|VISIT FLORIDA’s I-95 Welcome Center Hosts Annual Winter Festival|
VISIT FLORIDA manages the state’s five Official Florida Welcome Centers located at I-10, I-95, I-75, US 231 and the Florida Capitol. As an invaluable resource for visitors to the Sunshine State, the knowledgeable and helpful staff in Florida’s Official Welcome Centers provide a wealth of information to millions of Florida visitors each year. In addition to offering detailed travel planning advice, the centers also provide maps, brochures and even a free glass of Florida citrus juice!
As a fun way to engage welcome center visitors, and showcase all there is to see and do in the Sunshine State, each of the four highway welcome centers host annual festivals throughout the year. The festivals are designed to give tourism industry participants the opportunity to promote and showcase their destination to thousands of Florida’s visitors firsthand.
A great example is the annual Winter Festival that was hosted by the I-95 Welcome Center last Friday. VISIT FLORIDA Partners and other members of Florida’s tourism industry representing Amelia Island, Central Florida, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida’s Space Coast and Jacksonville convention and visitors bureau’s promoted their destinations and shared information with more than three thousand visitors during the all day event. Visitors were entertained by members of the Jacksonville Scottish Highland Games dressed in full regalia and playing bagpipes. Pirates Dinner Theater brought a friendly pirate giving away tattoos to kids of all ages. Clown T. Buggy Jean painted faces, while appearances were made by Ollie the Gator and Captain Citrus. The Florida Department of Citrus provided fresh citrus and free promotional giveaways, along with the customary free cup of juice which is a tradition at Florida Welcome Centers.
Visitors also received deals to St. Augustine Premium Outlets, Flamingo Lake RV Resort and various hotels throughout the state with the discount guides provided by Travel Media Group. Summit Enterprises of Panama City Beach, Fairfield Inn & Suites in Titusville and Homewood Suites of Bonita Springs invited visitors to stay at their coastal properties.
Upcoming festivals include the Spring Festival at the US 231 welcome center on March 30 and the Summer Festival hosted by the I-10 welcome center on June 8. Themed events and months are not uncommon in the Official Florida Welcome Centers. Some of the monthly themed events include:
- Florida Motorsports Month (February)
- Golf Month (May)
- Fishing Month (June)
- Museums, State Parks & Trails Month (July)
We invite you to become more involved! By participating in the Welcome Center programs, Partners and Florida tourism businesses are guaranteed added exposure to the thousands of visitors that stop in to the Welcome Centers each day. For more information, contact Annette Larson, Visitor Services Coordinator, at alarson@VISITFLORIDA.org. You can also view the VISIT FLORIDA Marketing Planner for a complete list of all the co-op marketing programs available throughout the year.
Vice President, Visitor Services