Amelia Island Book Festival is a Gift to the Community

Fernandina Beach, FL – Each year a cadre of volunteer board members, sponsors and donors help make the Amelia Island Book Festival’s (AIBF) award-winning “Authors in Schools” literacy program a reality. Through fundraising and sheer tenacity this small group manages not only to bring noted authors into every Nassau County School, but also to buy a book from the author for each student they meet.

This year, the Book Festival Board purchased 11,300 books for the students of Nassau County School District of the author they will meet. In addition, they offer several other educational opportunities for the students of Nassau County through the “Short-Story Writing Contest” and the “Tween/Teen Festival”, and a $2,000 college Scholarship. For adults, the “Steve Berry Writing Workshop: Lessons from a Bestseller” offers would-be authors a chance to learn the craft directly from the number-one international and New York Times bestselling author, who also serves as the festival’s Honorary Chairman.

The three-day festival culminates in a gift to the all of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia and all the visitors that visit Amelia Island from across the United States, Canada and even as far away as Australia.

The Saturday, February 17, Author Expo/Readers’ Extravaganza is jam-packed with excitement for all ages. Sponsored by CBC National Banks and Online Binding of Jacksonville, the day offers so much for everyone. The “Lee Child Breakout Session” is sponsored by Molina Healthcare, Inc.

“We are very grateful to our Expo Sponsors, as well as to the sponsors and ticket buyers of all our ticketed events that help make the book purchases for our students possible,” says Dr. John Ruis, this year’s volunteer President. “I’m proud of the work of this tireless group. We hope everyone in northeast Florida and southeast Georgia will come and take part in this celebration, which cements for our young people the value and excitement of books.

“We focus on lifelong learning, and that extends beyond our school years,” adds “Authors in Schools” co-chair Marie Fenn. “We are extremely grateful to our Honorary Chairman Steve Berry without whom we would not be able to attract the amazing headliners who will be at the 2018 Book Festival. And, we are grateful to all the celebrated authors who lend their time and talent to help us succeed.”

AIBF Expo participants will have the opportunity to engage with 100 noted authors, both New York Times bestselling and emerging authors of every genre. The Expo includes breakout sessions with celebrity authors, coffee with local authors and the opportunity for participants to make new discoveries, as well as to buy books and get them personalized. Those attending the Book Festival may take selfies with their favorite authors and celebrate all things literary.

Children at the Expo will get to revel in engaging activities, including arts and crafts, making a book and hearing some bestselling children’s authors. There will be food, fun, contests and music by the Laid-back Band. A children’s favorite character, Pete the Cat, will be roaming about.

Everyone attending the Expo is urged to pick up a Passport to Literary Discovery to get stamped when visiting authors and to be eligible for great prizes in hourly drawings.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS
All sessions, except where noted, last about 45 minutes,
All authors will come into gym for book signing after their presentation, where there are an additional 100 noted authors of every genre available.

10:00 am—2 pm— Kidz Zone–Classroom—1
Kidz Zone will feature lifelong educator and AIBF Director Terry Ramsay and her creations for age 3—10. In addition, and back by popular demand, OnlineBinding.com will turn the works of art into a personal book keepsakes. As always there will be glitter galore.

10:00 am-noon ~ Jacques Pépin – Signing His Bestselling Cookbooks—Gym
The award-winning and internationally renowned chef, television personality and author has appeared on French and American television and written an array of cookbooks that have become bestsellers. Pépin’s numerous accolades and accomplishments include co-starring in the PBS series “Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home with Julia Child,” Emmy Award winner, cooking for heads of state and restaurant owner.

10:00 a.m. Steve Berry, Festival Honorary Chairman—Media Center
Join New York Times and international #1 bestselling author, whose works have been translated into 40 languages with over 22 million copies circulated in 51 countries as he unveils how and why historic events and situations provide the cornerstone for his novels. Learn how his career path took a major turn from lawyering to writing and becoming the founder of History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation.

11:00 a.m. Sheri Rinker —Media Center—especially aimed at young children and families.
If you live a chaotic life filled with endless noise, mismatched socks, and crazy animals, you will want to hear from New York Times #1 bestselling children’s author, Sheri Rinker who began writing books to help kids go to sleep at night and to provide treasured memories for them and their families. Her belief that imagination is more important than knowledge shines throughout her amazingly illustrated children’s stories. Find out how she emerged from gardening, cooking, mothering and collecting old oil paintings to writing eight award winning books, including Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, and Steam Train, Dream Train.

12:00 p.m. Noted Nassau County Authors—Leader, Steve Berry – Classroom 2
Lead by Festival Honorary Chairman Steve Berry, Join a dozen noted Nassau County authors for an informal discussion. This is a wonderful time to discover all you ever wanted to know about writing and living in paradise at the same time. Bring your lunch, we’ll provide the beverages and cookies.

1:00 p.m. Jennifer Armentrout—Media Center
Hear how boredom in algebra class, fueled by watching bad zombie movies, propelled Jennifer Armentrout to become a world renown, New York Times #1 bestselling author of young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. Understand how she deals with retinitis pigmentosa which threatens her sight, yet continues to produce award-winning novels such as The Problem with Forever and Obsidian.

2:00 p.m. Karin Slaughter—Media Center
Be sure to visit one of the world’s most acclaimed storytellers, Karin Slaughter, who writes stories which “get under your skin.” With 35 million copies in publication, her works include Cop Town and All the Pretty Girls, which became instant New York Times bestsellers. Discover how her “run off into the mountains and write until I collapse” style leads to masterful tales of murder, intrigue and heart-pounding drama.

2:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony, Auditorium tickets needed, see below
Student Short-Story Contest winners/ The Book Island Literary Awards and The AIBF Awards will be presented at this short ceremony. Come cheer on these amazing young people and adult winners. Middle and high school student winners of the county-wide short story contest will get their awards at 2:30 p.m., and get to meet author Lee Child, international bestselling mega-star of the Jack Reacher series. The other awards will be presented by Honorary Chairman Steve Berry.

3:00 p.m. Lee Child– Auditorium, (Free, but limited space; go to AIBF site to get a ticket)
Be sure to join award-winning and bestselling author Lee Child whose “hardboiled” prose and adrenaline-pulsing thrillers have pushed sales to over 100 million books. Learn about his journey from working in theater and television to earning the Nero “Best Novel” award, and what it took to buy paper and pencils and write what turned out to be the first book in the Jack Reacher series. Hear about how those Jack Reacher novels emerge as revenge stories in which, “somebody does a very bad thing and Reacher takes revenge.” On paper, for sure, revenge is so sweet! This is a unique opportunity you will not want to miss.

Shrimp Festival Donates T-shirts to Uganda Orphanage

An often-overlooked benefit of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is the philanthropical commitment from the committee. Every month the treasurer makes cash donations to local non-profits such as Micah’s Place, the Girl Scouts, or the Nassau Education Foundation. As a non-profit organization, the Shrimp Festival finds numerous ways to help other amazing organizations.

Recently, Hospitality and Volunteer Chairperson Jennifer Fritts took a mission trip to the Okoa Refuge located in Uganda, Africa. She was able to take 75 Shrimp Festival T-shirts and donate them to a local orphanage. “The children looked adorable running around the orphanage in those Shrimp Festival shirts,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer migrated to Amelia Island in 2015 and immediately got plugged in to the community. Second to her trip to Africa, stumbling across the opportunity to join the Shrimp Festival committee has been one of the most rewarding things she has done. “I can vouch for what an enormous production it is behind the scenes. It takes hundreds of volunteers – hundreds of hours – to pull off this family-friendly weekend event.” Jennifer continued, “With the help of dedicated volunteer committee members, local sports and other organizations, the Shrimp Festival goes on every year. This prideful island embraces a spirit of volunteerism and enthusiasm that is very special. Being a part of this community and the festival has revived my sense of community service and teamwork. It takes a village!” She concluded.

The 55th annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, sponsored by Baptist Health – Nassau, will be held May 4-6, 2018, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. The traditional Pirate Parade will be held Thursday, May 3rd at 6:00 p.m. to kick-off the weekend’s festivities. There will be a huge Kid’s Fun Zone, over 400 art, craft, and antique vendors, nationally recognized entertainment, Miss Shrimp Festival pageant, contests, pirates, and of course, plenty of shrimp served up by Nassau County non-profit organizations! The festival is free to attend.

We are grateful for the continued support of gracious volunteers within our community. If you are interested in participating this year, feel free to reach out to volunteer@shrimpfestival.com for more information.

Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant 2018

If you know a high school junior or senior residing in Nassau County, Florida, who is interested in participating in the 55th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Pageant, now is the time to enter. Sponsored by The Hampton Inn & Suites, Amelia Island, pageant contestants will be judged on poise, personality, appearance, and interview responses. Miss Shrimp Festival 2018 will win a $1,000.00 scholarship, and participants are expected to attend several events before and after the pageant.

Prior to the Shrimp Festival, mandatory rehearsals will be held at Bean School of Dance, 25 N. Third Street, in Fernandina Beach. The first rehearsal and organizational meeting will be held on Sunday, March 25th, at 3:00 p.m., and remaining rehearsals will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., every Sunday in March and April. Contestants will be coached on stage presence, learn a choreographed dance routine, and practice answering interview questions.

A dinner and judge’s interviews will be held on Wednesday, May 2nd, at The Hampton Inn & Suites. Those entering the pageant must participate in the Shrimp Festival’s Pirate Parade on May 3rd, and the pageant will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4th, after the festival’s opening ceremonies. Miss Shrimp Festival 2018 is required to be available during the remainder of the Shrimp Festival weekend to participate in other activities such as judging a variety of contests including the Best Beard Contest, The Best Dressed Adult Pirate Costume Contest, the Little Pirate contests, and the Blessing of the Fleet. Other requirements include participating in the 2019 Pirate Parade and the 2019 Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant to help crown next year’s winner. Additionally, there will be opportunities all year for Miss Shrimp Festival to participate in other parades and events during her reign.

If you have any questions, please contact Crystal Haney, pageant director, at (912)674-3316, or Pageant Choreographer Kristen Conner at (904)753-2488. For contestant applications and additional information, please visit ShrimpFestival.com. The Deadline to enter the Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant is March 25, 2018.

Fernandina Beach, Florida, is known as the Birthplace of the Modern Shrimping Industry and the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is four festivals in one: a music festival, a kid’s festival, a fine arts festival, and a seafood festival featuring shrimp, of course. The Shrimp Festival is consistently rated by “Sunshine Artist Magazine” in the Top 25 of North America’s best events and over 130,000 visitors attend the three-day event. The festival kicks-off with a Pirate Parade at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 3, 2018, and continues through Sunday, May 6th. For more information visit ShrimpFestival.com.

Literary Giants Headline Book Festival

Steve Berry returns to the Amelia Island Book Festival as Honorary Chairman for the 3rd consecutive year. Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of The Lost Order, The 14th Colony, The Patriot Threat, The Lincoln Myth, The King’s Deception, The Columbus Affair, The Jefferson Key, The Emperor’s Tomb, The Paris Vendetta, The Charlemagne Pursuit, The Venetian Betrayal, The Alexandria Link, The Templar Legacy, The Third Secret, The Romanov Prophecy, and The Amber Room. His books have been translated into 40 languages with 20 million copies in 51 countries. The Bishop’s Pawn, the Cotton Malone Series Book 13, The Bishop’s Pawn, is now available for pre-order. The story chronicles his protagonist’s first case, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., on that fateful day in Memphis.

History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009, Steve and Elizabeth have crisscrossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular workshops.

The duo will present “Lessons from a Bestseller: Steve Berry’s Writers’ Workshop,” on Fri., Feb. 16, 2018, for authors and would-be authors of every genre to support the AIS Literacy Program. For tickets and more information, visit www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org.

Lee Child
Lee Child is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher thrillers – sales at 100 million+ and counting. Reacher #22, The Midnight Line, released Nov. 7, 2017 worldwide is already on the NYT best seller. His debut, Killing Floor, won both the Anthony and Barry awards for “Best First Mystery,” and The Enemy won both the Barry and Nero awards for “Best Novel.” Personal and Night School were #1 on the best-sellers lists simultaneously in all English language countries and sold more copies than any other hardcover, of any type, for the year 2014 and 2016 in the UK. Jack Reacher, the film based on Child’s 9th novel, One Shot, starred Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall. His book Never Go Back was also a 2016 feature film with an all-star cast with Tom Cruise back as Jack Reacher.

Lee was born in Coventry, England. He attended the same high school as J.R.R. Tolkien, and went to law school in Sheffield, England. After part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an 18-year career as a presentation director during British TV’s “golden age.” During his tenure, the company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect and Cracker. At the age of 40, he left due to corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to take a chance. Lee bought some paper and pencils, and wrote what turned out to be the first book in the Jack Reacher series.

Adriana Trigiani
The festival kicks off with this multitalented, New York Times bestselling author of 17 books in fiction and nonfiction. Adriana Trigiani is also a playwright, television writer/producer and an award-winning filmmaker. She wrote and directed the major motion picture Big Stone Gap, filmed entirely on location in her Virginia hometown. Her newest novel – complete with a new cast of characters – debuts in the fall of 2018.

Trigiani will be the keynote speaker at the annual kickoff luncheon, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, at Walkers Landing. She will be introduced by her friend and NYT bestselling author David Baldacci, who was last year’s key note speaker, and this past year’s One Book/One Community Author.

Adriana is beloved by millions of readers around the world for her popular novels – The Shoemaker’s Wife, the Valentine trilogy and Lucia, Lucia – as well as her latest bestseller, Kiss Carlo. Her themes of love and work, emphasis upon craftsmanship and family life have attracted legions of fans. According to Adriana, “…if there is one thing I hope my books do always and forever, it’s that they honor working people.” Her books have been translated in 36 countries around the world. Due to schedule conflicts, the luncheon will be her only appearance at the Festival.

Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers, and is known for the “stories that get under your skin.” Published in 36 languages, with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 16 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novel, Pretty Girls. When asked about her writing schedule, Karin said, “Unfortunately, I’m not very disciplined. I’m more of a “run off into the mountains and write until I collapse” author. I wish I could be more structured, but it’s been working for me so far, so who am I to judge?”

Her Will Trent series, Grant County series and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television. A native of Georgia, Karin currently lives in Atlanta.

Jennifer Armentrout
Jennifer Armentrout, #1 New York Times bestselling author, spends her time watching really bad zombie movies when she’s not hard at work writing young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy and contemporary romance novels. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that eventually results in loss of vision among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Jennifer’s dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories. Her young adult contemporary The Problem with Forever is a 2017 RITA Award Winner in Young Adult Fiction.

Sherri Rinker

In 2008, in the midst of hectically trying to manage the demands of being a working mom in an unfulfilling career, Sherri Rinker wrote Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site. It was picked up by the first publisher to whom it was sent! She is now a #1 New York Times bestselling author of eight children’s books.

Sherri began college as a journalism major, but moved to visual communications which combined creating beautiful, compelling compositions with visuals and text. After a 25-year graphic design career, her journey took a turn as she started writing books about big trucks to help kids go to sleep at bedtime. Construction Site paved the way for Mighty, Mighty Construction Site; Steam Train, Dream Train; and Big Machines. Sherri has also penned Silly Wonderful You and The 12 Sleighs of Christmas. It’s Soo Quiet debuts in 2018.

Jacques Pépin
An award-winning and internationally renowned chef, television personality, author, columnist and artist, Jacques Pépin is one of AMERICA’S most loved French chefs. He was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, and first apprenticed in a kitchen at the age of 13. Monsieur Pépin worked as a chef for the French Navy and then served as personal chef to three heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Chef Pépin’s culinary background includes New York City’s Le Pavillon, La Potagerie and the French Culinary Institute/International Culinary Center. Working with Julia Child, they collaborated on a TV special for PBS, Cooking in Concert, at the Performance Center at Boston University, as well as a 22-episode series, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. In his latest cookbook, A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey, Jacques Pépin gives his granddaughter a short course on preparing “food that is plain, but elegant, and more than anything, fun.”

Chef Pépin will be talking and signing his books at the Author Expo/Reader’s Extravaganza on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 starting at 10 a.m. at the Fernandina Beach Middle School. This Author Expo event is free and runs till 5 p.m. with more than 100 noted authors of every genre and breakout sessions with NYT bestselling authors. There will be a kidz zone, food, fun, contests, prizes and books for purchase and signing for all ages.

In addition to our headliners, the Festival offers events and activities for teens and tweens, aspiring writers, fans and families…something for everyone!

Visit the Festival’s website www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org for more details on the Author Expo and other events and to buy tickets. The AIBF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, offering tax deductible opportunities. For more details on all festival events, and to purchase tickets and make donations, email info@ameliaislandbookfestival.org or call (904) 624-1665.

Christiania Piano Quartet in Concert February 2nd

Fernandina Beach, FL — The Christiania Piano Quartet, led by cellist Christopher Rex, the AICMF’s general and artistic director, will perform music of Mozart, Korngold, Bériot, Halvorsen and Schumann on February 2nd as part of the seventeenth season of the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival.

This performance is scheduled for 7:30 PM at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 2600 Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach. Tickets for this concert and the entire 2018 season are available at www.aicmf.com or by calling the Festival office at 904-261-1779.

The Festival-favorite Christiania Piano Quartet is composed of violinist David Coucheron, violinist/violist Julianne Lee and pianist Julie Coucheron, in addition to cellist Christopher Rex.

Mr. Rex, the Festival’s founder, has been principal cellist of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 1979, the same year in which he became the first cellist ever to win the string prize in the Young Artists Competition of the National Federation of Music Clubs. Since then, he has appeared as recitalist and chamber musician across the nation.

Ms. Lee has established a distinctive career as both a violinist and violist, appearing frequently as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. She was assistant principal second violinist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra prior to joining the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this season as its new principal second violinist.

Mr. Coucheron was the youngest concertmaster among any major U.S. orchestras at the time of his appointment at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 2010. He has worked with such conductors as ASO Music Director Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Mstislav Rostropovich and Charles Dutoit. Mr. Coucheron has performed as a soloist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, in addition to playing solo recitals at Carnegie Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Kennedy Center.

Ms. Coucheron, David’s sister, has established an international career as a soloist and chamber musician. She has won first prize in all of the national competitions she has entered. Ms. Coucheron has worked with Lazar Berman, Claude Frank, Emanuel Ax, Vladimir Feltsman, John O’Connor, Elton John and Chistopher O’Riley. She has toured the world playing in such great venues as Verizon Hall, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall.

The Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival will continue on February 9 with a concert by the acclaimed Miró Quartet, followed by a February 15 performance with internationally recognized violinist Gil Shaham and renowned pianist Akira Eguchi. The Festival will continue through April with 16 more memorable performances, three of which are free, in addition to a free master class conducted by members of the Dover Quarter, the Festival’s quartet-in-residence. Complete information and tickets for all of these concerts are available at www.aicmf.com.

Deadline Approaching to Exhibit in the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

Fernandina Beach, FL – The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’s fine arts show will stop accepting applications on January 31, 2018. Sponsored in part by the Island Art Association, Inc., the Shrimp Festival hosts an annually juried show that is consistently rated by Sunshine Artist Magazine as one of the best events in North America. The street festival, always held the first weekend in May, features fine art and crafts, antiques, a kid’s zone, a variety of food booths, live entertainment, contests, and other scheduled special events. This show, held in Fernandina Beach, Florida, provides an excellent atmosphere to exhibit and sell your work with an estimated 135,000 visitors expected to attend this free event over the weekend.

The Shrimp Festival will have over 400 booths of arts, crafts, antiques, collectibles, sponsors, food booths, and other vendors on display. Artistic disciplines include ceramics, jewelry, photography, metal works, woodworking, paintings and more. While the festival’s waterfront activities and Kid’s Fun Zone open at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018, the arts and craft booths will be open on Saturday, May 5th, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 6th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Island Art Association is a non-profit volunteer organization whose mission is exclusively philanthropic and educational. Its purpose is to develop and sustain an interest, appreciation, and enjoyment in and of the arts of Nassau County, Florida. Their gallery, located at 18 N. Second Street on Amelia Island, houses the works of more than 50 local artists, and their Education Center is utilized for classes, workshops, and scheduled events.

To apply as an artist for this amazing show, applications will only be accepted through Zapplication.org, a free, easy to use site for artists and crafters to apply to shows and festivals. For application and event information go to islandart.org/shrimp-festival.

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks-off with a Pirate Parade at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, May 3, 2018, and continues through Sunday, May 6th. For more information visit ShrimpFestival.com.

Jack Reacher, a billion dollar Literary Brand is coming to Amelia Island

Fernandina Beach, FL – The strongest brand in publishing (according to Forbes Magazine in March 2014) is coming to Amelia Island in February for the 17th Annual Amelia Island Book Festival. The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child is a $1 billion dollar brand published in 47 languages and 101 territories. With well over 100 million books sold, the series has commanded over a billion dollars in global sales.

Jack Reacher is the creation of British author Lee Child (now a New Yorker). Child heads up a blockbuster line-up of New York Times and international bestselling authors coming to the festival, including Karin Slaughter, Adriana Trigiani, Jennifer Armentrout, Sherri Rinker and Jacques Pépin. Steve Berry returns as Honorary Chairman.

The 17th Annual, 3-day long festival continues the tradition of bringing amazing authors to the community in support of its mission of Connecting students, authors and books for lifelong learning. All The ticketed events support the Festival’s award-winning Authors in Schools Literacy Program. The free activities for students and the community ensure there is something for everyone during this annual literary extravaganza.

The Festival’s signature event, the AUTHOR FACE-OFF DINNER GALA, is an annual event that helps buy books for students. You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to mix, mingle up close and personal with the creator of Jack Reacher and witness our lineup of literary giants as they “face-off” with each other on their writing craft! The sparring panel includes NYT bestselling authors Lee Child, Jennifer Armentrout, Karin Slaughter and Sherry Rinker, led by chief instigator, Steve Berry. The “face-off” always delivers surprising and witty insights from our headliners in a multi-genre blockbuster panel.

This very special evening is set for Friday, Feb. 16, 2018 from 6 – 10 pm at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. The evening includes an open bar cocktail reception with the authors, a gourmet sit-down dinner (wine included), a limited live auction, where the winning bidder can live on forever in a Jack Reacher novel. This special prize is a generous donation by author Lee Child. Tickets are $175 per person. purchase tickets at www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org

See the complete festival program at www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org for details on all events and activities. Proceeds from all ticketed festival events benefit the Authors in Schools Literacy Program for students of Nassau County.

Authors in Schools… A book for every student
The AIBF is home to the award-winning Authors in Schools (AIS) Literacy Program. With the support of sponsors, members, donors and fundraising events, the AIBF rolls out this annual program, bringing authors into every public school in Nassau County and buying books for each student of the author they meet. This February, the Festival will purchase and gift more than 11,000 students with a book of the noted author they meet, in turn inspiring young people to achieve their goals.

“Authors in Schools has grown in the past few years especially, encouraging area students to read and write,” said Dr. John Ruis, AIBF President and former Nassau County Schools Superintendent. “Being exposed to this level of quality authors, spending time with them – hearing how they develop ideas and get inspired – and taking home the book of the author they met…it’s an invaluable opportunity to help our students develop important literary skills for their future.”

AIBF annually solicits applications and books from prospective author presenters. This year, close to 80 books from more than 70 authors were submitted for consideration for the AIS program. The books are reviewed by the AIBF Board, then scrutinized by the school media specialists, reading coaches and other educators to determine age appropriateness and applicability to the curriculum requirements. School representatives make the final decisions on all books.

“The Authors in Schools Literacy Program is a perfect example of community partnerships at their best,” Dr. Ruis said.

Donna Martin, School Board chair, added, “The Authors in Schools program is a tremendous gift to our students.” This year’s Authors in Schools Day is set for Fri., Feb. 16, 2018.

Polar Express Experience at Nana Teresa’s

Nana Teresa’s is offering a hot cocoa bar, weather permitting, beginning at 6:00 p.m., on December 2, 2017, in the lawn of their historic district shop. Purchase a cup of hot cocoa and have fun creating your own special drink with items from their buffet: Marshmallows, Peppermint Sticks, Chocolate Sauce, Candy Toppings, Whipped Cream and so much more!

Local store, BUYGO, will be on hand with some special treats and there will be plenty of giveaways and super fun door prizes. The Rendezvous Film Festival will begin screening “The Polar Express” at 7:00 PM on the bakery’s lawn.

The showing is FREE, but due to limited space you’ll want to get here early to grab your treats and seats. Kids are encouraged to wear their PJs, bring a lawn chair, and a include a blanket.

This is going to be an amazing outdoor event!

Farmers Market, Arts Market, and Fall Festival, Too

Saturday, October 28th, brings tons of family fun to historic Fernandina Beach including the Arts Market at the corner of Eighth and Centre Streets, the Market Place farmers market on North Seventh Street, and the Fall Festival on North Sixth Street.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market returns every Saturday with over 40 tents of edible delights, farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and homemade lotions, soaps, balms, and candles. In addition to our weekly vendors of jams, honey, dips, sauces, seafood, and beef, returning this week is Rose’s An Unbelievable Eggrolls; Me, Myself, and Pies; new vendor Oizeo and their Asian tapas, and Denise and her mom are back with Jay’s Marketplace’s chopped olive salad and olive juice. Golden Olive Press is also back in the farmers market with hand selected olive oils from Paul’s family’s native Spain, the largest producer of olive trees in the world.

The Fernandina Beach Arts Market is home to over 25 booths of artists and crafters who bring their hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, apparel, quilts, woodworking and much more. Joel Vendetti is a local musician and artist and he makes tie dye T-shirts, wall hangings, and onesies for the youngest (and cutest) of mankind. Unique and comfortable for all ages, these are home crafted with Joel’s own secret process. Bowls w ith Holes is another vendor who sells unique pottery. Cindy shapes these handmade bowls – with holes – and they are perfect for baking breads or giving as gifts. Individually painted in a variety of colors and themes, the bowls are displayed at unbelievable low prices. CC Jordan Jewelry is custom jewelry made by Candy Jordan. Candy sets up shop with the style of a designer showroom all in a 10 X 10 tent. Big chunky pieces are delicately designed for fashion. You don’t want to miss her display at the Arts Market.

This is also Georgia/Florida Weekend and farmers market booths will be decorated to win your votes for the Best Decorated Booth. Look for Bulldog, Gator, or Halloween themes and then vote for your favorite at the Market Place Management Tent, where you can also pick up a complimentary edition of Edible magazine.

Music will be provided by Spanish Guitarist Dennis Fermin from St. Augustine, Florida, and Community Hospice will be our Booth with a Cause.

Please keep in mind North Sixth Street will be closed to traffic because of the Fall Festival, but it will be filled with giant slides, bounce houses, an entertainment stage, and tables and chairs for dining on free hot dogs. Kids will enjoy game booths, cookie decorating, face painting, and a petting zoo!

Downtown Fernandina Beach is the place to be on the morning of October 28, 2017. Both markets are open from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., rain or shine.

Wellness Festival Discount Offered for Nassau County Residents

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – This fall, travelers and locals alike will have a new way to get fit and focused thanks to the inaugural Amelia Island Wellness Festival (Nov. 10-12), a three-day “well-abration” for renewing mind, body and soul. Nassau County residents are being offered a $250 “locals only” discount off the weekend package price, using code FBFLOVE. The festival will take place at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, where attendees can experience educational and inspirational sessions with acclaimed names in yoga, meditation and fitness, headlined by life transformation specialist Heidi Powell. The Amelia Island Wellness Festival is a ticketed event open to the public. More information, including tickets and accommodations, is available at ameliaislandwellnessfestival.com.

“We’ve partnered with some of the most qualified fitness and wellness advisors around the country to develop an all-encompassing wellness retreat designed to inspire self-discovery and healthy living,” said Gil Langley, president and CEO of the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau “With 13 miles of pristine coastline and other breathtaking natural beauty, Amelia is an ideal setting to connect to one’s self and to nature.”

In addition to Heidi Powell, co-host of ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” series, the wellness festival will feature music and inspiration from MC YOGI, along with pop-ups, panels and instruction by yogi-influencer Laura Sykora (@laurasykora); dance-inspired cardio studio, DanceBody; and MNDFL, New York City’s fast-growing meditation center. The festival schedule of events (subject to change) includes the following classes and brands:

-Empowering thousands across the globe with her vision of transforming lives from the inside out, celebrity trainer Heidi Powell will lead the keynote speech and share advice on fitness, nutrition, parenting, marriage and finding balance. Powell will also lead the featured fitness class, introducing participants to her best practices – the first of its kind in the region.

-MC YOGI, recognized as a leading voice in the emerging genre of conscious music, will kick off the festival with his beat-happy, Krishna-crazed music that blends his love and knowledge of yoga culture with hip hop, reggae and electronic music. Enjoy inspirational talks about his journey and transformation through yoga, meditation and the power of music.

-Yogi-influencer Laura Sykora will lead several yoga classes, open to all levels of practice, in the fun and playful, yet challenging style for which she is known. Classes will be offered at various times.
DanceBody, one of New York and Miami’s hottest new workout crazes, combines dance-inspired cardio and toning set to motivating music to encourage attendees to move their bodies in new ways and work muscles they didn’t know existed. Well-rounded, full-body workouts, easy to follow classes and feel-good motivation offer an unparalleled dance-inspired fitness experience.

-Meditation is an increasingly popular wellness trend for all ages, and MNDFL is the New York City studio credited with bringing the contemplative practice to the masses in the Northeast. Two of MNDFL’s leaders will bring the transformative powers of meditation to Amelia Island to guide mindfulness and encourage refocus for participants.

In addition to the selection of sessions, on-site activities at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island host location will include a welcome reception, break-out sessions, morning yoga, and select food and beverage offerings. The weekend will culminate with a communal dinner on Saturday, including a panel discussion with the wellness masters.

Additional offers are available island-wide, including: standup paddleboard yoga instruction, offered by Kayak Amelia; nature kayak trips guided by Amelia Island Kayak Excursions and Kayak Amelia; Flexx It, Spin, Punchography and PIYO fitness classes at The Beat Fitness Studio; fitness instruction by Susie Dodge Fitness and the Omni Amelia Island Plantation; as well as a variety of yoga classes ranging from sunset yoga to beer yoga, offered by Centered on Yoga, Pajama Dave’s, and Café Karibo.

At a package price of $349 for Nassau County residents (code: FBFLOVE), participants enjoy access to official programming Friday through Sunday at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Tickets can be purchased at ameliaislandwellnessfestival.com. Additional activities, accommodation offers, and packages will be offered across Amelia Island. For more information and a full schedule of events, go to ameliaislandwellnessfestival.com.

Baptist Nassau Presents the Shrimp Festival

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival Committee is pleased to announce that Baptist Medical Center-Nassau is the “Presenting Sponsor” of the 54th annual festival being held May 5 -7, 2017, in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. “This opportunity is a natural partnership between the area’s only community hospital and the largest, longest running special event in our area”, said Baptist-Nassau’s President Ed Hubel, “sponsoring the festival is a natural extension of our commitment to our local communities.”

Baptist Medical Center Nassau is a highly advanced, extremely well-equipped community hospital on Amelia Island that provides a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient services and 24-hour emergency care to coastal communities in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The medical staff includes highly trained physicians in 24 different specialties who practice locally, and as part of the Baptist Health System. Baptist Nassau has access to many additional specialized physicians, services, and resources when needed.

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival kicks-off Thursday, May 4th, with a 6:00 p.m. Pirate Parade in downtown Fernandina. The festival officially opens Friday afternoon with a dedicated Kids’ Fun Zone at Central Park, and plenty of riverfront activities. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with nearly 400 vendors displaying fine arts and crafts, antiques, and of course there will be lots of shrimp! You can expect contests, pageants, Pirates, and an incredible line-up of entertainment including an emotional Wreath Ceremony.

Located in the heart of the waterfront during the Shrimp Festival, Baptist-Nassau will be in attendance to showcase their services and staff. You are encouraged to stop by their booth where they will be sharing information and answering questions about quality health care available in our communities.

Consistently rated by “Sunshine Artist Magazine” in the top 100 North America best events, visit ShrimpFestival.com for more information.

Challenge Butter Demos and Giveaways at Shrimp Fest

(Press release) – Award-winning Challenge Butter is buttering up Floridians by donating more than 100 pounds of its fresh sweet cream butter to all of the food vendors cooking up local shrimp for the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attendees. It’s also providing free samples from Chef Ryan Robinson of Brett’s Waterway Cafe, and free coupons.

Festivalgoers can enjoy watching Chef Ryan Robinson prepare and sample dishes made with Challenge Butter and Challenge Cream Cheese on-site at the Challenge Butter Kitchen, located on the lawn at the foot of Centre Street. Demos will be taking place on the hour beginning at 11 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Challenge Butter booth is also fun place to stop for a chance to spin and win coupons, squishy cows and more.
New to Florida, Challenge is the leading butter brand in the West and has won accolades from the World Dairy Awards, Saveur Magazine and San Francisco Chronicle. Its butter and cream cheese are made from 100% real cream from its 450 family owned dairies.

A stickler for quality, Challenge products are free of growth hormones, artificial preservatives, dyes and fillers. And, its products are so fresh, they are ready for the grocer within 48 hours of the cows being milked. Look for them in the dairy case at Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart. It’s the butter with the elk on the package.

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is May 5 – 7, with a Pirate Parade kick-off on May 4th at 6:00 p.m. in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach. Enjoy a Kids Fun Zone, live musical entertainment, contests, food booths and more. On Saturday and Sunday there will be over 450 arts, crafts, antiques, and collectible booths. For more information, please visit www.ShrimpFestival.com.

ABOUT CHALLENGE BUTTER
Award-winning Challenge Butter began more than one hundred years ago. Today, it is the largest butter brand in the West and is available nationwide. Its portfolio of products includes Salted and Unsalted Challenge Butter, Whipped Challenge Butter and Salted and Unsalted European Style Butter. Its line of spreadable butters includes Italian Herb & Garlic, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt, Challenge Lite Spreadable Butter with Olive Oil, a Challenge Spreadable Butter Flavored with Olive Oil, Challenge Spreadable Butter with Canola Oil and Challenge Lactose-Free Spreadable Butter. It recently introduced six cream cheese products including regular Challenge Cream Cheese, Challenge Spreadable Cream Cheese, Challenge Whipped Cream Cheese, Challenge Neufchatel Cheese, Challenge Salsa Flavored Cream Cheese and Challenge Strawberry Flavored Cream Cheese. Challenge has not only been a pioneer in the quality in butter products, but is also responsible for many industry firsts including invention of the first aluminum butter churn, lab sampling of butter and shipping butter in paper rather than wooden crates. Visit Challenge on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ChallengeButter or at www.ChallengeDairy.com.

2017 Shrimp Festival Lot and Street Closures

Wondering how to get around downtown Fernandina Beach during the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival? Well, in certain areas you just can’t! Here are the scheduled street and parking lot closures for the 2017 Festival:

It takes a lot of time to set up a festival with nearly 400 arts, crafts, and antiques booths, food booths, sponsor tents, and other special exhibits so Lots A and B, at the waterfront, will be closed at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, May 4th, until noon, Monday, May 8, 2017.

The Festival kicks-off officially Thursday afternoon, on May 4th with a Pirate Parade that starts promptly at 6:00 p.m. so expect road closures on Ash and Centre Streets, from 11th to Second Streets, during the parade.

Immediately following the parade there will be a special Sounds on Centre street dance and live, free concert featuring Skip Towne and the Bounty Hunters. Centre Street, from Front to Second Streets will be closed until Sounds on Centre ends at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Lots C and D, along the river front, will be closed from 12:01 a.m on Friday, until Sunday, May 7th at 6:00 p.m.; some spaces in these lots will be available for parking by permit or payment only.

Noon Friday will see the closing of Centre Street at Second Street, to the waterfront, except for local traffic. At 4:00 p.m. Centre Street will close at Eighth Street, except for local traffic, and at 5:00 p.m. Centre Street and all streets one block north and one block south of Centre Street, from Seventh Street to the waterfront, will be closed to all traffic.

Roads and parking lots will remain closed until 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 7, 2017.

For more information, please visit ShrimpFestival.com.

2017 Shrimp Festival Pirate Parade is May 4th

Historic Fernandina Beach is home to one of the region’s largest hometown parades. This year’s theme is the Ultimate Shrimp Experience. The parade will begin promptly at 6 :00 p.m., Thursday, May 4, 2017, and with spectators lined up three and four people deep for over 16 blocks, there is no better way – for the money – to get in front of a crowd this large and local businesses have signed up! There are almost 100 entries in this parade!!!

There will be decorative floats, walking groups, marching bands, exotic and antique vehicles, and much more. This year’s grand marshal is Jeff “Trapper” Parish.

Parade categories include Non-profit, Commercial, Walking Unit, Band or Performing  Unit, Civic Group, Judges Choice, and Special Effects. Awards will be presented on the River Front Stage on Friday, May 5ht. All entries are required to commemorate the shrimping industry  by adhering to the Pirate Parade Theme and the parade may not be used as a public forum to air personal opinions, grievances, or to protest any issue. 

The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival is a delicious Northeast Florida tradition being held May 5 – 7, 2017, and is presented by Baptist Medical Center-Nassau. The event kicks-off Thursday, May 4th, with a 6:00 p.m. Pirate Parade in downtown Fernandina Beach. The festival officially opens Friday afternoon with the Geico Kids’ Fun Zone, food booths, a pageant, live music, fireworks, a pirate invasion, river front entertainment, and more. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with two stages, nearly 400 vendors displaying fine arts, crafts, and antiques. There will be contests, children’s activities, and food booths with lots of shrimp!

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