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Gary Williams Book Signing in St. Augustine August 30th

Gary Williams Book Signing in St. Augustine August 30thNortheast Florida – Local author Gary Williams will be to selling/signing copies of the bestselling novel Indisputable Proof.

“It’s an age-old mystery unfolding before the reader’s eyes, giving a different perspective based on recordings and findings of the past, and the way Williams and Knerly present their novel, pulling the reader into the story and causing them to question all they know, is amazing.”
– A Book Vacation Review

Gary will be available Saturday, August 30th from noon to 4:00 p.m. at the Monkey Ballz Café located at 100 St. George Street, Suite F, in St. Augustine, FL.

Monkey Ballz Café
100 St. George Street, Suite F
St. Augustine, FL

About the Authors:
Gary Williams and Vicky Knerly partnered in 2008. Williams and Knerly were initially signed by a New York City literary agency but mutually agreed to part ways in 2011. That same year, they signed with Suspense Publishing based in Los Angeles, California. Williams resides in St. Augustine, Florida, and writes full time. Knerly lives in Melbourne, Florida, where she also works for Florida Institute of Technology.

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HMS Bounty Comes to St. Augustine

HMS Bounty Comes to St. AugustineSt. Augustine, FL — The tale of the H.M.S. Bounty is perhaps one of the most infamous tales of mutiny on the high seas. And pirates in St. Augustine have become the stuff of legend.

This month, the two join forces for Pirates on the Bounty, an action-packed weekend of pirates and privateers in the Nation’s Oldest City, presented April 28 through 29 in conjunction with the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum and the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration.

A joint and discounted ticket to tour the H.M.S. Bounty and The Pirate Museum will be available at The Pirate Museum and on the museum website: www.thepiratemuseum.com. The ship will be open for tours on April 27 through 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the museum is open throughout the weekend from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

ADULTS: $18.99 ($22.99 value)
CHILDREN 5-12 YEARS OLD: $9.99 ($11.99 value)
CHILDREN UNDER 5: FREE

Known for the storied 1789 mutiny in Tahiti aboard the historic vessel, the current Bounty replica scheduled to sail into St. Augustine for the first time in history was built for the 1962 movie Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando, and has appeared in documentaries and films like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

“This city is so rich in history,” said Tracie Simonin, director of the H.M.S. Bounty. “The Bounty has never been to St Augustine before and I like to bring the ship to new and interesting cities.”

The H.M.S. Bounty sails the country offering dockside tours on the history of sailing vessels from a lost and romanticized period in maritime history. And it will lend its towering presence to Pirates on the Bounty.

“This is a great opportunity to provide the community with a first-time, hands-on historic experience that ties in with its rich maritime and pirate history,” said Dana Ste. Claire, St. Augustine’s director of heritage tourism and historic preservation, and director of development for the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration.

Tours of the world-famous tall ship will kick off at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina at 111 Avenida Menendez. The Pirate Museum is located within short walking distance from the marina at 12 S. Castillo Drive, just opposite the Castillo de San Marcos.

“Mutineers and pirates are the perfect combination, especially for St. Augustine where centuries ago tall ships sailed in and pirates pillaged,” said Pat Croce, celebrity founder of The Pirate Museum and renowned pirate historian.

Opened in December 2010, the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum features one of the world’s largest collections of authentic pirate artifacts, Florida shipwreck treasures and interactive fun, including the world’s only pirate treasure chest and Disney Imagineer-designed audio show. It was named a top national attraction by Budget Travel magazine.

“We’re excited to be a part of such an amazing weekend of pirates,” said museum executive director Cindy Stavely.

For more information about the H.M.S. Bounty, visit www.tallshipbounty.org or call (631) 584-7900. For more information on the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, call (904) 825-1053.

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St. Augustine Pirate Gathering

St. Augustine Pirate GatheringSt. Augustine Pirate Gathering is being held October 28th, 29th, and 30th, 2011 at St. Francis Field (next to the parking garage) in St. Augustine, Florida; Pirates will gather from near and far, too.

On Friday, from 9:00am until 4:30pm, there will be a live historical exhibit at the Spanish Colonial Museum De Mesa Yard on St. George Street. Florida history is taught to school groups with a fun twist that includes lessons in rope tying, sword fighting, and black powder safety. On Friday night, from 7:00pm until 11:00pm, there will be a Historic Pub Crawl through the streets of downtown. Dress in your best pirate garb and meet at the Drop Anchor Tavern at St. Francis Field for a night of rum and revelry.

Saturday brings the opening of the gates at 9:00am. There is a parade at 11:00am and a Pirate Land Battle scheduled for 12:30pm. Since it is Halloween weekend, the pirates will be sharing their booty of candy, coins, gems and beads with the wee ones after the Land Battle. A costume contest for the kiddies will be held at 3:00pm. The Thieves Market will be open until 8:00pm and there will be live music by some great performers.

The main tent will close to the public at 5:00pm for the Buccaneer Bash. The Bash is a privately catered gala for the best dressed pirates. Tickets for the bash are $35.00 each and can be found here . You can also reserve a table for $100.00. There will be prizes awarded for the best decorated table.

Sunday brings another day of music and fun. At 10:30am, there will be a Pirate Court and some of the rowdy pirates will be brought to justice. The festivities will continue until 5:30pm when “all pirates shall return to the high seas until next year when the fair winds blow them back ashore.”

The cost for admission to the St. Augustine Pirate Gathering is just a “buck-an-ear” for adults and children! More information can be found at www.pirategathering.com.

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2012 Lions Seafood Festival Dates Announced

2012 Lions Seafood Festival Dates AnnouncedMark Your 2012 Calendars for the St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival to be held March 16 to 18, 2012.

This three day event draws over 22,000 visitors and is a favorite throughout Northeast Florida.

The Seafood Festival includes tons of delicious seafood just about anyway you could want it, outstanding bluegrass, folk and country music and more than 100 affordable arts and crafts. There is truly something for everyone so bring the entire family.

Festival grounds are at Francis Field at 29 W. Castillo Drive in St. Augustine, next to the Visitors Center garage.

All net proceeds go to benefit Lions Club charities. Visit www.lionsfestival.com or call (904) 829-1753 for more information.

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Talk Like a Pirate in St. Augustine

Talk Like a Pirate in St. Augustine

Pirates Fashion N Fotos in St. Augustine is hosting a Talk Like a Pirate Weekend September 16 – 18, 2011. The weekend is full of events including sword fighting lessons, tours of the Pirate & Treasure Museum and Castillo de San Marcos, a Brethren Pub Crawl, and the 2012 Hot Pirate Babes Calendar launch party on Saturday night.

Tiger Lee, owner of Pirate Fashion N Foto, is also the creator of the Hot Pirate Babes calendar. For the past 6 years, Tiger has used his photographic talents to find the hottest pirates he can to feature in a calendar. Tiger discovered when he came to Florida that no one would put on a grand Talk Like a Pirate Day celebration because of hurricane season. He decided, “The devil be damned, what’s a little wind n’ rain fer a pyrate. Let’s have a Party!”

September 19th is the official date of International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This “holiday” was created in 1995 by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers, authors of books such as Pirattitude and The Pirate Life – Unleashing Your Inner Buccaneer.

Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.piratefashions.com or at Pirate Fashion N Foto, 26 Cuna Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. While you are there, check out the video for a full list of the events. (You may even see a familiar face!) There are single day or weekend tickets available. You can also choose to attend the Hot Pirate Babes Calendar release party separately for $45 each. This event includes dinner, Tiger’s famous Rum Cake, and all you can drink grog. You also get a copy of the calendar that you can have signed by the models at the party.

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IMAX Theater at World Golf Village

IMAX Theater at World Golf VillageIMAX Theater, located at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, is the largest digital IMAX screen in the Southeastern United States. The nearly 300-seat theater offers a variety of 3D and 2D movies throughout the year with outstanding, state-of-the-art, specially designed cinematic technology. The IMAX Theater was recently upgraded and they now have a new 3D digital projection system, an incredible sound system and a brand new screen.

Our local Amelia Island theater tickets are $9.75 with a $3.00 3D surcharge, making it $12.75 to view 3D movie. Tickets for a Hollywood 3D blockbuster film at IMAX range from $10.00 to $13.00. With such competitive pricing to a “regular” movie theatre, IMAX is absolutely the best way to see a movie on the big screen especially in 3D. Steeply pitched stadium seating gives everyone a full view of the screen that uses the largest film frame in the motion picture industry. IMAX film is 10 times larger than Hollywood’s standard 35-mm film format and their powerful audio system delivers 28,000 watts of sound.

Did you know the World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater is a A 501c3 non-profit?

For ticket costs, show times, additional information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.WorldGolfIMAX.com. For more details, call (904) 940-4133.

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What I learned at the Coach Store in St.Augustine

Sales Specials at the Coach Outlet Store in St.Augustine

We were invited to join some friends in Crescent Beach, just south of St.Augustine, for a double Birthday Celebration party last weekend. While packing for the short trip I was informed by my wife that a quick stop at the Coach Store in the St.Augustine outlet mall, had to be built into time and arrival schedule. There was a 30% off sale going on for the President’s Day weekend, that could not be missed. Coming off I-95 at the outlet mall exit, I sensed that I was going to witness a mind altering economic experience. The exit was bumper-to-bumper traffic which crawled at a speed of 5 miles per hour towards the entrance off the Outlet Mall. The immense parking lots were filled to capacity as motorists patiently were looking for someone to leave a spot to pull into. I emphasize patiently because it was amazing to witness this amount of courtesy and friendliness on the first sunny and relatively warm day of 2011.

“It must be the weather”, had been my first thought, explaining this massive amount of cars moving into the Outlet Mall. Quickly however I learned that it really was a convergence of recession fatigue and winter fatigue. People are tired of cold and rain – since early December we have been enduring some nasty, cold and rainy weather here in Florida – and people are tired of the recession and are looking for deals to get life back on track. Neither fatigue is very realistic considering our inability to change it, but it is what it is. We can not change the weather, but we can change our attitude towards it and pretty much the same goes for the economy.

And that’s what I caught a glimpse of, last Saturday in the St.Augustine Outlet Mall.
In a feeble attempt to disguise my distaste for shopping in malls, I walked into the Coach store and was confronted by a MOB of mostly women of all ages, race and dress codes. The few men in the store were more of pleasing servitude to their female counterparts, than store decoration. The buzz in the store was loud and full of excitement and the check out lines were counted in time rather than people.
My wife knows I’m good with numbers, so when she came over with a purse that said $399 on the ticket with 40% and another 30% discount over the balance, my answer of $167 and some change, send her on her first excited dash around the store.

I asked the woman at the door who handed out 30% discount coupons, how long this “madness” had been going on, expecting something like: “oh the last 30 minutes or so.”
“We had to move people out of the store at closing time last night” she said, “and this will continue until the sale ends on Monday.”

Now as far as my knowledge goes, Coach is not the most expensive line of purses, pocket books, wallets and sunglasses, but by no means the cheapest either. Looking around at the shopping women, I noticed that most of them already had a Coach Pocket book on their arm or shoulder. In the check out line I noticed many of them with Coach wallets in their hands and then I noticed that several of them had actually cash in their hand to pay for the purchases. Now in all honesty that was a sight I haven’t seen in a long time.

Leaving my wife to her rounds of the store I went outside to sit on a bench and started crunching some numbers. That’s what I do when I see large crowds behave in a manner that belies generally published behavior.
The general wisdom is that we are crawling at a snails pace out of the claws of an enduring recession; that people have become frugal and targeted with their spending; and that the general attitude has not even reached the level of cautious optimism yet.
So what is wrong with the picture that 8 out of 10 women walking out of the Coach store have made a new purchase and that 7 out of those 8 already are wearing a Coach product. Oh I didn’t make up these numbers. I was actually counting people for the next hour going in and out of the store.

Other interesting observations; roughly 50% of the women were African American, about 30% caucasian and a good 20% Asian and Asian American.
At one point an African American woman sat down next to me on the bench and we started a conversation about the weather and the Coach store’s attraction on this Saturday and I learned something that should have been obvious in hindsight. She told me that she worked as a supervisor in the school system in Duval County and in an open and frank conversation I learned that a growing number of African American were working in government with a steady paycheck getting ready to claim their share of American wealth. When she lit up a cigarette, she told me to look around and notice how many African American woman where smoking while window shopping the mall. I counted 10 within a couple of minutes and realized that I had caught a glimpse of an important shift in economics and social strata.
As confusion was fighting with enlightenment in my head, I came to the conclusion that not only all economics are local, but that within social strata certain movements cannot be stopped just because economic circumstances dictate prudent and frugal behavior.

African Americans are catching up in luxury and brandname status while benefitting from bargain pricing. You can only witness this if you get a change to step away from general statistics and observe the real action in the streets and malls. My wife came out of the store with only a small purse and a pair of sunglasses (both at bargain prices), mainly because she already has a number of Coach pocket books and purses for various occasions. This “economic uprising” reflects more a consumer point on the bell curve for brandname adoption than a true economic revival.

A brandname purse that used to sell at $399 to more affluent portions of the population are now available at $167 of an already diluted currency. The only question remains if we can keep up with the production of new and improved.
To explain this: When a purse that sells at Christmas time for $399 and in February for $167, get priced down to $49 for inventory clearance by May’s Mother’s Day, will we have another $399 model exclusively attractive to start a new life cycle.

What I re-learned on this sunny Saturday in February is, that beyond the mere respect for numbers, humans have a need to take action beyond what common wisdom dictates. Consumer Economics is not a science, it cannot be quantified as a rule. Many of these shoppers at the St.Augustine Outlet Mall saw a chance to purchase the “power” of a brandname product at a bargain price.
The desire to display brandname acceptance, was bigger than the caution of economic frugality. They considered their purchase a frugal investment in a brandname product that previously, at the original price, could have meant a week without decent food on the table. It actually reminded me of the question I often heard during my years in the Caribbean: “Is it expensive to live down there?” The answer was: “It depends on what you want to spend your money on. Alcohol and Tobacco is extremely cheap. So is chicken and rice. A bottle of Rum can be purchased for $3. But if you want a carton of Tropicana Orange Juice with it, you’re looking at almost $10. A 30 gallon tank full of gas is about $170, which would pay for a Coach Purse at the St.Augustine Outlet Mall.

Spending in line with income is an easy decision when you take the Credit Card out of the equation; which is why I was happy to see several people pay with cash for their purchases last Saturday.

Let it Snow in Florida

Let it Snow in Florida

Snow in Florida

Snow is a rarity in Florida, but in St. Augustine, they are letting it snow every night during Winter Wonderland. This is the 4th winter that the St. Augustine Amphitheatre has hosted this magical event that runs from now until January 2, 2011. The snow falls every evening at 7pm and 9pm over the outdoor ice skating rink.

There are lots of activities for the young and young at heart and many of them are free.
* Visit the Elf House.
* Give your wish list to Santa Claus today through Dec. 24.
* Walk through the Candy Cane Forest.
* Watch the ice skaters and the ice sliders.
* Visit the Igloo Ski Lodge adjacent to the ice rink for a close up view of the skaters.
* Warm up by the lodge’s fire.
* Enjoy the nightly snow showers at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For a minimal fee, you can also try:
* Ice skating.
* Ice sliding.
* Bounce House
* Train rides
* Sleigh rides
* Smores’ kits to build your own, an old winter treat for toasting.
* Hamburgers, hot dogs, treats and sodas and hot beverages.

Winter Wonderland times through Dec. 17 are:
Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.
Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.

From Dec. 18 until Jan. 2, it is open Sunday through Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.

Admission and parking is free. All parking is in the amphitheatre lot.

While you are in St. Augustine, be sure to check out the Nights of Lights downtown. There are more than 2 million lights on view making the city sparkle and shine with Christmas cheer. This will continue through January 31, 2011. For more information on either event you can visit, www.winterwonderlandflorida.com or www.nightsoflights.com.

St. Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010

St. Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010

St. Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010

The 3rd Annual Pirates Gathering in St. Augustine took place November 12-14, 2010. The event seemed to be quite popular bringing in Pirates from all over the state of Florida and other parts of the country. With a small admission fee of only a “buck–an–ear”, many landlubbers wandered in to participate as well.

On Friday evening, there was a Pirates Pub Crawl. Dozens of pirates paraded through downtown St. Augustine invading many of the local establishments. It was a sight to see!

On Saturday morning, the gates opened to the public. The kiddies had much to choose from with pony rides, slides and other attractions. There were many vendors selling pirate wares, treasures, and jewels as well as garb and weaponry. A parade and a land battle at the City Gates were popular as well.

On Saturday evening, the gates were closed for a Buccaneer Bash. All were welcome to participate in a dinner of whole roasted pig and other goodies. The Royal Family of St. Augustine was in attendance and there was a contest for the best table decorations.

The weather was certainly perfect for a wonderful outdoor event. The annual event is a lot of fun for those who are pirates and those that just want to be a pirate for a weekend.

The Saint Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010

The Saint Augustine Pirate Gathering 2010Avast, me Hearties! A pirate festival is to be held in the historic city, that first saw pirates walking their streets two hundred years before the founding of our country. On November 12, 13 and 14th, pirates will once again occupy the nation’s oldest city. This time, the pirates will be in a much more festive mood. It will be a “Gathering” of pirates from around the country, coming together to celebrate the Golden Age of Piracy, and to share their pride and knowledge with the citizens and visitors of Saint Augustine. So… don ye pirate garb and join us for a weekend of mischief, skullduggery, and merrymaking as St. Augustine celebrates the gathering of pirate.

Friday November 12th, 2010, 7pm – Come join the pirates as we walk through historic downtown St. Augustine visiting several local pubs. All who wish to join will meet at the “Drop Anchor Tavern” on St. Francis field in the main tent.

Saturday November 13th 2009, 10:30am – 5pm at Saint Francis field will be improvisational actors, sword fights, cannon firings, black powder demonstrations and pirates, pirates, pirates. There will be vendors in our “Thieves Market” selling a variety of plundered. Located in the main tent will be the “Drop Anchor Tavern” where you can quench your thirst and toast your shipmates. For the kids there will be games, pirate magic, pictures and storytelling that will include tales of real St. Augustine pirates.

Saturday at 12:30pm the Pirate Gathering will feature a Pirate Parade along the Castillo, bayfront, Cathedral and Cordova back to St. Francis Field on Saturday at 11:00am. Then at 12:30pm a Pirate Battle will ensue at the Redoubt along St. George with cannon fire and sword play.

Saturday night is the world infamous “Buccaneer Bash.” This is a time to lay down your arms and enjoy some great music, fine food and drinks. As the St. Francis Field will be closed to the public at 5pm. This is a ticket only gala and is only open to pirates over the age of 21. Ticket information is available at www.pirategathering.com.

Sunday November 14th at 10:30 am is Pirate Court. Grievances are heard, disagreements are settled, and sentences are handed down in this comical court of Captains. It’s going to be a great weekend of swashing and buckling fun for the whole family.

For more information or tickets… log on to our website: www.pirategathering.com.

The St. Augustine Pirate Gathering is presented by Crew of the Black Heart, the Brothers of the Coasts, and the St. Augustine Pirates.

St. Augustine Pirate Gathering

Pirate GatheringThe 3rd annual gathering of pirates is coming to St. Augustine November 12-14, 2010. Pirates from across the seven seas will be arriving to join the crews of the Black Heart and the Ancient City Privateers. The event will be held at St. Frances Field and Historical Quarter in downtown St. Augustine.

Registration begins at the main gate at 3pm on Friday, November 12th. There will be a pub crawl on Friday night beginning at the Drop Anchor Inn at St. Frances Field under the big tent at 7pm.

Saturday, November 13th is full of events beginning at 9am. Look for a parade at 11am, a Battle at Sea at 12:15pm in front of the fort, a Pirate Land Battle around 12:30pm on Orange Street by Huguenot Cemetery, and lots more at St. Frances Field. There is a Buccaneer Bash at 5pm for those that hold tickets.

Sunday, November 14th brings more plundering and pillaging with a full pirate court at 10:30am, lots of music, and another Sea Battle at 2:30pm. The Gathering will draw to a close at 5pm.

According to the website at www.pirategathering.com, “The Pirate Gathering’s goal is to help kids learn about the history that is St. Augustine, through the Light House Maritime Program.”

“Shipwrecks and other maritime archaeological sites preserved in the waters of Florida’s First Coast can give us insight into history as no textbook can. Part of LAMP’s mission is to engage our local and visiting communities, to provide opportunities to learn more about our maritime history and to work side by side with archaeologists as we investigate and interpret the past. We make a constant effort to share what we have learned through public presentations, educational material, and museum exhibits. We have developed and distributed a shipwreck lesson plan in English and Braille. We started the first high school underwater archaeology program in the U.S. in order to introduce young people to marine science. At the college level, we have sponsored numerous internships, and starting in 2007 will be running an annual underwater archaeology field school with the University of Flinders (Australia). And we are expanding our volunteer program so that interested members of the public can participate in our laboratory and diving activities.”

Tickets to the Buccaneer Bash and lots more information is available at their website.

Warehouse 31

Warehouse 31

Warehouse 31

Now open through October 31, Warehouse 31 is billed as NE Florida’s scariest and most intense indoor haunt! The team of Warehouse 31 uses Hollywood special effects, pyrotechnics and state-of-the-art lighting and sound to transform the abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of St. Augustine into a terrifying haunted attraction.

This year there are two haunted trails, RigaMortis and Professor Foggy Nox’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a traveling circus in 3-D. Each trail will take you about 30 minutes, depending on whether you walk, or run!
The box office opens at 6pm and stops selling tickets at 11pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends. Get there early as the lines get long!

While you are waiting there is a Haunted Emporium and food available in the Roadkill Café. There is plenty of seating to relax until your group is called. There will be horror movies projected on the big screen and plenty of people watching to do while you wait.

Ample parking is available for $3 per car. There are different levels of tickets depending on what you can take. Information on tickets and directions to the haunted warehouse are available at www.warehouse31.com. Be sure to check out the strange, but true, history of the warehouse.

Black Raven Adventures

Black Raven Adventures

Black Raven Adventures in St. Augustine, Florida

I had the pleasure of boarding the pirate ship Black Raven for a cruise across Matanzas Bay sailing out of St. Augustine Municipal Marina. The ship typically sails three times a day, and on Friday and Saturday nights the late cruise is for adults only.

The pirates on the crew are very entertaining and make you feel as if you are part of the show while they sing pirate songs, swordfight, perform magic tricks, and tell jokes. The over 21 crowd can enjoy an open bar complete with bar wenches. I also enjoyed the beautiful sunset and dolphin sightings.

The cruise is a great idea for birthday parties, weddings, and groups of all ages. The performances are rehearsed, but unscripted, allowing the pirates to improvise. This makes every cruise a unique experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

The tickets are available online, at the Ramada Historic Hotel, or by calling 1-877-578-5050. Be sure to check out the upcoming 4th of July event online at www.blackravenadventures.com.