31st Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival

crawfish fest pic
Spring Gets Spicy At the 31st Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival
By: Kelly Woodard

Bugs are invading downtown Pensacola! Mud bugs, that is. Show your love for these spicy little critters at the 31
st Annual Pensacola Crawfish Festival, next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday May 1st through May 3rd in downtown Pensacola’s beautiful Bartram Park.
One of the state’s largest crawfish boils, this favorite festival brings a little of the Louisiana bayou right here to Pensacola Bay. There will be a wide range of Cajun fare such as crawfish poboys, crawfish pies, and of course, 16,000 pounds of boiled crawfish, as well as other traditional fare like hot dogs and hamburgers.
Along with great food, festival patrons will enjoy a variety of foot-stomping music straight from the Louisiana Bayous. Kicking off the live entertainment on Friday, May 1
st at 4 pm is Lee Yankee, followed by Naughty Professor, and the Lost Bayou Ramblers at 8:30 pm.
On Saturday, May 2
nd, the music gets started early with The Ryan Balthrop Band at 11 am followed by Blues Old Stand at 1 pm. Later at 4 pm, Peek takes to the stage followed by Voodoo Gumbo at 6:30 pm, and The Daisy Dukes Band at 9 pm.
Rounding out the music lineup on Sunday, May 3
rd is Cha Wa at 11 am, Hotel Oscar at 12:30 pm, and Wayne Toups at 3 pm.
Get ready for the 10
th Annual Cat Country 98.7 Crawfish Eating Contest. Choose from the kids, adults, and CrawDADDY divisions. Entry Fees: Kids - free, Adult - $5 and CrawDADDY - $10. Registration begins 30 minutes before the competition starts. Bring your cheering section and enter for your chance to win prizes from Cat Country 98.7.
Don’t leave the little ones at home! Saturday and Sunday, there will be plenty for the kiddos to do in the family area. Tons of crafts, games, face painting and the famous "NASCRAW" crawfish races.
Daily admission to the 2015 Pensacola Crawfish Festival is $5 for adults, with free admission to children 12 and under. A weekend pass for Friday, Saturday and Sunday is available for $10. Pop in for lunch on Friday and get in FREE before 3 pm. All active duty military with valid id will receive free admission all day on Friday, May 1
Handicapped parking will be available Friday through Sunday, across the street from Bartram Park at Fountain Park. Additional handicapped parking for Saturday and Sunday will be available behind the Florida Public Archeology Network Building on Barracks Street.
The Fiesta 5K and 10K Run/Walk is sponsored by the Pensacola Runners Association and will be held Saturday, May 2
nd at 7:30 am. The 10K participants will begin at Pensacola State College, while the 5K runners will start from Scott Street and 12th Avenue. Both races will finish at Seville Square. Those who run in the race will receive free admission to the Pensacola Crawfish Festival on (Saturday) that day. Come Eat, Run & Relax with some Cajun flair! For more information, please visit www.pensacolarunners.com.
For more festival information, call 850-433-6512.

Rebuild Their Pumpkin Patch

strong street studio pic
Local Art Studio Needs Your Help To Rebuild Their Pumpkin Patch
By: Kelly Woodard

One local art studio needs your help. Scott & Molli Novota, owners of the Strong Street Studio known for glass-blowing and their annual Pumpkin Patch event, say that their dreams of rebuilding their beloved community arts center that was damaged after the roof collapsed during a storm in February may be coming to an end. Now, they are calling on the kindness of their neighbors to save the day with much needed donations.
Scott Novota said that the donations will help replace what was lost in the disaster. “All of our equipment, tools, benches, pipes, raw materials we've collected over the years sat crushed beneath beams, pipes, bricks and soaking roof tiles,” he said. “For almost two months it sat under the constantly shifting debris being exposed to the elements making it impossible for us to retrieve anything.”
That’s when the Novota’s started a Kickstarter campaign, an all or nothing program where if the goal number is not reached by the deadline, no money is received and everyone that donated will not be charged. So what does this all mean for the Novota’s? They are currently $3,500 short of their $20,000 goal with only 8 days left to donate.
Scott said of the program, “We’re reaching out with this Kickstarter campaign not only to get the Studio back up and running, but to also engage the community to feel invested in our future.”
You can make a donation of any size by searching Operation Hotshop Kickstarter, and with a donation of $25 or more, you will receive a one of a kind hand blown gift as a thank you from Strong Street Studio.
The Novota’s said, “One of the things we were able to salvage from the collapse was a glass color called ‘Blood Orange’. This color is a one-off color, meaning it will never be made again. We now have an empty building for the studio and nothing to put in it. With your help we would like to provide you with some unique items made with this exclusive glass in exchange for your support.”
Along with your chosen reward you will also receive a personal invitation to the Studio’s Grand Opening party.
The Novota’s said, “We know that even if we don’t reach our goal that we will rebuild eventually, but we hope that we can count on the kindness of our community to make that happen a little faster so that we can get back to sharing our passion with others. We thank each and every one of you for your continuous support.”
For more information about Operation Hotshop Kickstarter or Strong Street Studios, please visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/StrongStreetStudio.

2015 Running of the Chihuahua’s

Running of the Chuhuahuas pic (www.rosies.com)
Cinco de Mayo Goes To the Dogs At the 2015 Running of the Chihuahua’s
By: Kelly Woodard

Get in touch with your Mexican roots as Seville Quarter kicks off Cinco de Mayo right with the 2015 Running of the Chihuahuas, Sunday, May 3
rd at 1 pm.
This family friendly event will feature the most charismatic, not to mention fast, pups this side of the border as they race to the finish line for lots of prizes. The races are open to Chihuahuas and Chihuahua mixes only. Dogs over 15 pounds may race separately depending on number of entries.
Each dog will receive an official race packet full of goodies and coupons for great deals. Each dog may run in one or more qualifying heats and the winners will advance to the championship rounds. Races will start at 2 pm.
The grand champion will take home a 1st Place Trophy and other great prizes. Second, Third and Fourth Place will win Award Ribbons. Be sure to check out the fun-filled contests like Best Outfit, Best Trick, and the Owner/Dog Look-a-Like Contest. Winners in each contest will be awarded ribbons and special prizes.
A post-race party will be held for the dogs (and their humans too) in Seville Quarter Party Plaza and the End O’the Alley Courtyard where winners in all race categories and contests will be announced. Food, drinks, and live entertainment will be on hand throughout the afternoon, and water and treats will be provided for the dogs.
Registration is open and available at www.sevillequarter.com on a first come – first serve basis. Chihuahuas Race Entry Fee is $5.00 per dog. Walk ups will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis and only if there are open slots in races.
All proceeds will benefit Pensacola’s Hotel for Dogs and Cats, a Rescue & Adoption Service offering hugs, smiles, and a safe place to call home until they find a fur-ever family. For more information or to make a donation, call 850-857-0222.

Local War Hero, Rosamond Johnson Jr

rosamond johnson pic
Local War Hero, Rosamond Johnson Jr., To Be Honored On the Beach That Shares His Name
By: Kelly Woodard

Most people who have nestled their toes in the silky white sands of Johnsons Beach in Perdido Key know that it is one of the most beautiful beaches the eyes have ever seen, but most don’t know that its namesake is a true hero. The late Rosamond Johnson, Jr., a true local American hero, will be honored this Saturday, May 2
nd at 10 am at the Star Pavilion on Johnson’s Beach in Perdido Key.
Private Rosamond Johnson, Jr. joined the military when he was just 15 years old. A man devoted to his country, Johnson took pride in heading off to war when the Korean conflict broke out. While there, Johnsons platoon came under fire. Having carried two wounded men to safety under enemy attack, he was killed going back to save a third, becoming the first Escambia County resident to die in the conflict. He was just 17.
Johnson posthumously received the Purple Heart on August 21, 1950, and veteran groups continue their efforts to this day to seek additional military honors for him.
During Johnson’s time, segregation was a common practice in the Pensacola area. Jim Crow laws forbid minorities to share Pensacola Beach. The west Pensacola beach, now known as Johnson’s Beach, that had been a favored recreational area set aside for the "sole use and enjoyment of colored citizens" in the 1950's became part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the 1970's and retains Rosamond Johnson’s name. A permanent monument in Johnson's honor was erected at Johnson Beach on June 10, 1996.
Mrs. Alice Johnson, Rosamond's mother, still resides in the family home in the historic Belmont/Devilliers area of Pensacola. His 6 siblings, all living, are also valued members of the Pensacola community.
Bring the family and hear the story about this local hero who joined the military at the age of 15. The ceremony will begin at 10 am at the Star Pavilion on Johnson Beach. Park admission is FREE for anyone attending the event.
The ceremony will include a heartwarming performance of the National Anthem by the Naval Performance Group.
For details or more information, contact the Perdido Key Visitors Center, (850) 492-4660 or www.VisitPerdido.com.

Town Hall Meeting Regarding Same Sex Marriage

The LGBT Community Joins Freedom to Marry For Town Hall Meeting Regarding Same Sex Marriage
By: Kelly Woodard

Freedom to Marry, an organization working with national and state organizations and individuals to build a mass of states where same-sex couples can marry and a mass of public support in favor of the freedom to marry, held a Town Hall meeting in Pensacola Tuesday evening to discuss how Florida’s gay marriage laws will progress, and what supporters can do to get involved on a national level.
Working closely with Equality Florida, the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, Freedom to Marry aimed to bring awareness to the issues on a community level as well as what lies ahead with the U.S. Supreme Court.
A ban was place on gay marriage in Florida in 2008 by voters. In the wake of that ban, Pensacola City Council passed a Domestic Partner Registry (DPR) to provide important legal protections for unmarried couples in December of 2013. Under the DPR, domestic partners are allowed essential family protections including hospital visitation, emergency services, and the ability to make funeral arrangements.
The ban was repealed last year after U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle in Tallahassee ruled that it violates the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process. Same sex unions officially became legal in January, although Freedom to Marry and Equality Florida said that the battle, not just in Florida but the entire nation, isn’t over yet.
Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he did not “believe same-sex marriage is a constitutional right.” Rubio went on to say that while he doesn’t believe that sexual orientation is a choice, he does feel that gay marriage laws should not reach the U.S. Supreme Court, saying, “States have always regulated marriage. And if a state wants to have a different definition, you should petition the state legislature and have a political debate. I don’t think courts should be making that decision.”