Downtown Pensacola Lights Up with Half a Million Lights through January
Posted: Dec 21, 2017 12:22 AMUpdated: Jan 5, 2018 6:50 PM
For sixty enchanting nights through Jan. 14, visitors to downtown Pensacola can experience music, shopping, food, art and nightlife under a canopy of four hundred thousand white lights illuminating historic buildings, parks, shops, galleries and outdoor spaces. Visitors can navigate the eclectic district that’s anchored by Palafox Street—named one of America’s “Ten Great Streets”—on foot or by Segway®, horse and carriage, pedi-cab or a Winterfest trolley. Funded in part by grants from the City of Pensacola and Visit Pensacola, the dazzling lights have become a popular attraction for visitors and residents alike. Pensacola’s Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) conceived the idea of lighting up the district, then coordinating, supporting and branding all of the district’s diverse holiday events synchronously. “Downtown Pensacola provides an unforgettable holiday experience for families,” said John Peacock, DIB board chair. “Aside from the usual draws of fantastic shopping, museums and dining, the holidays downtown also mean live outdoor theater, musical performances and the unique setting created each evening when the lights come on. First City Lights Festival brings all of these experiences together into one extraordinary, months-long event.” Travel booking giant Expedia agrees, naming Pensacola's downtown one of the "Best American Towns for Holiday Shopping" for the second year in a row.
Park Free Downtown Dec. 17-25 and Shop 'Til You Drop
Posted: Nov 21, 2017 12 AMUpdated: Nov 21, 2017 12:02 AM
The holidays are a busy time of year, and fighting for parking spots at big box retailers or paying for a parking ticket should be the least of your worries. So from Dec. 17-25, all street and surface lot parking in downtown Pensacola will be free."We have more than 100 shops and galleries in Downtown Pensacola bursting with an eclectic mix of gifts for everyone on your list," says Downtown Improvement Board executive director Curt Morse. "And from Dec. 17-25 we’re spreading cheer one of the best ways we know—free parking!"From half a million white lights to Santa and his elves to Winterfest trolley and train rides, you'll find no shortage of things to enjoy with friends and family once everyone is checked off your gift list.The parking amnesty week includes all metered streets and surface lots in the DIB District Parking. Parking garages are not included in the amnesty week.
Santa Claus is Coming to [Down] Town
Posted: Nov 20, 2017 7:03 PMUpdated: Feb 19, 2018 6:32 PM
Santa Claus officially arrives in Downtown Pensacola Nov. 18 and he’s inviting everyone to join him to ring in the holiday season. Children will be able to climb aboard his sleigh to talk (negotiate? explain things?) directly to the jolly man in red and pose for photos in a magical holiday setting just outside the Old County Courthouse on historic Palafox and Government streets, and he'll be there each weekend until Christmas Eve. Santa will be joined by some of his favorite costumed Christmas characters, and a mind-boggling list of activities for all ages, from music to live theatrical performances to train rides, children’s games, food, hot chocolate and more.  It’s all part of Winterfest, a downtown Pensacola celebration that features an Elf Parade, Reindeer Games, Polar Express Tours and Santa’s Puppy Party. Winterfest’s iconic trolley tours run a two-mile route through Pensacola’s historic Seville Square area, with visits along the way from Elvis, Snoopy and Friends, the Whos of Whoville and other characters. Winterfest has been recognized by Expedia, Florida Travel + Life and AARP, and was recently named to Southern Living magazine’s list of “The South’s Best Christmas Festivals.” [PHOTO: Winterfest]
Downtown Pensacola Voted Greatest Place in Florida
Posted: Nov 20, 2017 6:58 PMUpdated: Jan 19, 2018 7:41 PM
“As announced this morning on the APA Florida website and social media platforms, it is my pleasure to inform you that Downtown Pensacola … is the winner of this year's Great Places in Florida!“ So began the letter from American Planning Association’s Florida Chapter to Curt Morse, executive director of Pensacola’s Downtown Improvement Board, following an eight-day poll that sought to identify Florida’s greatest place. The APA received nominations for 20 cities and towns, and finalists included the Ancient Spanish Monastery of Miami Beach, Clearwater’s Beachwalk, Downtown Winter Park and Mizner Park & Downtown Boca Raton. “Florida is full of amazing places that keep our communities thriving and make this state a wonderful place to live,” reads the APA website about the award program. “Great Places stand out with their exceptional character and lasting value. They are memorable, perhaps even famous, but each is deeply cared for and valued. Citizens, planners, business leaders and elected officials work hard to create, sustain and improve the places that we love and enjoy in our cities.” “Downtown Pensacola was ranked high by all of the judges as we selected the five finalists, and the number of votes it received from the public just shows how much the community cares,” said Brandon Henry, APA’s Young Planners Group Chair.  Downtown Pensacola is no stranger to winning APA awards. Palafox Street was named one of the 10 greatest streets in America by the Florida APA in 2013. [PHOTO: LAURABOGANPHOTOS.COM]  
Pensacola Umbrella Sky Project Takes Flight
Posted: Nov 20, 2017 6:54 PMUpdated: Nov 20, 2017 7:27 PM
In 2012, the Umbrella Sky Project was born in Águeda, Portugal as part of the city’s famous annual ÁgitAgueda Art Festival. Since then, thousands of colorful umbrellas are suspended over a handful of the city’s narrow streets during July, August and September each year—a tantalizing urban art installation that draws people in and provides a canopy of shade for the pedestrians passing through. Since the project began, the colorful pop-up shade structures have gained a cult following around the world. Creators of the Umbrella Sky Project, Sextafeira, have launched offshoots in other cities such as Lisbon, and beyond to France, the UK and Bahrain.  When the first umbrellas were suspended in Águeda, Portugal, photographer Patricia Almeida captured photos of the city shaded by vibrant umbrellas. Her photos immediately went viral. On Nov. 3, 2017, Friends of Downtown Pensacola brought Sextafeira and the Umbrella Sky Project to Pensacola, installing hundreds of umbrellas high above historic Intendencia Street between Jefferson and Palafox. The downtown exhibition, made possible by a Foo Foo Fest grant from Arts, Culture and Entertainment, Inc., will last three months. The Sextafeira design team arrived at the end of October to construct the structure, creating a lively canopy of umbrellas above the street to make it appear as if they are floating in mid-air. The vibrant exhibition has already attracted tens of thousands of people to downtown Pensacola in just a few weeks’ time—and the Downtown Improvement Board has received a permit to close the street to traffic every Saturday through the end of 2017, from 8am-6pm, to enable the safe capturing of photographs! Want to share your photos? Use the hashtag #PensacolaUmbrellaSky.