Community Conversations with Joey and Jeanie

Community Conversations with Joey and Jeanie

Community Conversations with Joey and Jeanie

Joey and Jeanie are contemporary Christian musicians from Fernandina Beach, Florida and they have just released their first CD together. Their songs are composed of inspirational and motivational words of faith set to catchy and often toe tapping tunes.

In this Community Conversations with Joey and Jeanie, I had the opportunity to ask them about their music while enjoying an acoustic sampling of their newest release in the sanctuary of United Memorial Methodist Church on Amelia Island. This talented duo is passionate about their faith and they take their musical mission to others.

Playing at the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays in Fernandina Beach has given them the opportunity to share their music and faith while touching the lives of others creating a spiritual ignition of the soul.

Joey Daddario is a six-time ASCAP Plus Award Winner. Every year since 2005, Joey has won this award that recognizes composers whose work has unique prestige value and represents diversity in the entertainment business. Jeannie Scheff has been singing since she was a child. After relocating to NE Florida she performed with the Dixie Angel Band, a family friendly show before joining Joey for this inspired mission.

If the Son Sets You Free, Blessed Wind, Red Letter Day and Hold Me Up are just a few of the songs you’ll see performed on this video. This is indeed a CD you will want to have to keep you motivated for your 2010 New Year’s resolutions. To learn more about Joey and Jeanie, or to purchase their CD, visit www.JoeyandJeanie.com.

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Waterwheel Arts Gallery Christmas Party

Waterwheel Art Gallery Christmas Party

Waterwheel Art Gallery Christmas Party

Celebrate the Holiday season with a Christmas Party at the Waterwheel Art Gallery and bring a finger food, desert or beverage. In addition to the party, there will be two guest artists, Louise Hooper and Mary O. Smith, and their own Pat Haley . Come see their watercolor and oils of landscapes, architecture, still life and figurative. This collection is on display for the rest of December on Amelia Island.

The Christmas Party and Coastal Artist show will be on December 17th, beginning at 4:00 PM. Stop by, mingle and have a good time.

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Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow is Released

Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow is Released

Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow is Released

Fernandina Beach, FL/Dec 2009 – GraciousJaneMarie.com has released Jane Marie Malcolm’s “Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow.” This is the second novel in “The Goodbye Lie‚” series. The sweeping tale drives the characters from Florida into the catastrophic 1889 Johnstown Flood, which the author’s grandmother remembered with horror.

Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and may be ordered through local book stores. Get personally inscribed copies at the author‚Äôs website, GraciousJaneMarie.com, and at future book signings (TBA).

Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Malcolm is a 21-year resident of Amelia Island, Florida. Her 800+-page website, GraciousJaneMarie.com, has over 50 articles and recipes that tie into “The Goodbye Lie” series. Also an artisan, Malcolm hand paints Secret Pebbles, tiny glass stones, featured in Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow. She is the creator of Martha Bear, star of her “Rascally Readers” online program of silly short stories, which encourages family reading at MarthaBear.com. Malcolm is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Amelia Island Museum of History, and the General Duncan Lamont Clinch Historical Society, as well as an avid hand bell ringer.

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Music Marathon for MDA

Indigo Alley was Home for the Music Marathon for MDA

Indigo Alley was Home for the Music Marathon for MDA

In keeping our Publisher out of jail, Johan Ramakers organized a 12 hour Music Marathon yesterday to raise money for MDA and Jerry’s Kids. Musicians showed up to help out with this exciting event held yesterday from noon to midnight at Indigo Alley in downtown Historic Fernandina Beach.

Blistur’s, Chris Kellam was amazing as always, as was Drew Ferraro, Kimmie Crutchfield, John from Detroit, Allison Mackie and other entertainers who helped to raise nearly $400.00.

Even though it was a cold and rainy evening, many folks came out to support this great cause and enjoy homemade Dutch Pea Soup, chair massages from Amelia Massage Associates and an auction loaded with goodies donated by great folks in our Amelia Island community.

Thank you all for your support with keeping our publisher out of jail!

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Music Marathon Request Fest for MDA at Indigo Alley – TODAY

Indigo Alley and Cigar/Guitar Shop on Centre St

Indigo Alley and Cigar/Guitar Shop on Centre St

We’re on. The musicians are confirmed. The song lists prepared. The Dutch Pea Soup is on the stove, and snacks are prepared. Amelia Massages has the Massage Chair ready and our Publisher is ready to sing and play music for 12 HOURS. Marc and Kimmy Crutchfield will be joining him throughout, but mostly for Happy Hour.

Chris Kellam, Blistur’s Magician Lead Guitar player will be joining us from 2 to 4 pm, before heading off to a band gig at Monkey’s Uncle down in Jacksonville, Tara Rice is going to sing some songs, hopefully Hupp Huppmann and the guys from Bipolar Barbie can make it in time. In any case, it’s going to be fun and we hope to raise a lot of money for Jerry’s Kids and also to keep our publisher out of jail.

Although between us, he’s enjoying his guitar practicing so much that we wouldn’t be surprised if he would elect for a long jail term if he could bring his 6-string.

Here is the Program:

Marathon Music Request Fest

Johan Ramakers and Friends for MDA Lock Up Bail

12 noon to 12 midnight
– Noon to 2:00pm Lunch Music solo
– 2:00 to 4:00 pm Joined by Guitar Hero Chris Kellam – Lead Guitar for Blistür
– 4:00 to 4:30 pm Christmas Carols with Tara Jeabet
Р4:30 to 7:30 Happy Hour joined by Marc and Kimmie
– Dancing for Bail (One Dollar per minute – get your friends to sponsor you)
– Door Prizes
– Snacks and Dutch Peasoup in the courtyard
– Pocket Change Jar Contest (Empty your change in the jar for MDA) Guess the final amount at the end of the evening for a chance to win free dinner for two
– 7:30 to 8:00 Christmas Carols sing along
– 8-30 to Midnight Continue in the courtyard Song requests around the “Campfire”

Indonesian Rijst Tafel Explained

ALSO: A lot of people have been asking what an Indonesian Rijst Tafel is. So for those of you interested in a seat at that exclusive table on December 15 when the publisher prepares a Traditional 25 Dish Indonesian Rijst Tafel for 20 guests max. sponsoring his Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser, here is more information:

What is an Indonesian Rijst Tafel ?

The Indonesian Archipelago was colonized by the Dutch from the early 1600’s through 1948. The main reason why the Dutch broke their own tradition of only building trading settlements in the early days of Colonization was because Indonesia was rich in spices. Many different spices and exotic fruits that over the centuries made their way into the Dutch Homes and Restaurants, so overpowering actually that the Dutch never really developed a Dutch Cuisine, like neighboring Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, but rather build the Indonesian cuisine into one of the finer cuisines in the world.

A Traditional Indnesian Rijst Tafel

A Traditional Indonesian Rijst Tafel

The summit of Indonesian Cuisine is the Rijst Tafel which uses the daily staple of rice in different forms (white, fried, steamed) as the basis for a feast of 10 to 25 different dishes of So along with your rice you get a group of appetizer-size portions of meats, seafood, chicken, vegetables, egg rolls, satays, nuts, sweet and sour cucumbers, sweet and sour cabbage, bakabanas and fruits. Most, but not all, come pre-seasoned with flavors including coconut, curry, lemon grass, fruit compote, peanut, chili, hot pepper, and other surprises. Some dishes are a bit spicy, but only the most sensitive diners might run into problems. The amazing array of sweet, spicy, salty, and sour dishes make for a tantalizing dining experience that each person can customize as they go.

Only 20 donors are cordially invited to support Muscular Dystrophy and keep me out of Jail for only $55 p/p on December 15 at 7 pm at my house.
Sincerely, Johan Ramakers, PhD
Publisher www.SearchAmelia.com
RSVP to (904) 310-6153 or publisher@searchamelia.com

Or Enter your information below:

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Amelia Arts Academy Holiday Performathon

Amelia Arts Academy Holiday Performathon

Amelia Arts Academy Holiday Performathon

The Performathon is a recital-style concert of holiday music and original tunes performed by the students of Amelia Arts Academy. It’s the perfect way to kick off the season and get in to the Holiday spirit! This year, we have added a silent auction of student artwork, and a Fine Art Holiday Ornament Sale.

The Performathon is Sunday, Dec. 6 at 2:00 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. Come hear the student performances, shop the silent auction of student art work, and visit the fine art ornament sale. Everyone in the community is invited, and encouraged to attend!

Bring your friends and family out to see the giant gingerbread houses at the Ritz-Carlton, and to hear beautiful music performed by our hardworking students. You’ll also have an opportunity to shop for truly unique holiday gifts and decorations. Students will perform from 2:00 – 5:30, but feel free to come and go as you please.

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Shop with Cops Program for Fernandina Beach

Shop with Cops Program for Fernandina Beach

Shop with Cops Program for Fernandina Beach

Shop with Cops, benefits the under privileged children in Fernandina Beach with the experience to shop with a cop for the holidays. This program gives kids the opportunity to see members of the Fernandina Beach Police Department in a positive light.

This program has two major benefits to the community. First and foremost it provides a wonderful Christmas shopping opportunity for our community’s most needy children, ages 1-11 years who are selected by the elementary schools guidance counselors. Their first hand knowledge of each of these children provide excellent child selection criterion.

The second benefit is to establish a bonding experience between the needy families and the local Police Officers, as evidenced by these past several years of the program. Shop with Cops has established more comfortable relationships with the children through this shopping event, which pairs the cops and families for the actual shopping trip. The officers are looked upon as people, rather than cops.

Hopefully, this will build the trust that is necessary to build more lasting goodwill between them. This access to law enforcement personnel can be seen in an entirely new light, as helpers and givers, to keep them safe and not always as enforcers of the law. It could go a long way towards crime prevention.

In 2007 and 2008 the program accommodated 350 children throughout Nassau County and achieved the required $35,000 budget needs.

The sheriff’s office has renamed the 2009 program for the County (Off Island) children to Cops and Kids and will fund it through his Children’s Foundation.

Shop with Cops is returning for the sixth year on the Island as it originally began in 2004. The goal is set to have 150 children in the total Island program. Experience shows that $100 per child provides adequate buying power for these children. Letters will be sent to the guidance counselors requesting that each participating family plans to spend their allotment equally between needs for the children (e.g. Diapers, bottles, socks, underwear, etc…) and the children’s wish list (Bikes, toys, pink jackets, etc.) that would amount to a required budget of $15,000. 100% of the monies collected will go to the children and expenses are picked up by the volunteer program chairman.

Last year the Program received donations from churches, civic organizations, men’s and women’s clubs, golf clubs and individuals who have caring hearts regarding less fortunate children.

The 2009 Shop with Cops shopping experience takes place on December 16, 2009. All donations are tax deductible via 501-3c qualification. The program is set up by volunteers and contributors with caring hearts.

Please mail your donation, no matter how small, to:
City of Fernandina Beach Police Department
Attn: Jim Coe
Shop with Cops
1525 Lime Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32035-0668

For more information please contact Don Monahan at shopwithcops@aol.com or (904) 277-2091.

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An Evening of Holiday Music by Amelia Community Theatre

Holiday Music by Amelia Community Theatre

Holiday Music by Amelia Community Theatre

The Amelia Community Theatre Guild is presenting an evening of holiday music featuring The Sine Nomine Choir under the direction of Jill Dillingham, Mary Williams and Nanette Autry on Thursday, December 3 and Friday, December 4. Both performances are at 8:00 PM at the Amelia Community Theatre located at 209 Cedar Street in Fernandina Beach.

This concert of holiday choral music, a reading of Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” with Ron Kurtz and Judy Tipton, includes a reception with holiday refreshments provided by the ACT Guild!

This exciting event is to wish the Community a Happy Holiday and to raise funds for the “Serving Kitchen” at the new Theatre! (We need countertops, a sink and a commercial refrigerator to prepare our receptions!!) Tickets are $15.00 for adults and only $10.00 for students. Make your reservation today by calling the box office at (904) 261-6749.

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Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

Winter Tennis Challenge Ladder

The Fall Challenge Ladder was hotly contested with players from Callahan to Fernandina playing for the title of Fall Ladder Champion. Congratulations to Conner Stevenson for winning the title, and Paul Drayton, Ed Spiezo, Mark Olbina and Rod Nichols for finishing in the top 5.

Registration for the new Winter Challenge Ladder is now open to all local tennis players and runs from December 12th, 2009 through February 28th, 2010. Match times and locations are agreed upon by the players, so you can decide where and when to play that suits you. Fall ladder players will be seeded according to their ranking on the Fall Ladder. The Winter Challenge Ladder is for all tennis players with NTRP levels from 3.5 to 4.5. Each match is the best of three sets. Players can follow their points and make challenges online at GetCourtside.com. The ladder fee is $21 per player for unlimited matches. It’s a great way to meet new players and play when it suits you.

To register for the Winter Challenge Ladder, visit www.getcourtside.com and sign up for a free players account. Add “North Nassau Tennis” as your club (you can do this when you sign up, or afterward in your profile), and click on the Winter Challenge Ladder to register. For more details e-mail paul@zentennislessons.com or call 373-TENN (8366). The ZenTennisLessons.com program now features year round ladders and live ball cardio clinics that have provided playing opportunities for players of all ages and abilities in the Fernandina Beach and Yulee area.

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Does Your Golf Game Need a Doctor?

Golf Tips

Golf Tips

Sneezes and hiccups are normally nothing more than temporary annoyances, but the golf equivalent of these common body functions may be disastrous.

The golf swing is relatively simple. Take the club up on the back swing, down on the follow through and make contact in the middle. That was easy. This seems simple but sometimes the natural body functions of swinging the club around the body are interrupted by jerks and muscle tension. The ideal swing should seem effortless and smooth from start to finish. Accelerate the swing but not to the point of losing control of the club as it makes contact with the ball. First, take the club back slow by coiling the shoulders around the spine and then transition the back swing unto the down swing without jerking or stressing any part of the swing.

A common flaw or habit a golfer may get into is jerking or over accelerating the transition part of the backswing into the down swing. This is called a “sneeze”. (aaaaa-chuuu, so to speak) The back swing starts out smooth but the first part of the down swing seems to be over powered by the arms and hands. This triggers the body to tighten and the swing path is altered causing a redirection of the club head path which has an adversarial effect on direction control. When this happens, it is impossible to make proper contact with the ball. The back swing needs to be smooth and the transition should not be over powering. Acceleration happens during the swing but not at the top. Maximum controlled acceleration is at the ball Рinline with the target for best results.

The “hiccup” is another swing flaw which causes other disorders in your swing. Right before and maybe during impact the body will tense and jerk up. Sounds funny, but sometimes the body will defend against any stressful situation. As you know, golf is supposed to be relaxing, but a golfer will try to help the ball in a forceful way to get the ball where he or she intends it to go. This is another over powering disorder which causes both directional and distance problems. Trajectory or ball flight will be affected as well.

These are just a couple of swing flaws that can be pin pointed with identifiable names. Take time to practice and groove the golf swing at the driving range and course. When in competition, stay the course and think only about smooth swing thoughts. Keep the “sneezes” and “hiccups” out of a stress free golf swing.

If you are having these or any other problems on the golf course with your game, please contact your nearest PGA golf Professional and take a lesson to tune it up.

W. Scott Womble is the PGA Director of Golf for the Fernandina Beach Golf Club

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What Happened to this Year’s Transient Boat Season?

The Wealthy are getting frugal

The Wealthy are getting frugal

Twice a year, every year in the past, you could count on boats along the intercoastal waterway moving south for the winter and again north for the summer. This included motor yachts, sailboats, pocket cruisers and even center console fishing boats seeking out the best weather conditions, regardless of the season. This tradition has been repeated many times over and Amelia Island is a popular stop for these transient boaters.

Being the first port in Florida or the last one before entering Georgia, Amelia Island has deep water, a wide channel, lots of dock-age (over 1800′ of breakwater), fuel, lounge and laundry facilities, great shopping, restaurants and much more.

Anyone circling downtown late in the afternoons could witness dozens of yachts and small vessels angling for the fuel dock and making preparations to tie up for the evening.

Boats, unlike cars, require constant upkeep and maintenance and the larger vessels are usually owned by more affluent individuals who keep the trend of moving their boats each year.  This year however is a far different story; the once bustling docks are now sparsely filled with boats, the fuel dock for the most part sits dormant with few indicators that things will change anytime in the near future for our marine traffic.  So what happened?  Is it the economy catching up with the wealthy?  Could it be a change in the cruising habits of today’s boaters.

Recent reports show that boat sales are down some 40%, making one think that it has to be the economy. Large motor vessels and mega yacht orders however, are at an all-time high and new boaters coming into the market continues to hold steady. Northern winters are still cold and South Florida summers are still hot, neither being especially conducive to boating or for that matter storing a boat.

Knowing what I do about boats and the habits of yacht owners, I believe it’s a little more complicated than the black and white answer; it’s the economy.

Yachting is very much alive and well and actively going on everyday. New boats are being built; older vessels are being refitted all vying for that Palm Beach status; little has changed in this department. However what has changed is the priorities of boat owners and how to apply the overall budgets for their boats. Visiting their favorite cruising grounds in the Bahamas may be more important than sending their boat south for the winter. Perhaps laying over a few months in a particular port, rather than moving the boat makes more financial sense, saving funds for more essential trips. Actions such as these are to be expected even in the world of yachting, but what is disheartening is the fact, that this may well become the new trend in boating. And that would not fare well for our newly renovated beautiful marina facilities in Fernandina Beach. Maybe we should start looking at a different boating market segment because it looks that even the mega wealthy are feeling the pinch and addressing their habits.

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Faces and Stories from the Pétanque Tournament

Playing Pétanque in the afternoon sun

Playing Pétanque in the afternoon sun

It’s funny to report that it apparently takes a while before an event like the recent Petanque tournament reaches the various layers of society. The other day I was talking with Dave Mason from the air conditioning and refrigeration company with the same name, who has since turned into a true Pétanque afficionado, to the extent that he built a court in his front yard. The story came of course on the topic of Claudy Weibel, former World Champion and current European Champion and his unbelievable talent to hit the boules. But this time I learned something else about him.

Dave confided in me that apparently one evening a group of the players ended up in one of Philippe’s favorite bars (the place reminds me of a Belgium Pub he says). The Hammerhead on the corner of Sadler and Fletcher. Well the Hammerhead is known as the island’s pool hall where lots of pool sharks hang out. Well the story goes that Claudy Weibel is not only a magician on the Pétanque court, he apparently wiped the floor in pool with about every shark in the place. The whisper in these circles is that they have never seen someone of that caliber here on Amelia Island. This in itself is another lesson, because in Europe we know not to ever be challenged by a Belgian in pool or billiard. It’s the nation’s number one sport behind closed doors and they have delivered world champions since memory serves.

Another interesting tournament player was Larry Cragg from Marin County, California. An old school steel pedal and banjo musician, Larry has been the guitar tech and repair guy for Carlos Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Miller, Mike Bloomfield, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and many more. And since 1973, he has worked as Neil Young’s guitar tech both on the road and in the studio, while playing banjo on stage with him. Remember the song “Old Man”? Yep, that was Larry!

These days when he’s not playing Petanque or touring with Neil Young, he operates a vintage instrument rental website appropriately called www.vintageinstrumentrental.com. Being a musician myself I made the mistake to go the site and woke up hours later from a dream in which I played a 1961 Gibson Special with two P-90’s like Santana on Woodstock on a Marshall JCM 800 with the original Cone Celestions 800 in the Speaker Cabinets. If you’re into that kind of thing I advice you to check out Larry’s site on a cold and rainy winter day. It’ll get your blood pumping.

Then there is the story about the two German players who were told at Jacksonville “International” Airport upon their arrival that they could exchange Euros for Dollars on the island. Well we learned fast that the banks here on Amelia Island are way behind on that thought. To exchange Euros into Dollars is not possible and if you want to exchange dollars into Euros you’d better place your order two days ahead of time. Now I can imagine our local banks not being overly interested in keeping Zimbabwean Dollars in their cash boxes, but Euros??? Here’s a head’s up to our local banks… next year, for the second weekend in November, please think about accommodating the Euro at least, because the next tournament is going to be bigger and better and it comes out a little sloppy when the German team has to go all the way up to Savannah to get money exchanged. Guess Jacksonville banks have a similar problem?

There was a also complete band from Virginia among the players, called Front Porch, the winemaker for Ravenswood was among the players, the couple from Madagascar had an interesting story and we still owe you that video.

We get emails every day from people that were here or want to learn more about Pétanque. People sign up on Facebook and offer assistance. It’s just interesting to see and hear the reactions to this relaxed, yet highly competitive ball game. Learn more here.

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Pétanque and Ricard Have a Long History

Interview with Clémence Natta - Ricard

Interview with Clémence Natta - Ricard

With the arrival of Pétanque in North East Florida, we also welcomed Ricard, France’s favorite long drink. For most Americans an unknown, and for others an acquired taste, Ricard was founded in 1932 by Paul Ricard. The unique taste of the liqueur is created from star anise, a rare herb from the furthermost reaches of Southern China and Vietnam, Syrian liquorice root and aromatic plants from the Provence area in France, also the birthplace of Pétanque. This original recipe – guaranteed all natural and with some accredited medicinal properties, is a closely guarded secret and has remained unchanged since its invention.

“The attraction between Ricard and Pétanque goes all the way back to the early years of the brand,” says Clémence Natta, Marketing Director USA for Ricard. The Provence area of Southern France is our home turf and the port city of Marseille is the place from where both expanded into the world.
“Pastis de Marseille” now sets the basic principle of the recipe invented and developed by Paul Ricard.”

Ricard is served as a long drink generously diluted with water. Serve a 2 cl shot of Ricard, then add 10cl to 14cl of cool water according to personal taste. Add ice only after diluting. “The ritual of drinking Ricard – picking up the carafe, adding water, and seeing the drink change colour – is the beginning of the pleasure”, says Clémence. “It reflects an art of living that combines cheerful friendliness and joy of life, like the game of Pétanque,” pointing at the game courts crowded with players from around the world and mostly wearing Ricard hats as protection against the Florida sun.

A little research into the company gets the surprising result that in 1975 rivals Pernod and Ricard merged and have since become a world spanning operation owning such quality brandname spirits as Chivas Regal, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Wild Turkey, Glenlivet, Seagram’s, Martell Cognac, Jacob’s Creek Wines, Tia Maria, Kahlua, Malibu, Beefeater, Stolichnaya, Mumm and Perrier-Jouet Champagnes and more. Quite an accomplishment for two regional competitors in anise flavored liqueurs.

The natural attraction between the game of Pétanque and Ricard comes from the long drink qualities of the brand. “A typical game between accomplished players often lasts one to sometimes two hours”, explains Clemence, ” a time frame that often coincides with the consumption of a long drink. “The alcohol percentage on a regular mix of 1 part to 5 parts water, is only 7.5%,” Clemence says, adding with a smile, “and even better, a glass of Ricard is only 50 calories, beating light beer, wine, scotch and even champagne.”

Virtual unknown on Amelia Island and the region prior to the Pétanque America tournament, Liquor and Package stores are now carrying the Ricard brand and several establishments have it in their bar line up.
Just like Clemence pointed out, Fernandina Beach and Marseille are both port cities: they understand the worldliness of the unique taste of Ricard.

My personal take on it is this: I may not always be in the mood for the anise flavored drink Ricard, but when I play Petanque or read a book on my porch, it’s a heck of a pleasant companion.

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Cat Scratch Fever-Nassau County Humane Society Concert

Cat Scratch Fever

Cat Scratch Fever

What should have been a standing room only auditorium filled with rock enthusiasts at the Fernandina Beach Recreation Center on Atlantic Avenue last Saturday, can only be justifiably qualified as a good first time effort for the Nassau Humane Society to use rock music as a fundraiser. In my opinion it should have been sold out to a crowd that would have been treated to a great concert.

Those who didn’t show up missed a heck of a concert with some major talent. Frank Basile, organizer and frontman in an organization called musiciansleague.org put bands from as far away as Daytona-Deltona on stage and the quality of the total event was superb. Six bands playing a three song set each, while individual performers filled up the equipment transition times, making the event smooth and the encores’ lively.

During one transition the audience was introduced to Dana from Jacksonville with just a guitar and a voice. She was a last minute addition to the line up and only known as Dana.  The moment she opened her mouth I knew we were looking at a new Melissa Etheridge with a masterful rhythm arm on guitar. Six songs from Dana and the crowd was floor stomping and rhythm clapping for more.

Especially during the last hour of the show, as organizers and musicians were getting into the groove of mixing and matching talent, we heard some amazing rock. Clapton’s “Sunshine of your Love” was a superb performance and could have stretched a little longer, like Clapton did last time I saw him with Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler. With 13 year old model/rock star-in-the-making Tasia Bosch Dupree on microphone, Kiss’s “Rock and Roll all Night” engaged the crowds in loud appreciation.

Concert Finale

Concert Finale

The closing selections where not an easy cop out and as a lifetime blues/rock musician I know they required substantial practice and mastery on instruments. So when Frankie Basile’s Makeshift band with himself on drums, Hupp Huppmann on guitar, Ray Hetchka on bass and and very steady guitar dude (I tried for an hour to find his picture/name on Facebook) on lead guitar, backed up Jennifer Sealy to stand in for Ann Wilson in the famous Heart song “Barracuda” I was wondering if they could pull it off.¬† Well they did fabulously for a live setting of a very complicated song; and the audience clearly agreed.

Closing up the evening with Ted Nugent’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ was a natural theme choice that invited all performing musicians to join in on stage and made it an event resembling closings of “Live Aid” and “We are the World” projects.

I think the organizers are planning a repeat event for next year, in which case I will hand the video camera to one of the other SearchAmelians and happily join in with my guitar. There will be a full show video featured on Comcast channel 29/digital 264 soon. When done with editing we will post it here on the website. It will have the audio tracks recorded through the mixer instead of straight into the camera like this video which always gives some power glitches.

In closing, I am sorry for anyone who likes good rock, to not have been at the Rec Center for Cat Scratch Fever. The $10 admission was well worth the event… you would have enjoyed it far beyond even the knowledge that you supported the Nassau Humane Society and their efforts to help pets in need.

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Weibel and Thibaud too Strong for Competition

Claudy Weibel-left• Xavier Thibaud-right

Claudy Weibel-left‚ Xavier Thibaud-right

European Champion Claudy Weibel and New York partner Xavier Thibaud were too strong for the rest of the Petanquers in the Amelia Island Pétanque America Open last weekend. 2000 World Champion and 2009 European Shooting champion Claudy Weibel was in his element with precision playing partner and friend Xavier Thibaud from the New York Pétanque Club. The strategic ease with which this couple worked themselves quickly into the finals of this first tournament on Amelia Island, was nothing short of amazing.

The tournament director Christophe announced during the opening session that the time limit for all games except the finals would be 1 hour 15 minutes. Team Weibel/Thibaud never went beyond 45 minutes. Thibaud would place his first boule frighteningly close to the target (piglet) and whenever the competing team would threaten his position, Claudy Weibel would step in and without any hesitation whatsoever kick the other team’s ball away from the target and with top spin effect land his own ball right near the target.
We watched the audience gasp and shake their heads in disbelief every time he stepped into the ring. Susan Hurley, event coordinator for the City of Fernandina Beach and an enormous support in the successful conclusion of this first tournament stood next to my camera during the semi-finals and even with my eyes on the view finder I could see her shaking her head and blowing out compressed air every time Claudy Weibel kicked another ball out.

It is said in the game of Pétanque that you do not need to know how to shoot (kick other balls away from the target) to win the game. True as that may be, you better not get someone like Belgian Claudy Weibel as opposition, because you’ll pull your hair out after a while.

With 88 teams from Europe, Canada and the US (many in US teams were from other countries such as Morocco, Tunesia, Madagascar and Central America) the tournament followed a round robin game system that would guarantee the finals to be able to start on Sunday afternoon around 4 with enough daylight left to finish the game with floodlights and give everyone ample time to spruce up for the closing party and prize ceremony at Sandy Bottoms that evening.

The finals started at 4:20 and by 5:10 it was all over, not because runners-up Malik Ernesto and Gilles Ray from the New York Petanque Club, are not fabulous players in their own right, Weibel’s magic shooting and Thibaud’s uncanny precision in landing his boules near the pig were no match for anybody on this day. The final score 13-3.

Aftermath: With Mayor Susan Steger announcing that part of the boat trailer parking lot will be featuring Pétanque courts for the near future, you can now see locals getting out their boules and play until far after sunset under the floodlights. With the second weekend in November being proclaimed by the city as Pétanque America Days and with Petanque courts sprouting up in front and back yards on the island, we can safely say that in next year’s tournament we will see some local talent vying for the prizes.

With more than 4 hours of video footage of the entire Amelia Island Pétanque America Open Tournament on November 14 and 15th, a 90 minute video of the games and the parties will be available in about 3 weeks.

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