COCOA BEACH, FLA (April 14, 2022) – The Space Coast Office of Tourism has won an Award of Distinction in the 2021 Space Coast FPRA Chapter Image Awards. The win was in the Special Events category for the promotion of the 2021 Surfing Santas. The Award of Distinction is given to entries that meet standards of excellence set by judges that demonstrate superior performance. The local Image Awards competition provides PR practitioners an excellent platform to be recognized in their home markets for their outstanding public relations tools and programs. The award was accepted by Meagan Happel, PR Manager and Alyssa Serres, Content Manager.
The Space Coast Office of Tourism promoted the return to a live event after a virtual one in 2020, where many fans were saddened that it would not be happening. In 2021, the event saw nearly 10,000 people and raised over $62,000 bringing the grand total raised across 12 years to over a quarter of a million dollars; event organizers believe it was the best one yet. Award-winning quarterback and Melbourne Beach resident Doug Flutie was on hand to assist in promotions with interviews, a video for social media, attending the event, and even jumping out of a helicopter to hype the crowd. The Space Coast Office of Tourism’s PR efforts for Surfing Santas garnered a media value of $2,203,571.04 from 502 placements from across the world.
Surfing Santas of Cocoa Beach was started in 2009 by George Trosset and his family, based on a commercial he saw. While surfing in their holiday garb, a Florida Today photographer happened to capture the moment and it went viral. The following year the event as we know it was born. The idea was to create a Cocoa Beach tradition blending the holiday with surf culture to create a one-of-a-kind event. Every year, thousands of spectators and hundreds of surfers wearing red, green, and holiday costumes hit the beach for this Space Coast Christmas Eve morning tradition and to raise money for Grind for Life and the Florida Surf Museum. The event includes hula dancers, live music, and a costume contest. You may even find out that 11-time World Champion and Cocoa Beach native Kelly Slater was right beside you hidden in costume!
Florida Public Relations Association, the oldest public relations organization in the United States, was founded in 1938 by Lt. Col. John W. Dillin, the publicity director for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. Dillin created the organization, originally known as the Florida Association of Publicity Directors, so that public relations professionals would have a forum where they could discuss the challenges they faced at work and learn how to better perform their jobs. The group’s first meeting attracted just over 50 practitioners, but that number has multiplied over the years. Though FPRA now boasts over 1,200 members and offers many additional services, its core mission – providing public relations professionals with the tools they need to achieve success and advance their careers – has not changed.
About Space Coast FPRA
For more than 30 years, the Space Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association has been promoting and developing the public relations profession. Its membership is one of the most diverse in the state with multiple levels of experience and differing areas of expertise. From non-profits to high-tech companies, the Space Coast Chapter offers a wide array of professional networking opportunities, professional development programs, and community service projects.
Meagan Happel, PR Manager