the ships were not crowded, there was plenty of free space and no scrambling to find a deck chair or anything.  At times, we felt like we the only ones on board. What a gift that we will take advantage of as long as we can. It was the best cruise of our lives.

All this to say, we feel this is a great time to cruise and to not listen to all all the hysteria on social media and the mainstream media. Our cruises were delightful, clean and safe. Of course, you need to make your own decisions about your personal health matters, but from taking three cruises in two months, we thought we hit the jackpot for pleasurable experiences. 

Michael Trufant is a retired entrepreneur and he and his wife, Carole, are the publishers of the St. Augustine Beachside e-Magazine (this publication). They can be reached at