First City Lights Festival Nov 27-Jan 16
Posted: Nov 9, 2020 3:45 PMUpdated: Nov 18, 2020 8:18 PM
Along the gulf coast, 2020 has been a chaotic year, to say the least. Hurricanes and flooding, COVID-19—who knew that this year would bring so many challenges? Downtown Pensacola certainly saw its share of impacts, but as we entered January, street closures due to construction were one of the biggest concerns. Looking back now, those first few weeks of 2020 don’t seem quite so bad.  As this year comes to a close, it seems fitting that we should say goodbye with a time-honored local tradition of holiday lights, a gift to the community that the DIB works very hard to bring about each year. More than half a million white lights will illuminate downtown Pensacola’s historic buildings, parks, shops, galleries and public spaces once again, inviting locals and visitors to get out and enjoy “Florida’s Greatest Place.”  The holiday lights could not happen without the support of the City of Pensacola, the Community Redevelopment Agency, Escambia County and private business sponsors who financially support the cost of installation and maintenance throughout the season. This year's event is sponsored by Gulf Power, Studer Properties, JAH Power Services, Inc., Service Electric Co., Roberson Underground Utility, LLC, L30 Consulting, LLC, and Pure Pilates. Come light up the holidays with us![PHOTO: THE GOOD LIFE DESTIN]
Santa Claus is Coming to (Down)town: Your Winterfest 2020 Guide
Posted: Sep 28, 2020 4:45 PMUpdated: Nov 13, 2020 6:59 PM
The Winterfest team is dedicated to safely celebrating the holidays with the community and after months of planning, they’re excited to provide a magical experience for the people of Pensacola and all of our holiday visitors.  Speaking of visitors…  Santa Claus is coming to Pensacola! His sleigh is packed and he’s eager for his stop in Pensacola to meet all the good boys and girls and spread the magic of Christmas cheer. In an effort to avoid crowded lines, he will be taking reservations online or on-site for safely distanced photos. Visitors will be able to meet and take pictures with jolly Saint Nick atop a pile of presents next to his sleigh.  Of course, the Grinch is coming to town too, making appearances and taking photo reservations as well. Since the Grinch doesn’t do holiday cheer quite like the rest of us, the physical distancing guidelines will definitely be more to his liking.  Along with Santa and the Grinch, Winterfest will be offering Pensacola’s favorite holiday events to spread the magic of the holiday season: • The Polar Express Tour: Come join in the experience of a lifetime by enjoying tap dancing servers, singing and hot cups of cocoa with the Polar Express Tour.• Historic Pensacola Village Trolley rides: Let our Cajun conductor regale you with tales of Papa Noel and his alligators before ending with firelit storytelling from Papa Noel himself. • A White Christmas: Every night Santa will use the magic of the crowd and everyone’s collective “belief” in him to bring snow flurries to Winterfest plaza. With safety a top priority, Santa has recruited Winterfest's favorite devious twins, Thing 1 and Thing 2, to be the official safety staff for Winterfest plaza. In true Whobilation, they will be roaming the plaza stocked with safety gear giving everyone air-fives, elbow bumps and spreading Wholiday cheer!  Pensacola’s Winterfest experience kicks off the holiday season right with First City Lights Festival on Black Friday, November 27, and runs through December with a final Santa Claus Christmas Eve send-off. Visits with Santa and all tours will take place on Nov. 27, 28, and Dec. 5, 12, 18-24 and will be located at 223 Palafox Place. So, forget about the last 10 months. Put on your holiday best or the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find, grab your family and friends and come safely celebrate the holidays with Pensacola’s Winterfest! For more information, visit: 
Pelicans in Paradise: A Tour of Downtown Pensacola
Posted: Aug 18, 2020 7:46 PMUpdated: Aug 18, 2020 7:54 PM
On every continent you visit (with the exception of Antarctica) you’ll find pelicans soaring the coastal skies above you, looking for a meal in the glinting ripples of cool blue passing beneath them. There’s one species of pelican unique to Pensacola, however. If you’re a local, you’ve probably had the chance to catch sight of a few of these elusive birds; and if you’re a visitor, then you’re in for a real treat when you meet one. The intrigue surrounding these pelicans is that each bird is completely one-of-a-kind, capturing a range of color only an artist’s eye could produce. Pensacola is home to the Pelicans in Paradise. For the past 15 years, these large fiberglass pelicans have been popping up around Pensacola, beginning as an art installation fundraiser by the Pensacola News Journal. They remain now to show an appreciation for the birds, the city, and the wonderful people and businesses that call Pensacola home.  Downtown Pensacola is now home to over 10 of the 74 flightless pelicans that you can find perched around the city. So, grab your walking shoes, your bike, or schedule a Segway tour with Emerald Coast Tours, and let’s find a few of the must-sees! Mermaids in Paradise When planning a tour of Downtown Pensacola, we believe it’s best to start and end with the best view in the city. That’s why our first stop on the Pelicans in Paradise tour is at Palafox Pier. Welcoming visitors at the entrance of the pier stands our colorful friend, the Mermaids in Paradise pelican. This peaceful pelican depicts flowing blue waters, brilliant orange fish, and a mermaid lazing in the drift. Like the tides at Palafox Pier, give her a “wave” on the way in and out!Tribute to Our First Nations Pelican Pensacola is rich in sea life and sun, but with the title of “Oldest City in America,” it also comes with an abundance of history. Welcoming visitors to the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum, stands the Tribute to Our First Nations pelican, and the second stop on our Pelicans in Paradise tour. Perched proudly across from Plaza Ferdinand VII on its stone foundation, this pelican pays homage to the rich history of Pensacola and its Native American culture. Don’t forget to stop in the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum and discover more about Pensacola’s past!Armed Services Pelicans at Palafox & Garden When you leave the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum, cross the Plaza Ferdinand VII and head north on Palafox Street. Rest your wings on Palafox Street at one of Pensacola’s local eateries on the way. Grab a cool treat from Bubba’s Sweet Spot, or a signature burger from the Tin Cow. Once you’ve wet your beak and you’re ready to continue your tour, head north on Palafox Street until you reach the intersection of Palafox and Garden. Here you’ll find our third stop!  This intersection is home to not only one or two Pelicans in Paradise, but four! Here, you can find a bird proudly representing each branch of the military: Air Force, Coast Guard, Army,  and Marines – the Navy pelican has since been requested for unknown duties elsewhere. Dolly Our Pelicans in Paradise are colorful, historical, and courageous – but they’re also fashionable. From the armed forces pelicans, fly down south to the corner of S. Baylen St. & Government St. to find our fashionista friend, Dolly. This perky pelican sports red stilettos, a blonde wig, and a cheetah-print outfit worthy of the red carpet. Don’t forget to get your picture taken with this A-List Pelican in Paradise!After grabbing a quick selfie with Dolly, you can continue southbound back to Palafox Pier to say one last goodbye to the Mermaids in Paradise pelican, but don’t forget to see all of the ones not included on this tour! Here’s a list of a few more to spot: Tail of Two Cities Pelican: Located at the corner of S. Alcaniz St. & E Government St. Press(ton) Pelican: This Pelican in Paradise is located outside the entrance of Pensacola News Journal headquarters downtown.  Style Pelican: You can find this red-and white-striped Pelican in Paradise outside of Style Salon on N Palafox St downtown.  Pelican Formerly Known as Pelvis: What was once a bird with attitude and a rhinestone suit, has now received a full makeover, sporting a bright green jumpsuit and a bike helmet. This pelican is located at the northeast corner of Garden and S. Baylen St. These are only a handful of the Pelicans in Paradise that call Pensacola home. They often fly to new locations, so you can’t always rely on directions, but we think that adds to the fun and excitement of spotting one! [PHOTO CREDIT:]
Exploring Corinne Jones Park
Posted: Jul 8, 2020 3:32 PMUpdated: Aug 18, 2020 7:53 PM
Located at 620 E. Government Street, Corinne Jones Park is named in honor of one of Pensacola’s most tireless activists, educators and community volunteers, Corinne Harvey Jackson Jones. Jones was born September 1, 1897 in Pensacola, FL. She was named for, given to and raised by her Godmother Mrs. Corinne Harvey, who had no children of her own. Mrs. Jones began her significant civic contributions in the 1930s by using her home to house the Works Progress Administration’s Pensacola headquarters, where she helped train hundreds of men and women for jobs.When WWII broke out, Mrs. Jones went to work as an aircraft mechanic at Pensacola’s Naval Air Station. During that time, she founded the first black Girl Scout troop in Pensacola. After the war, she was offered the job as Director of Fricker Community Center, where she worked from 1945 until 1962, when she retired. Throughout her life, Mrs. Jones was active in youth and adult organizations including the YWCA, Fiesta of Five Flags, the Green Thumbs Garden Club and the American Cancer Society.In 1965, the Recreation Board voted to name the community center known as the West Side Building after Mrs. Jones. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed that facility, along with Sanders Beach Community Center. The funds from insurance and other sources were combined to rebuild the facility at Sanders Beach and it was determined that that facility would share the name of Mrs. Jones.More than just a place to play, the park offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely walk around the Government Street Regional Stormwater Pond, which is designed to capture and treat runoff from approximately 40 acres in downtown Pensacola that previously discharged untreated stormwater directly into Pensacola Bay. The Stormwater Pond at Corinne Jones Park was completed in late 2017 as part of a larger package of stormwater infrastucture projects around the city.[SOURCE: City of Pensacola]
The Downtown Cultural Experience: At-Home Edition
Posted: Jul 7, 2020 4:05 PMUpdated: Jul 7, 2020 11:13 PM
Staying home during the current COVID situation doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the downtown arts and culture scene. In fact, Downtown Pensacola organizations have pulled out all the stops so that you can enjoy the downtown experience from the comfort and safety of your own home. So grab your smart device and immerse yourself in culture! Collection Uncorked: At HomePensacola Museum of Art has teamed up with Wine with Hilary Shaffer and Pot Roast and Pinot to bring their popular “Collection Uncorked” wine tasting right into your home, matching works of art with wines whose flavor profile or origins complement the art, artist or subject matter. Inside each limited-edition box of three curated wines, you’ll find reproductions of the works of art with narratives to guide you on your journey. Order by noon on Wednesdays of each week and pick up your box at Pot Roast and Pinot the following Saturday. The cost is $65. For more details, click here. Virtual Ballet Pensacola The Ballet Pensacola Virtual Programming Series lets you watch performances from the comfort of your home, or anywhere your device takes you. Utilizing a new soundstage built by the ballet’s technicians, the artists will reimagine, repurpose and relaunch two beloved ballets from the Ballet Pensacola repertoire: “Alice in Wonderland” (a 2017 premiere) and “The Matrix” (a 2013 premiere). For more information, visit Pensacola Symphony Orchestra: Virtually TogetherDon’t let being homebound keep you from enjoying the spirit-lifting impact of music. Self-isolating orchestras are performing powerful at-home concerts during the coronavirus outbreak.  You can watch Pensacola Symphony Orchestra musicians performing special works from their homes by following them on Facebook at OperaLIVEFor opera aficionados or those who are curious to learn more about opera, Pensacola Opera is keeping patrons connected through their new online series OperaLIVE. To watch, visit or subscribe to their YouTube channel. Lessons in Ink: T.T. Wentworth Museum Comic Book Exhibit Virtual TourRegardless of style, comic book artists are tasked with creating striking imagery to transport their readers to new and different worlds. Often with no more than pencil and their imagination, the comic book artist is able to create scenes that will stay with us throughout our lives. Horror, comedy, and romance in the comic book world were once censored only by social norms. That all changed with the development of the Comics Code in 1954. Artists were thrown under a hammer of censorship like never before, and it would remain that way until 2011.Lessons In Ink is the newest exhibit in the T. T. Wentworth Museum's 3rd floor exhibit space. Click here and tour this new exhibit from your home.[PHOTO CREDIT: Ballet Pensacola]