Friends of A1A Collaborate with Local Artists For New Travelogue | Arts & Culture

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Friends of A1A Collaborate with Local Artists For New Travelogue

At the Florida Scenic Highways State Conference held recently at the Hilton Bayfront Inn on June 8, 9 and 10, more than eighty scenic highway leaders saw the premiere viewing of the new A1A video: A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway, A Road That Takes You Everywhere – Always An Adventure.

The A1A Byway that hugs the coastline of St. Johns and Flagler Counties on Florida‟s historic northeast corridor has a “friend” in the Friends of A1A. The organization‟s Byway Program Administrator, Sallie O‟Hara, along with her board of directors, continues to earn outstanding recognitions after earning the National Byway designation in 2002. Well over five million dollars in grant funding has been leveraged to ensure many improvement projects get implemented according to the strategic corridor management plan. Projects range from oral histories to facility enhancement to signage and interpretive brochures. The mission is to promote, preserve, protect and enhance sites along the byway, providing better access and understanding for locals and visitors alike. This latest project updates the corridor “story” in high definition video and blends the best of the byway attributes from Ponte Vedra Beach to Flagler Beach and all the depth and wealth of assets in between.

Now, with the aid of a small grant from VISIT FLORIDA, the Friends of A1A aims to give more travelers a reason to play a day and stay a day along Florida‟s historic coast. “Our 72-mile segment of A1A really encompasses the story of America,” Sallie boasts. “From the earliest continuous settlement in what became the United States of America, St. Augustine, to the still unspoiled miles of Atlantic beachfront; this section of A1A is a true American oasis.”

The new documentary travelogue was a collaborative effort. Written by UNF Communications professor, Robert Holtzman, and narrated by local storyteller Wayne Sims, the 25 minute documentary shows the diversity of the area both geographically and intrinsically. Scenes show a mix of cultures celebrating people; places from the past living today and opportunities for memorable experiences in which to engage everyone. Original music for the video was provided by well-known St. Augustine musician and composer, Sam Pacetti.

Filmed and directed by local videographer, Joshua Singletary, from IT Center for Excellence, the documentary took nine months from planning to reality. Several volunteers from St. Johns and Flagler counties nurtured the project with content, themes, critiques, and messaging visuals. Credits for all collaborating partners is a virtual “who‟s who” along the Byway. “We „ve received excellent support from visitors bureaus and many partners, says Sallie. “This is a regionally significant win-win for everyone. We‟re planning to have links on multiple websites for the video in both short and full-length versions in hopes to gain international exposure.

The June premiere on multiple platforms, including live showings and web distribution, is now launched with the Florida Scenic Byways conference and community. One of four versions of the video is now posted on the Florida Scenic Highways website,, and the A1A website, Versions were created to accommodate varying audiences: a 30 second version for the commercial spots; a three and six minute version for the internet and cable channel markets; and a 25 minute version for the public television audiences. Library staff, educators and the travel planners may find interest for the longer version allowing a richer understanding of Byway culture, nature and heritage assets.

During the conference, A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway again garnered awards for outstanding leadership among the state‟s collection of 23 corridors. Thirty-five participants experienced a bus tour from St. Augustine to Flagler Beach during the conference.

Friends of A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway is a non-profit organization that protects, preserves, and enhances resources along the A1A National Scenic Byway. This citizen‟s advocacy group partners with municipalities, governmental agencies and other civic groups to maintain and improve resources along the corridor. For copies of the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway video or to arrange tours along the Byway, contact Sallie_O‟ for more information.

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