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Wake Up Santa! returns to Orange Park Mall

Posted 11/9/23

ORANGE PARK – The mall is gearing up to welcome Santa on Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 11 a.m.

Families are encouraged to don their holiday pajamas and assist Santa’s Elves in …

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Wake Up Santa! returns to Orange Park Mall


ORANGE PARK – The mall is gearing up to welcome Santa on Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 11 a.m.

Families are encouraged to don their holiday pajamas and assist Santa’s Elves in locating Santa to awaken him for the festive season. The day’s activities feature Reindeer Pony Rides from Pinto Farms, a delightful hot cocoa station, meet-and-greet with Elsa, Anna and Kristoff, face painting and more.

For children with hidden disabilities like autism and sensory sensitivities, a visit with Santa can often be overwhelming. Sensitive Santa provides a magical experience hosted before the town center opens. Santa has received specialized training and adapts to each child’s unique needs with guidance from parents and caregivers. Sensitive Santa will be on Sunday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, featuring crafts with Mrs. Claus, a cereal bar and a special gift from Santa. Advance registration at is required.


Parents need to register for ChristmasShopFL discount sales


CLAY COUNTY – Parents can register for Christmas Shop to pick out and wrap toys.

Sites in Clay County include Jennings Elementary at 215 Corona Dr. in Orange Park, Keystone Heights Elementary at 335 S.W. Pecan St. and Wilkinson Junior High at 5025 County Road 218 in Middleburg.

The shopping event is by invitation only and hosted by schools, local churches and community partners. Its purpose is to help parents who need help with the cost of Christmas gifts for children through middle school ages. Discounts up to 70% will be available and there will be a separate area with special activities for children while their parents shop.

Churches that wish to donate toys can call (812) 598-9014.

To register, visit


Children get in free at Museum of Science and History during November


JACKSONVILLE – The Museum of Science and History (MOSH) is once again participating in Visit Jacksonville’s Kids Free November initiative. The effort encourages visitors and locals alike to bring the whole family to explore Jacksonville attractions this fall.

Throughout the month, guests can visit the museum at 1025 Museum Cir. and receive free admission for up to five children, ages 3-12, with the purchase of one adult admission. Kids Free November applies only to general admission to the Museum and does not include daily shows, special programming or events.


Fans can enjoy Jaguars game while helping Challenge Enterprises


CLAY COUNTY – The Jacksonville Jaguars have continued their support of Challenge Enterprises of North Florida by agreeing to donate as much as $30 for single tickets purchased for upcoming games. The money will support programs that assist individuals with differences with employment opportunities and residential assistance.

A limited number of tickets are available. To buy a ticket, visit


Reservations needed for Clay High’s Blue Devil Holiday Gala


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Clay High alumni and friends are asked to reserve a spot at this year’s Blue Devil Holiday Gala on Dec. 14 at Vintage Oaks Events, 5960 Sweet Moody Road in Green Cove Springs.

The adults-only event features semi-formal attire, dinner and dessert dash to benefit ongoing improvement projects at the high school.

To make a reservation, visit Clay High School’s Facebook page.


Pork butts rule for two Green Cove Springs nonprofits


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Between the Vineyard Transitional Center and the Village Improvement Association, anyone with a taste for sweet and smokey pork will be satisfied during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Vineyard’s annual pork butt sale is ongoing. The cost is $40 for a fully cooked Boston butt by Carter Q Competition BBQ and Catering, and the money will go toward a fund to build a transitional center that helps newly released inmates from the Clay County Jail to gain work, anger management and life experience training.

To order, visit, or call Pastor John Sanders at (904) 305-4641 or Joseph Smith at (904) 343-1869. Business orders will be ready on Nov. 17 after 1 p.m., and on Nov. 18 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at 518 Pine St. in Green Cove Springs.

The VIA is selling eight-pound fully cooked butts by GrillBilly’s Smoked Pork Butts for $30. The last day to pre-order is Nov. 14, and the butts will be available at 17 N. Palmetto Ave. in Green Cove Springs on Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to noon.

To order, contact Sherry Kelly at (904) 214-3649 or, Helen Brummer at (904) 673-8450 or or Lucy Conrad at (904) 635-0170 or

The VIA is a women’s group dedicated to improving the community through volunteer service.


Reinhold Foundation accepting applications for nonprofit leadership training


FLEMING ISLAND – The Paul E. and Klare N. Reinhold Foundation, Inc. is accepting applications for its 2024 Nonprofit Leadership Development and Capacity Building Training Programs. Through this initiative, the Foundation focuses on strengthening the nonprofit sector by strengthening the leadership of nonprofit organizations that serve Clay County. Any 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides services to county residents is eligible to apply.

Applications for the 2024 programs include workshops on nonprofit management, fundraising fundamentals, marketing and communications, volunteer leadership, strategic planning, and best practices for nonprofit boards. Rollins College Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership teaches the programs. All classes are held in Clay County and are scheduled for January through March. There is no cost for those organizations selected to attend. The Reinhold Foundation underwrites all costs. In addition, the Foundation will provide cash graduation awards to eligible organizations completing training programs.

Since 2006, the Reinhold Foundation has provided free leadership training programs to board members, staff and volunteers of nonprofit groups that provide services to Clay County residents. Individuals from more than 100 nonprofit organizations that work to improve the quality of life for Clay County residents have participated in the leadership initiative.

All 501(c)(3) nonprofit groups providing services to Clay County residents are eligible to apply. Details and applications are available now at The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 17.

For more information, contact Amy Parker, Executive Director, at (904) 269-5857, ext. 404 or at


Registration open for Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament


PALATKA – Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament is now accepting registrations for this year’s tournament.

The popular event, which attracted 940 anglers and raised more than $436,000 for the hospital’s Terry Heart Institute, will be from May 16-18 at the Palatka City Docks.

Chris Cercy of Middleburg partnered with Eric Roberts of Jacksonville to finish third overall a year ago with a five-fish aggregate of 21.75 pounds, while Charles and Kelly Moody of Green Cove Springs were third in the Lads and Lasses division at 19.49 pounds.

The 2024 tournament will feature the Lads and Lasses on May 16, VIP and Friends on May 17, and the main event on May 18. More than $48,000 will be awarded.

To register, visit The deadline is May 14.

Wolfson also will conduct a raffle for a 2024 21-foot Bullet Boat with a motor – valued at $78,000. Tickets are $20 each. All proceeds from the drawing will help fund new technology for the C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Heart Institute at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

To enter the bass boat drawing, visit

Since the first tournament in 1989, the event has raised more than $7 million for Wolfson Children’s and the patients treated there.


County needs suggestions on its Gateway to Clay Project


CLAY COUNTY – Residents living on or near Wells Road are encouraged to complete a survey to share ideas for the Gateway to Clay initiative.

The project is a partnership between public safety, government and businesses to improve Wells Road.

The survey is available at


Residents encouraged to support Wreaths Across America


CLAY COUNTY – The National Wreaths Across America Day will be held on Saturday, Dec. 16. Join the more than two million volunteers and supporters who will gather to Remember, Honor and Teach at more than 4,000 participating locations in all 50 states, at sea and abroad.

The event will include four locations in Clay County – Magnolia Cemetery, 1040 Kingsley Ave. in Orange Park at 9:30 a.m.; Keystone Heights Memorial Gardens, 7304 State Road 100 at noon; Moosehaven, 1701 Park Ave. in Orange Park; and Hardage-Giddens Holly Hill Memorial Park, 3601 Old Jennings Road in Middleburg at noon.

Sponsor a veteran’s wreath in honor of or in memory of a loved one who served in the armed forces. Or, sponsor and allow the group to designate a recipient among the millions of heroes who rest in honored glory. To sponsor a wreath, visit

Volunteer with the organization as they honor our veterans throughout the year. There are many ways to get involved, from laying wreaths locally to leading a sponsorship group or coordinating a ceremony location.

Invite your network of friends, family, coworkers and organizations to join us as we strive to honor every veteran. As our mission’s scope grows, so does the need for support.


Green Cove Springs Library to close for construction


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The library will be closed for a scheduled construction project from Aug. 21 to Nov. 1.

Residents will be able to utilize the services at other branches – Fleming Island at 1895 Town Center Blvd., Keystone Heights at 175 Oriole St., Middleburg-Clay at 2245 Aster Ave. in Middleburg and Orange Park at 2054 Plainfield Ave.


Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience extended through Jan. 6


JACKSONVILLE – Due to popular demand, Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience, a one-of-a-kind exhibition developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society and produced by Paquin Entertainment Group, has extended its run at the NoCo Center for an additional seven weeks through Jan. 6.

The multi-gallery, multi-sensory exhibition is a magnificent, time-traveling adventure that makes guests feel as if they are actually in Ancient Egypt. With nine galleries to explore, Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience takes visitors on an epic journey through King Tut’s life – his rule as a child pharaoh, his family, the discovery of his tomb, the mysteries surrounding his early death, and his journey to the afterlife.

This extension follows a recently announced ticket program targeted for sixth-grade students, which will extend through the new dates. Through Oct. 22, Beyond King Tut is welcoming sixth-grade students to the exhibition free of charge when visiting with a paid adult admission.

The NoCo Center is located at 712 N. Hogan St.


Curt Towne Band joining 38 Special at The Florida Theatre


JACKSONVILLE – The Curt Towne Band will join another legendary Southern Rock band on Jan. 6 for a show at The Florida Theatre.

Towne, who is a co-owner of the Guitar Station in Green Cove Springs, will open for 38 Special. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which start at $45, are on sale at


24-hour ScriptCenter prescription kiosk opens at Naval Hospital Jacksonville


JACKSONVILLE – Naval Hospital Jacksonville now has a 24-hour ScriptCenter prescription kiosk. The kiosk is just one of the many innovations from the

hospital to provide better service and reduce wait times for patients.

The ScriptCenter machine, which was installed at both the main hospital and Satellite pharmacies, has undergone a week of usage by staff to be aware of

its capabilities. The machine in the hospital will be located inside automatic doors near the quarterdeck, steps away from the pharmacy and

will be available 24 hours a day.

“When you call in a refill or activate new prescription, you can select the ScriptCenter for pick up,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jose Pulido, Pharmacy department

head. “Even if you have someone pick up the script, the machine will take a photo to show who picked up medication. The only limitation on the new

machines are on prescriptions that need to be refrigerated.”


Active, retired federal employees to meet monthly


ORANGE PARK – As the only organization dedicated to the general welfare of all federal workers and retirees, the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees delivers valuable guidance, timely resources and powerful advocacy.

Clay County Chapter 141 meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the Orange Park Library at 2054 Plainfield Ave. at 12:30 p.m. Each gathering consists of a short business meeting and a presentation.

Since NARFE’s founding in 1921, the association’s mission has been to defend and advance America’s civil servants earned pay and benefits. Today, NARFE’S team of professional lobbyists continues to work tirelessly on behalf of the federal community. Supported by grassroots advocates, NARFE is a leading voice in Washington and across the country, although often unknown to our active and retired local civil servants and postal personnel.

Federal benefits and retirement plans are unique, complex and subject to change. NARFE provides federal workers and retirees with the precise, reliable and accessible counsel they need to make critical decisions and gain confidence in a secure future.


Mission of the Dirt Road offering free showers


KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Adults can sign up for free showers on Tuesdays and Fridays at the Mission of the Dirt Road, 7790 State Road 100.

Adults can utilize the services from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays. Families with children can get free showers on Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. Showers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents are required to sign up during the day of the shower. To make a reservation, call or text (601) 568-3473.


Thrasher-Horne: Show memorabilia on sale to fund future shows


ORANGE PARK –Signed posters, flyers and banners from recent acts at the Thrasher-Horne Center are on sale at the center’s box office at 483 College Dr. in Orange Park.

The money will go to the Thrasher-Horne Center Annual Fund to provide financial assistance for future programs.

Included in the items are items from the shows by Rumours, Always Patsy, Elvis, Craig Morgan, comedian Bill Engvall, Diamond Rio, Electric Light Orchestra Experience, LeAnn Rimes, Michael W. Smith, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Pete the Cat, Ricky Nelson Remembered, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Young Irelanders, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, 1964, Dragons and Mythical Beasts, Brass Transit, Champions of Magic, Sara Evans and Melissa Etheridge.

Items range from $5 to $50, and they can only be picked up at the center.

The center also is selling tickets and gift certificates for upcoming shows

For more information, call (904) 276-6815 or visit


Shred For Good: Challenge Enterprises offers shredding drop-off


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – Shred for Good hosts Residential Shred Drop-Off events for the benefit of individuals that don’t have an ongoing need for regular shredding service. During the drop-off events every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, participants may deposit their sensitive documents in secure and locked bins at 3530 Enterprise Way in Green Cove Springs. The bins are then securely transported to the Shred for Good facility, where it is destroyed.

After a six-month shutdown for the pandemic, Shred for Good rolled out a rebooted Residential Shred Drop Off Program in October 2020. On the first day, 92 households were able to destroy 5,116 pounds of sensitive materials in just two hours. Each one of these events is focused on convenience for the consumer and streamlined processes for the staff.

Residential consumers now follow the signs to the drop zone, complete a short form, donate and drive away without ever having to leave their vehicle. Both the form and donation have been made available online in advance to save time.

The average household drops off about 55 pounds and donates $14 a visit. Considering that most drop-off shred sites charge more than 50 cents a pound, the Shred for Good’s Residential Shred Drop-Off Program at $.26/pound is a cost-effective alternative for the community it serves.

Business and Commercial customers, please call (904) 252-9786 to schedule a pickup using one of our secure bins.



Clay County eager to fill several job openings


CLAY COUNTY – The Board of County Commissioners is looking for a few good people – make that a lot of good people.

The county posted several job openings, including animal control officer, building inspector, deputy director of engineering, engineering specialist, equipment operator, firefighter/EMT, grants administration analyst, grounds maintenance technician, HVAC technician, kennel attendant, laborer, mechanic, outreach coordinator, bicycle pedestrian coordinator, assistant county attorney, community paramedicine bureau chief, 911 coordinator, logistics assistant, real estate acquisition manager, senior planner, permit services technician, veterans’ services officer and 4-H young development extension agent (apply through the University of Florida).

For more information, click the Career Opportunities tab on the county’s website,