Photos and article submitted by
Gerry Clare, Roving Reporter
This weekend will end a long week of activity for many in Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville, associated with the Saturday Florida-Georgia football game.
AT THE AIRPORT, my attention was drawn to the over 80 single engine turbo prop planes lined up in rows for the TBM Owner Pilots Association event at the Ritz Carlton this week. According to Sean McGill of McGill Aviation,they started arriving on Wednesday and the conference is over on Sunday. Yes, there was some Florida-Georgia traffic, as well, but most of the planes were here for the TBMOPA event. McGill noted that this is great business for the airport and the island, as they buy fuel and bring business to the area as well.
In fact, our airport is one of only a handful of airports, uniquely positioned for this event, with the availability of the airport and the resort hotels location so close together. Three years ago we hosted the Malibus and two years ago the Citations events here.
Of course, the airport receives a lot of plane traffic at the annual Concours d’Elegance as well.
AT THE FERNANDINA BEACH GOLF COURSE, the golf carts were lined up for the annual “biggest day for business for the whole year” on Friday, October 26th, due to the Florida-Georgia visitors and snowbirds, according to Kyle Roosen, the PGA Pro for Billy Casper Golf, who manages the facility. Fortunately, the rain held off for most of the day.’’
Roosen noted that the golf course has been very proactive in sponsoring community events this year and in holding more varied events like wine-tastings, dinners, Halloween parties, etc. Of course, there are always the local organizations that meet there, Christmas parties, Chamber affairs and weddings.
AT THE CITY MARINA, the weather, rather than the Florida-Georgia game, was giving dockmaster, Kevin Little, a hard time. Due to the tropical storm watch with projected winds of 30 to 40 knots and waves of 15-18 feet, the staff was very busy Friday moving boats from the north end to the south end docks and tying down the boats. Most of the traffic here was due more to the snowbirds heading south and staying an extra day than the game. In fact, even some Coast Guard boats relocated for safety.
DOWNTOWN FERNANDINA, was getting ready for a busy weekend with Gators and Dawgs signs posted in the store and restaurant windows. Also, Twisted Sister and Hamilton Press were opening in their new locations at the old First Union Bank Building and tourists were walking the streets and stopping at coffee shops early in the day.
All in all it looks like an interesting and busy weekend for our community.
October 27, 2012 9: 55 a.m.