Wednesday night beach music returns to the St. Augustine Beach Pier and Park Pavilion, 350 Beach Blvd., on Wednesday, May 25.
Through the 20 years that the St. Augustine Beach Civic Association has sponsored the free Wednesday night concerts, no two years have been alike.
New performers, food vendors, storm interruptions and other factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused adjustments.
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But when push comes to shove — the show must go on!
This year’s concerts, which begin at 7 p.m., take place in two parts with one Wednesday series from May 25 to June 29 and the second series from Aug. 17 to Sept. 21. Optional food purchase will be available from one of the Village Garden Food Trucks which will feature different menus at each concert. The opening concert on May 25 and will feature The Grapes of Roth with classic and alternative rock. Other performers on the following Wednesdays will include Robert Peck and Friends, Josh Stewart Band, Ain’t Too Proud, Paul Lundgren Band and Slang. Schedules for both sessions are available at freebeachconcerts.com.
What you need to know
You’re on your own for seating. Bring a chair, blanket or towel. The association advises concertgoers that chairs may not be placed in the pavilion until 4 p.m. prior to each concert to comply with the permit use issued to them. Chairs in the pavilion before that time will be removed.
Parking at Pier Park will be limited. Visitors are urged to find alternative parking along Beach Boulevard or to carpool, walk, ride bikes, etc. when possible. Concertgoers should not plan to park at nearby restaurants since their free parking is good only while dining.
It’s OK to bring your own food and beverages. Local food trucks will also be available. The Civic Association has formed a partnership with the Village Garden Food Truck Park. One of their many mobile restaurants will be onsite at each concert starting at 4 p.m. with dinners and soft drinks. Dinners will be priced at $10 or less with at least two menu options.
For updates including concert updates, weather and other related cancellations, visit sabca.org.
Indian River Lagoon Clam Restoration Project
Todd Osborne, Ph.D., an associate professor of Coastal Biogeochemistry at the University of Florida and a researcher at the Whitney Lab, will be the guest speaker at the South Anastasia Communities Association (SACA) meeting Wednesday, May 25.
Osborne will discuss his Indian River Lagoon Clam Restoration Project: an army of filter feeders cleaning one of Florida's worst man-made environmental messes. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the upstairs classroom of Whitney Laboratory’s Center for Marine Studies, 9505 N. Ocean Shore Blvd. in Marineland. Light refreshments will be offered at a social hour at 5:30 p.m. The meeting and presentations are free and open to the public. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Memorial Day weekend looming, beachgoers can expect bigger crowds on St. Johns County beaches. It marks the beginning of full-scale guarded beaches by St. Johns County Marine Rescue which includes a team of United States Lifesaving Association certified beach lifeguards. An average of 16 lifeguard towers will be staffed daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The guards will be assisted by staff supervisors who travel the coastline in various response vehicles.
Beach flags and signage are posted at beach access points and lifeguard towers. They provide daily condition updates to beachgoers as well as safety information regarding rip currents and other common beach hazards. A purple flag means there is dangerous marine life in the nearby waters. Red signals dangerous water conditions. Yellow advises swimmers to be cautious. Green signals safe conditions.
Beach access ramps for vehicles are generally open at Vilano Access Ramp and Porpoise Point in Vilano Beach, A Street, Ocean Trace Road, Dondanville Road, Matanzas Avenue and Mary Street in St. Augustine Beach, and Crescent Beach. The Fort Matanzas Ramp at Fort Matanzas National Monument is exit only. Traffic is regulated and the 10-mile per hour speed limit is strictly enforced. Pedestrians are urged to stay alert and use caution. Soft sand and high tides may prevent beach driving or limit it to four-wheel-drive vehicles.
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Daily driving passes are $10 for county residents and non-residents, and $5 for disabled and active military. Annual on-beach driving passes, available at toll booths, are $50 for county residents, $100 for non-residents, $40 for disabled visitors. Disabled veterans with identification may obtain annual passes at no cost.
Throughout sea turtle nesting season, May 1 to Oct. 31, beach gates are closed between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. Lighting ordinances are in effect, which require coastal property owners to manage beachfront lighting to prevent disorienting nesting and hatchling turtles. The use of flashlights is strongly discouraged. If flashlights are necessary for safety, they should be used with red filters which eliminate the white light that is problematic for sea turtles. Lights from cellphone screens can also interfere with sea turtles trying to reach the sea, so they should be used only when absolutely necessary. Camera flashes (including cellphones) should not be used at night during nesting season.
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Earlier this year the St. Johns County Commission voted to ban “the release of helium, foil, mylar, biodegradable or photodegradable balloons and sky lanterns balloon and lantern releases.” The ordinance, which imposes a $500 violation fine, says that animals, such as sea turtles, mistake the remains from balloons as food. Animals become entangled in the string and this becomes deadly to sea birds, sea turtles and marine mammals.
For updated beach information, visit co.st-johns.fl.us/Beaches/BeachAccess.htm. For general beach information, visit sjcfl.us/Beaches/index.aspx. For daily updates to beach access and sand conditions, visit bit.ly/3wvBqxy.
Have news to share about people and events on Anastasia Island or the adjoining areas? Send your information about people and events to email@example.com or call 904-471-4851.
This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: Around Anastasia Island: Music by the Sea kicks off with some changes