COCOA BEACH, FLA (August 9, 2022) – The Space Coast Office of Tourism has won an Award of Distinction in the 2022 FPRA Golden Image Awards. The win was in the Special Events category for the promotion of the 2021 Surfing Santas. The Award of Distinction is presented to entries that meet the standards of excellence set by a panel of judges. The Space Coast Office of Tourism also won an Award of Distinction at the local level with the Space Coast FPRA chapter for Surfing Santas in April of this year. The award was accepted by PR Manager, Meagan Happel.
The Golden Image Awards competition is conducted annually by the Florida Public Relations Association to recognize outstanding public relations programs in Florida and to encourage and promote the development of public relations in our state. The Golden Image Awards have become a standard of excellence in the state of Florida. Winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design. To qualify for judging, a Golden Image entry must incorporate sound public relations research and planning. Entries must also meet the highest standard of production, execution and evaluation of results and budget.
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!
About Space Coast Office of Tourism
The Space Coast Office of Tourism is responsible for managing the allocation of the Tourist Development Tax and conducts the day-to-day operations of promotion and advertising, administering grant programs, visitor information services, and more with the input and guidance of the Tourist Development Council and appointed committees. Florida’s Space Coast is home to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the birth of the space program, and is also known for Port Canaveral, the world’s 2nd busiest cruising port, and Brevard Zoo, a top-5 ranked zoo from USA Today’s 10Best. The region includes 72-miles of Orlando’s closest beaches including Cocoa Beach and Canaveral National Seashore. The Space Coast also includes Melbourne and the Beaches, Titusville, and Palm Bay and is an ecologically diverse area including the Indian River Lagoon, two National Wildlife Refuges and 2 State Parks and is home to 90% of sea turtle nests in North America.
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