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First Coast Connect

The State of Downtown; Future of Health Care Conference; ‘Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living with Purpose’; What’s good Wednesday

Aerial view of downtown Jacksonville.
John Raoux

The State of Downtown report was released this week. It shows a thriving urban core as more people are choosing to live downtown for various reasons. This year’s report also details a wealth of developments that are underway.

Guest: Jake Gordon, CEO at Downtown Vision Inc.

Future of Health Care Conference 

This region’s most pressing health care issues are on the agenda next week at the Future of Health Care Conference. How will physicians improve the future of health care in this city? Topics that will be discussed during the conference include health disparities, physician burnout and even environmental concerns.

Guest: Dr. Todd Sack of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation.

Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living with Purpose     

This weekend, Jacksonville University will be the site of a festival focused on collective impact called Lift Every Voice: Singing and Living with Purpose. The event will feature a panel discussion and community concert focused on bringing together Jacksonville leaders and key community stakeholders to strengthen public awareness of arts education and build long-term support for the arts and cultural ecosystem.


  • Lucy Chen, Cathedral Arts Project vice president of advocacy and community engagement.
  • Gwen Moten, White House Appointed American Cultural Specialist and CEO of theTheater World Music Service.

What’s good Wednesday

  • The Sanctuary on 8th Streetwill celebrate a special event this week called the Shindig. Executive director Rick Cartlidge spoke with us about the event. For 30 years now, the Sanctuary on 8th Street has been working with kids in Springfield. Listeners can get tickets to the Shindig at the Sanctuary on 8th Street’swebsite.
  • This Friday at the Jax Beach Golf Club, Deck The Chairs will celebrate 10 seasons in Jax Beach with Fore the Chairs. It is a fun way for North Florida neighbors to offset the costs of Jax Beach Deck The Chairs. JBDTC is free and open to the public for six weeks. The event also will feature the Glow in the Dark putting challenge, silent auction, food provided by Taste Catering and Southern Slice, and a beer and wine tasting. This is a kid-friendly event so families are encouraged to attend. Guests can get tickets to Fore the Chairs at 904 Tix.
  • Beaches Oktoberfest, Florida's largest Oktoberfest, is coming back to Jacksonville Beach after a nearly three-year hiatus because of the pandemic. Thousands are expected to attend the sixth annual festival happening Friday and Saturday at the Sea Walk Pavilion. The special event will feature two stages of live music including national headliner and country superstar Corey Smithand world renowned reggae band Inner Circle-The Bad Boys of Reggae. The event also will have a variety of German, Oktoberfest and craft beers, 60 local artists and makers, over 20 of Jacksonville's favorite local food trucks, an Enhanced VIP Experience and activities for all ages. Visit for tickets and more information.
  • First Coast Opera announces its 23rd season of live opera in Northeast Florida. The season opens with Bon Appetit! on Oct. 7 and 8 at Celebration Hall at St. Anastasia, 5205 A1A South, St. Augustine Beach. The dinner-opera event will be catered by La Cocina International restaurant, featuring performances of Bizet’s comic Le Docteur Miracle and Lee Hoiby’s operatic depiction of Julia Child making a chocolate cake in Bon Appetit! The evening will include a special treat from Crème de la Cocoa. Performances will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. each night. Tickets are available at
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Gary Autry is joining WJCT from Florida State College at Jacksonville as a production intern for the fall 2022 semester. A native of the First Coast, Gary is finishing his bachelor’s degree in communication and media this fall.