Part 2 in our blog series honoring the unique, inspiring and often incredible work of our clients.
Today, we wanted to take a few moments to brag on the goods folks of the Amelia Island CVB. As you can imagine, there have been few industries hit harder than the men and women supporting tourism and conventions – and these are two of the biggest economic drivers on Amelia Island. Yet despite the hardships, and against the odds, our friends at the CVB have always gone above and beyond to support the businesses and events that make Amelia Island so very special. Though their staff is small, the group has pulled off some amazing things over the years, and its been our great pleasure to be small part of the fun! The island regularly appears on the top of desirable travel destinations, both nationally and internationally, a true testament to the hard work of the CVB.
Our connection to Amelia Island goes way back – back before Deremer Studios – even back before Bryn and I were married. Back in the late 90’s, when Bryn and I were dating, we would make our way up to the island to explore the beach, wander along historic Centre Street, and enjoy all the small-town charms the island has to offer – a tradition that has continued to this day. Fast forward four kids, two jobs, and a business, and you’ll find us in 2011, when a good friend from my time at TNT Logistics, Beth Belcher, gave us a call to see if we could cover a Taste of Amelia event being hosted at The Crab Trap – the first of over 80 events, attractions and advertorial shoots we’ve had the pleasure of capturing for the island to date.
Amelia Island is known for its awesome events and stellar food, and for a few short but glorious years, the two became one at the Great Southern Tailgate Cookoff. An official Kansas City Barbeque Society event, the cookoff attracted some of the biggest names in BBQ from around the country to the warm (sometimes VERY warm) August shores of Amelia Island. This was the first big event we captured for the island – and the first time that we brought along our video friends at Intracoastal Media Group (then ICY Pictures) to help document all the festivities – the first of many exciting, unique and occasionally harrowing adventures we would share. I can still taste the crusty, melt-in-your mouth, smokey wonder of burnt ends from that event – far and away my favorite slice of BBQ heaven that’s ever crossed my lips.
One of the things I love most about Amelia Island is its storied past – a sort of microcosm of the history of America. The island is known as the Isle of Eight Flags, representing the eight principalities which have laid claim to the island since Europeans first gazed upon her shores. One of the few naturally occurring deep-water ports in the South, the island has attracted settlers, speculators, pirates and armies alike to its strategic shores. Perhaps nothing epitomizes this history better than the two-toned brick fort nestled on the northern tip of the Island.
Fort Clinch stands guard over the entrance to the St. Mary’s River, a Civil War testament to days gone by. Now a wonderful state park with oak-lined roads, pristine beaches and bucolic camping, Fort Clinch is one of those places I can (and do) go back to time and time again. As you cross the dry (well, usually dry) moat, you are transported back in time, greeted by talented period reenactors that bring everyday life in the 1860s to life. Over the last decade, we’ve had the honor of partnering with the island in capturing many of the wonderful events that are hosted at the fort, including monthly candlelight tours, a magical Christmas celebration, and the only car show in the country hosted inside a historic fort (below).
As you can see from the images above, Amelia Island has its fair share of petrol-heads. Being one, myself, I am thrilled to have captured so many of these events for the island. The crown jewel of the island’s automotive calendar is the world-class Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Since its inception in 1996, the event has grown to fill up the better part of a week with a variety of events all over the island. One such event harkens back to the golden age of sports car racing, the SVRA Vintage Grand Prix – created in honor of the races held at the island’s airport back in the 60’s and 70’s.
Since 2017, we have had the great honor of being the official photographer for the Concours, but back in 2015, when our work with the event was on a smaller scale, we also partnered with Amelia Island to capture the many facets of this awesome week. This was a very special year – the 20th anniversary of the event, and the year the Concours honored Sir Stirling Moss – a truly legendary racer who unfortunately passed away just a few weeks ago.
Shifting gears (pun intended), Christmas is a very special time on the island – and with its cool temperatures and enchanted evenings – it’s no wonder it’s our favorite time of the year to visit. There’s a whole panoply of events surrounding this festive season, from holiday home and cookie tours, a pajama competition, pet parade, and our very favorite – Dickens on Centre. Inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the weekend-long celebration transports guests to the intersection of small town America and Victorian England, with fun for the entire family. Talented performers, gifted artists and a myriad of activities are all part of the whimsical experience. Since it inception in 2015, Dickens has blossomed and grown (not unlike my annual costume for the event) into something truly magical – and we’ve been honored to be a small part of the fun each year.
One year, we even built a special period(ish) housing for one of our cameras (above) to go along with a special turn-of-the-century lens we use specifically for this event, completing our Victorian-era photographer’s getup.
After nearly a decade working with this team, there’s far too many great stories to share and people to credit in a single blog post, but I hope this little memoir whets your appetite for the precious little island and the wonderful people who make it such a special place to visit, work and live. Needless to say, we can’t wait to stroll along the streets, munching on some of Timoty’s blackened shrimp, and enjoying a salted caramel fudge ice cream cone from Fantastic Fudge once again – hopefully soon!
And then there was that time we went on a shrimp boat… But I’ll leave that story for another day!
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