Friday, December 30, 2016

BEACH BLAST: NO BACKGROUND CHECKS? A KID'S ZONE, WITH beer and wine stands, face painting, carnival rides, two mechanical bulls, a rock climbing wall and a photo booth.

Posted December 30, 2016 12:01 am
By LORRAINE THOMPSON Anastasia Island Community Columnist
LORRAINE THOMPSON: Have a ‘Blast’ ringing in 2017

1 Comment
1An Anastasia Island New Year’s Eve tradition, the St. Augustine Beach Blast Off, offers families a fun-filled late afternoon and evening celebration. The event, from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday at St. Augustine Beach Pier Park, will feature 30 food vendors plus champagne, beer and wine stands, a kids’ zone, face painting, carnival rides, two mechanical bulls, and a photo booth.

Local radio station 105.5 will broadcast live. Special live performances by Papercutt, Old Enough 2 Know Better, and Cassidy Diana will precede the fireworks display, which will be synchronized to music, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Free parking, with complimentary shuttles to the pier, will be available from Anastasia Baptist Church, St. Augustine Amphitheatre, Amici Shopping Center, Reunion Bank, R. B. Hunt Elementary School, St. Augustine Beach City Hall Parking Lot, Harbour Island Executive Center and Anastasia State Park.

At this writing the A Street ramp is now open to four-wheel drive vehicles. The gates will remain open during Beach Blast Off. All vehicles are required to travel south and may park in the designated areas to view the fireworks. The closest exit ramps are at Ocean Trace Road and Dondanville Road. The estimated New Year’s Eve high tide time is 9:33 p.m.

Part II of the New Year’s Eve light spectacular is the parade of vehicles as they exit the beach with hundreds of headlights shining on the sandy beaches as revelers head home or off to another celebration — with almost two hours to spare before midnight.

And, an official reminder: By law, the use of fireworks is prohibited on the beaches at all times except by special permit as in the case of the annual New Year’s fireworks display.


The official North Atlantic right whale watching survey gets underway Monday along our coastal waters. A right whale survey training class for all volunteers will be held today (Friday, December 30) from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Center for Marine Studies on the Whitney Lab campus, 9595 Ocean Shore Blvd., Marineland. Volunteers will receive an update on the right whale patterns in recent weeks as well as their whale watching assignments. Volunteers who serve in the monitoring network will be stationed along the beaches at various points that will include public parks, piers and walkovers, as well as private walkovers where the owners have given permission. For information, contact

• The City of St. Augustine Beach Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 2200 A1A South. High on its agenda will be the swearing in of two commissioners, Maggie Kostka, a new commissioner, and Rich O’Brien who was re-elected in the November general election. The two will join Commissioners Undine George, Margaret England and Gary Snodgrass in the selection of the city’s mayor and vice-mayor for 2017. The meeting is open to the public. For information, call 471-2122 or visit

• The Outta Sight musical group from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind will perform at the St. Augustine Lodge 2780 Sons of Italy social on Jan. 19. The party begins at 6 p.m. at the Community Center of St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 5205 A1A South on Anastasia Island. Tickets are $15 for the social which includes entrees, desserts and entertainment.

All members of Outta Sight — singers, percussionists, guitarists and other string instruments, and piano and keyboard players — are legally blind and naturally talented. Their performances include rock and roll, soul, and in between.

The musical performing group was established by local teacher, musician and sportsman Bill Sabo in 1993. For ticket and other information, call Josephine Scher at 460-0975.

• You can exchange more than books at the Anastasia Island Branch Library on Jan. 28. A Women’s Clothing Swap will be held from 2-4 p.m. The library staff invites women to “swap instead of shop” and update their wardrobe without spending a cent.

“Swappers” should bring women’s clean, freshly washed, and lightly used clothes, hats, jackets, accessories and purses in good condition to swap. Swap out one item for each item you bring. Any remaining clothes will be donated to the Betty Griffin Thrift Store to help other women in the community. Undergarments are not included in the swap. Women who are not interested in swapping can still participate by bringing in donations ahead of time. Women’s clothing donations for the swap will be accepted at the Anastasia Island Library through Jan. 27, located at 124 Sea Grove Main Street.

For additional information about the programs and services of the Anastasia Island Branch Library or other branches, visit or call 209-3730.

• A true on-the-beach run, the Mardi Gras 5K and Fun Run, begins at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 19 from the St. Augustine Beach Pier and heads north to the beaches of Anastasia State Park. The event, one of only a handful of runs on local sandy beaches, is sponsored by the St. Augustine YMCA. The entry fee is $25 before Feb. 1 for the 5K and $10 for the Fun Run. Entry fees increases will take place on Feb. 1 ($30 and $15) and Feb. 13 ($35 and $20). Race day fees will be $40 and $25. All participants will receive a race T-shirt. Proceeds will benefit the local YMCA’s award program to individuals and families including swim lesson and camp fees for children. For registration and other information, visit the St. Augustine YMCA located at 500 Pope Road, call 471-9622 or go online to or

Have news to share about Anastasia Island or the adjoining areas? Send your information about people and events to, or call 471-4851.


The New Years Eve Blast Does Not need Alcohol sales ! It is very sad to me that the City of St Augustine Beach thinks Beer, Wine, and Champagne is needed. I grew up where and when Family Values meant fun without Booze. The City of St Augustine Beach Commissioners should be ashamed of their lack of Family Values. Plus why is the St Johns County Commissioners OK with this stupidity ?

Plus another concern people should be aware of is the lack of Smart Security. NO BACKGROUND CHECKS ON Volunteers ? St Johns County DOES NOT allow volunteers without background checks. So why is the Part Time City of St Augustine Beach Chief of Police, Robert "Little Wobbie" Hardwick, NOT DOING BACKGROUND CHECKS ? Does Little Wobbie really know what he is doing ? Just because Chief Little Wobbie is the highest paid Part Time Chief of Police in the State of Florida does NOT mean that he knows what he is doing ! This event has had many years of success, but should be done in the future without Booze Sales. Maybe next year the City of St Augustine Beach will have a full time competent Chief of Police who will highly recommend that Booze not be allowed at a Family/Retirees event.

And lastly, the City of St Augustine Beach does NOT have enough Insurance Coverage for this event. Why is St Johns County Risk Management allowing this to happen ? Has the St Johns County government shut down for a few weeks during the Holiday Season ? Are all the St Johns County Commissioners getting campaign donations by the Booze Distributors ?

Don't judge a book by its cover.
Just because this is a heavy Republican County, DO NOT THINK IT IS A FAMILY VALUES COUNTY !



Another living up to the DUH moment here in St Augustine Beach Floor a DUH !

URGENT UPDATE: The St Augustine Beach Part Time Chief of Police Robert " Little Wobbie" Hardwick is out of the office until December 31, 2016.

ONLY IN ST AUGUSTINE BEACH IS THE TOP LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER NOT WORKING WHEN SUCH A BIG EVENT IS TAKING PLACE IN A FEW DAYS ! And to think Lt. Commander Porker, the 35 year Law Enforcement, is in charge is VERY DANGEROUS ! Lt. Commander Porker admitted in court proceedings that he does know what the first amendment means. Lt. Porker is the true life Dangerous version of Barney Fife.

Update: Robert Hardwick I'll be out of the office until December 31st, please contact Commander Parker or Kathi Harrell for assistance.
Tom Reynolds
Today at 7:58 AM

I'll be out of the office until December 31st, please contact Commander Parker or Kathi Harrell for assistance.

You can't make this up ! This is real and really scary !

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