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Performing Arts Festival


Joye in Aiken JulietteJazz, swing, chamber music, modern dance, American roots music — Joye in Aiken once again is bringing renowned and emerging artists, primarily from the Juilliard School, to the area for a nine-day slate of performances March 1-9.

Events include Jazz at Lincoln Center’s North American tour of “Sing and Swing: Our American Songbook” with Bria Skonberg and Benny Benack III; a jazz brunch with Isaiah J. Thompson; a swing band dinner with Danny Jonokuchi and the Revisionists; rock, pop and traditional chamber music with string quintet Sybarite5; vocal and instrumental music of 17th century Venice with Serenissima; folk and American roots music with Sam Reider and the Human Hands; contemporary American dance with Parsons Dance; and more.

Ticket prices and venues vary. However, most events are low cost or free. For more information, visit joyeinaiken.com.

The Paris Housekeeper by Renee Ryan

Literary Loop

The Paris Housekeeper by Renee RyanFrom the author of The Secret Society of Salzburg comes a powerful and moving story of bravery and resilience in World War II Paris.

As German tanks rumble through the streets of Paris in 1940, frightened citizens are forced to flee. But not everyone has the luxury to leave. Camille Lacroix, a chambermaid at the world-famous Hôtel Ritz, must stay to support her family back home in Brittany.

Desperate to earn money, Camille also acts as a lady’s maid for longtime guest Vivian Miller, a glamorous American widow who she suspects is a Nazi sympathizer.

Despite her distrust of the woman, Camille turns to Vivian when a friend and fellow hotel maid, Rachel Berman, needs help getting out of Paris. It’s then that Camille discovers that Vivian is not what she seems — the American has been using her wealth and connections to secretly obtain travel papers for Jewish refugees.

While they’re hiding Rachel in an underground bunker under a Nazi’s nose, a daring escape plan is hatched. But as the net grows tighter and the Germans more ruthless, Camille’s courage will be tested to the extreme.

Symphony Sounds


Augusta SymphonyAugusta Symphony will entertain audiences with a trio of performances this month.

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel joins the Symphony as a guest artist for American Rhapsodies at the Miller Theater on Saturday, March 9. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., and the program includes the Georgia premiere of Boyer’s Rhapsody in Red, White, & Blue as well as Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Tickets are $26 to $77.

On Sunday, March 10, the Symphony performs Camille Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals at Hardin Auditorium. Geared toward families, this concert begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $32.

In America’s Wonders, the Symphony takes the audience on a 3D journey through some of the country’s most beautiful national parks and cities as imagery of these places are displayed on a giant screen. This concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the Miller Theater. Tickets are $43 to $102.

For more information, visit augustasymphony.com.

Face Time

Yard art Blythe Fairy

Photos courtesy of Michelle Scarborough Johnson

From fairies to potheads (literally), this yard art is an expression of personality and playfulness.

There’s no rest for makers like Michelle Scarborough Johnson, who has been creating yard art and garden sculptures for the past 10 years.

Her creative juices never stop flowing – even in her sleep.

“I’ll wake up in the morning with an idea and think, ‘I could do this,’” Michelle says.

The retired critical care nurse makes her pieces out of hypertufa, which is a lightweight, porous, manmade rock consisting of Portland cement and aggregates such as vermiculite, perlite, peat moss or sand. She mixes up the cement-based substance, which is a substitute for a porous type of limestone called tufa, herself using a recipe she found online.

“I honestly don’t remember where I saw it, but I taught myself,” Michelle says.

Recycled and Refurbished

Yard art is just the latest creative endeavor for this self-taught artist.

“I sew a lot. I paint. I quilt,” Michelle says. “I always wanted to make pottery, but you need a kiln. I love gardening.”

When Michelle was 10 years old, her grandmother taught her how to sew. Otherwise, however, she taught herself the other crafts.

“It’s very fulfilling for me to be making something all the time,” says Michelle, a mother of six who earned her nursing degree at age 42.

She makes hats out of refurbished materials, and for every hat she sells, she donates one to someone in need.

She also incorporates discarded and recyclable materials such as wine bottles, plastics, metal hardware, balloons, ice cream containers, milk jugs and strips of fabric into her hypertufa projects.

“I wrap the bottles in old clothes that can’t be donated,” says Michelle. “I dip the fabric in cement. As it dries, I build it on top of the mixture.”

Her tools include old screwdrivers, picks, a drill and paintbrushes. “I just make do with what I have,” she says.

pot head blythe yard artFairies and Potheads

Michelle hand-molds her pieces, and she works in her outdoor studio on her 2-acre property in Blythe. Some of her favorite things to make are fairies and “potheads,” which are head-shaped planters.

“I talk to them while I’m making them,” Michelle says. “Some of them are kind of flirtatious. They have smoochy lips. The snarky ones have sly smiles. They develop a personality as I’m making them. I feel like people want to buy them when they see something in them. I don’t make their personality. I just let it evolve.”

Although each fairy and pothead has its own personality, they have a lot of similarities in their faces because of the way Michelle molds them. In addition, they generally have one characteristic in common. Most of them have their eyes closed.

“They look peaceful to me,” Michelle says. “I’ve done them with their eyes open, but they don’t look as happy.”

She rarely names her creations, either. “I let everybody choose what they want to call their pothead,” she says.

One of her fairies, which has rosy cheeks and wings, a blue dress and hair made of bed springs, has been selected for inclusion in the Greater Augusta Arts Council’s WetPaint Party & Art Sale on Friday, March 8.

To make fairy wings, she casts elephant ears or various leaves that she finds in her garden. “I use old jewelry on the fairies,” Michelle says. “I used to make jewelry, so I have a lot of jewelry supplies.”

To make a pothead, she starts with a balloon that she wraps in strips of cement-dipped fabric. Once it dries, she turns it upside down to drill a hole in the bottom.

While Michelle can shape a piece in an hour or two, it can take a few days to finish the yard art because the work has to be done in stages. However, she says she can spend a month making a garden fairy.

Texture and Color

Michelle also paints her hypertufa pieces with acrylics, and after drying and curing them, she seals them with concrete so they can withstand the elements.

“I love texture and color,” she says. “They’re just so natural and pretty.”

She likes secondary colors such as purple, teal and orange, and she highlights textures with off-white paint. However, she tries to make her pieces look natural in their outdoor setting.

“I want them to look like they belong there, but I also want them to stand out,” Michelle says.

She paints the elephant ears, which she also uses to make yard art such as birdbaths, a different color from the grass to make them stand out. In addition, she makes totem poles by putting a piece of rebar in the ground and stacking it with hypertufa pieces that she makes one at a time.

Six years ago, she spent the entire summer building a pathway with pavers she made out of cement to connect the greenhouses in her garden.

Although she doesn’t use her nursing skills in her craft, she has found that it takes a combination of art and science to create a piece.

She needs to use the correct proportions of aggregates when she mixes the hypertufa so it doesn’t crumble. Anatomy also comes into play when she makes fairies and potheads because “the ears need to be equal with the eyes.”

In addition, she says, “My pieces are not anatomically correct, but that’s part of the fun of it.”

Creativity and Connection

Michelle started a Facebook page called Hypertufa Heffas, which is named after the heifers that graze in a field behind her property. She sells most of her work on various Facebook sites or by word-of-mouth.

“It’s fun when somebody really loves a face and they connect with it somehow,” Michelle says. “Sometimes the personality speaks to them. I love that somebody loves a piece.”

She teaches group and private classes and hosts parties at her outdoor studio when the weather is warm. She also loves the creative process and the ability to bring joy to others with her work.

“Being able to create something frees up your mind. You can get lost in it. When you’re gone, you have something to leave behind. Something you make by hand is more important than a piece of furniture,” says Michelle. “It’s good for my spirit to be creative. I think artists just have this need to always be making something.”

By Leigh Howard

Isn’t That Sweet — Big Sleep

Listen To This

Big Sleep AlbumAs the fickle remnants of winter thaw, we march into a hibernation-free season of anticipation. The madness of shaking off chilly brrrs spurs all the right vibes for a soundtrack of warm, lush, good-mood food for the soul. The perfect pub-a-licious feast for the ears comes from the Dublin-based four-leafed fantastical band, Big Sleep.

Big Sleep’s latest album, Isn’t That Sweet, is a sugary symphony of blarney bliss that chases the indie rock rainbow for a pot of sonic gold. Bursting with infectious flavors, melodies, heartfelt lyrics and irresistible hooks, it brews a unique and contagious charm for an instant buzz of tabletop taps and soul claps.

From the start, it’s crystal clear that Big Sleep is banging and mashing on all cylinders with its buttery rhythm and frothy riffs that make you want to lock arms and raise a glass.

With the waltzy wonder of the album’s opener “Easy,” the tone flows into an ever-green river of sweet glides and punchy strides. Songs like the jazzy swing jam “Fingerlickin’ Goodness,” the brawny stomp of “Maccy Ds” and the dreamy-gaze of “All the Pretty Things” make for a magically delicious bowl of tunes.

With leprechauns, parades and Irish celebrations on tap, Big Sleep is a grand marshal that delivers an Irish spring of awesome. Isn’t that sweet?

– Chris Rucker

Food Truck Fridays


Evans Food TruckIt’s time for warmer days, longer nights and smells of delicious food wafting through the parks.

Bring your taste buds, chairs, blankets and appetite for fun — Columbia County’s Food Truck Friday series is back. The popular event kicks off March 8 and will be held one to two times a month through September.

The series will alternate between three locations: Gateway Park in Grovetown, Evans Towne Center Park and the Columbia County Amphitheater behind the main library.

Evans Food TruckOptions range from sweet treats and snacks to full meals and beverages. The vendor lineup changes regularly, featuring returning favorites and introducing new ones. Admission is free, and events run from 6-9 p.m. Live music begins at 7 p.m.

Food Truck Friday 2024 Schedule

March 8 – Gateway Park
March 22 – Evans Towne Center Park
April 26 – Evans Towne Center Park
June 14 – Gateway Park
June 28 – Evans Towne Center Park
July 12 – Columbia County Amphitheater 
September 13 – Gateway Park
September 27 – Evans Towne Center Park

Virtual Deputies


crime centerReal time data helps the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office solve crimes and respond to emergencies faster and more efficiently.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Real Time Crime Center, which virtually tracks activity as it’s happening throughout the county, has continued to evolve since it became operational more than a year ago. The center has implemented the use of automated license plate readers in recent months, and the facility soon could add another dimension.

Sheriff Clay Whittle says the county is looking at the possibility of connecting security cameras at interested businesses to the system as well.

“It’s all about reducing crime and helping people during an emergency,” he says.

When a call comes in to the 911 center, which shares space with the RTCC, an icon goes up on the monitor at the site of the incident. Dispatchers then move the cursor to the icon and click on it to bring up data so they immediately can assess the situation.

“The data we’re using is in real time. We can have 32 different camera views up at one time. We can see one big picture or break them down singularly or within groups,” Whittle says. “The dispatchers can monitor EMS, fire and law enforcement calls from the crime center virtually.”

In a recent incident, a woman called to report that her car had broken down on Belair Road. The cameras brought up her vehicle and saw it get rear-ended by a pickup truck while she waited for assistance, so deputies were able to adjust their response before arrival.

Another time, cameras were able to spot a criminal suspect who was hiding in a wooded area.

If a witness reports that a suspect drove away in a red car, the system can narrow down all of the red cars that were in the area at the time.

“Dispatchers help the deputies virtually work the call from the minute it comes into the 911 center. They get a bird’s eye view from the cameras. Dispatchers act as a set of virtual officers that are already on the scene before the first patrol car arrives,” says Whittle. “With the dispatchers and operators in the crime center, the deputies’ main job is to put on the handcuffs.”

Whittle says the RTCC has a twofold purpose – to save time and to increase manpower.

“Emergency services can do their jobs faster and more efficiently than they have in the past,” Whittle says. “In an emergency, time can be everything.”

He also says that the sheriff’s office is down 40 employees, so the RTCC bolsters the personnel on staff.

“It can turn a two-person operation into a six-person operation,” says Whittle. “That’s extremely important for law enforcement. Three or four dispatchers can be working some aspect of a crime at once.”

The automated license plate readers help with Amber Alerts, missing persons, stolen vehicles, wanted people and sex offenders.

“We can locate a criminal or somebody that’s in danger,” says Lt. Jamey Moss, who oversees 991 and RTCC operations. “Finding a tag on a vehicle is important in the course of an investigation if someone has left the scene of a crime. Stolen vehicles are usually connected to other crimes.”

However, Whittle says, “We don’t use it for traffic purposes at all. If anyone is going to get a ticket, it should be face-to-face with an officer at the time of the violation.”

The center covers all of Columbia County, Harlem and Grovetown. It also coordinates with Richmond County and even agencies in locations as far away as Texas.

New Sculptures


Colleen Beyer Stewart and Wesley L. Stewart installed their painted metal sculpture “Iris” -new sculptures recently were installed in downtown Augusta GeorgiaTwo new sculptures recently were installed in downtown Augusta. Colleen Beyer Stewart and Wesley L. Stewart installed their painted metal sculpture “Iris” (pictured) at the Iris Garden Club Pocket Park on the corner of Fifth and Reynolds streets. Colleen is a visual arts teacher and head of the Fine Arts Department at Harlem High School.

A 15-foot-tall ceramic sculpture, “Pillars of the Golden Blocks,” by Ashley Gray also was installed in the center of the Twiggs Circle roundabout. Gray is a sculptor and ceramic artist who specializes in public art.

Both pieces of public art were overseen by the Greater Augusta Arts Council and funded through grants by the Georgia Rehabilitation Institute Inc. (Greater Augusta Arts Council photo)

Smothered With Love


Valentine’s Day fun will steal your heart at Waffle HouseQuirky Valentine’s Day fun will steal your heart at Waffle House.

No need to wear your heart on your sleeve on Valentine’s Day. Break out your red cowboy boots or your red plaid three-piece suit, instead, and consider celebrating the holiday scattered, smothered and covered-style at a Waffle House.

On February 14 select Waffle Houses nationwide treat guests to a special Valentine’s Day dinner experience, and participating restaurants in the area this year include the Waffle House on Davis Road in Martinez.

“It’s not just for couples. It’s for families. It’s for singles who want to be with their friends,” says Njeri Boss, Waffle House vice president of food safety and public relations. “It’s for anyone who loves Valentine’s Day and wants to do something special that only happens once a year.”

Cupid has a booth waiting for you – as long as you make reservations – at participating locations from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

“Reservations are required because not every restaurant participates, and space fills up quickly at the ones that do,” Boss says.

The familiar yellow sign outside beckons customers to comfort food inside, where red, white and pink decorations set a festive mood and guests just might be playing Elvis love songs on the jukebox.

It’s not only the décor that’s different on Valentine’s Day, though. For those whose love language is T-bones, pork chops or grilled chicken, Waffle House offers a special menu for the occasion.

Guests also can order the usual fare, so traditionalists who are sweet on waffles, hash browns, Patty Melts or steak and eggs are covered as well (but we say put yourself out there and give one of the specials a whirl).

The tradition began 16 years ago at a Johns Creek, Georgia location after the manager noticed that a group of customers dined there two or three years in a row on Valentine’s Day.

“When we have a great idea that comes from out in the field, we love to share it with everybody else,” says Boss. “Our associates get into it. They get so excited about it.”

To make Valentine’s Day reservations at the Davis Road location, call Sara at (706) 627-2569. To find other area Waffle Houses that might be participating, visit wafflehouse.com.

Homesteading Skills


Homesteading ConferenceAugusta Locally Grown will hold its inaugural Homesteading Conference on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 for people who want to grow food in their own gardens or raise livestock for home production.

“The conference is for those who are looking at homesteading and for seasoned homesteaders,” says Rebecca van Loenen, the ALG executive director. “We have gained about 50 more local homesteads in the last year, and the area is starting to stand out in the state for our homesteading culture.”

Sessions will be held at The Hub for Community Innovation in Augusta and accommodate 30 to 40 people. Topics range from homestead preparedness and butchering livestock to “grandmother skills” such as soap, bread and cheese making.

For more information and registration visit augustalocallygrown.org.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Literary Loop

Lucy Hart is a 26-year-old kindergarten teacher’s assistant, desperate to adopt her orphaned former student, Christopher Lamb. Unfortunately, she lacks the funds. When she wins a chance to compete in a game devised by reclusive children’s book author Jack Masterson, she hopes the competition will be the answer to her problems.

Jack has finally written the next installment in his Clock Island series, and he decides whoever wins his competition can do whatever they like with the only copy of his book. Four competitors descend on the eponymous Clock Island — all of them former runaways who had gone to Jack’s island as children seeking reprieve from less-than-idyllic circumstances, and all of whom, in adulthood, have problems that only Jack can solve.

His game starts off as a series of riddles (ones that readers will enjoy solving alongside the competitors) but quickly turns into something deeper as Jack, acting in the role of the Mastermind from his books, makes the competitors confront their traumas.

“Our list of must-read fiction books wouldn’t be complete without this novel that reminds readers of the power books hold between their pages,” says Reader’s Digest.

“Shaffer blends tragedy and triumph in a whimsical and gratifying debut about what makes a family. This is wish fulfillment in the best way,” says Publishers Weekly.

Flavor of Georgia


Registration for Flavor of Georgia is open through Tuesday, February 13.Calling all chefs. Registration for Flavor of Georgia is open through Tuesday, February 13.

This annual food product contest for established or market-ready foods and beverages made in the state offers contestants a chance to submit an entry in 12 categories.

Three finalists per category will be selected to compete at The Classic Center in Athens on Thursday, April 4.

For more information, visit flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu.

Kick — INXS

Listen To This

poet Michael HutchenceThe beauty and mysterious allure of music is often discovered and rediscovered through a sonic vortex that stirs emotions, preserves time and evokes a passionate connection to personal experiences. Memories are forever time capsuled and new ones created. As we float through the tunnel of winter, a pitstop in the music vault of love is the perfect remedy for thawing the soul.

In 1987, the Aussie quintette INXS dropped their love boat-sized iconic album, Kick. While this may not be your typical Valentine’s Day spin, Kick is a magnetic rhythm machine with sensual undertones that makes it the perfect soundtrack for stringing the bow for Cupid’s arrows.

From the jump, it is an energetic and somewhat rebellious record with the punchy “Guns in the Sky,” but the mood swerves swiftly to the sultry and seductive classic, “Need You Tonight,” and the electric bouquet of rock, “Never Tear Us Apart.” An assorted box of funk, pop and orchestral-waltz vibes ignites the flames of desire.

The late, great pop-poet Michael Hutchence croons with warm charismatic swagger to make Kick an unforgettable soundtrack for this season of love, romance and ear-candy. The rolling love sonic-coaster delivers the perfect loops, hooks and speed to make the heart race, emotions jump and head spin.

Let INXS Kick-start the jams and “Mystify” your love journey with a stirring “New Sensation.”

– Chris Rucker

The Thrill of Victory

Beyond the Peach State

The Florida Man GamesWatch — or dare to compete in — the zaniest new athletic competition this side of the Everglades.

We’ve all seen the headlines, and the competition to determine which one is the most absurd is fierce:

Florida man tries to evade arrest by cartwheeling away from cops.

Florida man arrested while trying to get into a police car to threaten someone.

Florida man drives stolen truck to Space Force base to warn of a battle between aliens and dragons.

Florida man learns hard way he stole laxatives, not opioids.

Florida man trapped in an unlocked closet for two days.

Florida man Googles self to find out which Florida man he is.

Now’s your chance, however, to see these guys in action for yourself at the inaugural Florida Man Games.

The event was inspired by the Sunshine State’s reputation for its offbeat news stories that typically feature wild police chases, guns, drugs, reptiles – or some combination of the aforementioned instruments of chaos and commotion.

According to the website, “The Florida Man Games is where the bizarre meets brawn and sanity is optional. This isn’t just a competition; it’s a one-of-a-kind Floridian spectacle.”

No wonder organizers call the event “the most insane athletic showdown on Earth.”

Florida-Style Obstacle Courses
Truthfully, athletic prowess also may be optional for the competition that was dreamed up by St. Augustine resident and media outlet owner Pete Melfi. As if hurricane season has blown into Florida early this year, however, the games are bound to take the state by storm.

After all, with the Florida-style obstacle courses that the contestants must master, the games will resemble a veritable sanctioned crime spree as competitors vie for the coveted gator head trophy.

The event includes the Weaponized Pool Noodle Mud Duel, where adversaries test their strength inside a massive above-ground pool called the Florida Man Games Colosseum.

In the Evading Arrest Obstacle Course, “escapees” jump over fences and run through yards with actual sheriff’s deputies hot on their heels.

With the Category 5 Cash Grab, Florida men can scoop up easy money as they battle hurricane-level gusts in a wind-blowing booth while they scramble to catch as much real cash as they can.

Wannabe wrestlers will try to blast their opponent out of the ring in the Beer Belly Florida Sumo.

In another opportunity to live a day in the life of a Florida man headline, rivals square off head-to-head in a race with two bikes and a handful of copper pipes in the Race Against Time with a Catalytic Converter.

Two former stars of the 1990s TV show American Gladiators, Dan “Nitro” Clark and Lori “Ice” Fetrick, who also appeared in Netflix’s Muscles & Mayhem, will judge the events.

Fun For All
For those who aren’t part of a team on the main events field, Florida Man Games activities will be available all day long for spectators to challenge each other in their own competitions.

They can try to best each other in contests such as the Mechanical Gator Ride, Florida Sumo, Weaponized Pool Noodles and Obstacle Course. Of course, snapping selfies with alligators will be all but mandatory as well.

Spectators also can soak up Florida culture with alligator shows, datil pepper (Florida’s hot pepper) vendors, SWAT vehicles and more.

Other entertainment – as if any more is required – includes a Mullet Contest, the Florida Ma’am Pinup competition and Chicken Coop Bingo.

Don’t worry if all these fun and games give you a gator-sized appetite. Award-winning pit masters will be on hand to dish out mouthwatering BBQ throughout the day.

The competition will draw to a close with the 911 Fight Night: Brawl of the Badges between police officers and firefighters. In this epic showdown, these public safety heroes clash in an intense battle to prove who’s the toughest behind the badge.

Get ready to rumble, and let the games begin.

If You Go:

What: Florida Man Games

When: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday, February 24, gates open 10 a.m.

Where: Francis Field, 25 West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida

How Much: $45 – $145

More Info: thefloridamangames.com

By Morgan Davis

On the Beaten Path

Jekyll Island tradition Island Treasures

Photos courtesy of Jekyll Island Authority

Search for treasures in plain sight during this inventive Jekyll Island tradition.

A day at the beach can bring out anyone’s inner child, and Jekyll Island has found a way to captivate the young at heart with Island Treasures.

In this hide-and-seek-style activity that runs all day every day during January and February, people can search for plastic globes that volunteers called Beach Buddies “hide” around the island. Lucky island combers who find one can redeem it for a real glass-blown globe.

“It’s an annual tradition that people really enjoy,” says Kathryn Hearn, the Jekyll Island Authority marketing communications manager. “It’s a good way for them to get out and explore parts of Jekyll Island that they have never seen before. Most people go to the beach or the Historic District when they visit, but Island Treasures creates excitement around the entire island. People really get into the treasure hunt aspect of it.”

The event is a great way to create memories, and since the globes also are available for purchase to those who don’t find one, no one has to go home empty-handed. They sell for $85 at the Jekyll Island Guest Information Center or online.

‘Accessible to All’

While Island Treasures started more than 22 years ago, the colorful, coveted orbs date back to the early 1900s when East Coast fishermen used hollow glass balls, or floats, on their nets as markers.

Occasionally, the floats would break loose and wash ashore for beachcombers to find and keep. In the 1950s, collecting these rare, highly sought-after glass floats became a hobby.

Jekyll Island selects two or three artisans from across the country to create the one-of-a-kind glass-blown objects every year. This year Seattle-based Mark Elllinger and Loretta Eby of Georgia made the globes.

Each Island Treasure, which is about half the size of a soccer ball, has a distinct abstract design with varying colorations.

Beach Buddies place them around the island any time of the day or night. They typically hide about 200 plastic globes during the two months, putting out two or three on weekdays and about five on weekends.

The volunteers receive special training before the annual event, and their identity is kept secret. Globe seekers are asked to refrain from following Beach Buddies – or anyone they think is a Beach Buddy – for safety reasons and to ensure that the hunt is fair for everyone.

“The globes are accessible to all. They’re hidden in plain sight on a bench or by a bike rack or on a nature trail,” says Hearn.

Timing is Everything

The best places to look for the plastic globes are in common areas such as Great Dunes Beach Park, Driftwood Beach, St. Andrews Beach Park, Horton House, the Historic District and the Beach Village.

While the 20-acre Great Dunes Beach Park, which features multiple recreation areas, is Jekyll Island’s most popular family beach, Driftwood Beach is made up of sun-bleached trees worn down by storms and erosion over time.

Located on the southern-most tip of the island, St. Andrews Beach Park is a great place to see wildlife such as migratory birds and pods of dolphins.

St. Andrews also is home to the Wanderer Memory Trail, which tells the story of one of America’s last known slave ships, the Wanderer.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1743 Horton House is one of the oldest tabby buildings in Georgia.

Although the Historic District offers a selection of gift shops and Jekyll Island collectibles, the Beach Village is the epicenter of the island with its shops, restaurants and hotels.

When searching for globes, however, it’s just as important to know where not to look. Island Treasures will never be placed in beach dunes, marsh areas, residential properties or golf courses. In fact, entering these areas can be illegal and unsafe.

Some treasure hunters develop strategies about when and where to search for the plastic globes, but Island Treasures is really about being at the right place at the right time.

Each plastic globe has a numbered tag inside, and people who find one can redeem it for the corresponding glass-blown globe at the Guest Information Center. The center is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday.

People must complete a claim form and provide a photo ID to receive their prize. Only one Island Treasure can be claimed per household per year so as many people as possible can enjoy the hunt.

Off-Season Vibes

Island Treasures is a great reason to plan a wintertime family vacation or girls’ weekend.

“The off-season and shoulder-season are wonderful times to visit Jekyll Island,” Hearn says. “There are not as many people on the island, and everything moves at a slower pace. There’s more of a community feel in the off-season.”

Shops and restaurants remain open during non-peak seasons, when average temperatures are in the mid-60s and lodging rates are reduced.

As Jekyll Island is about a three- to four-hour drive from Columbia County, local adventure seekers might want to turn the outing into a multi-day trip. Accommodations range from luxury resorts and boutique hotels to chain-hotel lodging and Jekyll Island Campground.

An overnight stay also provides more time to explore the island. After all, whether visitors find a globe or not, the real treasure is discovering all that Jekyll Island has to offer.

Jekyll Island tradition Island TreasuresIf You Go:

What: Island Treasures

When: January 1 – February 29; all day

Where: Jekyll Island, Georgia

How Much: $10 island parking; event is free

More Info: jekyllisland.com

By Morgan Davis