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Spectacular Sunday in St. Augustine

FIRST COAST OPERA – OPERA NOIR
Enjoy an evening at the Opera as First Coast Opera presents Opera Noir, a showcase of villains, scallywags and divas form popular operas. The program takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Limelight Theatre, 11 Old Mission Avenue in St. Augustine. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. For tickets and information, call 904.417.5555 or visit www.firstcoastopera.com.

EPIC CELEBRATION OF SPRING – FLOWER & GARDEN EXPO
Celebrate the arrival of spring in the Nation’s Oldest City with two days of flowers, friends and fun. Growers, educational seminars, nurseries and artisans from around the state offer gardeners everything they need to make spring bloom at this popular Flower and Garden Expo. The St. Augustine Piece Makers Guild will host the “Nature’s Potpourri of Quilts” and the St. Augustine Garden Club’s Flower and Horticulture Show “Shop ’till You Drop” will be on display. Admission is $ 5 (which is good for both days) and children under 11 are admitted free. All takes place at the St. Johns County Agricultural Center Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 904.829.3295 or visit www.epiccommunityservices.org.

KAYAKING AND DOLPHINS AT MARINELAND
Marineland, the University of Florida’s Whitney Lab and Ripple Effect Ecotours have partnered to offer ecological kayak tours of the estuary. Led by a professional guide, the kayak tours include panoramic views of Pellicer Creek, Princess Place Preserve, Faver-Dykes State Park, and the “real” Florida wilderness. Tours begin at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. No experience necessary – a paddling clinic begins each tour. The tours are suitable for ages 6 and above. The cost is $50 per person and includes admission to Marineland. For reservations, call 904.347.1565 or go to www.RippleEffectEcotours.com.

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Help support environmental citizenship by participating in this annual event that works toward a healthy planet. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. there will be live entrainment, arts and crafts, living history demonstrations, environmental and cultural booths, nature programs, live animals, a large children’s environmental activity center, and a visit from Smokey Bear. A variety of food and drink will also be available. The Earth Day Celebration takes place at Washington Oaks State Gardens, located at 6400 North Ocean Shore Blvd (A1A South) in Palm Coast. Admission to the event will be $10 per vehicle. For more information, call 386.446.6780, 386.446.6783, or e-mail Washington.Oaks.Gardens@dep.state.fl.us

BEACHES UNPLUGGED CONCERTS AT PONTE VEDRA BEACH
Enjoy local musicians performing a variety of music live on stage at this program that is a part of theseries of free community concerts in Ponte Vedra. The concert takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, located at 50 Executive Way. For more information, call 904.280.0614 or visit www.ccpvb.org.

CHALK WALK
St. Johns County teachers will be honored by the Matanzas Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Johns County Pier and Pavilion, 350 A1A Beach Boulevard, St. Augustine Beach. 904.599.1004

NOTE: St. Johns County residents with a valid ID are always admitted free of charge to Government House Museum, the Lightner Museum, the Colonial Spanish Quarter Museum, the Fountain of Youth (special events excluded), the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, the Spanish Military Hospital Museum and the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum. The daily tours and wine tastings at the San Sebastian Winery are free to everyone. Also, admission is free to everyone at the Authentic Old Drug Store, Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Photios Chapel, the Pena-Peck House and the Father Miguel O’Reilly Museum. (donations are welcomed).

For more information on events and activities in St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches, go to the Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.Getaway4Florida.com or call 1.800.653.2489.

Entertainment

Ben Affleck Directs and Stars in Gruesome Gangster Saga

    Live by Night Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Ben Affleck Directs and Stars in Gruesome Gangster Saga    Dennis Lehane has enjoyed phenomenal success not only as a novelist but writing directly for TV (Boardwalk Empire and The Wire). And several of his crime thrillers have been brought to the big screen, including Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone, Baby, Gone. In 2007, Ben Affleck directed Gone, Baby, Gone, staying behind … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

  The President's Kitchen Cabinet The Story of the African-Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas by Adrian Miller University of North Carolina Press Hardcover, $30.00 292 pages, Illustrated ISBN: 978-1-4696-3253-7 Book Review by Kam Williams “[This opus] vividly tells the stories of the African-Americans who worked in the presidential food service as chefs, personal cooks, butlers, stewards … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder

  History Being Sold to the Highest Bidder by Amy Lignor   For the longest time, scientists and archaeologists have been confused and bemused by various discoveries they’ve unearthed that offer little or no explanation as to the who, what, and why of the people who created these things or left them behind. Even now, in 2017, there are discoveries being studied; stories that were once legends now have actual bits of proof being found that … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity

  2017 Hobbies That Bring You Serenity by Amy Lignor   Origami. Memory albums. Quilting. What do these have in common? Well, at one point or another in time, they have represented the “hottest” hobbies in the United States. Taking up hobbies are not only a fun thing to do for the “artistic/creative” type, but they also help to reduce stress. Even the AMA has cited the fact that taking up a hobby can produce a calming environment … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Skeeter SX210

  Skeeter SX210 By Craig Lamb After buying a bay boat, why spend more time and money getting it rigged out for your needs? With the Skeeter SX210, you get a boat already factory rigged with the standard accessories and features serious anglers want in a bay boat. Best of all, you get the extras, dependability, and durability that make it a Skeeter for an affordable price. Affordable doesn’t mean any corners were cut. That’s not the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers?

  Will NASCAR Theatrics Bring Back Viewers? by Amy Lignor   For any of the millions who once watched ABC’s Wide World of Sports and heard the words “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” they remember the footage of a skier’s crash when it came to the “agony” side of things. Everyone knew that sight was a fact – a video that was absolutely real. Nowadays, however, it seems that more and more sports are “making up” shots that … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

How Are Retail Sales in 2017?

  How Are Retail Sales in 2017? E-Commerce Reigns by Amy Lignor   Despite consumer uncertainty, as well as a very sluggish beginning to 2017, the U.S. retail sales industry is projected to increase 4% this year. Headlines show that many retailers and companies posted “soft” holiday sales to end 2016, which caused some notable retailers to either cut jobs or close stores as a result. However, when it comes to 2017, the National … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home!

  Where to Vacation? Go Big or Stay Home! by Amy Lignor   We speak about luxury vacations, budget vacations, vacations that are fun for the kids, and many more areas of travel at this time of year. But there is also a category that many do not touch upon because they “assume” it is far too difficult for those on a budget to be able to enjoy these jaw-dropping wonders. However, whether you are a backpacker looking to “become a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]