Honoring Orlando’s Victims at a Fernandina Beach Service

orlando-service-fernandina-amelia-island

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There will be a booth at this Saturday’s (June 18, 2016) Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market inviting you to an Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Hope for the victims of the Orlando tragedy. The service will be held on Saturday evening, June 18 at 7pm at St. Peters Church, 801 Atlantic Avenue, in downtown Fernandina.

This event will honor the victims, support the LGBT community, and show our gratefulness to the first responders and medical personnel that have been working around the clock since this horrible attack.

At the booth at the farmers market, you will be able to sign a book of condolences which will be delivered to the Orlando Memorial next week by Chaplain Jim Tippins.

Also, caring professionals will be present to listen to you and to offer prayer, if you choose.

All Are Welcome to visit the booth and to come to the service whether you are a person of faith or not. This is for all in our community.

Fernandina Beach Main Street Hires Executive Director

Fernandina Beach Main Street Hires Executive DirectorThe Board of Directors for Fernandina Beach Main Street, Inc. is pleased to announce the hiring of Jeffrey Kurtz as the Executive Director of the newly designated Fernandina Beach Main Street program. The Board received 57 applications from around the country for the position. Candidates were interviewed in September and October.

Mr. Kurtz comes to Fernandina Beach from Waterloo, Iowa, where he has been the Executive Director for Main Street Waterloo since 2010. He brings qualifications in non-profit management, project development, team building, and public relations to Fernandina Beach Main Street. Mr. Kurtz is well-versed in the Main Street program Four Point Approach and the requirements necessary to make the program successful.

As part of his role with Main Street Waterloo, Mr. Kurtz was also involved with the Waterloo Public Art Committee, the Waterloo Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was previously on the Board of Directors for the Cedar Falls Main Street and the Cedar Falls Tourism Bureau. Mr. Kurtz has a Master’s degree in Public History and a Bachelor’s degree in History. His past experience includes executive director positions with a history museum and historical society.

The Fernandina Beach Main Street Board is excited to welcome Mr. Kurtz and have him be a part of the community. His enthusiasm and energy will be a valuable addition to the Main Street program and Fernandina Beach. Said Mr. Kurtz, “I am incredibly honored to be chosen as Fernandina Beach’s first Main Street director. With amazing natural beauty, historic charm, and active community engagement, amazing things are already happening every day. Even with this obvious success, I sensed right away that Fernandina Beach does not want to rest on its laurels. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get started working with the downtown stakeholders to find even higher levels of success!”

For updates, visit our website at http://fernandinamainstreet.com/, and be sure to like us at Fernandina Beach Main Street on Facebook, FernandinaBeachMainStreet on Instagram, and use #fernandinabeachmainstreet in posts.

As a non-profit, donations are welcomed to help support the mission of the program and can be given at: http://www.gofundme.com/MainStreetFB.

To volunteer or sign up for the mailing list, email regina@aifby.com.

Fernandina Beach Wins the Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award

Fernandina Beach Wins the Great Places in Florida People's Choice AwardRepresentatives of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association traveled to Fernandina Beach today to announce the Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award, granted to Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach. The Great Places Award celebrates communities that have a true sense of place, cultural and historic interest, and strong community involvement. Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach received the most votes out of the finalists.

From the Florida APA website, “Great Places in Florida is an awards program created to highlight Florida’s Great Places and the communities and people that have created them. Florida is full of amazing places that keep our communities thriving and make this state a wonderful place to live. Great Places stand out with their exceptional character and lasting value. They are memorable, perhaps even famous, but each deeply cared for and valued. Citizens, planners, business leaders and elected officials work hard to create, sustain and improve the places that we love and enjoy in our cities.”

The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) named four finalists in the People’s Choice Awards category of the Great Places in Florida contest. Fernandina Beach was among the final four, which also included Lakeland, Lake Worth, and the Gaines Street District in Tallahassee. The City thanks the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council for submitting the nomination, and all who voted to help Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach win the award.

For more information, visit http://www.floridaplanning.org/great-places/.

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Fernandina Beach is a Great Places in Florida Finalist

Fernandina Beach is a Great Places in Florida Finalist

The Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) has named the four finalists in the People’s Choice Awards category of the Great Places in Florida contest. Fernandina Beach is among the final four, which also includes Lakeland, Lake Worth, and the Gaines Street District in Tallahassee.

From the Florida APA website, “Great Places in Florida is an awards program created to highlight Florida’s Great Places and the communities and people that have created them. Florida is full of amazing places that keep our communities thriving and make this state a wonderful place to live. Great Places stand out with their exceptional character and lasting value. They are memorable, perhaps even famous, but each deeply cared for and valued. Citizens, planners, business leaders and elected officials work hard to create, sustain and improve the places that we love and enjoy in our cities.”

Voting is open at http://bit.ly/gpvote15fb until Monday, October 19th at 5pm. The winner will be announced on October 23, 2015.

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Fernandina Beach Fire Department Goes Pink

Fernandina Beach Fire Department Goes Pink

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Fernandina Beach Fire Department personnel will be sporting pink for the month of October to help bring awareness to the importance of mammograms and the dangers of breast cancer.

The fire service has always protected lives and property, and it works hard to educate the public to dangerous situations. The threat of breast cancer is one of those dangerous situations that threaten the lives of millions of women. According to BREASTCANCER.Org, 1 in 8 US women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their life, and as of 2014, 2.8 million American women have a history of breast cancer.

As part of the Fernandina Beach Fire Department’s commitment to educating the public to the dangers of breast cancer, you will notice that the traditional navy blue uniforms will have a new twist, and it will serve as a reminder that it is important to have mammograms performed, and that self-exams saves lives.

Pictured: Local firefighters receive an award at the Fernandina Beach Yulee Relay for Life Kick-Off Party held October first. The next Relay event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will be held at Main Beach on March 5, 2016, from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

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Secretary Detzner Designates Two New Main Street Communities

Secretary Detzner Designates Two New Main Street CommunitiesTALLAHASSEE, FL – Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced the designation of Crystal River and Fernandina Beach as Florida Main Street communities. Main Street designation offers a comprehensive strategy from the statewide Florida Main Street Program to support local revitalization and historic preservation efforts.

“As the Florida Main Street Program celebrates its 30th anniversary, I am proud to welcome Crystal River and Fernandina Beach as the two newest Main Street communities,” said Secretary Detzner. “Crystal River, known for its beautiful springs and manatee population, and Fernandina Beach, known for its stunning coastline, are an important part of Florida’s historic legacy. Both communities will be tremendous assets to Florida Main Street.”

Secretary Detzner’s designation is based on the August 6, 2015 recommendation of the six-member ad hoc Florida Main Street Advisory Committee. Organizations represented on the Advisory Committee included the Florida Division of Historical Resources, Chattahoochee Main Street, Inc., Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, 1000 Friends of Florida, Florida Redevelopment Association, and Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

Crystal River is located on Florida’s central west coast and today has a population of 3,100 residents. Best known as “Home of the Manatees,” Crystal River annually welcomes more than a half millions tourists who are attracted to the pristine springs and swimming with the manatees.

Fernandina Beach is located in the northern most corner of Florida on Amelia Island. The town of Fernandina Beach, named for King Ferdinand VII of Spain, celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2011. The Historic District of Fernandina Beach is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About Florida Main Street
Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 45 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach®, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul. Since the program’s inception in 1985, the Florida Main Street programs have cumulatively created 24,604 jobs, 7,337 new businesses and produced $2.45 billion in reinvestment.

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Amelia Island Booms with Record-Breaking July 2015

Amelia Island Booms with Record-Breaking July 2015Amelia Island, FL – The Amelia Island Tourist Development Council (AITDC) has reported record-shattering numbers from its lodging partners for the month of July. According to new research, the record-breaking month saw hotels and resorts running at 86.3 percent occupancy – an almost 4 percent (3.6) increase over 2014 figures. Total revenue generated by those stays exceeded $12 million, representing a nearly 11 percent (10.8) increase over the same month last year.

“We’re having a very good year on Amelia Island,” said Gil Langley, managing director of the AITDC. “The numbers we’re generating are what you would expect in larger destinations such as Key West or Miami. And these figures don’t even include vacation home rentals or bed-and-breakfast inns, which are some of our most popular accommodators. We’re anxious to see how well those entities performed in July.”

The July performance follows a record-setting June, in which Amelia Island outperformed major tourism destinations in Florida based on reported occupancy and revenue per available room (REVPAR) figures. For the year-to-date figures, lodging on Amelia Island is at 76.3 percent occupancy, at an average room charge of $227 per night. Revenues are up nearly 10 percent (9.8) over 2014, with $68.1 million being generated in just seven months. REVPAR, an industry standard that indicates the health of the local hotel industry, is among the highest in the southeast at $173.

The AITDC also released their Second Quarter Visitor Profile, which showed 162,500 unique visitors stayed overnight on Amelia Island between April and June. A 5.9 percent increase over the previous year, those visitors had an economic impact on the community of almost $158 million. Most of the overnight traffic was from Georgia, followed by Florida and New York, with Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Orlando as the top three markets.

For the year to date, almost 313,000 overnight guests have visited Amelia Island, a 7.5 percent increase over 2014, generating $295 million in economic impact. That spending supported one in four private-sector jobs in Nassau County and generated 38 percent of the total sales tax collected.

“Tourism is clearly the economic anchor for Nassau County. We’re the largest private sector employer and generate a significant portion of state and county sales taxes,” Langley said.

“Our efforts to expand our reach into major northern markets such as New York, Boston and Chicago are clearly paying dividends,” Langley continued. “With the support of the Nassau County Commission, we’ve been able to expand our marketing efforts targeting visitors who stay longer and spend more. We’re excited about the growth of our industry, but want to move forward cautiously to insure that we can sustain this performance.”

Langley explained that while visitation in the second quarter has increased by 35 percent since 2011, economic impact over the same five years has increased by 60 percent. “We’ve been able to generate more revenue without an exponential growth in the number of visitors. Our goals are longer stays with greater expenditures by the travel party and obviously it seems to be generating good results.”

About Amelia Island
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; come make memories on Amelia Island.

For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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TDC Announces Grand Reopening of Amelia Island Welcome Center

TDC Announces Grand Reopening of Amelia Island Welcome CenterPainting by William Maurer
Amelia Island, FL – After nearly two years of extensive restoration, the historic Fernandina Beach Railroad Depot will reopen on Monday, June 8 at 10 a.m.. As the location of the Amelia Island Welcome Center, the building is a focal point of the community – one worthy of the over $300,000 in renovation costs. Located at 102 Centre Street in historic Fernandina Beach, the depot, which is included in the National Park Service’s Historic American Buildings Survey, has been restored to boast its original historic charm and combine contemporary technology to welcome the visitors from around the world who arrive to Amelia Island.

“We’re very proud of this Welcome Center and the outstanding dedication and hard work of all those who collaborated on this project,” said Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB. “Visitors can now fully appreciate the historic significance of the building and enjoy the modern resources for trip planning it will provide for years to come.”

Funding for the project was provided by Nassau County Board of County Commissioners through the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, the City of Fernandina Beach, and the Restoration Foundation. Local businesses provided pro bono materials and labor including lumber, landscaping, architecture, and project management. The Old Florida Railroad Train Depot has been an icon on Fernandina Beach’s waterfront for more than 115 years and has been updated and restored to better serve visitors to the island. The Welcome Center now integrates new technology through interactive kiosks where visitors can find out about area restaurants, activities and lodging. Wall monitors display photos and videos highlighting unique aspects of Amelia Island, along with weather forecasts and social media information.

The Amelia Island Welcome Center will be open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached by phone at 904-277-0717.

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Ribbon Cutting on the Deck of the Polly L

Ribbon Cutting on the Deck of the Polly L

Ribbon Cutting on the Deck of the Polly LOn the Thursday before the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, the Polly L, a ship owned by Amelia Research and Recovery, will hold a Ribbon Cutting with the Amelia Island – Fernandina Beach – Yulee Chamber of Commerce at noon, April 30, 2015. The Polly L was designed for coastal shipwreck salvage.

This ribbon cutting is the commemoration the 300th anniversary of the 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet sinking and in particular the San Miguel.

In 1715, a Spanish fleet of ships filled with treasures, was returning to Spain from the New World. The fleet never made it and were lost in a hurricane off of the Florida coast. This loss was a blow to Spain as the great quantities of treasure, including gold and silver, were being transported home to cover the costs of war.

When Spanish coins and artifacts were discovered on Amelia Island’s beaches, believed to belong to the 180 ton San Miguel, it is no wonder modern salvage companies like Amelia Research and Recovery are interested in the waters off Amelia Island.

According to their website, www.ameliaresearchandrecovery.com, the Polly L will be available during the Shrimp Festival for public tours on May 2nd and May 3rd. After the Festival, the Polly L will sail out to the salvage site and start the diving season in pursuit of the missing ship, San Miguel.

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Amelia Island is a Sweet Valentine’s Day Escape

Amelia Island is a Sweet Valentine's Day EscapeAmelia Island, FL – Drawing on her many irresistible charms, Amelia Island is luring a new flock of lovebirds to her shores for a romantic Valentine’s Day escape. In addition to the year-round appeal of moonlit strolls on the beach, sunset sails, soothing spas, and quiet cafes, a number of Amelia Island hotels, inns and resorts are offering some sweetheart deals to make a Valentine’s Day getaway as affordable as it is romantic.

The selection of packages and special rates currently offered by Amelia Island accommodators for Valentine’s Day 2015, include:

Amelia Hotel at the Beach is offering a Hearts and Flowers Package for Valentine’s Day, available February 1 through 22. The package, which starts at $438, includes a two-night stay in a premium view room, champagne with keepsake flutes, chocolate covered strawberries, rose petal turn down, and fresh baked cookies in room before arrival. To book the package guests must use code HFBN and reserve the room at least 72 hours prior to arrival. The package is based on limited availability and some restrictions apply.
904-206-5600

The Amelia Island Williams House invites guests to wow their valentine with their special Will you be my Valentine Getaway. The getaway includes a bottle of chilled champagne and chocolates in room upon arrival, horse drawn carriage for two, and dinner with a special menu at the upscale David’s Restaurant. The package can be added to any two-night stay for $195 from February 6 to 28.
904-277-2328

Located in the historic district, Fairbanks House is offering upscale, adult-focused packages for both Valentines couples and Valentines friends. The Be My Valentine Package includes lodging in luxurious accommodations, a bottle of wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, roses and a dinner voucher for a local fine-dining restaurant. Packages are available from two to seven nights and start at $525 for two. The My Friends Are My Valentines Package includes lodging, for up to five ladies, in a large private cottage or 1,600-square-foot private floor in the mansion, hot fudge sundaes, chocolate chip cookies, souvenirs from the gift shop, and concierge service for spa appointments, dinner reservations and tours. Rates start at $79 per person per night. Both packages include daily gourmet breakfasts, complimentary use of bikes, beach equipment, pool and more.
888-891-9881

ERA Fernandina Beach Realty is offering a Hearts & Chocolates Valentines Package from February 13 through 16. The offer includes a 10 percent discount and a box of chocolates. Valid on stays of two nights or more, rates start at $145 per night. Rates are subject to taxes and fees.
904-261-4011

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation is offering a special romance package certain to entice guests for Valentine’s Day. The Couples Connection package, which is available through April 2015, offers luxurious oceanfront accommodations, welcome amenity of specialty massage oils and lotions, private in-room “Bubble Bar” with fresh fruit extracts to flavor your champagne and $100 recreation credit. The package starts at $289 per night, with a minimum of two nights required. Additionally, the resort is offering a Pamper Your Partner Couples Spa Service throughout February. The 80-minute spa service includes a 50-minute couple’s massage followed by 30 minutes of customized massage instruction. Each partner will learn how to massage the other and will be tailored to their specific needs. Couples will also get 30 minutes in the Couples Relaxation Room and will receive a massage oil and golf ball massage tool as a parting gift. The spa package is available for $400 plus gratuity.

In addition to their accommodation and spa packages, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation has several dining opportunities available for Valentine’s Day weekend. The Verandah is offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $69 per person, Oceanside is offering a three-course prix fixe menu for $59 per person, and Sunrise Café is offering a specialty menu for $49 per person. These special dining opportunities are available February 13 and 14. To make reservations, guests can call 800-654-9999 or go to opentable.com.
904-261-6161

The Residence Inn – Amelia Island is offering a You and Me by the Sea Package, available from February 12 through 16. The package offers accommodations, box of decadent Godiva Ballotin chocolates and two splits of red and white wine, along with two stemless glasses. Each additional night booked will offer additional chocolates and a choice of wine or champagne. Guests staying during Valentine’s weekend will be able to participate in the hotel’s many planned activities. To book the package, guests must use promo code D60.
904-277-2440

Starting at $409, The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is offering a Romance Package for Valentine’s Day. Available February 12 through 15, the Romance Package includes American breakfast for two daily at Cafe 4750 or In Room Dining, chocolate covered strawberries and Champagne upon arrival, valet parking, late checkout at 2 pm, and a rose petal turndown service. Guests can also add on a Luxe Artisan Chocolate Bar for an additional $25 per person on February 13 and 14.To book, guests must visit the package section on the website.
904-277-1100

All packages are based on availability and cannot be combined with any other discount. Restrictions apply based on individual property. Contact individual properties for restrictions and to book a package.

About Amelia Island
Northeast Florida’s coastal treasure, Amelia Island is a barrier island rich in colorful history and breath-taking natural beauty. Amelia Island offers long, beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, and pristine waters. Upscale resorts with world-class spas, championship golf and exclusive dining blend effortlessly with a captivating collection of bed and breakfast inns and historic districts. The island is home to Fernandina Beach, once a vibrant Victorian seaport village, and now a charming downtown district of eclectic shops, attractions and eateries. Forget the everyday getaway; Come make memories on Amelia Island.

For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.

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Amelia Island CVB Awarded DMAI Accreditation

Amelia Island CVB Awarded DMAI AccreditationAmelia Island, FL – Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) has approved the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (CVB) for accreditation as part of their Destination Marketing Accreditation Program. This prestigious honor recognizes CVB destination marketing organizations that meet a high level of quality and performance standards within the industry.

“This recognition is a product of the hard work and diligence of the entire Amelia Island CVB staff and board,” said Gil Langley, President and CEO of the Amelia Island CVB. “DMAI accreditation is a direct result of the Amelia Island CVB Board of Directors’ adoption of policies which exceed industry standards, as well as our staff’s dedication to excellence and superior service.”

The accreditation seal exemplifies a destination marketing organization’s (DMO) commitment to industry excellence and to raising the performance and accountability of similar organizations around the world. To be eligible for accreditation, a DMO must successfully fulfill 58 mandatory and 30 voluntary standards in various areas, including governance, finance, human resources, sales, communications, destination development and research.

DMAI represents approximately 1,350 members from more than 600 destination marketing organizations throughout 30 countries. Of those 600 DMOs belonging to DMAI, only 197 are accredited.

For more information, go to www.destinationmarketing.org.

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Warm Blanket Initiative for Nassau County

Warm Blanket Initiative for Nassau CountyFernandina Beach, FL – Homebound and disabled seniors, along with low income single mothers can receive free blankets this winter through the Warm Blanket Initiative. Thanks to a sizeable donation from local residents Tom and Sally Henderson, brand new blankets were recently purchased and will be distributed on a need-by-need basis by Nassau County Council on Aging staff and volunteers. This initiative is just the latest in an ongoing partnership between NCCOA and the Hendersons.

More than 60 blankets have already been distributed to the most vulnerable in our community since late December, according to Donald Harley, NCCOA’s Compliance Officer, who oversaw the large blanket purchase.

“Both Walmart and Target stores really stepped up and helped us on both the pricing and the logistics,” he explained.

The idea leading to the Warm Blanket Initiative was conceived during a cold snap in the fall of last year.

According to Mr. Henderson, who had helped with NCCOA’s home-delivered meals in years’ past, many senior Nassau County citizens get by with only space heaters, which can be very cost prohibitive for someone on a fixed or limited income. He observed first-hand while delivering meals that some of the dwellings were quite drafty.

“Sally and I talked about what I had seen, and procuring lots of blankets, and working with Nassau County Council on Aging, just seemed like a good idea. They had the home delivered meals drivers and volunteers to get the blankets to those who need them most,” he said.

With extremely cold weather approaching our area, these new blankets are available for distribution right now.

If you would like to receive a blanket, please call either of our senior centers: (904) 261-0701 in Fernandina Beach or (904) 845-3331 in Hilliard. A representative will take some information to determine need, and then will work to arrange pick up or delivery of your blanket.

In its 41st year serving the needs of Nassau County seniors, The Nassau County Council on Aging is a 501(3)(c) not for profit agency. NCCOA’s mission is to improve the lives of older adults with a special focus on those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. This mission is accomplished through local and state grants and financial support from the Nassau County community.

NCCOA’s programs include Adult Day Healthcare, Senior Centers in both Fernandina Beach and Hilliard, Transportation Service, Meals on Wheels, and Home Health Services. The COA is partially funded by local, state and federal grants and donations from local individuals and businesses.

Pictured are local residents Tom and Sally Henderson standing with the Melton family after distributing a blanket as part of the Warm Blanket Initiative.

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Harris Teeter has Amelia Island Discounts

Harris Teeter has Amelia Island DiscountsAmelia Island, FL – In 2015, the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (CVB) is partnering for the sixth consecutive year with Harris Teeter Supermarkets to offer a vacation giveaway and special discounts to the grocery chain’s customers. From January through March, subscribers to Harris Teeter’s e-VIC program (Very Important Customer) are entered to win a six-night vacation for a family of four to northeast Florida’s Amelia Island, valued at $5,836. The company’s current e-VIC subscribers and customers who sign up for the personalized weekly email program by March 31 will be entered into the “Amelia Island Dream Vacation Sweepstakes.”

The vacation package will include accommodations for a family of four at the oceanfront Summer Beach Resort on Amelia Island, a round of golf for four at Golf Club of Amelia Island, a trip with Kayak Amelia, tickets for the Amelia River Cruises, a private horse-carriage ride through downtown Fernandina Beach with Old Towne Carriage Company, and admission to the Amelia Island Museum of History. The winner will also receive gift certificates to Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro, Crab Trap, BarZin Bistro and Wine Bar, and The Surf Bar and Restaurant, a $100 American Express gift card for additional dining, and $1,000 for travel expenses.

In April 2015, Amelia Island will announce special discount offers available to customers with a Harris Teeter VIC card. Consumers will be able to use their VIC card to get special discounts at various lodging properties, attractions and retail outlets on Amelia Island.

For more information about the Amelia Island Dream Vacation Sweepstakes, contest rules or to subscribe to e-VIC, please visit www.harristeeter.com.

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