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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
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

Special announcement!!!  A special event will happen an unannounced Sea Turtle Release will happen this Friday, May 11, at 1pm at Main Beach.  (Another one will happen the following Friday, May 17th at 10:30am in conjunction with the Wild Amelia Festival).  With the cold Spring the Georgia Sea Turtle Center needs to make more room so they are releasing some turtles which are ready to go.

As promised the Shrimp Festival Parade, even though it was almost a week earlier than we locals were used to, I think that some unforeseen force was at work in making this decision.  If it had waited until the usual time, the Thursday before the Shrimp Festival, that night this year was a deluge of rain.  But I will say there was a sense of disconnect to the parade so far before.  There needed to be some connected happenings in the days between the two.

 But as all parades do it was a patrotic moment when the colors were presented and as a signal that the parade had begun.

Next came the local law enforcement guys from the sheriffs department.

And new this year was the Seadoo Sheriff's jet ski built for speed.  I met a fellow last week who was in port whose father invented the Jet Ski.  Part of the reason he had such a great big sail boat.  He was from New Zealand.  We get lots of interesting people though, probably lots more than we are aware.

Another change that caused some controversy in the community was the "Official" T-Shirt which did not feature a shrimpboat and was done by a more famous but out of town artist.  That didn't sit too well with a lot of the locals, especially when Walmart came out with one which was cheaper (but didn't got to charity) which had shrimpboats, the name of the town (which this one was missing), and had the prayer of the shrimpers and all sailors included.  So if you live in a small town you can imagine that the editoral pages where hot with discussion over the parade change and the Shrimp Festival T-Shirt not having a Shrimpboat on it. As they say on FaceBook...LOL.

The Grand Marshal of this Parade as all Shrimp Festival Parades is one of the shrimpers and their family.  It is the 50th year of the Shrimp Festival which started so long ago as just a Shrimp Boat race.  The booths started to spring up as food booths to entertain those watching the race with something to do while they waited for the shrimp boats to return.

The feature of course is Shrimp of all kinds with a lot of gold ones for the 50th.

Children and I tell people, "you are watching or you are in it if you live here."

The "New Comers Club" (from which no one ever leaves even if they are no longer newcommers) were in their gold lame' in honor of the 50th anniversary.

No festival is complete without pretty girls competing in the Miss Shrimp Festival Scholarship Contest.  Maybe we need to give guys a chance since it is a Scholarship Contest.  Maybe we are not being PC by limited it to girls.  Ahhh, but we are a small Southern town and don't really give a big daddy rabbit about politically correct.  We sure don't need any more changes this year.

Lots of adoptable dogs in the parade, this was my favorite.  If I were in the market for a dog this one would have gone home with me.

Truck beds and trailors loads of the town's children were celebrating the parade and having a great time.  The smiling eager faces of tomorrow's leaders.

Lots of celebrities in the form of different company mascots were very entertaining and showed some very funny personalities in the process.

Our youth were well represented.

Miss Annie one of our more well known Shrimp Boat families and boats was being honored.  My sister later told me about sitting eating lunch at the waterfront and "Miss Annie" came and asked to sit at her table.  She got to learn about the history first hand.  Shrimp boat Captains often name their boats after their wives.

Local Sea Turtle Patrol Queen, Mary Duffy led her crew of dedicated turtle patrolees.

We seem to have a whole lot of fine young women coming along to fill the shoes of some fine women leaders in the community.

Ahhh, but BEADs are the desired treasure of the day as everyone is trying to see how many they can collect.

Every year the floats get better and better.  Of course Home Depot usually has a very good one, after all they have a whole warehouse full of goodies with which to work.

Area Roller Derby gals were also in the parade as newcomers, showing off their skills on roller skates.  I have seen them practicing at the local skate park.

Visiting Royality from St. Augustine but I missed seeing Princess Amelia this year.  Was she here or did I just miss seeing her?
The Ritz Carlton usually provides for her appearance..

All the local Schools were represented by their bands.  (one of the reasons for moving the parade to Saturday I understand was so more bands could come.)

Several of the area churches had floats.

The Rebels had a constingency.  Some of these reenactors are at Fort Clinch each first weekend, both in Gray and Blue uniforms.  A time to go back in history.

Interesting how they had to take the time to load powder, pellet and ram it all in place before shooting.  Can't imagine having to do that on the battlefield before you could fire your weapon.

And trucks and fun vehicles of all kinds from classic to comical to great big trucks were all in the parade.

In our town when you start seeing this one group of people you know the 90+ groups and floats are nearing the end.  Even with the Christmas parade it is the Pirates and not Santa Claus who ends our parade.  Wenches and Pirates alike are the stars at this time.

One wench was carrying (something new) saying "Hold your ears, Fire in the Hole" which means the cannon is about to fire.  Last year there was a malfunction and one load did not fire so the only way to get it out was to load another and it was so loud it literally knocked things off the wall in our galleries just beside it when it exploded.

Another year another Parade and another Shrimp Festival comes to an end.  Time marches on and change does happen even though more slowly and rougher than other places where feelings against change are not so strong.  Life in a small town where everyone likes to express their opinion and actually has the forum to do so with editorial pages and Facebook's Social media.

(Please take a moment to consider:
These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

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