By Susan D. Brandenburg
Deck the Chairs (DTC) is a unique concept born in the mind of graphic designer and long-time Beaches resident Kurtis Loftus while on an early morning run along the Jacksonville Beach shoreline back in early 2013. Concerned about the local lack of budget or interest during the winter holidays, Loftus was fondly remembering St. Augustine’s Night of Lights celebration as he ran and mused about creating possible family-friendly holiday events in Jacksonville Beach. Suddenly, his eyes were riveted on the red lifeguard chairs along the sand dunes. Those chairs were a positive traditional symbol of community well-being. What if those red chairs could be decorated by local artists and merchants and turned into a free public holiday exhibit in the empty park space at the Sea Walk Pavilion? Loftus pitched his idea to Jacksonville Beach city leaders in July 2013 and by August a group of volunteers was working on the first DTC.