Jacksonville Merchants Participate in Holiday Door-Decorating Contest

Since 2006, local Jacksonville businesses and the Jacksonville Art Council have partnered together in a holiday door-decorating contest, in hopes to enhance the holiday spirit in the city and the city’s appeal.

Businesses who wish to participate in the holiday door-decorating contest can hang holiday posters and decorations in their windows and on their door. They will then be judged for first, second, and third place prizes based on their effort and creativity.

Emily Lipscomb, president of the Jacksonville Arts Council, invites, “all citizens and visitors to take a riding or walking tour to enjoy the special effort of these merchants to beautify our city for the holidays.”

24 merchants participated in 2013’s contest and the Arts Council hopes that many more local businesses will join in for 2014 and the years ahead.

Lipscomb says that they always welcome new members and are thrilled when new businesses contact them to enter in on the holiday fun; so if you will be relocating your business to Jacksonville, your local moving company can help you move your office so that you can enter your business into this year’s holiday door-decorating contest.

The Last JSU in Lights

In 2000, Jacksonville State University president Dr. Bill Meehan celebrated his first year as university president. In honor of being campus president, Meehan and his wife Beth hosted the first JSU in Lights at their home on campus.

Meehan’s wife explains that, “we wanted to do it as a gift to the university. We wanted to be able to say thank you to the faculty, staff, students, and community for everything they do for JSU.”

The 2014 JSU in Lights was last Monday from 4-5:30 p.m. and was hosted by the president, his wife, and their 15-year-old daughter Carol Grace.

Although the event takes place at the president’s campus home and was started by his wife Beth, the president and his wife allowed for JSU in Lights to become a student-led event. Every year, JSU students would ask that attendees bring a toy for children ages 5 to 10 years old, to donate to the Jacksonville Outreach Center.

2014 marked the last year for JSU in Lights, since Meehan will be retiring next year, but the event has become a major community and campus event that the Meehan’s and JSU students hope carries on to the next university president.

If you are moving to Jacksonville to attend JSU next year, you may not be able to be a part of JSU in Lights, but there will be plenty of opportunities to join the university and community initiatives to give back and ring in the holiday season.

If you will be moving to the JSU campus, All My Sons Moving & Storage can help make your move easy and stress-free, so that you can embark on your academic adventure at JSU.

Jacksonville’s Community Center Offers Class on How to Stay Safe during the Holidays

The holidays bring added danger to being robbed or being unwelcomely approached, and former criminal investigator Jim Evancho is spreading his knowledge on how to keep you and your family safe, so that you can enjoy the holiday season.

Evancho uses his expertise in order to inform people about predatory criminal behavior and how to respond to it, so that you do not become a victim.

Earlier this year, Evancho moved his Specialized Protection Services Training Academy from Atlanta to Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Community Center has requested him to present a holiday safety course from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on December 4th. The class is free, but those who wish to attend will need to call the community center and make a reservation.

The class will give tips on how to keep you and your family safe while at home, traveling, or shopping during the holiday season. Evancho will teach the patterns that criminals often follow, so that the public can be aware and keep an eye out for criminal behavior.

Jacksonville Community Center director Janis Burns wants Jacksonville families to stay safe during the holidays and encourages everyone to attend Evancho’s class.

If you have recently moved to Jacksonville, All My Sons Moving & Storage of Jacksonville can help make sure that your move goes safely, so that you can focus on your family and not your move during the holiday season.

2014 Jacksonville Light Boat Parade

This year, Jacksonville, Florida hosted its 30th annual Christmas parade.

Every year, hundreds of Jacksonville residents gather along the banks of the St. Johns River for Community First of Jacksonville’s Light Boat Parade.

One of the perks that snowbirds enjoy once they move to Florida is not having to deal with the snow. To take the place of snow on Christmas, Floridians host Christmas boat parades on the water. These Christmas boat parades can be found throughout the entire state of Florida and typically even end with fireworks.

Boat parade spectator Joseph Dennison, says that the Community First Jacksonville Light Boat Parade is, “It’s fantastic, I’ve been coming down here for the last six years, I love Jacksonville, love the Landing, love Christmastime.”

From canoes and kayaks, to sailboats and houseboats, the 2014 Light Boat Parade featured over 70 boats and all of them got to participate in the light boat contest.

If you are moving to Jacksonville before next year’s event and you own a boat, consider entering into the community’s traditional event. If you do not own a boat, make sure that you and your family get lounge chairs and pack a picnic dinner, so that you can enjoy the show and enjoy a Floridian Christmas tradition.

Following Black Friday is Small Business Saturday

If you are moving to Jacksonville before Thanksgiving, there is a new tradition that is creating a spark within the city and getting residents pumped up about their community.

One of the biggest days of the year that is becoming a tradition, two days after Thanksgiving, is Small Business Saturday.

Jacksonville’s Small Business Saturday is a day where residents can shop the local stores and vendors and help support the community’s small businesses.

One of the biggest places for people to shop locally is the Riverside Arts Market, where numerous vendors set up shop on Saturday morning and showcase their products, crafts, services, and food.

Those who frequent Small Business Saturday say that they love knowing that they are helping the community, and that they are friends with some of the vendors and like knowing that they are also helping a friend.

Small Business Saturday allows the city’s small businesses the chance to compete with major retailers from Black Friday. However, they offer more personal products for Jacksonville locals; local, homegrown, homemade products, and more.

“Your small business owner lives here. He pays his taxes here. His children go to school here. All of those important things that help a city become an actual community come together,” said Roger Russell, a small business owner.

Everything You Need to Know About Construction Loans

If you are moving to Jacksonville and plan on building your new home, keep in mind that some home builders will request that parties seeking to build a home take out a construction loan. Many times, a construction loan is not one that benefits the buyer, All My Sons of Jacksonville can help explain why:

Construction loans are loans that are more convenient for the builder and not always the buyer. When a builder wants you to acquire a construction loan that is because they want you to finance the cost of construction, as opposed to buying a home that is already constructed.

Construction loans are often called “story loans” because your lender will want to get a very thorough construction-plan narrative and timeline before they will approve funding.

Take extreme caution with a builder who requests you to get a construction loan. If they do request you to get one, do some more research on the company and make sure that they are trustworthy. Otherwise, you may end up with a disaster of a construction loan, one that is constantly growing due to escalating costs that an irresponsible builder will pile on as construction continues.

Research the builder, check references, check with the attorney general’s office, obtain a credit report, and check for lawsuits and outstanding liens.

If the builder that you hired is confident in their work and trustworthy, ask them to take on the task of getting a constriction loan to ensure that your home will be built to your standards and on time.

Jacksonville House Hunting Tips

The most exciting part about moving to Jacksonville is house hunting in the beautiful Florida capitol.

It is always exciting going to open houses, reviewing floor plans, and finding the perfect home for you and your family.

However, moving can quickly become stressful. All My Sons of Jacksonville want you to have the best moving experience…period! We have compiled a short list to making your house hunting experience much easier!

Make A Checklist: Decide what amenities and features you absolutely cannot live without, and a list of the ones you can. Make sure that you share this list with your real estate agent so that they do not waste your time and their time when you go house hunting, showing you homes that will not suit your needs and wants.

Do Two Walkthroughs Before you Buy: Walk through the houses you like, TWICE! You want to make sure that you have not overlooked anything before you purchase a home. Bring your checklist with you and mark off things as you go.

Take Tours of the Neighborhood: Visit the neighborhood at different times throughout the day. Visit in the morning, midday, and evening so that you get a sense of what the neighborhood will be like to live in. This will help you to figure out if the neighborhood is ever consistently noisy at a particular time of day, the amount of traffic coming in and out of the neighborhood, etc.

When house hunting, most people are looking to make an investment for their lives and their families, so give yourself enough time, and make smart decisions. The housing market in Florida has been booming in 2014, if you are moving before 2015, lock in the current low mortgage interest rates!

Kid-friendly Halloween Events 2014

This week is Halloween and not every event is suitable for young children. If you have recently made a move to Jacksonville, Florida and have young children, here are some family friendly Halloween events for 2014.

1) The Haunted Trails is a brand-new walking adventure through Apocalypse Alley, the Voodoo Gardens, and the Old Spanish Trails Cemetery. Visit the old haunted house, known to the area as the old Spanish trail. Open throughout the entire month of October, this Jacksonville event is $20 per person and children under the age of 12 have a $10 admission fee and must be accompanied by an adult.

2) TNT Gymnastics Lil’ Monsters Pre-School Party includes pizza, drinks, carnival games, costume contest, Halloween crafts, goodie bags, and Trunk or Treat. Entry is $15 for the first child and $12 for all children after that. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Halloween Day.

3) From October 1st to November 2nd, Rebounderz’ Laser Tag will be haunted! Rebounderz will also be hosting a Zombie Fest which combines a haunted house with laser tag against live zombies. Only eight can enter at a time and tickets are limited so visit Rebounderz website to buy them in advance.

4) Adventure Landing Haunt Nights will be open October 3-4, 10-11, 17-19, 23-26, 29-November 1st from dusk until 11:30 p.m. and features three Haunted Houses, one of which is Jacksonville’s only 3D haunted house: Apocalypse 3D.

5) Alligator Farm Creatures of the Night is where kids can have fun trick-or-treating at the alligator zoo. This event is only open on October 24th, 25th, and Halloween night.

North Florida is one of the perfect places to live for families and offers a variety of family-friendly events year-round. For more Halloween events in Jacksonville, visit fun4firstcoastkids.com. If you are moving to Jacksonville, let your neighborhood movers make it simple and stress-free so that you can enjoy your family.

Lowest Gas Prices and Where to find them

With gas prices the lowest that they have been in four years, roughly two-thirds of gas stations nationwide are currently charging $3 or less per gallon, according to Oil Price Information Service.

Where are the best gas prices in Jacksonville right now?

- At the Valero on the Northside of town, gas is listed at $2.91 per gallon.

- 13 miles farther, on the Eastside, an Exxon off Atlantic Boulevard has gas listed for $2.88 per gallon.

- Southside Jacksonville has gas still listed for over $3 per gallon, except at a Marathon which had gas for $2.96.

- The biggest drop in price is located in Westside Jacksonville, listed at one station for $2.85 per gallon.

AAA experts say that gas prices follow a trend of dropping around this time of year; however, the recent drop has been more drastic than previous years due to the declining price of crude oil. Cost per barrel of oil have decreased from $100 per barrel to $80 per barrel.

The amount of money that people will save at the pump will help boost the local economy as well. As people have an extra $20 a week, they will be more inclined to go to dinner, see a movie, or do something with their family; allowing the money to be put into local business.

If you are moving to Jacksonville and are curious about how much gas you will need for a trip and where the best place is to fill your tank, there’s an app for that!

Some of the most popular gas calculating apps are: Journey Cost Calculator and Cost 2 Drive. Select your vehicle and your route and “get trip details” to calculate your trip’s fuel cost.

Once you calculate your moving day fuel costs, let All My Sons Moving & Storage help make your move even easier by letting us do the packing, moving, and assembly for you!

Indoor Trick-or-Treating Venues in Jacksonville

All My Sons Moving & Storage of Jacksonville wants families to have a fun but safe 2014 Halloween, so we have compiled a list of safe venues that are offering community trick-or-treating:

- Orange Park Mall: this free trick-or-treating mall venue offers not only trick-or-treating, but also a live magician show, crafts, and goodies giveaway. The mall requests that masked costumes only be used on children under the age of 12, and no weapons or hoods are allowed, for safety precautions.

- St. Johns Town Center Trick-or-Treating, located at the Town Center Mall, each participating store will have a paper pumpkin displayed in their window.

- St. Augustine Outlets are two strip malls located in St. Johns County and offer possibly the largest trick-or-treating venue in town, with over 25 stores participating. Participating stores will also be displaying paper pumpkins in their windows at this free Halloween Day event. Children under the age of 13 should be accompanied by adults.

- Publix stores all over the state are offering safe and easy trick-or-treating. Bring your costumed children to this free event, but call your local Publix to double check that they are participating first.

For more Halloween event dates and times, check your local listings. If you are moving to Jacksonville this fall season, let All My Sons Moving & Storage help make your move safe and easy so that you can enjoy the holidays and ring in the New Year in your new Jacksonville home.