Today was certainly a day of mixed emotions here on Florida’s Space Coast. Setting aside the financial and political aspects of the program’s termination, many residents here felt an emotional attachment to the space shuttle, and all that it represented. Missions that began with launches utilizing mind numbing force, and ending with a shuttle gliding in for a soft landing, captivated millions over almost 30 years. Well, today saw a landmark day as Space Shuttle Discovery was flown atop a modified 747, to it’s future home at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. For the first ten years of the shuttle program, Edwards Air Force Base in California served as the landing strip at the end of a mission, but since around 1991 landings out there have been limited, mainly due to weather concerns in Cape Canaveral.

But for each of those Edwards landings, the space shuttle was ferried back to Kennedy Space Center on the back of a heavily modified Boeing 747 airplane. Usually Brevard County residents and visitors were provided an up close look as the pilots would fly low along the beaches, or I-95 as a courtesy before landing at Kennedy Space Center. Many times I was out to see and photograph this amazing sight, which to me was much more up close and personal than a launch could ever be, and usually I was surprised at how few other people were as interested. Not so today. I thought I would have an easy ride over to the beach by Patrick Air Force Base, in hopes of seeing Discovery as it turned westward before a final pass over Cocoa Beach and Kennedy Space Center, while beginning it’s journey up the east coast, but I was shocked to see traffic on Pineda Causeway backed up all the way to US1. I didn’t want risk getting stuck in traffic, so I settled into a spot at the boat launch next to the causeway, and waited. The lighting was a little tough with the sun just coming up, but I got a few shots. Hope you enjoy.

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With the Daytona 500 just around the corner, I wanted to share a few photos from last summer’s Coke Zero 400, at Daytona International Speedway. For anyone that has never been to one of the major races at Daytona, I highly recommend you get to one. The level of entertainment is unmatched. From the pre-race music and pageantry, to the track access, to the main event, it is an all day spectacular. For those that can’t wait for the race at the end of February, you can get your NASCAR fix at the Pre Season Fan Fest on January 12th & 13th. Enjoy the photos!!

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The Thunder was back at the Beach last month as the Space Coast SuperBoat Grand Prix returned to the Cocoa Beach coastline, drawing a huge crowd to watch the powerful speedboats roar just offshore!! Enjoy the photos:IMG_1198 - Copy IMG_1224 - Copy IMG_1230 - Copy IMG_1241 - Copy IMG_1248 - Copy IMG_1266 - Copy IMG_1291 - Copy IMG_1298 - Copy IMG_1308 - Copy  IMG_1338 - Copy IMG_1352 - Copy IMG_1374 - Copy IMG_1536 - CopyIMG_1793 - Copy IMG_1700 - Copy IMG_1713 - Copy  IMG_1797 - Copy IMG_1847 - Copy IMG_1881 - Copy IMG_1886 - Copy IMG_1910 - Copy IMG_1915 - Copy IMG_2001 - Copy IMG_2007 - Copy IMG_2049 - Copy  IMG_2251 - Copy  IMG_2356 - Copy  IMG_2407 - Copy IMG_2457 - Copy IMG_2466 - Copy IMG_2535 - Copy IMG_2317 - CopyIMG_2215 - CopyIMG_2403 - Copy

Here are the Blue Angels pictures from the Sun ‘n Fun Fly In in Lakeland this past Saturday. Hope you enjoy!! See photos of the other performers in the previous post.

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Severe spring storms ripped through much of Florida on Thursday, March 31, but much of the focus on the damage was centered around the annual Sun ‘n Fun Fly In taking place at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland. The aviation supershow was struck by severe thunderstorms, and possibly a tornado, damaging approximately 40-50 aircraft, and causing thousands of dollars in damage to property and exhibits. We ventured out to the grounds on Saturday to check out the air show headlined by the world famous US Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. We arrived 2 ½ hours prior to the scheduled 1:30 start to the air show, but just made it to the viewing area as the show began, after fighting traffic, trudging through the still muddy parking area, and standing in a long line to pay our $25 per person entry fee. The air show got off to a rocky start when the parachute team jump was canceled due to reported radio communication problems, and the highly anticipated F-22 Raptor demonstration was shortened for a mechanical issue. The heritage flight featuring the Raptor was then a casualty as the powerful Raptor was taken out of commission. The rest of the air show was great with several incredible aerobatic pilots, a fantastic demonstration of WWII warbirds, the Heavy Metal Jet Team, and of course, the precision and power of the Blue Angels. The Blue Angels portion of the show was kicked off with a short demonstration of their support plane dubbed “Fat Albert Airlines”, a C-130T Hercules piloted by an all Marine Corps. crew. As Fat Albert finishes its short, but impressive program, the Blue Angels incredible precision is put on display with the six F/A-18 Hornets criss-crossing the sky in various formations, with the two opposing solos performing breathtaking maneuvers right in front of the crowd. The awesome power and precision of the Blue Angels, that at times brought goose bumps, rescued an otherwise disappointing day. The admission fee was excessive, especially since there are several regional air shows each year that are free of charge, but if you’re a pilot, or a die hard aviation fan, this may be the event for you. The first set of pictures will be the early performers, click on a picture to enlarge.

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As we enter the new year, the countdown begins to some of Florida’s most exciting events. Of course there are many more throughout the state, but here are just a few of my recommendations for fun and exciting things to do in the first few months of 2011!!

  • Daytona 500 – February 20

February 20th is the date for the 53rd running of the “Great American Race”, but the action starts on January 20-22 with the Preseason Thunder Fan Fest, and continues right up to the big race with many other exciting races and events!! Daytona International Speedway is the venue!!

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  • Downtown Art & Living Expo, Orlando – February 19,20

If NASCAR is not your thing, check out the Art & Living Expo at beautiful Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando for great music, art and food!!IMG_2688

  • Bike Week, Daytona Beach – March 4-13

Daytona Beach and sites throughout Volusia County will be buzzing with the sights and sounds of the World Famous Rally!! Main St. in Daytona Beach and Daytona International Speedway are two of the major sites for all the great action!!IMG_9136 - Copy

  • Pelican Island Wildlife Festival, Sebastian – March 19

Indian River County is the location for the celebration of America’s very first National Wildlife Refuge. 2011 marks the 108th anniversary of President Theodore Roosevelt’s designation of Pelican Island as a federal bird reservation, which eventually became a National Wildlife Refuge!!


  • MLB Spring Training, Throughout Florida – Mid February thru March

See major league stars up close as another great season gets under way with Grapefruit League action in cities and towns throughout Florida!! Catch Jeter, A-Rod, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and many others as they prepare for the 2011 Major League season!!IMG_7421a

  • Easter Surf Fest, Cocoa Beach – April 22,23,24

The Cocoa Beach Pier and Shepard Park are the venues for some of the best surfing on the East Coast!! Come out catch some rays, eat some great food, and watch all the surfing action!!


Times Square in New York is traditionally thought of as the ultimate New Year’s Eve party, but because of the normally warm weather, there are many New Year’s Eve parties to consider in the Sunshine State. Here are just a few of the bigger parties to consider this year or in the future:

  • Orlando – Downtown comes alive with the annual Orange Ball Drop, fireworks and parties at all the bars along Church Street!!
  • Jacksonville – The New Year’s Eve celebration in Jax includes the Gator Bowl Parade and fireworks at midnight in the water off Jacksonville Landing!!
  • Cocoa Beach – The annual Party at the Pier celebration takes place at the world famous Cocoa Beach Pier with live music and entertainment at all 5 of the Pier restaurants!!
  • Miami Beach – Ocean Drive is officially renamed Orange Drive for the festivities leading up to the Orange Bowl game. New Year’s Eve in South Beach will feature celebrities hosting parties in many of the nightclubs, as well as the “Jam on the Sand” event if you’re not into the club scene!!
  • St. Petersburg – First Night is an annual extravaganza in its 16th year, taking place at several locations throughout St. Pete, featuring family friendly events including tours, live entertainment, and fireworks at midnight!!

So if you’re in Florida on vacation for the holidays, or a Florida resident looking for something to do New Year’s Eve, this should give you some guidelines for where some of the biggest parties will be happening!!

The UCF Knights claimed their 2nd Conference USA Championship in 4 years yesterday at Bright House Networks Stadium on a beautiful sunny afternoon in Orlando, Florida, as they defeated the SMU Mustangs 17-7. Led by freshman quarterback Jeff Godfrey, the Knights finished the regular season with a 10-3 record, and have accepted an invitation to play on December 31st in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.IMG_2223 - Copy IMG_2229 - Copy IMG_2230 - Copy IMG_2241 - Copy IMG_2250 - Copy IMG_2254 - Copy IMG_2260 - Copy IMG_2262 - Copy IMG_2265 - Copy IMG_2274 - Copy IMG_2281 - Copy IMG_2288 - Copy IMG_2296 - Copy IMG_2299 - Copy IMG_2321 - Copy IMG_2323 - Copy

Don’t forget to CLICK HERE to purchase your 2011 Exciting Florida wall calendar for home, office, or for the perfect Christmas Gift!!

 Get your 2011 Exciting Florida wall calendar before they’re all gone!!


Here are the last few shots of the USAF Thunderbirds from the 2010 Cocoa Beach Air Show, and some of my personal favorites. Hope you enjoy!!IMG_3940 - Copy IMG_4801 - CopyIMG_4230 (2) - Copy IMG_4507 (2) - Copy IMG_4520 (2) - Copy IMG_4790 (2) - Copy

Here are the first round of photos of the Air Force Thunderbirds show from the 2010 Cocoa Beach Air Show!! Enjoy!!

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