Brooksville, FL (October 1, 2018) For four days in September, over 60 media professionals from the Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) immersed themselves in Nature’s Place to Play. From scalloping and fishing, to paddling, cycling and shooting, attendees played outdoors. Guided tours of Chinsegut Hill Manor House Museum and our Kegs, Casks & Corks Trail proved popular as well. Evenings featured receptions and banquets at local venues and eateries. Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau staff was proud to host a memorable FOWA Annual Conference.
A conference highlight was the Springs Fever Professional Development Workshop at Sand Hill Scout Reservation. Numerous speakers delivered presentations on Florida environmental and publishing topics. Among the presenters were Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, President of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition; Brittany Hall-Scharf, Hernando County Florida SeaGrant Agent and Craig Pittman, Tampa Bay Times columnist and author of “Oh Florida!”
FOWA attendees were enchanted by the exclusive mermaid-themed welcome reception and performance at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and spectacular Saxon Manor Garden Room on another night. Flawless angling and scallop diving adventures were hosted by Captains from Adventure Coast Charters, Bayport River Safari, Bebout Fishin Time Light Tackle & Fly Fishing Charters, Chase N Tails Fishing Charters and Nature Coast Inshore Charters. Kayaking was on the Weeki Wachee River by Boating in Florida and the Bayport-Linda Pedersen Coastal Paddling Trail was courtesy of Flohana, Kayaks & Attractions. Everyone loved the outdoor luncheon at Mary’s Fish Camp, catered by Florida Cracker Kitchen.
Many guests got on board a bus for stops at Marker48 Brewing and NJoy Spirits Distillery, part of the Kegs, Casks & Corks Tour. Hernando County’s first craft Brewery, Marker48, was winner of 2018’s Tampa Bay Battle of the Brews. NJoy Spirits, crafters of Wild Buck Rye Whiskey and Mermaid Rum, welcomed FOWA members for a tour of their distillery in the beautiful Chassahowitzka Wildlife Preserve. Several writers enjoyed a guided tour of Chinsegut Hill Manor Museum.
One member said he had more fun shooting skeet and trap at Hernando Sportsman’s Club than at any other Florida range. Others took an early, pre-opening ride on Brooksville’s newly paved Good Neighbor Trail. Some plan to return for the Inaugural Good Neighbor Trail Ride on October 14, marking the official opening. The famous local cuisine and service at Becky Jack’s Food Shack exceeded expectations.
Downtown Brooksville’s The Bistro was caterer at Sand Hill and home to the final evening’s annual FOWA dinner and awards ceremony. Meals were delicious, set among tables decorated as classic books for guests to identify from clues. At the awards dinner, the full spectrum of FOWA talent was evident with awards for published written content as well as photography and television and radio programming.
FOWA members creatively capture their experiences on Florida’s Adventure Coast and publish to a range of audiences. Their stories and articles have already – and will continue to – shine new light on our destination. Already, several FOWA members have shared posts and photography about Florida’s Adventure Coast on social media, with some requesting return trips for further content research.
Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau staff and Spring Hill’s Holiday Inn Express were delighted to host this unique and energetic group and welcomes them back for many future visits.
Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau’s mission is to identify, create, support and enhance activities, consistent with community assets that increase visitation and provide local economic impact. Funds for the Visitors Bureau are derived from tourist development tax, also known as “bed tax” revenue, a five percent surcharge on all transient accommodations (hotels, motels, vacation home rentals, bed & breakfast inns, campgrounds and other lodging leased for six months or less) within Hernando County.
The day-to-day activities of the Visitors Bureau are managed by the Bureau’s staff with oversight by the Hernando County Tourist Development Council (TDC), a volunteer committee appointed by the County Commission. For more information or to partner with the Visitors Bureau, contact the Bureau at 352-754-4405 or online at www.floridasadventurecoast.com.