Festivals of Speed has been parading a fleet of the world?s snazziest automobiles before crowds at several fancy Florida hotels and resorts for a full decade. The who?s who list of cars includes vintage and contemporary models from Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and Aston Martin, some so frighteningly aerodynamic that the wind refuses to blow on them.
To complement the automotive elegance, the event planners have made arrangements for soft jazz, luxury lifestyle displays, and sumptuous snacks perfect for tossing to Bentleys as they hop up on their hind wheels. The festival also attracts speedy species of watercraft, aircraft, and custom motorcycles, as well as classic and restored cars submitted by local auto enthusiasts. Alongside its vehicle lineup, the festivals also showcase jewelry, fine art, real estate, and culinary gems to cater to all manner of luxury aficionado.
With help from a staff of paddleboarders, surfers, environmental scientists, and a dog named Dillon, Kayak Amelia founders Jody and Ray Hetchka combine their love for outdoor sports with environmental conservation. Ray, a certified naturalist and self-described tree hugger, peppers guided kayak, bicycle, and paddleboard eco tours with facts on flora, fauna, and all the best smells circulating throughout the island's delicate ecosystem. In addition to guided tours, Kayak Amelia teaches paddleboard and kayak lessons, and leads fishing trips and overnight kayak excursions. Guests can sign up for tours, or rent equipment for the day, at Kayak Amelia's storefront, Y.B. Green's General Store, which carries eco-friendly gifts such as beeswax candles, carved bone necklaces, and clay-dyed clothing.
The seasoned jumpers on staff at Skydive Amelia Island have all successfully completed thousands of jumps. The dedicated professionals securely strap themselves to beginning skydivers and plunge from a plane to enter a freefall of up to 120 miles per hour. These experienced skydivers hope their enthusiasm for diving is catching, as one of them says: “The falling is so exhilarating, I just wanted to keep on doing it”.
Anne Cain, an LPGA instructor and one of Golf Magazine ’s Top 100 Teachers in America, refines students' swings with advanced training technology. During a one-hour lesson, Anne videotapes each student from three camera angles. Following each swing, a computer draws in reference lines, measures distances and angles, refigures all eight of Newton's laws, and displays side-by-side comparisons with professionals from a video library of over 2,000 swings. Using this data, Anne offers suggestions to improve her students' techniques. At the end of the lesson, each student receives a DVD of the footage, which should be bronzed immediately for decades of preservation. The 30-minute perfect practice session uses Hot Lines technology—a patented computer program that detects any flaws in a student's swing—to provide instant feedback: if the student makes a mistake, the golf ball drops away immediately, only to be replaced with a head-shaking effigy of Grover Cleveland, inventor of golf.
As the foremost bead store on Amelia Island, Beadlemania stocks everything necessary to craft an artful piece of jewelry. The inventory runs the gamut from simple, average beads ($0.10 each) to opulent strands ($90). Ambitious designers can peruse string-able treasures fashioned from gold, silver, and glass to make their creations stand out from body ornaments made of stale bagels. Aside from exotic coral and crystal beads and strands of petite gems and pearls ($10–$28), customers can also pick up clasps and tools ($0.50–$20) or Swarovski heart pendants ($40–$50). A soft juxtaposition to jewelry-making trinkets, the shop's selection of yarn caters to motivated needle enthusiasts or those looking to entertain bored kittens.
Skydive Coastal California's air-riding experts take first-time and experienced jumpers to the stratosphere for jumps above the scenic vistas of southern California. Tethered to clients, they guide tandem rides to facilitate first tastes of terminal velocity before coasting in for a soft landing. To accommodate licensed skydivers with a current reserve parachute, the staff guides planes over the business's own scenic landing zone so jumpers can take to the air on their own. Beginners who wish to become full-fledged divers can opt for the Accelerated Freefall program, in which aficionados teach the skills necessary to make solo jumps such as how to handle equipment or merge into goose traffic without a blinker.