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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)
 
 

Workshop & Show Opening Invitation

 
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Always the first weekend of May is Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach.  This year
 it started early with the parade on Thursday night still being in the month of April. 


As always you were either in the parade or watching it if you live on the island.  It is a hometown
parade of epic proportions.  It seems to go on forever seeming to dwarf the length of the Macy's
parade.
Locals are decked out in every crazy conceivable way.  A theme is always assigned but also must
have to do with the Shrimp which are the honorees.  This year it had to do with the movies and am not
quite sure which one this lovely mermaid and Neptune are representing.  The lushishly endowed
mermaid aka Joan Bean our octarian who still runs her Bean Dance Studio.  Rumor is if you are
over 50 she will teach you tap dancing for free.  A fun lady and I hope to have half of her energy
at that age.
 
Children in and watching the parade are always a focus. 
 
The Royal Family of St. Augustine graced us with their presence.  Loved the horse's royal
purple toe nail job.
 
Not to be outdone our own royalty was in evidence with the classic and understated
beauty of Princess Amelia for whom the island is named.
 
Moving on up to modern day royalty is our own Miss Shrimp Festival waving her famous
pageant wave to the crowd.
 
There is a competition each year for the individual floats with the "Home Depot" one taking most
creative this year.  Well sure, if I had a whole Home Depot store to work out of staffed with skilled
laborers I could come up with something terrific also.
 
The first week in May also launches Sea Turtle Patrol Season and the Turtle folks making their
presence known.
 
One of my park friends, Jackie, poses very handsomely for his photo once he recognizes me in my
pirate hat.  We always see each other in our work duds at 7am so not quite the look we acquire
away from the park--sometimes they don't recognize me.
 
Everyone was in a pirate mode of thinking with lots of arrrghhh's and other pirate talk. 
 
And shrimps everywhere...with a "Shrimp" Festival how could it be any other way.  A shrimp is not the
easiest critter to depict, not like a teddy bear or a cat.
 
I was beginning to wonder if the city had hired the Remax Hot Air Balloon fellow
to trim back the trees.  I could feel the heat from across the street.
 
The Wild Amelia Nature Festival will be starting on the 21st, just next week.  The mascot this
year is the Great White Egret.  Go to the site http://www.wildamelia.com
to schedule yourself for some of the many nature activities taking place.  There will be a Sea
Turtle release at Main Beach at noon next Saturday.  Don't be late because Dr. Norton is only
concerned about his turtle if he is early the turtle will go in the water early.
 
Although a bit hard to recognize this fluffy package of doom and destruction of our wildlife,
The Bag Monster, is Jody Hetchka, founder of the Wild Amelia Festival.  Into my first two weeks of
Sea Turtle Patrol I have spent a good bit of time picking up plastic bags and Mylar Balloons drifted
in on the beach because of their deadly effect on the Sea Turtles and other wild life.  Once a
Sea Turtle swallows one of these thinking it is a jelly fish it is in big trouble.
 
I think the girls have more fun than the guys with their pirate get ups.
 
When you finally hear the cannon blasts from Amelia's Revenge you know that the children
will cry the dogs will bark and the parade is over for until next year.
 
Come Friday night a whole 'nother atmosphere prevailed.  Food booths lined the waterfront with
throngs of people standing in line and trying to decide whose booth was calling their name.  The Shrimp
Producers Association was promoting along with us all "Wild Caught Shrimp" from here at home.
The import of cheap farm raised (under questionable conditions) foreign shrimp is killing our shrimping industry
and if possible please support buying shrimp which are wild caught in America.
 
Music was in full swing from the waterfront stage where later other activities like the Miss Shrimp
Festival would be held.  Later on the pirates would invade with the roar of cannons and blazing guns.
While this is going on the artists will be setting up their booths on Centre Street and all the side streets
for the big art festival to follow over the weekend.
 
Merchants were making off like pirates as they sold every conceivable accessory
to let you live out your dream of being a first class pirate.  Everything was very authentic
looking except for the newness of the wares and the lack of smell which I am sure went with
being a "pirate" of old.
 
You could even buy your very own "Wharf Rat" extraordinaire.
 
The fireworks started early and were over in a hurry.  The reason was a very large
and strong storm was looming just over the horizon.  However as is often the case
so near the water the storm moved in another direction and we got barely a sprinkle.
 
After a long weekend of festivities it was time to just sit by the beach for a bit of quiet time and as
the guys shirts says just "shut up and drink your beer."
 
Sea Turtle Patrol would started on Saturday and I would be riding my first day on Monday.
No turtles yet but soon...however there are already reports in the gulf of many dead turtles and
dolphins washing in due to the oil contamination.

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