News


As seen in ‘Real Florida Magazine’ (formerly ‘The Goulding Report’)

News, Photos and Videos about People, Business and Events in Northwest Florida

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Richie Milner, Director of Retail Stores for WestPoint Home Factory Outlet in Chipley, Florida recently announced that the outlet store will be offering a lineup of super savings on select items for the new year, as a way to say ‘Thanks’ to loyal customers and a way to give new customers a chance to see just how large they can save.
Motel and hotel owners will realize huge values in decor packages inclusive of shams, pillows, spreads, sheets and pillow cases, etc., while homeowners can justify replacing comforters, pillows and towels, etc. due to the great prices.  The array of products is large and more importantly, changes over time, so the location is worth visiting on a regular basis.
Open on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the factory outlet store is a little hard to find but worth the effort.  ‘Popular demand has dictated that we needed more availability’, stated Milner, ‘so we have expanded our hours and the community should be able to better access the great bargains available at the store’.
Originally located on Highway 90 in Chipley, WestPoint Home Factory Outlet closed for a while but has been open for over a year and is doing a large business, located in in Tommy McDonald Industrial Park on Fowler Drive.  Just a few minutes from I-10, Hwy. 90 and Hwy. 77, the store is not only centrally located but offers fantastic bargains.  See more details on Facebook at WestPoint Home Factory Outlet.
The Panhandle Chapter of the American Red Cross in Panama City, Florida is preparing for the 11th Annual ‘Gulf Coast Home and Garden Expo’, slated to take place at the Bay County Fairgrounds in Panama City on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 7-9, 2014.
The event features hundreds of vendors, products and services- all offering to anyone interested in remodeling, redecorating, landscaping or updating their home- inside or out.  Thousands of attendees take advantage of opportunities including great event-only specials and the newest technology for the home or garden.
If you own a business, you should probably take a look at this event, as the advertising package for the event includes literally millions of advertising impressions from which you, as a business owner, can benefit.

January 1, 2014- Bonifay, Florida Celebrates Local Food, Culture and Heritage at  6thAnnual ‘Down Home Street Festival’_2839730515

What do classic cars, bluegrass music, black-eyed peas and a balmy spring weekend have in common?  All these and more come together for the 6th Annual ‘Down Home Street Festival’ in Bonifay, Florida on March 15.

Festival co-organizer Lora Ponds, in an interview with Real Florida Magazine, indicated that the 2013 event enjoyed in excess of 5,000 attendees, attracted by live music and dance, over 100 arts, crafts and food vendors, as well a huge classic car show.

‘There are a lot of community partners, businesses and volunteers that help to make this happen’, said Ponds.  ‘It takes all of these folks to make the event as successful as it has become’.

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From fried chicken, meatloaf, baked ham and steaks, to mashed potatoes, brocolli casserole and sweet potato casserole, to potato salad, fresh fruit and red velvet cake, Colonial Restaurant has successfully served ‘stick-to-your-ribs’ comfort food for several years in Chipley, Florida, in a buffet-style setting.

They are now ready to offer Panama City some of the same, but with a menu-driven offering inclusive of steaks and seafood, along with the great home cooking for which they have become famous, in their new downtown setting.

Open for lunch  Sunday through Friday, and open for lunch and and dinner on Thursday and Friday, Colonial Restaurant in Downtown Panama City offers good, old-fashioned home cooking at 448 Harrison Avenue.  The location previously hosted Tito’s and Chef Imondi’s for several years, and offers easy access to the downtown lunch crowd.  Drop in for lunch or dinner, or take advantage of their catering services, and you’ll agree that Colonial is worth checking out.

December 31, 2013- 2013 Top Stories from ‘The Real Florida’

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The top stories about people, events and businesses- including festivals, parades and other news of note from around ‘The Real Florida’ as seen in ‘Real Florida Magazine’- received a lot of attention this year.  Webpage views, Facebook and YouTube visits, and the print magazine circulation all broke records in 2013 and we decided to review the top stories.

The top stories were determined from the number of those page views, along with shares, ‘likes’ and comments on Facebook and other social networks, and the top story for 2013 was the flooding in Washington County and the closure of Highway 77 south of I-10.  Daily updates of information in editorial, photos, video clips and interviews allowed our viewers updates that were lacking from mainstream media.

December 23, 2013- Realtor.com® November Housing Data Highlights Hearty Winter Home Buying Season

Real Estate Reality Check

Realtor.com®, the leader in online real estate operated by Move, Inc., today released its National Housing Trend Report for November 2013.   November figures indicate continued improvement from this time last year, in spite of the first signs of seasonal influences.

Data from realtor.com® reveal that November 2013 median list prices remained unusually strong for the season, showing a healthy 6.9 percent increase year over year while declining 0.7 percent month over month. National inventory appears to be stabilizing from dramatic drops in the beginning of the year, although the country is still experiencing significant supply shortages.

Housing inventory increased 0.2 percent above year-ago levels – the first year-on-year increase in 2013 – while declining slightly from the previous month, a sign of seasonal influences.  Median age of inventory is down 10.6 percent compared with year-ago levels, showing significantly stronger activity compared to the same time last year.  Month over month, median age of inventory did show some seasonal change with an increase of 7.5 percent.

December 22, 2013- Jackson County BOCC Approves Russ House Purchase 537282_10202127332417970_482396712_n

The Jackson County BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) has approved the transfer of ownership of the Russ House to a co-ownership arrangement between Jackson County and the City of Marianna, Florida.  The City of Marianna and Jackson County will co-own the property and will lease to the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Tourist Development Council and the Jackson County Development Council.

The Jackson County Tourist Development Council is charged with promoting visitation to Jackson County, and recently contracted with public relations and marketing firm The Goulding Agency, Inc. of Chipley, Florida to improve awareness for tourism in Jackson County.

December 21, 2013- Netflix Movies To Expire1476554_261091137380696_99084910_n

Some of the movies found on NetFlix are expiring soon, no longer available on that service.  Here are some of the long list of movies to expire.

Expiring December 29, 2013- Transformers Dark Of The Moon.  Expiring January 1, 2014 is ’50 First Dates’, ‘Being John Malkovich’, ‘Best Of Times’, ‘Born On the Fourth Of July’ and ‘Braveheart’.  Expiring on January 4, 2014 are ‘Alice In Wonderland’ and ‘Immortals’.  Find a more comprehensive list online at Facebook at Jackson County Today!.

December 21, 2013- Jackson County TDC Contracts with The Goulding Agency, Inc._4087947465

Executive Director of the Jackson County, Florida Tourist Development Council (TDC) Pam Fuqua announced recently that public relations and marketing firm The Goulding Agency, Inc. in Chipley, Florida has been contracted to improve awareness for tourism in Jackson County.

Paul Goulding has worked in the Public Relations, Marketing, Media and Tourism industries for over 30 years in Northwest Florida and operates The Goulding Agency, Inc., a full-service public relations, marketing and media production firm with offices and studios in Downtown Chipley.

December 18, 2013- Inaugural ‘Marianna Marketplace’ at Madison Street Park_2579384626

The inaugural ‘Marianna Marketplace’ was held on December 18, 2013 in Marianna, Florida at Madison Street Park.  Organized by local farm producers along with the Florida Extension Service’s Mandy Griffin, the first-time event drew a large number of holiday season attendees despite initially cool and wet weather conditions.

Drawing hundreds of attendees and vendors, the event was designed to give local artists and crafts persons, as well as local farmers and producers, an opportunity to showcase their wares, the event was a huge success.  With an emphasis on sustainable resources, organizers indicate that the event will potentially occur quarterly in the upcoming year.

December 18, 2013- Eddie Fling of Panama City Wins ’2013 Real Florida Magazine Photo Contest’

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The publishers of Real Florida Magazine have announced that Eddie Fling from Panama City won the 2013 Real Florida Magazine Photo Contest.

Regular readers of  ‘Real Florida Magazine’ and ‘Jackson County Today!’ will be glad to know that Eddie will be joining the team from Paul Goulding Photography, becoming a regular contributor to this publication and other print and online products.   See more at www.RealFloridaMagazine.org.

The contest is scheduled to be repeated in 2014, and further details will be published when available.

December 12, 2013- Real Florida Magazine Welcomes Co-Host Cheyenne Fenwick_1749606671

‘Real Florida Magazine!’ TV show welcomes Cheyenne Fenwick of Chipley, Florida as a co-host, helping to showcase businesses, special events and people in the ‘Real Florida’.

A dual-enrolled student at Chipley High School and Chipola College, Cheyenne was recently crowned as Homecoming Queen for the 2013 Chipley High School.

December 11, 2013- Florida’s Housing Market to Grow in 2014 But at Slower Pace, Say Economists at Florida Realtors® Summit

Real Estate Reality Check

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s been a good year for many Florida homeowners and home buyers – thanks to low mortgage rates, high home affordability, strong home price growth, increasing home values and a steadily improving jobs market, according to economists at Florida Realtors®’ 2014 Real Estate and Economic Summit Tuesday in Orlando.

Look for 2014 to bring continued growth in the state’s housing sector, said Florida Realtors Chief Economist John Tuccillo, though at a slower pace than in 2013 due to changing market and economic conditions.

“The real estate market is going to grow, and we’ll probably see about a 10 percent increase in residential sales,” Tuccillo said. “Home values will rise at roughly about five percent a year, which is in line with historical trends. In the last 18 months, home values have gone up about 12 percent – I don’t think we’ll see that next year.”

December 6, 2013- Washington-Holmes Technical Center Offers 30+ Certification Programs

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From welding to culinary arts to electrical wiring, from cosmetology to digital audio recording to nursing, from paint and body/collision work to correctional officer training programs to drafting, Washington-Holmes Technical Center offers continuing education for all ages.

The self-professed mission of the Washington-Holmes Technical Center is to provide students with instruction in academic and technical training at competency levels required for employment and/or advancement in existing or potential occupational fields.  In this day of the ‘boomerang generation’ we see college students graduating with over $100,000 in school debt and moving back home with mom and dad because they cannot find a job.

Opportunities afforded at WHTC for degree and certification programs allow real jobs in the real world- and good paying jobs at that.  Dual enrollment allows high school students a head-start on college credits and/or the skills needed to get a well-paid job while attending college.

Large companies and corporations, as well as smaller cottage industries, are finding that WHTC will take their input and craft programs that allow students the skills necessary to fill real job slots in their businesses, and this is not going unseen.

December 6, 2013- Meet and Greet for Northwest Florida Community Hospital CEO Mark BushMarkBush-192x300 (1)

The Board of Directors of Northwest Florida Healthcare, Inc. (NFHI) has named Mark E. Bush Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Northwest Florida Community Hospital (NFCH) in Chipley, FL, effective December 16.
He succeeds CEO Patrick Schlenker, under whose leadership the hospital earned national and state recognition for impressive service and financial improvements achieved over nearly a decade.
Bush brings to his new role more than 20 years of experience in hospital finance and management, including 14 years operating a Critical Access Hospital and two nursing homes. “I very much look forward to working with the outstanding NFCH community of physicians, staff and local residents who are so committed to serving this area,” he says.

November 21, 2013- Retired Washington County Extension Director Andy Andreasen Receives University of Florida 2013 Award of Distinction

Andy Andreasen, retired Washington County Extension Director and Extension Agent Emeritus, received the University of Florida College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni & Friends 2013 Award of Distinction this year.

The CALS Alumni and Friends Award of Distinction is presented to UF/CALS alumni or friends in recognition of their outstanding contributions to UF, IFAS, CALS and the agricultural, natural resource, life science and related industries and professions.  Numerous panhandle farmers and ranchers credit the success of their operations to Andy Andreasen, retired Agent Emeritus and former Washington County Extension Director.

November 20, 2013- ‘Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures’ Featured in National Publications_6073941614

Holmes County is headquarters for ‘Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures’, owned and operated by Jeep and Meg Sullivan.  The company has successfully offered hunting, fishing and relaxation trips to veterans, ‘wounded warriors’, first-responders and the general public and they have gained some recognition in the process.

Recently contracted by local tourism promoters to conduct tours of some of the local waterways for visiting outdoor writers, Sullivan was featured in the Miami Herald as well as several other national cooking, hunting, tourism and recreation publications.

November 20, 2013- Florida’s Housing Market Continues Positive Track in October 2013

Real Estate Reality Check

Florida’s housing market continued its upswing in October 2013, with more closed sales, higher median prices, more new listings and a stabilizing supply of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Florida’s economy continues to improve, and that’s good news for the housing market,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “October marks 23 months in a row that statewide median sales prices rose year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo properties. Last month, the median days on market (the midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to sell) was 46 days for single-family homes and 48 days for townhouses and condos. That means 50 percent of homes on the market in Florida sell in less than two months.

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Martha Compton, Director of Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida, announced that Paul Goulding of The Goulding Agency, Inc. in Chipley, Florida had been awarded the ACE (Adult and Community Educators of Florida, Incorporated) Award for Media Promotion of the Year.
ACE is based in Tallahassee, Florida and each year awards to the categories of Teacher of the Year, School Administrator of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Business Supporter of the Year, Media Promotion of the Year, Instructional Support Staff of the Year and Non-Instructional Support Staff of the Year.
The award was presented at the ACE Conference Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 in Orlando and Compton (pictured with Goulding) accepted on behalf of Goulding and his firm.
‘It’s not often that I get a chance to accept such a prestigious state award. We are proud of our relationship with The Goulding Agency and the work that the firm has helped us to accomplish to spread the word about the great things happening at Washington-Holmes Technical Center’.
The Chipley, Florida High School Band saluted One South Bank on Friday, November 8, at their last home game, thanking the bank for their efforts to support the band through their ‘Halftime Football Toss’.
For several years One South Bank has used the feature, taking place during the halftime show at all home games, to generate funding to help the band accomplish all their needs.
‘We appreciate One South Bank, who has supported us for several years in this manner’, said Chipley band director Richard Davenport.  ‘People for the most part do not realize the expenses these band members shoulder in order to compete and perform throughout the school year, and businesses like One South Bank are important to the continued growth of our program’.

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Although simply a coincidence that the event coincides with the annual Homecoming festivities, the Chipley High School FFA Alumni held their third annual Top Shot Sporting Clays Shoot on Saturday, November 9 at Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports in Chipley.

Coupled with the opportunity to sharpen up shotgun skills in preparation for the hunting season, the event serves as a fundraiser to support the costs of competitions, travel and awards for FFA members.

Sponsored in part by One South Bank, the event drew a record number of participants, including many first-timers to the event.

November 10, 2013- 28 Former Homecoming Queens Attend Chipley, Florida High School Homecoming Reunion 

_7521421219Kim Harper, daughter of the very first Chipley High School Homecoming Queen, organized and executed a reunion of 28 of the former Chipley Homecoming Queens this weekend.

Kim, residing in Jacksonville, coordinated the effort long-distance, and was overwhelmed by the response.  Kim’s mother Dee was the Homecoming Queen for the Class of 1949, the first year Homecoming was observed by Chipley High School.

This year marked 64 years of the tradition of Homecoming in Chipley and of the 64 past CHS Homecoming Queens, 32 responded to the request for a reunion.

November 1, 2013- Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida Renews Annual Contract With The Goulding Agency, Inc._4126268099

Executive Director of the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida Lynne Eldridge this week announced that the organization will renew its annual awareness and educational contract with The Goulding Agency, Inc. of Chipley, Florida.

The firm has provided educational and awareness for the various services endorsed by Early Learning Coalition for several years and the partnership is a solid working relationship.

‘Our working relationship with Paul, Debbie and The Goulding Agency team has been delightful’, says Suzan Gage, Child Services Coordinator for ELC.  ‘Since the first day we walked into the studio to see if The Goulding Agency would be able to assist us in our PR and production needs The Goulding Agency has provided us with excellent customer service and high-quality electronic and printed materials.  Paul and Debbie have consistently demonstrated a willingness to meet our needs, offer reasonable advice and make themselves available to answer our questions,’ she continues.

November 1, 2013- 93rd Annual Florida Beekeepers Convention Held at Washington County Ag Center in Chipley _9427028941

Displays ranged from box hives to beekeeping tools to tractors while presentations covered common parasites, viruses and predator bears, as several hundred attendees enjoyed the annual Florida Beekeepers Convention in Chipley this weekend.

Typically held in central or south Florida, the annual convention has not been held in the Florida Panhandle for some time but local beekeepers Tim and Annette Lanham single-handedly captured the venue for the event this year.

‘We got interested in beekeeping a while ago’, says Annette, ‘and if you know us, you know that when we get involved in something, we usually get into it all the way’.

November 1, 2013- Kate Smith Elementary Kindergarten Classes Visit Washington Rehab & Nursing Center in Chipley _1782992757

Scores of goblins, witches, spacemen, cowboys and pirates roamed the halls of Washington Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Chipley, Florida on Thursday morning to the delight of residents and staff alike.

Candy and treats were the order of the day as residents and staff members took part in the Halloween celebration by donning costumes of their own.

Several parents and grandparents of the children visited the facility during the kindergarten trip and smiles abounded in the corridors as dance music played.

October 31, 2013- Washington-Holmes Technical Center Celebrates ‘Candy & Careers’1451367_381908298607626_1433462359_n

Continuing an annual tradition, Washington-Holmes Technical Center hosted ‘Candy and Careers’ on Thursday, October 31 to the delight of hundreds of attendees.

The event, designed to drive awareness for the certification and degree programs offered at the Technical College, has successfully treated a large number of locals to an evening of fun, education and treats, but this year all records were broken.

They started to arrive just before dark- a mix of zombies, princesses, hobos and pirates- and the fun began, with almost every department at the school having an interactive display or an opportunity to learn about that program.

October 31, 2013- First Baptist Church in Chipley Enjoys Annual Fall Festival _3955669335

Several hundred pre-teen children enjoyed an evening of games, popcorn, snow cones and candy at the annual Fall Festival at First Baptist Church in Chipley, Florida on Wednesday, October 30.

Adults seemed to have as much fun, if not more, than the children, as what appeared to be controlled chaos ensued for at least two hours on the church campus.

The festival was truly a well-orchestrated effort as parents and grandparents administered moon-walks, a dunking booth and ring toss games, along with the cooking and distribution of hot dogs and cold drinks.

Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures hosted the Wounded Warrior Adventure the week of October 1, 2013 at Tyndall Air Force Base, as well as at Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports, The Westerner and Chipley Gun and Pawn, all in Chipley.
The week included hunting and fishing in local hotspots, trap and sporting clays competition at Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports and an opportunity to enjoy some of what this area has to offer.  The soldiers were treated to an honor guard and luncheon in their honor at Tyndall Air Force Base on October 1.  The soldiers got an opportunity to check out some of the newest firearms and accessories at Chipley Gun & Pawn, much to the delight of the staff.

Francis B. Hays was born and raised in Chipley, Florida, the oldest of four children of Oscar and Thelma Hays.  He graduated from Chipley High School in 1950.  After graduation, he worked at a number of jobs, including construction work, before deciding to follow the career path of his father as a barber.

Francis attended barber school in Jacksonville, Florida and upon graduation he returned to his hometown and began work at the small shop on Highway 90 in 1953, where he worked for over 60 years, retiring on September 27, 2013.

August 26, 2013- Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Track in July 2013

Real Estate Reality Check

Florida’s housing market gained momentum in July, with more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a shrinking inventory of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“We’re seeing double-digit gains in statewide closed sales, new listings, pending sales and higher median prices,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “And these increases are happening in both the single-family and the townhome-condo markets. July marks the 19th consecutive month that we’ve seen the statewide single-family home median sales price increase year-over-year. Florida’s housing market is growing and that’s good news for our economy.”

July 28, 2013- ‘Miss Funday’ Pageant in Wausau, Florida Draws Large Crowdpossum

Despite hot temperatures and sporadic rain showers, a standing-room-only crowd packed the Possum Palace in Wausau, Florida on Saturday, July 27 for the 2013 ‘Miss Funday’ Pageant.

With a large field of almost 50 contestants from several surrounding counties, the pageant was successful and saw several categories consisting of both boys and girls from birth to 18 years of age, including the prestigious ‘Miss Funday’.

A perennial precursor to the Wausau Possum Festival, this pageant should not be confused with the annual ‘Possum King and Queen Contest’, held the evening before the Festival (this year on Friday August 2), and in itself a notable event.

The Miss Funday Pageant kicks off the Wausau Possum Festival, held on the first Saturday in August and this year celebrating 44 years of heritage.  Named in 2010 by Women’s Day Magazine as ‘one of the most unique festivals in America’, the event celebrates the Possum, a marsupial which thrives in this part of Florida and which helped the local population survive the great depression in the early 20th century.

July 29, 2013- Florida’s Housing Market Trending Up in June 2013Real Estate Reality Check

Florida’s housing market continued to show increased strength in June, including more closed sales of single-family homes, more new listings, rising median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“It’s encouraging to see median prices continuing to recover in areas across the state,” said 2013 Florida Realtors PresidentDean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “Strong buyer demand, along with the tight supply of for-sale homes, is putting upward pressure on prices. June marks the 18th consecutive month that we’ve seen the statewide single-family home median sales price increase year-over-year.

“On average, sellers received about 94 percent of their asking price in June. Interested home sellers are paying attention to this positive trend. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 10.8 percent in June, while new townhome-condo listings rose 4.7 percent.”

July 18, 2013- Real Florida Media Kicks Off ‘Jackson County Today!’

Real Florida Media, a subsidiary of The Goulding Agency, Inc. in Chipley, Florida announced last week the kick-off of their new publication  ‘Jackson County Today!’.  The bimonthly printed periodical, highlighting the events, people and businesses of Jackson County, Florida and the surrounding area is distributed free of charge.

Complementing the successful ‘Real Florida Magazine’, a bimonthly printed magazine now in its third year of distribution, ‘Jackson County Today!’ is also available online at www.JacksonCountyToday.org and the webiste features video clips and interviews along with photo galleries and other newsworthy items.  The deadline for advertising in the September 2013 issue of the new publication is August 15, 2013 and the response at this point has been good.  See more at www.JacksonCountyToday.org.

July 15, 2013- Wausau, Florida Prepares For 44th Annual Possum Festivitiespossum

It has been featured in countless publications, including the New York Times, Southern Living Magazine and in Woman’s Day Magazine (as ‘One of the most unique festivals in America’), sometimes in jest and sometimes in earnest- but for the Wausau Possum festival, there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Held the first Saturday in August each year in this rural Northwest Florida town, the event gets BIG attention and it is returning to its roots of ‘old-timey’ events such as the greasy pole contest, sack races, crosscut sawing and other retro events.  The festival would also like to revive ‘donkey softball’, an event that drew thousands over the years, but animal rights activists have renounced this feature.
The event draws from all over the Southeast United States, especially in Presidential election years,  and the story goes that no Florida Governor has been elected if he has chosen not to attend the event.  This was tested and proven wrong in 2009, as then candidate Rick Scott failed to appear at the festival but was elected nonetheless.  ‘He was lucky’ states one Wausau old-timer, ‘and we doubt we will see that happen again’.
Learning theory, building and programming a robotic mobile device and ultimately competing against their peers- this is what forty 10-12 year old students experienced at Robotics Camp at Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida.
Starting on Monday, July 8 and culminating on Friday, July 12, 2013, the event was sponsored by community partners, industry businesses and the Washington County School District.  The annual event, this year in its second permutation, was overseen by Drafting Instructor Tanya Taylor at WHTC, along with Grants Writer Stephanie Holley and school director Martha Compton.
Jackson County Parks & Recreation and Main Street Marianna present the 6th Annual ‘Summer Concert Series’ every Thursday from 7-9 PM at Citizen’s Lodge & Madison Street Park in Marianna.
Bands range from duos to 6-piece ensembles, with a  little bit of every musical genre.  Jackson County Parks & Recreation Director Chuck Hatcher books the bands, setws the stage, hangs sponsor banners and oversees the rest of the operation each Thursday evening, and loves doing it.
‘This is a great opportunity for the business community to support a truly worthwhile community event’, says Hatcher, ‘and we appreciate the deep commitment of these businesses to help make this happen’.

July 7, 2013- Florida Governor Rick Scott Visits Graceville, Florida rick

Governor Rick Scott, along with Florida Senator Don Gaetz, Florida Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marti Coley, along with Republican party well-wishers filled the Circle Grill in Graceville, Florida on Sunday, July 7 for a political rally and town forum.

Scott  praised Coley and Gaetz for their commitment to their respective jobs and their accomplishments.  Acknowledging that there is still a lot to do,  Scott announced the elimination of three billion dollars of debt and the fact that there are jobs coming back to Florida because of the current fiscal policies.

June 28, 2013- Thousands Enjoy Annual Panhandle Patriotic Celebration in Bonifay, Florida

Over 5,000 people turned out for the annual Panhandle Patriotic Celebration at the Bonifay Rec Center on Sunday, June 30- enjoying food, music and fellowship- and culminating in a large fireworks show, all completely free.bonifay

The annual event is hosted by the Holmes County Ministerial Association, comprised of over 40 churches who take this opportunity to welcome the crowds with everything from chicken wings and ribs to ice cream, fried pickles, lemonade and corn on the cob.

‘We don’t charge for anything at this event’ said Jeep Sullivan, associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Bonifay,  in an interview with Real Florida Magazine.  ‘As a matter of fact everyone is forbidden from charging for a thing- and the crowds get here early and stay late’.

Despite rain and hot temperatures, the 57th Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival enjoyed large crowds and plenty of the perennial watermelon.
Funded in part by One South Bank in Chipley, Florida the event featured bluegrass, country and gospel music, featuring local gospel quartet ‘Crossroads’ on Saturday at the Washington County Ag Center.
The event featured a car show, parade, music, vendors, a watermelon auction and some of the best people-watching you could hope for.  See more under ‘Special Events’.

June 22, 2013- Covenant Hospice ‘Garden Gala’ A Huge Successgala

Covenant Hospice, serving Washington, Jackson, Holmes and Calhoun Counties in Northwest Florida, is able to provide hospice care for those who are under-insured or non-insured through charitable donations, United Way support and fundraisers.

On June 22 Covenant Hospice celebrated its 8th Annual ‘Garden Gala’, a celebration of all that Covenant does and the single largest fundraiser for the non-profit group.  ‘Our task is add give life to days, when days cannot be added to life’, says Jennifer Griffin of Covenant Hospice, ‘and we can do all that we are tasked to do through the funds raised by this annual event’.

The Gala, held at the National Guard Armory on Hwy 90 in Marianna, featured a large silent auction, an exciting live auction and several other features of note, including a great meal and dancing to a 16-piece big band.

June 22, 2013- Red Cross Enjoys Seventh Annual ‘Panhandle Women’s Expo’

Several thousand women flocked to the Panama City Mall on June 22 and many stayed for several hours, never leaving the main concourse while they are there.  The reason for this Mall invasion was the ‘Panhandle Women’s Expo’, now in its seventh big year, and the offerings this year were bigger than ever.expo

The Expo includes a hundred vendors and the focus is on women.  From health and beauty, to sports and recreation, to gifts and other resources, to seminars and entertainment, the event furnishes a large number of options for women looking for information, retail opportunities or simply a day in a relaxed environment.

‘We raised the bar this year,’ says Red Cross Executive Director Bob Pearce, ‘with an opportunity to roll the dice for a $5,000 cash prize’.  Those lucky women who got to the event early enough rolled six dice down a runway with many great prizes at stake, and the top prize of $5,000 in cash.

June 20, 2013- Florida Housing Market Continues Momentum in May 2013reality

Florida’s housing market continued its upswing in May, with higher closed sales, more pending sales, rising median prices, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Home sales continue to increase, it’s taking less time for sales to close, and median sales prices are on the rise,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher, broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “This is the 17th month in a row that we’ve seen the statewide median sales prices increase year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties.

“Sellers are seeing this momentum in Florida’s housing sector and it’s prompting many to decide now is the time to list their property for sale. Statewide, new listings for single-family homes increased 10.2 percent in May, while new townhome-condo listings rose 7.1 percent.”

Florida Republican Senator and current Florida Senate President Don Gaetz visited Chipley, Florida on Tuesday, June 18, enjoying meetings with the business community.
Senator Gaetz represents Okaloosa, Walton, Washington, Holmes, Jackson and Bay counties in the Florida Panhandle.
Gaetz had lunch with the Chipley Kiwanis Club then spent some time with Real Florida Magazine in an in-depth conversation abut the state of the state.

June 16, 2013- Gap Pond in Sunny Hills, Florida Hosts ‘Million Dollar’ Bass Tournamentbass

Over a hundred fishermen, outdoorsmen and spectators spent Saturday, June 15 at Gap Pond in Sunny Hills for the Inaugural AMIKids West Florida ‘Million Dollar’ Fishing Tournament.  ‘For a first-time event, we are very pleased with the participation, number of spectators and sponsorships,’ said co-organizer Darrin Wall of Gulf Power.

Several thousand dollars in prizes and premiums were awarded for the winning fish, while ‘a million thanks’ were expressed by AMIKids West Florida for the opportunity to participate and raise funds for their programs.

Jeep Sullivan, operator of ‘Jeep Sullivan’s Outdoor Adventures, Inc.’ arrived early and left late, giving airboat rides and allowing the AMIKids staff and residents an opportunity to see the lake from a different perspective.

June 13, 2013- AMIKids Gives Back to Washington County with Gap Pond Cleanup

Residents and staff members of AMIKids West Florida spent the afternoon on Wednesday, June 12 at Gap Pond in Sunny Hills, cleaning up the public boat ramp, restrooms and adjacent areas, as well as repairing picnic tables and other facilities.

‘This is an opportunity to give something back to Washington County and to say “thanks” for allowing us to use Gap Pond for our annual Bass Fishing Tournament’, said Waylon Fulford, chairman of the board of directors for AMIKids West Florida.

The AMIKids ‘Million Dollar’ Bass Tournament will be held on Gap Pond on Saturday, June 15, and the prizes and premiums are worth considering if you are a competitive angler.  Entry is $50 for a youth boat and $100 for an adult boat.

May 31, 2013- US Representative Steve Southerland Visits Chipley, Florida 

United States Representative Steve Southerland visited Chipley, Florida on Friday, May 31, with stops at WestPoint Home and several other area businesses.

Southerland met with plant manager Terry Ellis at WestPoint Home, touring the facility and discussing the state of domestic manufacturing.  ‘Chipley and all of Washington County is dear to me’, said Southerland.  ‘We spent a lot of time here over the years, hunting and fishing and enjoying fellowship with some really fine people’.

Zenna Corbin, chairperson of the Washington County Republican Party Executive Committee was on hand for Southerland’s visit.  ‘Steve is a friend to Northwest Florida’, Corbin said, ‘and he is always welcome right here in Chipley’.

 

May 30, 2013- 2013 Real Florida Magazine Summer Photo Contest Kicks Offphoto contest

The Publisher of Real Florida Magazine (The Goulding Agency, Inc. in Chipley, Florida) has announced the kickoff of the ’2013 Summer Photo Contest’ and rules and applications are available here on this website.
Winning photos of the contest (1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of three categories- ‘People’, ‘Places’ and ‘Things’- will be published in the August 2013 issue of Real Florida Magazine.
Real Florida Magazine offers the contest as an opportunity for regional photographers to showcase their work and all entries will be featured online at www.RealFloridaMagazine.org as well as on social media sites such as Facebook.

Photographs must be in digital format and only online entries will be eligible.  No print or film submissions will be accepted for entry into this Contest.  The photograph must be digital; scans of negatives, transparencies, or photographic prints are not acceptable.  All digital files must be 10  megabytes or smaller and must be in JPG format.  See More

 

May 27, 2013- Special Events Abound in Northwest Florida

events
Summer kicks off a large number of vacation-oriented special events throughout ‘The Real Florida’ and this summer gets off to a fast start.
Panama City Beach’s ‘First Annual Real.Fun.Beachfest’ (highlighted elsewhere in this publication) makes use of the new Aaron Bessant Amphitheater at Pier Park on June 1, now capable of supporting national acts and entertainment.  The Panhandle Watermelon Festival celebrates 57 years in Chipley on June 28 and 29 and Vernon, Florida celebrates just one of many regional July 4 festivities, at the Vernon SportsPlex on July 4.
May 25, 2013- Northwest Florida Community Hospital Receives Hyperbaric Accreditation
berry & vardanyanNorthwest Florida Community Hospital (NFCH) recently received Accreditation from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the governing body for hyperbaric medicine practice and safety.
NFCH is the first and only critical access hospital to receive this distinction and the hospital is planning a celebration to recognize this achievement.
In 2010 Real Florida Magazine interviewed Dr. Artur Vardanyan, who, along with Dr. Gabriel Berry (pictured) headed up the hyperbaric medicine program when the system was installed as part of the Wound Healing Institute at NFCH.
May 24, 2013- Florida Housing Market Shows Strong Gains in April 2013

real estate

Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices, increased pending sales, more new listings and a lower inventory of homes for sale in April, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

“Buyer demand is rising, but the inventory of homes continues to be tight in many areas across Florida,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher , broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando. “That’s putting some upward pressure on prices. April is the 16th month in a row that we’ve seen the statewide median sales prices increase year-over-year for both single-family homes and for townhome-condo properties.

“In another positive sign for Florida’s housing market, sellers received over 93 percent of their original listing price in April, whether they were selling a single-family home or a condo. Now is a good time for sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines to enter the market.”

May 24, 2013- Panama City Beach Announces First Annual Real.Fun.Beachfest

beachfest

Panama City Beach and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announced recently the first annual REAL.FUN.BEACHFEST on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the new Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater at Pier Park in Panama City Beach.  The Wanted and Cody Simpson will be joined by breakout artists Britt Nicole and DJ Alex Angelo for an evening of music.

Breakout Artists of the Year boy band phenomenon The Wanted will get crowds jumping with top tracks like ‘I’m Glad You Came’ and ‘Chasing the Sun.’  Fellow headliner and singer-songwriter Cody Simpson, a Radio Disney nominee for Best Male Artist and Best Crush Song, will keep the party pumping with songs like ‘Wish You Were Here’.

May 23, 2013- Hundreds Enjoy Pancake Supper In Chipley Fundraising Effort

Kiwanis Pancakes

Can pancakes really make you better looking?  Over 200 people decided to find out as they enjoyed an evening of camaraderie and pancakes on Thursday, May 23 at Kate Smith Elementary School in Chipley, Florida.

The event was the Chipley Kiwanis Club holding its biannual Pancake Supper, one of several fundraising events held each year by the Kiwanians.  The event featured a relaxed meal of pancakes, sausage, bacon and a drink, but more importantly good company, good conversation and an opportunity for the community to learn more about the good works of the Kiwanis Club.

May 23, 2013- ‘Crossroads’ Featured at 57th Annual Watermelon Festivalcrossroads

Gospel group ‘Crossroads’ from Chipley, Florida will be featured at the 57th Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival at the end of June.

Recently releasing a CD, engineered by Kirk Thompson of Marianna, Florida, the quartet, plus pianist Kim Davis Wilson, has created a splash in Northwest Florida and has become known for traditional gospel music with a twist of their own arrangements.  Recently featured at Shiloh Baptist Church in Chipley, Florida, the group came to the attention of Watermelon Festival staff, and the group will open on Saturday, June 29 at the Washington County Ag Center on Hwy 90 in Chipley.

 

May 20, 2013- Smokers Depot in Chipley Offers Alternative to Smoking

smokers depot

The electronic cigarette was introduced to the US market in 2007 and offers the nicotine-addicted an alternative to smoking tobacco.  E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco- instead, there’s a mechanism that heats up liquid which turns into a vapor that smokers inhale and exhale.  Manufacturers and satisfied customers say that this vapor offers many advantages over traditional cigarette smoke.

Proponents of the e-cigarette say they feel better using the device than they did when they were smoking tobacco cigarettes, and that because the e-cigarette is reusable, it saves them money.  Some even praise the e-cig for helping them quit smoking.

 

May 22, 2013- Jackson County Parks & Recreation and Main Street Marianna Present Summer Concerts

paint pork

Jackson County Parks & Recreation and Main Street Marianna are partnering again this year to bring you the sixth annual Free Summer Concert Series beginning Thursday, June 6th, at Citizen’s Lodge  from 7-9PM, alternated every other Thursday night at Madison Street Park.

  • JUNE 6, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – BAND NAME UNKNOWN
  • JUNE 13, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – REBEL SYNDICATE
  • JUNE 20, 2013 @ MADISON PARK – LATE NITE RADIO
  • JUNE 27, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – SIN OF THE DAY
  • JULY 4, 2013 @ MADISON PARK – FIREWORKS!  DICKEY MERRITT & ORIGINAL BAMA JAM (ROYCE REAGAN)
  • JULY 11, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – TWENTY ON RED
  • JULY 18, 2013 @ MADISON PARK – GARY WOOFSEY
  • JULY 25, 2013 @ MADISON PARK – DRY CREEK
  • AUGUST 1, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – CHESTER’S CURVE
  • AUGUST 8, 2013 @ CITIZENS LODGE – CEDAR MOUNTAIN
  • AUGUST 15, 2013 @ MADISON PARK – BIG POPPA & THE SHUFFLE BROTHERS BAND

May 21, 2013- Chipley Removes Gulf Power Water Tank

Chipley Water Tank

Tuesday, May 21 marked the end of an era in Chipley, Florida as the Chipley water tower, long known for it’s ‘Gulf Power’ logo, was removed.  The original location of the then fledgling business Gulf Power, the tower holds significant historical value and the media covered the event.

Citing instability and unsafe conditions, the tower, located at the intersection of Hwy 90 and Hwy 77, arguably the busiest intersection in this part of Northwest Florida, was removed over a period of several hours starting at 7PM on Tuesday, May 21.

May 21, 2013- Covenant Hospice ‘Garden Gala’ June 22 in Marianna, Florida

Covenant JHospice

The 8th Annual Covenant Hospice ‘Garden Gala’ is coming on June 22 to the National Guard Armory in Marianna, Florida.  Nobody gets out alive- and almost nobody is untouched by hospice- so show your support for all the good works Covenant Hospice does in Northwest Florida.

Program Chair Jennifer Griffin visited with Real Florida Magazine recently and explained in an interview the purpose and goals of hospice as well as the history and effectiveness of this event in making those goals possible.

May 20, 2013- Inkfliction Tattoo Studio Hosts Art Show in Chipley, Floridainkfliction

Danny ‘Q-Ball’ Donofrio may be one of the only practicing artists in the Washington County Arts Council, but he is on a mission.  ‘We need more opportunity to allow local artists to display their work’, says Donofrio, ‘and we are helping to make that happen at our business’.

Inkfliction Tattoo Studio, Donofrio’s business, is hosting a regular art show and all artists are welcome to display their artwork.  The show is open to the public and refreshments are served, so check out Danny’s art show at Inkfliction Tattoo Studio on Main Street in Chipley, Florida.

May 20, 2013- Watermelons are now available at Main Street Market in Chipley

Watermelons are now available at Main Street Market in Chipley, Florida, at the intersection of Hwy 90 and Hwy 77.  Main Street Market offers the freshest vegetable, fruits and dairy products around.

May 18, 2013- WestPoint Home Factory Outlet Expands Hours of Operation

WestPoint Home

Richie Milner, Director of Retail Stores for WestPoint Home Factory Outlet in Chipley, Florida recently announced that the outlet store will be open on Wednesday, expanding from the previous Thursday through Saturday schedule.

‘Popular demand has dictated that we needed more availability’, stated Milner, ‘so we have expanded our hours and the community should be able to better access the great bargains available at the store’.

May 17, 2013- Covenant Hospice Celebrates Hospital Week at NFCH in Chipley

Covenant Hospice NFCH

Terri Glass and Jennifer Griffin from Covenant Hospice served a chocolate fountain to the staff of Northwest Florida Community Hospital as part of ‘Hospital Week’ on May 17, 2013.  The event was duplicated in several other area hospitals over several days as Covenant Hospice continues its tradition of highlighting medical facilities, especially during special times of the year.
‘This is our way of recognizing those who give so much all year long’, said Terri Glass, ‘and we want them to know how much we appreciate their efforts’.  NFCH has been honored with several notable awards recently, including being recognized as one of the top hospitals in Florida, and the event was well attended by hospital staff, nurses, technicians and support staff.

May 16, 2013- DR3 Motorsports Makes Its Mark On Regional Racing

DR3 Racing

The DR3 Motorsports Racing Team is making a name for itself, locally and regionally and co-owner Dawson Redmon was recently interviewed at South Alabama Speedway in Opp, Alabama by Real Florida Magazine.

Founded by the late Richard Redmon along with Ricky Whitehead, Dawson Redmon and driver Ryan Redmon, DR3 Motorsports is a family-based racing team.  Dedicated in memory to Richard, son Ryan carries on a long tradition of quality, faith-based sportsmanship and family values.

May 15, 2013- New Beginning Health Food Store celebrates 7 Years in Chipley

New Beginning Health Food Store on South Railroad Avenue in Chipley, Florida celebrated 7 years on May 15, and celebrated with an Open House.  Featuring lots of homemade baked products and refreshments., the event showcased the variety of products offered by Paula Bush and her staff.

May 13, 2013- Washington-Holmes Technical Center Hosts Inaugural ‘Battle of the Bands’ in Chipley, Florida

Battle of the Bands

Over 200 musicians, fans, family and friends packed the Spanish Trail Playhouse on Saturday, May 11 for the inaugural ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition hosted by Washington-Holmes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida.  Competitors came from Northwest Florida and Southeast Alabama in an all-day mix of rock, folk, spiritual and eclectic musical genres while those attending were recipients of first-class musicianship.

‘This event highlights one of our newest programs at WHTC’, said Martha Compton, director of the school, ‘and as you can see by the turnout, we have the support of our entire faculty as well as the community’.  Spearheaded by Kirk Thompson, who heads up the digital audio production program at WHTC, the judging was difficult and the results were close, with ‘RTFO’ from Dothan winning the top honors.

May 9, 2013-  2nd Annual Goodwill Job Fair at PAEC in Chipley, Florida

Goodwill Industries held the 2nd Annual Job Fair on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) in Chipley, Florida.  Several members of the organization were interviewed by Real Florida Magazine, along with business and community business partners.

April 20, 2013- Marianna ‘Paint & Pork’ Festivalpaint pork

The 2013 Marianna ‘Paint & Pork’ Festival was held on Friday & Saturday, April 19&20 at Citizen’s Park in Marianna, Florida.  Friday saw a lot of rain but Saturday fared off nicely and literally thousands of attendees enjoyed music, food and attractions.

Real Florida Magazine was on hand to interview vendors, attendees and competitors in the Bar-B-Que cook-off, a precursor to ‘Memphis in May’.

March 27, 2013- ‘Kids Hooked On The Outdoors’ Visits Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sportshard labor

Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports in Chipley, Florida has been featured in several episodes of ‘Real Florida Magazine’, with interviews with co-owner Gary Clark, local shootist Holly Hinson (a regional sporting clays champion) and other sportsmen of note.

Recently TV show ‘Kids Hooked On The Outdoors’ traveled to the Florida Panhandle woods of Chipley and highlighted some of the offerings of Hard Labor Creek.  Along for the tour was Winston Barlow, founder and CEO of ‘C. Mo’s Kids’, a non-profit organization which affords outdoor sports opportunities to children and young adults with challenges which might otherwise preclude them from enjoying the outdoors.

 

March 25, 2013- Real Florida Magazine Offers ‘Real Florida Outdoors’
3D Archery

If you are a regular reader of ‘Real Florida Magazine’ you will see a new feature this month- ‘Real Florida Outdoors’.

This news section, joining the existing ‘Business News’, ‘Real Estate Reality Check’ and ‘Special Events News’ will carry hunting, fishing, camping, off-road and wildlife news as well as  information from some of the best regional sporting goods retailers, sports destinations and all the reasons you will enjoy what we call ‘The Real Florida’.

March 24, 2013- WestPoint Home Factory Outlet Offers Bargains in Chipley, FloridaWestPoint factory Outlet

‘We are one of the best kept secrets in Northwest Florida’, states Richie Milner, who heads up the retail division for WestPoint Home Factory Outlet in Chipley, Florida.  ‘We were originally located on Highway 90, close to Highway 77 in Chipley at one time, but now we have reopened and sort of tucked back here.  Although we are not hard to find, unless you are looking for us, you might not.’

Originally located on Highway 90 in Chipley, WestPoint Home factory Outlet closed for a while but is now open and doing a large business, located in in Tommy McDonald Industrial Park. on Fowler Drive.  Just a few minutes from I-10, Hwy. 90 and Hwy. 77, the store is not only centrally located but offers fantastic bargains.

March 24, 2013- Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports Offers Quality and Affordability

Hard Labor Clays

Washington County business Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports in Chipley, Florida was recently featured in an episode of ‘Real Florida Magazine’, in an interview with Holly Hinson, a regional sporting clays champion.  This event brought Hard Labor Creek some local notoriety, and there resulted a demand for more information about this well-kept secret in the Panhandle woods of Chipley, Florida.

The facility has been featured in several regional TV shows, print articles by sports writers and special events executed by sporting clubs, fraternal organizations, political organizations and non-profit entities, but the general public is still unaware of the quality offered by the operation.

March 24, 2013- Sunshine State APBTA Dog Show Coming to Wausau, Florida

dog show

The Sunshine State American Pit Bull Terrier Club will host two conformation shows and weight pull competitions on March 30 & 31, 2013 in Wausau, Florida. This will be the fifth event endorsed and hosted by the group in Wausau.

The Executive Inn in Chipley, Florida reported a full house during last fall’s event and they, along with several other motels in the Chipley area offer special package rates as well as ‘pet friendly’ rooms to the show attendees. ‘We bring some positive economic impact to the area at this time of year,’ states Sheree Folmar, local President of the Sunshine State Pit Bull Terrier Club.

March 24, 2013- Florida’s Housing Market Continues Upswing in February 2013

Real Estate Reality Check

Florida’s housing market reported more closed sales, rising median prices, increased pending sales, more new listings and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in February, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

Each month brings more positive signs for the state’s housing market,’ said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher , broker-owner with Don Asher & Associates Inc. in Orlando.  ‘For example, February is the 14th month in a row that statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condo units increased year-over-year, according to Florida Realtors data’.

March 23, 2013- Real Florida Magazine Welcomes Co-Host Amberly CorbinAmberly Corbin

Springtime is a time of rebirth and revival in Northwest Florida and just as we welcome blooming trees and shrubs (see article Springtime in Chipley’ pictorial feature), so also is it a time to welcome a new co-host and show personality to the TV show as Amberly Corbin steps up to the task, helping to showcase businesses, special events and persons of interest.

Corbin is an aspiring actress and model, with experience and notable credits already in her portfolio.

March 23, 2013- Vernon Prepares for 4th Annual ‘Orange & Bluegrass Festival’

Orange & Bluegrass

The distinctive sound of mandolins, upright bass, fiddles and steel guitars will fill the air at the 4th Annual Orange & Bluegrass Festival at Vernon High School Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2013.  For three years the event has furnished world-class bluegrass musicians from the tristate area, and last year attendance was well over 1,000, as aficionados traveled to hear this classic American music.

Featured bands this year include ‘Straight and Narrow’, recently featured at the Bonifay ‘Down Home Street festival’, along with the Watson Brothers (also featured at ‘Down Home Street Festival’), The Wells’ and Krystal Hall (formerly Krystal Stewart).

March 22, 2013- Sporting Clays Tournament at Hard Labor Creek Features ‘Women in the Outdoors’

Holly Hinson

Washington County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Sporting Clays Tournament at Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports in Chipley, Florida on Friday, March 24.  Real Florida Magazine was on hand to do an interview with Holly Hinson, an accomplished local shooter who attends Chipola College in Marianna, Florida and who took some of the top honors at this event.

Hinson started her career while attending Chipley High School, mentored by her Dad along with local shootist and teacher Art Harris.  Hinson has taken top honors regionally in competition in Georgia and Florida.

March 16, 2013- Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park Offers Unique ExperienceOff Road park

It’s getting tougher every year to find environments in which you, as an off-road motorcycle enthusiast, are welcomed to ride.  Environmentalists have at times adopted a no-tolerance policy, neighborhoods rightfully don’t want the whine of motorcycle engines in their backyard and property owners tire of the destruction to their lands.

Dexter Leadbeater and Ted Everett, co-owners of Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park in Washington County offer an alternative to groups looking for a safe, user-friendly environment in which to ride.

Hard Labor Creek Off Road Park is easily accessible, located off Hwy 277 in Chipley, Florida and just minutes from I-10, Hwy 90 and Hwy 77.

March 20, 2013- Wiregrass Jeep Club Supports AMIKids
Wiregrass Jeep Club
Mobile Swamp, just south of Wausau, Florida was the site of a fundraiser for AMIKids from Westville, Florida on Sunday, March 17.  Over 40 four-wheel drive vehicles, ranging from stock Jeep Wranglers to highly customized and pricey permutations of the utility vehicle climbed sheer clay walls, traversed rocky slopes and braved deep muddy water.
In a Real Florida Magazine interview with Wayland Fulford, President of the Chipley Branch of Capital City Bank  and board member for AMIKids, and Wiregrass Jeep Club President Matt Walton, the St. Patricks Day Fundraiser was explored and explained, and details of this highly competitive and costly off-road hobby were discovered.

March 19, 2013- ‘ArtKidDoo’ Celebrates Children and the Arts in Chipley, Florida

Art Kid Doo

ArtKidDoo is coming to Chipley, Florida on April 6, 2013.

A collaborative effort between Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, childcare providers in the area and local businesses, the event encouragea an awareness for the arts in children birth-4 years of age.

The community will come together in this totally free, one-day event, held at Shivers Park in Chipley, Florida on April 6, 2013, 9AM-1PM, which will include hands-on arts and crafts and performance art by local musicians and vocalists.  Nore information is available at www.ArtKidoo.com.

March 18, 2013- Olivia Guettler prepares for Miss Florida Watermelon Pageant in Orlando

Olivia Guettler
Olivia Guettler, reigning 2012 Panhandle Watermelon Queen in Washington County, Florida, prepared for several months for her competition for the 2013-14  Miss Florida Watermelon Pageant in Orlando.
Guettler, a relative newcomer to the pageant industry, entered her first pageant, ‘Miss Chipley’, in 2012.  She did not place in the competition but says she gained valuable experience from the effort.

 

March 17, 2013- Bonifay, Florida Celebrates Local Food, Culture and Heritage at  5th Annual ‘Down Home Street Festival’

Bonifay Down Home

What do classic cars, bluegrass music, black-eyed peas and a balmy spring weekend have in common?  All these and more came together for the 5th Annual ‘Down Home Street Festival’ in Bonifay, Florida on March 15 and 16.  Festival co-organizer Lora Ponds, in an interview with Real Florida Magazine, indicated that the event expected in excess of 5,000 attendees, attracted by live music and dance; over 100 arts, crafts and food vendors; as well a huge classic car show.

March 16, 2013- Chipley, Florida Offers ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ in AprilFlea Mkt Days

Saturday, September 15, 2012 saw more traffic in Downtown Chipley, Florida than it has for as long as some long-time residents can remember as ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ finished the weekend- not with a ‘bang’- but with a bargain.  The Merchants of Historic Downtown Chipley, with the help of some community partners, will repeat the effort on April 12 & 13, 2013.

Associated with, but not a part of ‘Flea Across Florida’, a 292-mile long flea market stretching from Live Oak, Florida to Pensacola, Florida the effort has proven a boon to small communities, resulting in awareness and return visitation.

March 15, 2013- Springtime in Down Chipley, FloridaChipley Springtime
Springtime is a time of rebirth and revival in Northwest Florida and never are we disappointed by the plethera of blooming trees and shrubs in ‘The Real Florida’.  We took the time to produce a gallery of springtime beauty, as a 30-minute walk around Downtown Chipley yielded these springtime photos.
Photos by Paul Goulding Photography, a subsidiary of The Goulding Agency, Inc. in Chipley, Florida.

March 12, 2013- Red Cross Enjoys Successful ‘Gulf Coast Home & Garden Expo’

Home & Garden Expo

The 10th Annual Gulf Coast Home and Garden Expo was held March 8-10, 2013 at the Bay County Fairgrounds in Panama City, and featured a bevy of home improvement and remodeling specialists, ample parking and a big bright look.

Real Florida Magazine had the fortune to interview several vendors and staff from the Red Cross, and the resounding these was that the event was a success.  Visitors atteded from as far away as South Florida, Southeast Alabama and Southwest Georgia, and the savings offered at the event warranted the drive.  From HVAC systems to landscaping and building savings, the show offered a little of everything to anyone interested in remodeling, repairing or building a home.

March 1, 2013- Lane’s Outdoor Equipment in Chipley Attracts Large Crowd For One Day Sale and Open House

Over a hundred landscaping and lawn maintenance professionals, outdoor equipment representatives and residential lawn warriors turned out on Friday for the Lane’s Outdoor Equipment Open House.  This one day sale, well into its second decade, features a showcase of some of the newest lawn care technology, along with deep discounts on professional grade lawn equipment inclusive of mowers, edgers, weed whackers, chain saws, blowers and other tools of the trade.

February 21, 2013- Florida’s Housing Market Continues Upswing in Jan. 2013

Florida’s housing market reported increased sales, higher median prices, more pending sales and the continued shrinking of inventory levels in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

February 20, 2013- Panhandle Watermelon Festival Hopes to Enjoy Joe Diffie June 22 in Chipley

Panhandle Watermelon Festival Chairman Colby Peel announced that the 56th Annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival in 2012 was a huge success, with record Watermelon Auction proceeds and record crowds, but he’s not willing to sit on his laurels.  Nashville Recording Artist Joe Diffie is rumored to be possibly headline the 2013 festival, which would ensure a record-breaking 57th annual festival.

February 19, 2013- ‘Wausau Possum Classic’ Archery Tournament Coming To Chipley, Florida

Balmy breezes rustled pine trees, wood smoke created a light fog, and the ‘twonk’ of arrows hitting their mark resounded on Saturday, August 25, 2012 as 60 professional and amateur competitors vied for over $4,000 in cash and prizes at the Second Annual Possum Classic 3D Archery Tournament in Chipley, Florida.  The upcoming Spring 2013 event is shaping up to be even larger.

February 19, 2013- Chipley, Florida Offers ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ in April

Saturday, September 15, 2012 saw more traffic in Downtown Chipley, Florida than it has for as long as some long-time residents can remember as ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ finished the weekend- not with a ‘bang’- but with a bargain.  The Merchants of Historic Downtown Chipley, with the help of some community partners, will repeat the effort on April 12 & 13, 2013.  Associated with, but not a part of ‘Flea Across Florida’, a 292-mile long flea market stretching from Live Oak, Florida to Pensacola, Florida the effort has proven a boon to small communities, resulting in awareness and return visitation.

February 18, 2013- Falling Waters State Park to Host ‘Legends & Lore’ Celebration

2009 was a wet year for Falling Waters State Park, and you would think that the park containing the tallest waterfall in Florida would welcome the precipitation.  However, when the Friends of Falling Waters State Park were ready to execute their annual fund raiser and educational effort, titled ‘Legends & Lore’ Festival, the skies opened and the event was a washout.  2012 brought clear skies and a record turnout for the event, and the 2013 festival  promises even better results, according to organizers.

February 18, 2013- ‘ArtKidDoo’ Celebrates Children and the Arts in Chipley, Florida

ArtKidDoo is a collaborative effort between Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, childcare providers in the area and local businesses, to encourage an awareness for the arts in children birth-4 years of age.  The community will come together in this totally free, one-day event, held at Shivers Park in Chipley, Florida on April 6, 2013, 9AM-1PM, which will include hands-on arts and crafts and performance art by local musicians and vocalists.

February 17, 2013- Red Cross Prepares for ‘Gulf Coast Home & Garden Expo’

The 8th Annual Gulf Coast Home and Garden Expo will be held March 8-10, 2013 at the Bay County Fairgrounds in Panama City, featuring a bevy of home improvement and remodeling specialists, ample parking and a big bright look.

February 16, 2013- Vernon Athletic Boosters Prepare for 4th Annual ‘Orange & Bluegrass Festival’

The distinctive sound of mandolins, upright bass, fiddles and steel guitars will fill the air at the 4th Annual Orange & Bluegrass Festival at Vernon High School Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2013.

February 16, 2013- Sunshine State APBTA Dog Show Comes to Wausau, Florida

The Sunshine State American Pit Bull Terrier Club will host two conformation shows and weight pull competitions on March 30 & 31, 2013 in Wausau, Florida. This will be the fifth event endorsed and hosted by the group in Wausau. 

February 15, 2013- Bonifay, Florida Prepares for ‘Down Home Street Festival’

St. Patrick’s Day started with a thick fog but by mid-morning the visitors to Bonifay’s ‘Down Home Street Festival’ were evident in large numbers as this small rural town in Northwest Florida celebrated its heritage and culture.  ‘We enjoy the food and the entertainment,’ stated one attendee.  ‘But the people-watching is the best part of the show,’ added her companion with a smile.

February 14, 2013- Vernon, Florida Bridge Ribbon Cutting Kicks Off Four-Laning of Hwy. 79

The Florida Department of Transportation along with Vernon, Florida and Washington County, Florida celebrated the ribbon-cutting of the Vernon Bridge on Hwy. 79 in Vernon, Florida on Thursday, February 14, 2013.  Florida DOT officials confirmed that the highway has been funded to include four-laning from Panama City Beach to Interstate I-10 in Holmes County.

February 13, 2013- Washington-Holmes Technical Center Taser Training For Public Safety Students
The Public Safety Program at Washington-Holmes Technical Center conducted Taser training in Chipley, Florida for future law enforcement and correctional officers.  The public got an opportunity to view this unique experience.

February 12, 2013- Vernon, Florida Head Coach Bobby Johns Expounds On Future of Vernon Football

New Football Coach and Athletic Director at Vernon High School Bobby Johns addressed the Chipley Kiwanis Club on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.  Rival Chip Harris, coach for Chipley High School, was on hand for some good-natured bantering.

February 8, 2013- Local Children’s Agencies Join Forces As Partners For Early Education

On February 4 a public-private partnership of Florida representatives, non-profit organizations and childcare providers went on record, expressing that ‘Florida must ensure statewide quality to increase early childhood program quality and help parents make informed decisions about child care, and the Legislature must provide adequate and equitable funding to support quality early learning programs across Florida’.  Kid’s World in Chipley, Florida served as the backdrop for this declaration while Florida Representative Marti Coley was on hand to read to the children.

February 8, 2013- Washington-Homes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida Takes Time To Celebrate Its Own

Three longtime staff members at Washington-Homes Technical Center in Chipley, Florida were honored in a retirement ceremony last week at Patillo’s Restaurant on the school campus.  Brenda Walsingham, Gloria Thurman and Betty Walthall, together with over 70 years of service, were honored in a casual but heartfelt setting, with friends and family contributing jokes, anecdotes and a few tears.

February 3, 2013- Chipley Bridal Expo A Huge Success
The 4th Annual Womans Club of Chipley ‘Bridal Expo’ at Washington County Ag Center on Sunday, February 3 featured vendors and brides, along with resources for anyone needing help with special events.

February 3, 2013- Wausau, Florida Hosts Successful Vernon Band Boosters Car Show Fundraiser

An early morning frost was quickly evaporated by a brilliant sun as clear blue skies reigned over the first Vernon Band Booster Car Show fundraiser at the Possum Palace in Wausau, Florida on Saturday, February 2.   A selection of classic, restored and accessorized cars was on hand, accompanied by proud owners as car talk and discussion of restoration was interspersed with live band music and the aroma of barbeque.

January 31, 2013- Olivia Guettler to Represent Washington County at 2013 Florida Watermelon Pageant

Chipley High School graduate Olivia Guettler will travel to Orlando, Florida in March to participate in the 2013 Miss Florida Watermelon Pageant, held in conjunction with the annual Watermelon Association Convention.

December 10, 2012- Wausau, Florida Enjoys Arrival of Santa Claus

With a parade and a flourish, Santa arrived in this sleepy town in Northwest Florida to the delight of several hundred children and families.  As opposed to the annual Possum Festival Parade, occurring on arguably the hottest day of the year, the Wausau Christmas Parade enjoyed beautifully cool weather and a large turnout of participants and spectators.

December 3, 2012- Santa and Mrs. Claus Kick Off the Christmas Season with Arrival in Downtown Chipley, Florida

Kick-starting the holiday season in Northwest Florida, the annual Chipley Christmas Parade took place on Saturday, December 1 in Historic Downtown Chipley, highlighted by the arrival of Santa and his wife.  The traditional photo session with the holiday couple was offered from 2-3PM at the Historical Museum and again immediately following the parade.

November 30, 2012- Chipley, Florida Embraces The Reason For the Season with ‘Toys For Tots’ Fundraiser

Washington County Emergency Medical Services, Chipley Fire Department, Northwest Florida Community Hospital and Washington County employees came together in an effort to raise money for underprivileged children in a ‘Toys For Tots’ fundraiser on Thursday, November 29, and by all accounts, the effort was a huge success.

Novermber 29, 2012- Chipley, Florida Paints Downtown Area With Holiday Lights, Good Cheer and Charm

The City of Chipley, Florida annually ushers in the Christmas holiday season with elaborate lighting in the downtown area, and the 2012 season is no exception.  City workers have labored for several weeks to install the delicate strings of lights, covering the historic crepe myrtle trees lining Main Street, as well as the shrubs and hedges defining several square blocks of this historic municipality.

November 24, 2012- WestPoint Home Factory Outlet Store Reopens in Chipley, Florida

WestPoint Home in Chipley, Florida has seen many ups and downs over the past few years.  Cheap imports, made possible by government subsidies and cheap labor, have led to the demise of the once booming textile industry in the south.  Hundreds of textile plants have closed and hundreds of thousands of workers have lost jobs to outsourcing since 1997, and WestPoint Home in Chipley has been buffeted by that uncertainty.

November 20, 2012- Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Trend in October 2012

Pending sales, closed sales and median prices rose, while the inventory of homes and condos for sale dropped in Florida’s housing market in October, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

November 13, 2012- 11th Annual ‘Festival Of Nations’ Celebrates Culture, Music and Cuisine

Harrison Avenue in Downtown Panama City, Florida was filled with thousands of people on Saturday, November 10 as representatives from over 30 countries exhibited dance, art and culture.

October 23, 2012- Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Trend in September 2012

Florida’s housing market had higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in September, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

October 18, 2012- Seacrest Wolf Preserve Prepares for 11th Annual ‘Howl-O-Ween’

In the heart of this sleepy rural community in Northwest Florida, a group of residents has been known to howl at the moon.  Their hair is long and unkempt, they typically have long noses and large teeth, but they usually will greet you with a wide grin and might even lick your hand.  

October 14, 2012- 2nd Annual ‘Top Shot’ Sporting Clays Competition in Chipley, Florida

The 2nd Annual Chipley High School ‘Top Shot’ Sporting Clays Competition took place on Saturday, October 13 at Hard Labor Creek Shooting Sports in Chipley, Florida as a field of almost 30 competitors vied for prizes and bragging rights.

September 29, 2012- Chipley Tigers Defeat Cottondale Hornets in Hotly Contested Game

The weather wasn’t the only thing hot and wet at Friday evening’s matchup between the Chipley, Florida Tigers and the Cottondale Hornets.  Black clouds hung ominously even after the rain showers stopped, and tempers were high as coaches, frustrated by game calls and communication issues, saw a first half score of 30-14 in favor of the Tigers.

September 25, 2012- Florida Housing Market Continues Positive Trend in August 2012

Florida’s housing market had more closed sales, more pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in August, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors®.

September 16, 2012- Hundreds of Local People Receive Groceries in Wausau, Florida

A large group of volunteers spearheaded by James Guy and Shepherd’s Gate Church distributed thousands of pounds of food, including foods donated by Wal-Mart and several local donors, at the Possum Palace in Wausau, Florida on Saturday, September 15.

September 16, 2012- ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ Winds Up Weekend of Bargains for Savvy Shoppers

Saturday, September 15 saw more traffic in Downtown Chipley, Florida than it has for as long as some long-time residents can remember as ‘Chipley Flea Market Days’ finished the weekend- not with a ‘bang’- but with a bargain.

September 12, 2012- The American Alligator- They’re Not Just For Wallets Anymore

Nestled in the quiet countryside of Washington County, Florida resides Orange Hill Gator Farms, a business owned and operated by the Chris Ellis family, covering several acres and affording a level of luxury to a large number of American Alligators.