Amelia Island

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

One of the nation’s top automotive events returns to Amelia Island this weekend, after being pushed back from March to allow more time for vaccinations.

A view of the 2018 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance at the Ritz-Carlton.

Organizers of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance announced Monday the annual classic car show and its related events at the Ritz-Carlton and surrounding area are being moved to May 20 - May 23 this year.

Fernandina Beach Closes 12 Beachfront Walkovers Following Study

Mar 22, 2019
Mary Hamburg/City of Fernandina Beach / Via Florida Times-Union

A Nassau County community known for its miles of Atlantic Beach oceanfront has a new problem with some old boardwalks that connect South Fletcher Avenue to the sandy shoreline.

Heather Schatz/WJCT

For this week’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Media Roundtable, our panel of journalists looked at some of the biggest stories of the week, including:

General Motors / Via Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The Amelia Concours has become renowned as one of the nation’s top automotive events and is widely considered to be among the top three Concours in the U.S. It starts Thursday, March 7, and discounted online ticket sales run through this Sunday, Feb.  24.

Interior of bookstore
Story & Song via Facebook

As schools in the districts hardest hit by Hurricane Michael begin to reopen, five independent booksellers across the state are hosting a fundraiser to re-stock the libraries of those schools. One of the participating bookstores is in Fernandina Beach.         

Fireworks over the St. Johns River
Jennifer Statlick

Just because July Fourth falls on a Wednesday this year doesn’t mean it has to be a less of a celebration. Several Northeast Florida cities and businesses are planning fireworks displays and parties to celebrate the nation’s 242nd Independence Day.

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, WJCT contributor Fred Matthews, Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk (01:03).  

We spoke with Jennifer Harrison with the Amelia Island Museum of History about the upcoming Cottages and Courtyards tour. (46:00).


This Saturday on the First Coast and around the world students will take to the streets in a show of support for ending gun violence.

Michelle Corum

The Pétanque Amelia Island Open and annual Dickens on Centre helped brighten the fall and holiday seasons for Amelia Island merchants.

Florida State University

Friday on First Coast Connect we were joined on our weekly Media Roundtable by Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi, WJCT contributor Charles Griggs, Jacksonville News and Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT business analyst John Burr (01:05).  


Changing Homelessness CEO Dawn Gilman told us about the results of this year’s first-ever Veterans Surge (31:31).       

WJCT Morning Edition host Michelle Corum brought us a report on this weekend’s game of Petanque on Amelia Island (37:48).

Local student Chase Magnano of Ponte Vedra High School and winner of $50,000 on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” told us about JaxTHRIVE, the local non-profit he’s starting with his winnings. (41:13).   


We spoke with Midge Smith with San Jose Baptist Church about Friday night’s performance by the African Children’s Choir (46:00).

Photo © Sarah Sha

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Bloomberg News senior editor and author of “True Gentlemen: The Broken Pledge of American Fraternities,” John Hechinger about Florida State University suspending all greek life on campus indefinitely (01:13).   

We heard the story of Glorious Bethlehem Temple church in Jacksonville that took on the Florida Department of Transportation and won with pastor Donald Richardson (24:10).        

Planned Giving Officer Cliff Evans with the Catholic Foundation, Diocese of St. Augustine and Annie Tutt with the United Way talked about the 25h anniversary of the Planned Giving Council (34:16).           

Patty Smith and Chuck Oliva told us about the upcoming  Amelia Island Rendezvous Film Festival (46:00).

This weekend, Amelia Island is the setting for a tournament of a popular outdoor game called Pétanque.

Deremer Studios via Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

Local tourism officials have something new to brag about. 

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Fernandina Beach’s historic post office is being honored by the State of Florida for recent renovations. The more than century-old building got about $1.2 million worth of work done over the course of a year.

Amelia Island Hotels Break Tourism Record

Aug 17, 2017
Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Amelia Island has broken another tourism record. According to its Tourist Development Council, more people than ever stayed in hotels there this June.

Dan Nelken/St. Martins Press

What started off as a grin quickly turned into goosebumps.

Bestselling children’s author R.L. Stine joined First Coast Connect by phone Friday to discuss his top-selling children’s series "Goosebumps." Stine will also speak at the Amelia Island Book Festival in Fernandina Beach on Saturday. The event is sold out.


Stine said the launch of his Goosebumps empire in 1992 happened unexpectedly.


Thursday on First Coast Connect, WJCT reporter Ryan Benk discussed his investigative report on emails discovered on servers that violate JEA rules.

Florida author Larry Baker joined us by phone to talk about his the challenge a white male faces in creating compelling minority characters. The 20th edition of “An Evening in December” is set for Friday on Amelia Island. We spoke with Director Pam Helton and Producer Sharon Lennon.  


Contributed Photo / Amelia Island CVB

This barrier island in Florida's northeastern reaches has been named one of the best in the country.

Rock Steady Boxing- Amelia Island

Nearly 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. It’s a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes hand tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement. While it has no cure, there are treatments that help slow the disease’s progression.And one treatment that has brought positive results is boxing.

Weekend Warriors: Having An All-American Blast

Jun 30, 2016
By I, Jonathan Zander, CC BY-SA 3.0,

As the work week comes to end, let WJCT interns Kelsey Oates and Sarah De Nicolais be your guides for art, culture and fun on the First Coast. Celebrate America with this special patriotic edition of Weekend Warriors and enjoy with the whole family.   


Void’s Great American Sip n’ Slide


Opioid Addiction

The problem of people abusing prescription pain medication, then often advancing to heroin use and overdosing, has become a serious public health crisis in this country. 

Christine Meyer, supervising program attorney for the Guardian ad Litem Program for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, joins us to discuss special training going on in the judicial system to help kids whose parents have a substance abuse problem.

Media Roundtable Week in Review

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Sebastian Kitchen, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; and WJCT News analyst John Burr.

Topics include Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and City Councilman Garrett Dennis' meeting with United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro concerning the Eureka Garden housing complex, and more. 

Valerie Plame Wilson

Mission One Million

Today marks World Health Day.

Here on the First Coast, Mayor Lenny Curry and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy marked the occasion with a major effort to improve the health of this entire community.

"Mission One Million” is a new, citywide initiative with the goal of getting all of Jacksonville to collectively lose one million pounds.

Stage Aurora Theatrical Co. via Facebook

The Stage Aurora Theatrical Company was evicted from a mall on Jacksonville’s Northside when new owners took over last summer.

That was a decade after founder Darryl Reuben Hall created the venue for performers of color. Now without a home base, the troupe is bringing its shows to new areas of Northeast Florida.

champagne toast
Toni Blay via Flickr

Maybe you’re waiting until New Year’s to bust out that fancy new outfit Santa brought you and party like a jolly elf all night long. Or maybe you want to be in bed by 8 while the rest of the world cheers for a falling ball. Either way, the First Coast has a free event to help you ring in 2016. Here’s a sampling:

Downtown Jacksonville

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Amelia Island broke tourism records in July. Hotels and resorts are reporting a 4-percent increase in vacationers over last year.

The tourism hot spot an hour’s drive north of Jacksonville is contributing to another record-setting year for Florida.

Just between April and June, more than 160,000 visitors stayed in Amelia Island.

Peter Haden / WJCT

This morning a caravan of championship-winning rally cars drove from Jacksonville to Amelia Island to be featured in the he Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance car show. The rare cars belong to Jacksonville businessman John Campion.

Campion sees the poetry in rally racing.

"It’s sort of a pantomime and a ballet of brutality," Campion said.

He says the cars are flogged.

"Rally driving is through forest, it’s through gravel roads, it’s driving at night, it’s driving in the snow," Campion said. "It’s absolute brutality."

Mark Coggins / Wikimedia Commons

The author of bestselling novels Last Man Standing, Saving Faith, Total Control, and Absolute Power will be in town next week to discuss his work.

Don't miss our program this morning, as we broadcast live from The Ritz Carlton in beautiful Amelia Island for the 2013 Concours d’Elegance!

Always held the second full weekend in March, The Amelia Concours draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections from around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

Since 1996, the show's Foundation has raised more than $2 million for Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities from Florida's First Coast.