It’s been a long time since I looked forward to a weekend. In my profession the days all run together and even holidays rarely hold the same enthusiasm they once did. Not because they suck but because I’m usually working them, whereas back in the day my main focus was decorating and cooking.

But this weekend is like a rare trifecta of really cool events that I can’t wait for.

I used to dread First Fridays. Not because they aren’t awesome but because I had to work them in a booth and deal with the opposition party coming by and trying to instigate issues in between people snapping selfies with the President. (Yes, you know, HIM.)

It took two years to decompress from all that.

Now, I get to hang out at First Friday with my A1A peeps this weekend and enjoy it. I’m so grateful to Rick Belhumeur, our vice president, for being excited about it too. He truly has a servant’s heart.

Then, Saturday and Sunday, it’s Creekside weekend.

I won’t lie. I freakin’ love this event. I’m so glad it didn’t go away. And yes, I’m a total music nerd who loves the banjo pickin’, the bluegrass, the twang. I love getting to see all the artisans and crafters. I love getting to see people who are stuffy at networking events kick off their heels and shuck their ties, and be like … people. Just hanging out, having fun.

The best part of it this year besides the fact that it’s not raining or supposed to be hotter than the face of the sun, is that as the Flagler County Cultural Council, we’re sponsoring the student photography contest.

If you know me, I take a million photos at any event because the old saying IS true, “a picture IS worth a thousand words.” There is nothing I can write that truly captures the look of love, the puffy wish flowers in the sunlight, the minute drops of condensation on a Coke can, the ring perfectly perched on a page to form a heart, the spoonbill in the sunset. These students submitted some truly beautiful work and just as the Friends of A1A support the student artists with the Kids Ocean Day Florida digital art poster contest, the 2023 Creekside Festival Student Photography Contest is just as important to me. My daughter is an illustrator, and I’ve interviewed countless kids who have shared what art allows them to express that they could never say in words.

I’m super excited about the chili challenge between Chief Tucker and Sheriff Staly, and Sweet Shelia’s Funnel Cakes. Creekside is where I discovered my guilty pleasure, Fried Oreos. As the weather cools down with this new El Nino cycle, my heart sings with the incoming fall weather. It’s honestly one of the few things I miss about being up north. (Yes, a Florida native saying that!) Hopefully, somebody brings hot chocolate, apple cider or a hot buttered rum. If you bring apple cider donuts, I’ll love you forever. Ok, maybe through the weekend. ?

And then there’s the Pink Army aka Pink On Parade 5K on Sunday with the AdventHealth Palm Coast Foundation. It was always this fun, special event to support, and then my mom got diagnosed, and the gravity of it all really sunk in. And then I met these phenomenal women who have shared their stories of survival and it’s just one of those things that we can all just get behind. The fact that the Pink Army money stays here in our community is even more meaningful. You never know when it could be you. A HUGE shout out to Jared Dawson and the Palm Coast Parks & Rec team who help make this event happen. You are the unsung heroes and we appreciate you.

Tying it all together is the 1-mile pet friendly walk and pet costume contest benefiting the Flagler Humane Society and SMART. I mean, really. Could you imagine any better reason to get up early on a Sunday? It’s so cute even the biggest Scrooge’s heart will melt. (Yes, you can still sign up for either 5K or 1-mile events with a paper registration until the moment they honk the horn to start the race. And if you don’t want to walk or run, just make a donation.)

So, if you happen to have some free time this weekend or just want to get out, please join us for some or all of these awesome events. It’s rare that things just work out but rather than looking a gift horse in the mouth, it’s an invite to support our community, meet some fantastic people and have some really cool Instagram-worthy experiences.

See you there!