VIP Destin Magazine - July 2023

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events departments Give Care Share Coastal Cuisine Swizzle Green Perspectives Destin Style Adventure Out Locale Save the Date I Am Destin 25 34 44 51 55 63 81 85 98 Publisher Greg Alexander Associate Publisher Verla Price Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Ammons Harmony Henry Verla Price Graphic Design Priscilla Atkins Brian Goins Patti Hall Vanessa Solis Art Directors Priscilla Atkins Vanessa Solis Content Creator Anna McGauley Stockton Contributing Writers/ Photographers Alicia Noble Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Anna McGauley Stockton VIP Founder Jeff Watson VIP Destin Magazine Staff Volume XX • Issue VII Women Veterans Day Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Kick-Off Party FORE! The Love of Animals Golf Tournament Eat, Drink & Be Giving Crestview Chamber Young Professionals Lunch Destin Chamber Business Before Hours Aqua Vitae IV Drip Bar Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting WCR Diamond Partner Happy Hour Second Wednesday Breakfast Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Awards Brunch SOCKS Top Hats And Tails YP Sunset Social and Concerts in the Village 15 21 29 32 36 39 46 48 59 67 77 91 SALUD! to Service Beach Warning Flags 71 75 Scott Hardin, Scott Whittemore & Bryan DeGraw at FORE! The Love of Animals Golf Tournament on the cover Photography by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. 8 | features contents Be on the lookout for our VIP Destin Ambassadors, Joe & Lea Capers, at area events.

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The 4th of July - a time when we all become red, white, and blueblooded patriots. Picnics and fireworks abound, and we can’t help but think of Frances Scott Key penning our beloved national anthem and the courageous men and women who have fought for our freedom. Amidst all the festivities, it’s important to remember the true meaning behind this holiday. It is a time to honor the men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our country and the freedoms we hold dear. I want to express my utmost gratitude to the brave souls who have served and continue to serve our beloved country. Without their unwavering dedication and sacrifice, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted. So, to all the heroes out there, I tip my hat to you and say a heartfelt thank you!

Sometimes we only think of heroes as people who have given great sacrifice for someone or something. However, throughout my life, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting countless heroes. These champions didn’t even realize they are heroes.

We are bidding farewell to one of our VIP Destin heroes, Priscilla Atkins, who is retiring this month. I vividly remember the day I met Priscilla. I had just moved to Destin and walked into a print store to order my business cards. As she helped me set the cards up, we struck up a conversation, and I was immediately impressed by her skills. In fact, I tried to hire her on the spot!

Over the years, I visited the store as often as possible, hoping to convince Priscilla to join our team. Finally, one day, she said she was ready to talk about working with our magazine. It was a stroke of luck for us, and we have been grateful for her contributions ever since. As our Art Director, Priscilla has worked miracles to ensure that we meet our printing deadlines. Many of you have had the pleasure of working with her on your ads, and you know firsthand how talented and dedicated she is. I have always called her a magazine magician because she makes things happen so quickly and beautifully.

While we will miss her daily interactions, we are excited for Priscilla as she embarks on a new season of life filled with leisure and fun. Thank you, Priscilla, for being my hero.

If you know of a non-profit or charity holding an event you would like to see featured in VIP Destin Magazine, please call me. Our mission at VIP Destin is to support as many non-profit causes as possible. Follow VIP Destin on our social media channels and follow me on Facebook @VerlaParsonsPrice.

Thank YOU for supporting VIP Destin; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.


Associate Publisher
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letter from the Associate Publisher
Be someone’s hero.

women veterans day

In 2021, Fort Walton Beach became one of a handful of locations in the United States to host a memorial dedicated to women veterans. The following year, overnor on DeSantis honored Florida’s , plus women veterans by proclaiming June as Women Veterans Day in Florida. On June , residents, visitors, and politicians gathered at the Destin-Fort Walton each onvention enter to recognize women veterans and their sacrifices for our freedom.

We are here to celebrate the many contributions that women veterans have made to the armed services, said arolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa ounty ommissioner. She continued, Women have served in American wars and con icts throughout America’s history and have performed many jobs, playing vital roles. As the keynote speaker, t. ol erry Izell shared her thoughts on the importance of the memorial. One of the things I love about this particular memorial is how politely and unapologetically it calls attention to the fact that women have been fighting, working, and some even dying in combat, t. ol. erry Izell, ommander st Special Operations Maintenance Squadron, Hurlburt Field.

Following the ceremony there was a wreath laying by the hildren of the American evolution, along with an unveiling of the Women Veterans Memorial Wall. After the festivities, guests were encouraged to visit the park to see the monuments and enjoy the native ora and fauna of the area. Featuring eight statues of women veterans, a plaza, and an ADA accesible walking path, the memorial can be accessed by parking on the east side of the convention center.

VIP Destin at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Convention Center
photos story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Terry Izell & Jeffrey Schillawski Lakeysheia Jones & Z’Kiyah Jones Olivia Steinmeier & Jennifer Bishop Larry Carter & Tami Guilmain Misty Rae Ruthrauff & Carolyn Ketchel
July 2023 | 15
Bobbie & Gordon Fornell
VIP Destin at Women Veterans Day 16 |
Isabella Johnson & Christie Pratt Brooke McLean & Bobbi Jo Dominguez Caroline Maney & Georgia Marrero Ken Wallace & Marcus Sallee Parker Destin & Austin Bury Ted Corcoran & Marian McBryde Irene & Joe O’Gallagher Kelly Jasen & Ron Shumard Jim Bagby, Jennifer Adams & Terésa Hebert Linda Bishop & Carole Bishop Jeff Wagner & Mark Bundrick Vivian Nash-Kirk & Marge Ellis Allison Sullivan & Mel Ponder
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Kick-Off Party

For over 20 years the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic (ECBMC) has been attracting captains, anglers, and fishing vessels from all over. With over teams registered, the June Kick O Party was something to behold. Presented by MarineMax, M is a top big-money fishing tournament attracting teams from the ulf States to the ayman Islands. With more than million dollars in cash and prizes, the first oor of Hotel e was abuzz with fishing news and stories. From the aptain’s Meeting to the registration table, the halls were filled with vendors, anglers and their support crews. While people mingled in the halls, the Juniper allroom was the stage for the evening’s festivities as food, stories, and music were on the menu for the Kick O Party.

The M Kick O Party was just a part of the overall tournament experience. There was golfing, weigh-ins, and of course, the simple act of people watching. While the lassic brings a lot of fishing attention to the area, the M proudly supports The illfish Foundation, Sandestin Foundation for Kids, and the Florida Department of nvironmental Protection lean Marina Program.

photos story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Lance & Ariana Shaughnessy Rachel & Matt Herman Lori & Dino McDowell Jennifer & Greg Crawford Brooke Brostrom & Dawn Schoults Marc Padgett & Kirk Ogren
VIP Destin at Hotel Effie
Dennis Gonzalez, John McDonald, Maria Galati Hill & Drew Hill
July 2023 | 21

VIP Destin at Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Kick-Off Party

Vasil Penchev & Kelly Merkel Kayla Miller & Sydney Woodman Jim Marino & Simon Alperstein Stephanie Connelly & Dennis Pasentine Tiffany & Abbey Finlaw Leah & Jeff Merschman Amber Bowker & Amber Marchand Mae Mae & Mary Beth Marshall Joena & Robert Rushing Daniel Hobgood & Chelsea Cummins
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Ricky Agee & Brandon Linder Krista Benaglio, Kylianne & Chad Winters Willie Synquin & Roger Medina Artie Davenport, Marc Padgett, Ethan Cruz & Lenny Palumbo
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When veterans are no longer on active duty, the transition often leaves them with a void in their life and leaves them searching for comradery. This is especially true for those who su er from physical and emotional scars and injuries from their time in the military. Organizations like Veterans 4 are important to veterans as they create a safe place for them to spend time with like-minded fellow veterans. Keeping hands and minds busy building motorcycles, going for a ride, or just spending time chatting are all ways Je and his team at Veterans 4 help veterans.

Interview with Veterans 48

and President Jeff Powell

What is Veterans 48?

Veterans 4 is a nonprofit that builds modified motorcycles for wounded veterans. We add a tank shifter and a clutch to that shifter on the left side and a linked brake system so there are no controls at the feet. A veteran with prosthetic legs can still ride wheels, as long as they can support the weight of the bike at a stop.

How did this organization come about?

I have always liked the 4 Panhead Harley Davidson motorcycle. It is a classic look. I was thinking about the fact that it has a shifter on the tank and not at the left foot like bikes today and thought that a rider would not need a left leg to ride. Then I was looking at the 4 Panhead kits that they sell and thought we could get a veteran to come to the shop and build their own bike and we help so we all get the wrench therapy. For various reasons we now acquire a Springer Softtail Harley and modify that for the veteran.

What impact does Veterans 48 have on the community?

V4 has an almost accidental impact on the veteran community. Veterans often stop by out of curiosity and end up sharing their story and reestablish a connection to a very important part in their life. The fact that I have a shop is unusual as a nonprofit. So, I have created a safe place for veterans to hang out even if they don’t ride or wrench on the bike.

How does Veterans 48 help Veterans?

When a military member separates from the service they often feel isolated and in an incompatible place, often having a di cult time adjusting to civilian lifestyle. We create a safe space to reconnect and realize that most of us feel the same way, therefore we are not alone and not strange.

What are some future goals?

Mechanically we are going to branch into sidecars and trikes. Maybe even mechanical wheels that extend to support the bike at slow speeds. Functionally we will expand the shop so that veterans can work on their own bikes.

As far as events we are working on a nationwide relay whereas we provide riders from each of the national veteran motorcycle riding groups

July 2023 | 25

(CVMA, VFW, AmVets, MIlVets, American Legion etc) a 48 Star Flag to escort to each of their chapters in each of the contiguous United States. Upon arriving at each chapter location in that state they put a chapter pin on one of the ags stars and hand it o to another rider. The first representative from one of those groups that arrives back at our shop having escorted the ag to all 4 states wins for their organization.

What are some challenges your organization faces?

We are new so getting the word out that we exist is a challenge. Finding veteran amputees who want to ride is a small challenge. The bikes are costly, so donations are slow to come by. obody gets paid at V4 so volunteers are not plentiful.

What events does your organization host? Are any open to the public?

Soon to come, the annual ag relays. Yes, open to public.

What is your role and how did you get involved with Veterans 48?

I started it and recruited two teammates I served with while I was doing my years of Air Force service. This is my purpose and therapy too.

What’s your favorite thing about being involved with the organization?

The nonprofit community is like a secret society. It draws the best folks who just want to help others.

What would you like our readers to know about your organization? of our donations go to building bikes for veterans.

How can someone get involved and/or support your nonprofit?

I need all aspects of running a nonprofit. vents coordinators, social media professionals, web design and management, grant writers, mechanics, handy folks to modify and maintain the building and of course we always need donations.

For more information, go to and find us at



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We create a safe space to reconnect and realize that most of us feel the same way, therefore we are not alone and not strange.
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FORE! The Love of Animals Golf Tournament

East of Freeport there is a forested tract where love abounds. A property where a visitor may see everything from dogs and cats, to horses and birds of prey. Known as a place for second chances, Alaqua Wildlife Refuge provides services for both abandoned pets as well as injured wildlife. Since its founding in 2007, Alaqua has grown from a shelter to a refuge that provides respite for over animals. With everything that it takes to fulfill its mission, Alaqua’s monthly budget is over $250,000. In addition to grants, Alaqua periodically holds fundraisers to support its mission and on June , The inks olf lub at Sandestin hosted the nd Annual FO ! The ove of Animals olf ournament. Huge events like this have lots of plates spinning and they take e ort to coordinate and run. Thank you to all of our participants, sponsors, and volunteers who made this happen,” Stacey Salatich, Director of Philanthropy, Alaqua. Sponsored by Sandestin olf and each esort, golfers enjoyed breakfast sandwiches, a take-along doggy bag lunch for the course, along with a “Yappy Hour” awards celebration featuring music, ra es, hors d’oeuvres, and beverages.

VIP Destin at The Links Golf Club
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Kristen Carbone & Lea Capers Victoria Lewis & Marina Alexa Scott Hardin, Scott Whittemore & Bryan DeGraw Christoffer Fasth & Cody Wimpee
July 2023 | 29
Pax Mogenson & Mark Marionneaux Wanda Liphard, Sandee Sundeen & Barbara Bauman
VIP Destin at FORE! The Love of Animals Golf Tournament 30 |
Jim Liufau & Allen Newton Stacey & Dale Salatich Matthew Carbone & Frank Carbone John D. Herrick & John W. Herrick Ronnie McBrayer & Kevin Murphy Peter Bocchino & Marina Bocchino Sharon Detiege & Tina LaCourse Mark Alwin & Joe Capers José Marengo & Nick Zimmerman Thomas Garcia & Tom Young Gwen Skari & Inge Tudor John Sadie & Dave Baggett
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Eat, Drink & Be Giving

Food, drink, and good company brought people together on June 10, all for a great cause. at, Drink e iving, a culinary fundraiser benefiting the merald oast Autism enter, was an exciting yet intimate event featuring delectable dishes and wine pairings at The Heritage oom at One .

hef Shelby Farrell and iceville’s own hef Dan Pettis cooked up mouthwatering bites paired with savory wines, a silent auction, and more. All ticket sales and donations from this exclusive event went to the merald oast Autism enter and the children they serve. In addition, the ticket sale profits were doubled thanks to the generosity of the Dugas Family Foundation. Food and drinks were sponsored by Ocean eef Vacation entals eal state, who also donated a -night beach condo stay as part of the silent auction. Other auction items included a round of golf for 4 people at the aven olf lub in Sandestin, and a twonight stay at Osprey Pointe.

The merald oast Autism enter is a non-profit organization located in iceville, dedicated to educating and improving the lives of individuals with autism in Okaloosa and Walton counties and surrounding areas. They were founded in to fill a need in the community for quality therapeutic and educational services for individuals on the autism spectrum.

VIP Destin at The Heritage Room at One20
photos & story by Alicia Noble Tracy Wood & Andrea Farrell Lindsey & Tanner Howell John & Melissa Watson Teri Pearson, Marcia Cathey & Stephany Jaskolski Rachel Kimbrell & Shervin Rassa Peaches Saacks & Karen Zink
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Summer Ward & Linda Satterwhite
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The awards keep adding up for local restaurant Crackings. and its owners Tommy and Marcia Green and their son, manager Preston Green. Not only have they been named Best Place for Breakfast in Destin from VIP Destin Magazine five years in a row, but Crackings. was also named in Yelp’s Top 100 Restaurants in the state of Florida, coming in at number 27. Most notably, Crackings. was recently named Yelp’s number 4 restaurant for the entire country! An impressive feat for any restaurant, especially for one that is family owned and operated.

Although Crackings. is only five years old, the Greens are no strangers to the restaurant business. They owned a restaurant for 20 years but when that restaurant became a national brand, they wanted to get back to their roots of running a local business. They wanted to be able to provide and adapt for their customers without corporate restraints. To the Greens, running a locally owned and operated restaurant is important when it comes to giving the customer the best experience possible. They love it when their out of town guests tell them that they have waited all year to visit again.

While customer service is important, you don’t get to be the 4th Best Place for Brunch in the United States without having some really great food, too. As a breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot, Crackings. offers plenty of options to choose from. Manager Preston Green created all the items on the menu, from biscuits to eggs benedict to omelets, and everything in between, all from scratch. Fan favorites include lobster gouda grits, which is lobster sauteed in coastal butter atop gouda cheese grits. As well as crawfish eggs-toufee, a tribute

photo by Mark ittle Photography photo by Mark ittle Photography background photo by Mark ittle Photography

to our Ca un neighbors to the west, combines crawfish, poached eggs, bacon, and fried green tomatoes, all topped with a Creole hollandaise sauce. or those who en oy a sweet start to their day, Crackings. has cinnamon rolls, tiramisu rench toast, or a choice of rench toast, pancakes, or waf es topped with bananas foster, among many other sweet choices. ealthy options are also available at Crackings., including a yogurt, fruit, and granola bowl, a uinoa berry bowl, and an avocado at, which is served on wheat bread -- how very sensible. unch options include wraps, chicken pot pie, and other favorites.

The Greens take pride in the fact that they do not sacrifice uality when it comes to the ingredients they use in their restaurant. They are set on the product brands that they have been using for years and continue to stick to them regardless of market prices. specially with their proteins, if the distributors are out of stock, they will not accept substitutions. Preston says, Unfortunately, sometimes this does happen due to supply chain shortages which is out of our control. owever, we would rather suggest another item that is similar or based on our crew’s recommendation before we would serve an inferior product.

With customer service, uality ingredients, and great food being top priorities for Crackings. it’s no surprise that their restaurant has received so many awards. Their desire for their customers to feel at home can be felt throughout the restaurant and that special connection keeps customers voting for them year after year. or those in Walton County, Crackings. has a second location on A also in the family, with son Clayton and wife risty at the helm. The Green family is well aware of the faith and fortitude it takes to get it right, and they hope that effort brings you back again and again.

Best Breakfast

Crackings. US , Destin, 4 - 4 crackings .com
photo by Mark ittle Photography photo by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. photo by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
"Longtime family-owned restaurant specializing in homestyle breakfast, brunch & lunch dishes."

Crestview Chamber Young Professionals Lunch

The Crestview Chamber Young Professionals Lunch on June 15 took place at the Blackwater Golf Club. Laurine Ollivier from Nantes University in France gave an overview of her 10-week internship with the Chamber by talking about some of the areas she worked in. The last weeks have gone by so fast. Since I want to be in marketing, this internship helped me in two ways: one was I was able to work on my English and, two, I learned about all aspects of the Chamber by working on a variety of projects including the Health and Wellness Expo, which was my internship project.”

While the YPs enjoyed their lunch, John Ensing, YP Chair, introduced Jennifer Conoley, President and CEO of Florida’s Great Northwest (FGN) as the guest speaker. O ering her perspective, Jennifer’s thoughtful answers during the estion and Answer session taught everyone about how F attracts businesses and how to grow as an individual. Business and personal development go hand-in-hand, if you want to grow as an individual, “Surround yourself with the right people and reassess those that are already in your circle, shared Jennifer. Find opportunity to lift people up because there is room for all of us to shine.”

VIP Destin at The Crossing at Blackwater Golf Club
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
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Sandra Wilson & Jennifer Conoley Jo Soria & Chad Lawhon Jayce Vanderford & Chance Leavins Eileen Taylor & John Feeney Jordan Davis & Deborah Lawson
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Summer of Fashion

Get ready for an unforgettable Summer of Fashion, brought to you by VIP Destin. We are thrilled to announce that local businesses from the fashion and style industries will be participating in a fashion shoot in July.

Our August issue will feature stunning photos from the fashion shoot, showcasing the latest and greatest in fashion design. From current trends to timeless classics, you’ll experience it all in our pages.

We can’t wait to share this exciting event with you, and we’re honored to be able to support our local fashion community. Stay tuned for more updates and sneak peeks - this is one Summer of Fashion you will not want to miss!

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Destin Chamber Busine Before Hours

The Emerald Grande hosted the Destin Chamber’s Business Before Hours on June 9. Representing the “world’s luckiest fishing village , the Destin hamber provides products and services to its member businesses [to help] them grow and prosper. On a regular basis, meetings such as usiness efore Hours are held to provide a networking opportunity for members and guests, while also providing educational and promotional opportunities for area businesses and organizations. June’s meeting was sponsored by Holloway Yacht harters, which provides all types of charters ranging from fishing to visits to rab Island. The nonprofit spotlight featured United Way merald oast, which has been improving the quality of life, health, education, financial stability and providing essential needs for the area for over 50 years. Rounding out the presentations was epresentative Pat Maney, who covered bills a ecting service members, the Mid- ay Bridge and area educational programs.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Ryan Holloway & Jeremy McVay Harmony Henry & Beverly White Mel Ponder & Dion Moniz
VIP Destin at Emerald Grande
Misty Rae Ruthrauff & Will Estell Leslie Sheekley & Alisha Hurwood Danielle Thomas & Lee Holland Toby Williams & Tony Mallett Catherine Card & Jason Fulghum
July 2023 | 39
David Butler & Representative Pat Maney Fred Fenn & Bill Head Wendi Davis & Courtney Dollson Jason Hall & Kevin O’Rourke Jason Belcher & Brenda Gray Allen Geisman & Bryana Bahmer Sally Mevers & Katy Sarubbi Marlee Tucker & Jessica O’Neill Brittany Williams & Becky Tully
40 | VIP Destin at Destin Chamber Business Before Hours
Corlene Ziegler & Debbie Bruce Jason Roy & Benjamin Ingerman Gabe Contreras, Myla Martinez & Audra Capetillo Lockwood Wernet & Monica Wallis
a is els i a la ea oa Donatelli July 2023 | 41
ane oo e o t lefiel e in ste


The owners of Street Legal Golf Carts, Mike and Heather Luzansky, don’t just want you to cruise through paradise in style, they want you to cruise through paradise in YOUR style. Mike started this company in 2018, after a cross country RV trip led him to discover the Destin area. While he started renting golf carts to tourists as a side job, Mike found that during the off-season he enjoyed customizing his rental golf carts. Soon after, he started Street Legal Golf Carts. What was once a one-man show has expanded into a family business with the addition of his wife, Heather, his Dad, Neil and his brother, Matt. This family works together with the same goal, to provide custom golf carts with great customer service.

Street Legal Golf Carts now has three locations, one in Miramar Beach, and two in Santa Rosa Beach. With so many golf cart models to choose from, including Custom Club Car, Advanced EV, Kodiak EV, and Vivid EV, and featuring 4, 6, and 8 person carts, there is a cart for everyone

SANTA ROSA BEACH LOCATIONS: 4947 E County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549 316 S County Highway 83 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549 MIRAMAR BEACH LOCATION: 43 N Geronimo Street Miramar Beach, FL 32550 850-737-1046 (RENTALS) 850-737-3393 (SALES)

in their impressive showrooms. Their Custom Club Car is just the start, the customization options for any cart you choose at Street Legal is what separates this business. After all, you want your golf cart to stand out as it rolls through town, and Mike and his team have just what you need to make that happen. Custom body and interior color options are available to make sure your cart represents your favorite team, colors, or your personality. Pairing your colors with one of their custom wheel options further customizes your ride. Full custom Audio systems are also available, with Bluetooth and Carplay capabilities.

Street Legal Golf Carts offers service and repairs for your golf cart at their locations as well, and with the same care and attention you get throughout the company. Their team are experts at swapping out those old acid batteries for the newest lithium batteries, offering the latest in technology and breathing new life into your older cart. The change will ensure you get many more years of beach trips, shopping excursions, cruising, and fun with your golf cart.

Through their sister company Street Legal Golf Cart Rentals, golf cart rentals are also available for tourists and locals who just want to cruise for a weekend. Offering 4, 6, and 8 person options, these rentals can t the whole family and more. Street Legal Golf Cart Rentals are delivered and picked up by them and they offer both short-term rentals and long-term rentals for snowbirds who enjoy our area in the wintertime. They offer book now/pay later online reservations so vacationers can avoid the last-minute hassle of trying to nd a cart. With large crowds in and around beach communities in the area, golf carts are the easiest and most ef cient way to get around. From the beaches to restaurants to shopping, parking can be tight and a hassle to navigate. Renting a golf cart for your vacation will allow you to spend less time nding parking and more time enjoying all the area has to offer.

Mike, Heather, and the crew at Street Legal Golf Carts strive to give the best customer service experience to all their customers, whether they are buying, renting, servicing, or customizing their club car. Go by one of their showrooms to check out the inventory or book them via online reservations for a rental — you’ll be zooming around paradise in no time. •

Bric à Brac Latin Nights, located above Bric à Brac restaurant, was born from a love of dancing. Coowner of Bric à Brac, Fernando Petit, has enjoyed Latin style dancing for years, so when he and his brother and co-owner, Rodolfo Petit, were deciding on a location for their new restaurant in March 2014, they found a building that came with a separate, large, open space on the second floor. This meant it was perfect for their two passions, food and dance, a restaurant downstairs and a Latin bar upstairs.

The brothers wanted to bring something special to the Destin area. Having noticed all the nightlife in Destin was similar, they wanted to have a unique place with Latin music and dancing. They wanted to create a place where locals and tourists alike could come and enjoy an authentic Latin vibe. A space where Latin music lovers can have a place all their own and those not yet familiar with the music can come and experience something different. Hopefully gaining an appreciation and understanding for the music and dancing from a Latin perspective, and possibly begin taking dance lessons with their dance team. Bric à Brac Latin Nights has now become well known throughout the Emerald Coast as the place to go for a unique atmosphere that most guests have only experienced in nightclubs in Latin

American countries, a vibe like no other here in Destin.

Bric à Brac Latin Nights is open every Friday and Saturday night for dancing, with doors opening around 10:30pm. While all are welcome on both nights, Friday night offers a more diverse spectrum of Latin music for all to experience. This is the night the two brothers would like guests to experience with an intro to salsa lesson starting at 9pm. Saturday nightʼs music is more geared towards Latin music enthusiasts. No matter the night, the DJs at Bric à Brac, who all specialize in Latin music, ensure all customers have a great time dancing and enjoying the music. Special events are hosted about every two months, each with a different theme and special guest DJs. Upcoming events include “Little Summer Dress” night in July, “Reggaeton on Fire” August 5th with DJ Base Pay, the “All White Party” in the fall, and their annual Halloween bash with DJ Lecz.

The Petits have taken their love of Latin music and dancing and created an experience in their bar that brings both authentic Latin music lovers and those who want to try something new. They love sharing the vibe of their Latin culture with their family, friends and customers, offering them a unique opportunity not found anywhere else in the Florida panhandle.

thank you for voting us best in destin again!

Latin Nights Salsa Savvy

Do you want to learn to salsa dance? Latin dance lessons are available at Bric à Brac during the week. Fernando was renting studio space to share his passion of Latin dance with others well before Bric à Brac was a reality. Established in January 2012, his salsa dance group, Salsa Savvy, has been helping hundreds of people throughout the years learn to dance. These lessons are now taught at Bric à Brac by teachers from the Salsa Savvy team. All students start out on the onday class and as a studentʼs skill level increases, they are moved to the Tuesday lessons, and later to Wednesday. At this point, you will be a strong dancer and a member of their team, which is a group of friends bonded by music and dance. Whether you just want to try something new or have an end goal of dancing the night away on the weekends, these twohour long lessons are a great way to get t, have some fun and learn a new skill or hobby. To learn more about Salsa Savvy lessons visit on Facebook (Salsa Savvy Destin) or Instagram (@salsasavvydestin).



HAPPY HOUR: 5-6:30 P.M.


850.424.6369 • 824 hwy 98 east, destin


Aqua Vitae IV Drip Bar

Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting

The Destin and Walton Area Chambers gathered on June 13 to celebrate Aqua Vitae IV Drip ar’s grand opening and ribbon cutting at merald oast Parkway. Thank you all for coming and helping us with our dream, said Dr. eorge Dockendorf, Owner.

Voted est In Destin , Aqua Vitae o ers hydration as well as multiple customized IV vitamin drips, vitamin injections, boosters, and aromatherapy oxygen that has been specifically formulated for dehydration, hangovers, headaches, fatigue, stress, immunity, athletic performance, and even PMS. With a posh interior, every client receives personal attention and is o ered pillows, blankets, and sleep masks. Perfect for an individual visit or a membership, Aqua Vitae’s new location can also be booked for parties or postathletic events. Aqua Vitae o ers discounts to active-duty military and first responders. Hours vary and information regarding all the IV cocktails can be found on their website,

VIP Destin at Aqua Vitae IV Drip Bar
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Susan & Chris Hendryx Antonina Venzhynovych & Brooke Farmer Roger Dockendorf, Michel Bridges & Tony Larkin
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Dr. George & Stacee Dockendorf Stacy Head & Bryana Bahmer Fred Fenn & Brenda Gray Harmony Henry & Harry Bell Victoria Majors & George Elliott Ginny Richerson & Ann Kief Payton Brundege & Joshua Cowsert
Build Your Dream With Farrow, You’ll Love the Difference. | (850) 585-2783 | License: #CGC1531312 •new homes •luxury remodels •garages •kitchens •bathrooms •additions Progression of a Custom Home God Bless Our Veterans and Their Families! July 2023 | 47
Alex Lamberson & Jess Garey

WCR Diamond Partner Happy Hour

The Women’s ouncil of ealtors merald oast held an after-hours event at Stock & Trade Design Company to select their new board on June 8. “We are a network of successful women working to empower other women to be leaders in their community. Today we are holding an election where we select our 2023/2024 board. We bring them in during the middle of the year so that they have months of training before they become their positions, said Sherrie Salas, President of W merald oast. Sponsored by Southern Vacation entals, attendees enjoyed a time of conversation enhanced with beverages and light hors d’oeuvres. From presentations by the sponsor to an overview of the candidates, guests enjoyed a few hours together with their fellow professionals.

As the recognized voice for women in real estate W merald oast members share the values of integrity and respect while o ering mentorship, camaraderie, and a welcoming environment to professionals across the area who are looking to develop themselves both personally and professionally.

VIP Destin at Stock & Trade Design Company
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Taylor Labno & William Mitchell III Michaela Crye & Amanda Dahl Veronica Deveau & Stephanie Holcomb
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Sherrie Salas & Heather Blatz Cole Mertins & Jessika Jordan Antek & Melissa Skoniecki Rachel Simely & Daniele Hamrick


Dr. Olivier Broutin developed a vision for his path in life – to impact the world by creating more smiles. The Smileology brand stems from this first realization. Dr. Broutin built his practice by working towards a new model for dentistry, one which would prioritize patient benefits and support the growth, education and enthusiasm of his practice.

Through his extensive education and advanced training, Dr. Broutin has become an expert in his field, routinely training with other leaders in Dentistry as a resource, including our partners Dr. Alexandra Ortega and Dr. Fady Shaaban. He also works as a speaker and teacher in addition to working with patients on a daily basis. His knowledge, methods and skills have brought world class dentistry to the communities of the Emerald Coast of Florida.

Joining forces with the best and brightest practitioners, the Smileology team has grown to revolutionize dentistry. Studying the smile in all its forms – whether rebuilding with dentures, implants and relief of pain, or brightening and refining through whitening, veneers, and other cosmetic procedures – has made Smileology the leader in cosmetic and restorative dentistry.

Melissa Connor & Stephanie Burroughs Cassie Andriakos & Barbara Pfeiffer-Marcum Beth Madrigal & Tula Tucker Monica Davey & Sabine Robertson
3 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS 12273 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Ste 117 Miramar Beach, FL (850) 424-7887 4400 E Hwy 20, Ste 101 Niceville, FL (850) 897-4488
Dr. Olivier Broutin understands that a genuine smile comes from a place of confidence, self esteem and high quality of life.
1900 S Ferdon Blvd Ste 170 Crestview, FL (850) 331-3392
Dr. Olivier Broutin Dr. Fady Shaaban Dr. Alexandra Ortega
We honor all the brave men and women who have served and are serving their country with bravery, dedication and self sacrifice.
July 2023 | 49

Palm Trees

Ok… I will admit that locally the words above either excite ill feelings or stir the soul with positive tropical vibes. Many folks just want to see live oaks and southern magnolias presented in our landscapes.

When I meet clients for the first time and we begin discussing style, one of the first uestions I ask is if they want to see palm trees in their landscape. I will ensure you that there is little compromise on their stance. Most people either love them or hate them. With over 2,600 species of palms on our planet you will come across them uite fre uently. It’s a little known fact that Palms are monocots, so botanically speaking, palms are really big grass.

In my years of owning a andscape firm I have had the opportunity to learn much about palm trees. Way back, I was that guy that had installed the Med ool Palms Phoeni Dactylifera for Sacred Heart Hospital at the corner or 9th Avenue and Bayou Boulevard. There was such an uproar in the media that we took them out in the night so the pics would not end up on the front of P ! ater my company, Green Procedures Inc., was chosen to design and install landscapes such as Portofino Island esort, Beach Club and Verandas on Pensacola Beach. aving installed thousands of palms early in my career I researched and gained much needed knowledge, many times gaining through trial and error.

We live in what I call a transition area. We are neither Tropical nor orthern. Many winters we will not see the temperatures dip below the freezing mark. But, occasionally we will have an

Arctic blast much like this past Christmas ride down on a rogue jet stream and remind us just how frigid we can get. With temperatures dipping well into the teens many of our less cold tolerant palms took a hit and some died. While many are beginning to put on new fronds some are not. If the most terminal bud pulls out of the center of the fronds called pulling the spear , the palm is dead. However, while most palm species are found in the rain forest around the globe, many palms grow in areas that reach to zero degrees. Armed with the appropriate knowledge, it’s possible to create a tropical looking landscape along the Gulf Coast complete with those Caribbean vibes that palm trees bring into any e uation. Love them or hate them? My personal feelings are that I want to see Palm trees in Pensacola. ot always and certainly not in every design but, when called for…. A great design takes all things into account: The architecture of the new, The architecture of the surrounding, What am I trying to say to those around me through my design? … and What is the sustainability of this landscape?

The Sabal Palm Cabbage Palm is the most common palm tree in Florida and is native to lorida and all along the Southeastern US coasts. This cold hardy palm can handle the cold down into the mid-teens. Its palm fronds can also handle our windy conditions better than any other palm. The Sabal is commonly referred to as the Cabbage Palm since this is the species of palm that earts of Palm cabbage like avor comes from. This practice kills the Palm and has been outlawed in Florida.

So let’s say you do like the idea of palms in your landscape. How does one achieve a desired result? First, you must have the knowledge of what palms can handle NW Florida winters. Secondly, the growth habit and overall look will determine how a palm is used in the landscape. Since we get to or below the 20 degree mark every few years I am only listing the palms that tolerate that condition.


Primarily utilized in groupings in design.

Sabal Palm - Sabal Palmetto (native)

Washingtonia Palm - Washingtonia Robusta

Desert Fan Palm - Washingtonia Filifera

Windmill Palms - Trachycarpus fortunei


Primarily utilized as center points or Street trees.

Canary Date Island Palm - Phoenix Carinesis

Medjool Date Palm - Phoenix Dactylifera

Wild Date Palm - Phoenix Sylvestris

Pindo Palm - Butia capitata (Jelly Palm)


Primarily used in planting beds or as accents.

Saw Palmetto - Serena reopens (native)

Coontie Palm - Zamia integrifolia (actually a cycad )

European (or Mediterranean ) Fan PalmChamaerops humilis

Sago Palm - Cycas revoluta (also a cycad)

Lady Palm - Rhapis excelsa

Needle palm - Rhapidophyllum hystrix (native)

Dwarf Palmetto - Sabal Minor (native)


When we are considering trimming a palm tree it should be noted that only yellowing or brown palm fronds should be removed. If green fronds must be removed, choose only the fronds growing downward. Horizontal and upward growing fronds should be left alone. Over trimming causes stress and only invites pests. Timely removal of the fruit or owers reduces the number of potential seedlings and this practice is encouraged in designed landscapes. It should be noted that since palms lack the cambium layer that is just beneath the bark of a tree, the palm trunk will not heal itself from any injury. Thus, measures must be taken to protect the trunk from gouges or other mechanical damage since it will forever be a conduit for insects and disease.


Palms have specific needs when it comes to fertilizers. A good palm tree fertilizer is best and in addition to Nitrogen and Potassium, it will contain Magnesium (a secondary nutrient) and micronutrients as well. A palm tree that is deficient in Magnesium will demonstrate yellowing lower leaves (the older fronds) as the palm will rob the older fronds to support their new growth at the center bud. Look for a 8-0-12-4 fertilizer formulation that is slow release with that terminal number being Magnesium. The University of Florida has determined this to best for all palms and recommends the feeding every 3 months. Read the label for other specifics concerning the application.

Most people that want palms in their landscapes are reaching back to a feeling they received while on vacation in a tropical setting. While Northwest Florida is not tropical, we certainly can create and maintain that look and feel that excites that young couple or family that visits our little part of the world. Let’s be good stewards of this beauty.

Steve R. Black Practicing Agronomist and Landscape Design along the Gulf Coast for 36 years
Questions or comments? Email


Decorating your home takes knowing the needs of your space, along with the needs of those who occupy it. Combine this with the ability to take a few chances, and you’re well on your way to creating stylish décor for your home. One versatile way to update your home is to use stripes in your décor. Stripes not only look great, but they can also trick the eye and give the illusion of space. Using vertical stripes makes an area seem taller, perfect for making a room appear to have higher ceilings than it actually has. Horizontal stripes make a room feel wider than it is, a great trick for smaller spaces. Stripes also add personality and flare to any decorating situation and come in many styles that suit individual tastes and preferences.

Accessories Outside Rugs


Let’s start with the bold choice of using stripes on your furniture upholstery. Yes, it’s a commitment, but what a statement it makes! In the living room, a pair of striped side chairs will complement more neutral furniture. For a more overstated look, a striped sofa can wow the room and pairs well with neutral chairs. In the bedroom, a striped upholstered headboard adds pop and personality to your space without being overwhelming. A striped dressing bench or even throw pillows will also add sass and character to your space.

With wallpaper trending and in style again, the options are endless. However, striped wallpaper always makes a statement. From small spaces like powder rooms to large accent walls in the living spaces, striped wallpaper can change the look of any room in your house. With different styles of stripes, ranging from large and bold to smaller, pinstripe patterns, there’s one to match your space and style, all while amping up and updating your room.

If you’re happy with your décor and just want to add a bit of zest, striped accessories are the way to go. A striped throw blanket adds personality when draped across furniture. Striped bath and hand towels are a great way to add a little fun to your bathroom décor. New linens give your bedroom a fresh makeover with striped comforters, duvet covers, or sheets. A little goes a long way when it comes to accessorizing with stripes.

A simple way to use stripes in your home is with rugs. Striped rugs can take basic décor up a notch, especially if you lean toward more classic and muted styles. Throwing down a bold striped rug

changes the look of your room without committing to new furniture or wall coverings. With many choices available, there’s a rug perfect for your space, whether you go bold in the bathroom, plucky on the porch or daring in the dining room.

One of the most classic ways to use stripes in your décor is outside on patio furniture. Rugby stripes on a lounge chair cushion takes a patio set from so-so to sophisticated in an instant. Even if you don’t spend a ton of money on these cushions, the look alone adds a classic style to the patio area. If you don’t want to change out your cushions, striped throw pillows will add that sophisticated look without committing to all new cushions.


Second Wednesday Breakfast

The Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce held their Second Wednesday Breakfast on June 14. Hosted by the Niceville Community Center, the breakfast was sponsored by the City of Niceville. In addition to the normal networking, storytelling, and joking around, this breakfast was special because it was an opportunity to celebrate Lannie Corbin, City Manager.

“Mr Corbin has given the city 52 years of strong leadership, making Niceville a top choice for families to live and businesses to thrive,” said Tricia Brunson, President and CEO, Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. “His retirement is well deserved; it has been a pleasure working alongside him over the years, and his daily presence will be missed. However, he is leaving the city in a great position for a new manager to lead the fantastic city team for even more success.”

ike all hamber breakfasts, this one had activities and discussions, door prizes, ra e winners, and new member introductions. However, since Lannie Corbin was being celebrated, a fun trivia contest was held. Attendees learned that not only did annie serve as President of the hamber, but he was also instrumental in organizing the first Mullet Festival and even shoveled dirt during the building of John Sims Parkway.

VIP Destin at Niceville Community Center
photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr Jeremiah Mosley & Mike Mosley Tricia Brunson & Lannie Corbin Courtney Dollson, Jerry Williams & Gabe Contreras Kristin Ammons & Shauna Skinner Gretta Barrett & Savannah McQuaig Ha Heinis e o t lefiel
July 2023 | 59
Do aine el Pon e Catherine Card & Brad Embry Melissa Kearly & Tammy Matz Hayden & Mason Brunner Jo Soria & Cam Johnson Travis Selski & Madilyn Schexnider Tina Rushing & Emily Clarrey Representative Pat Maney & David Deitch Audra Capetillio & Wendi Davis Christopher Pote & Tito More
VIP Destin at Niceville Valparaiso Chamber Second Wednesday Breakfast 60 |
Dan Morrow & Angela Roy

Real VIPs work at Beachworx

Beachworx, the Emerald Coast’s premiere coworking space, offers flexible affordable access to a professional office environment with no membership required. Access our coworking space with a day pass or rent a conference room by the hour. Private office memberships begin with a monthly commitment.

Everyone who accesses Beachworx becomes part of our community, which means you’ll have access to networking, business support programs and unique channels for marketing your business.

Amenities include:

• Private offices

• Coworking in The Hub

• Conference rooms

• Podcast studio

• Printing, scanning

• Business address with mail receipt

• Reliable WiFi

• Kitchenette, complimentary coffee, filtered water & snacks

Heath Rominger & Christopher Saul Bob Marinan, Kay Rasmussen & Dan Henkel Marie Hallion, Barbara Palmgren & Steve Czonstka
34990 Emerald Coast Pkwy. | Suite 300 Destin, FL | (850) 974-3435
Sue McCool & Brenda Franko
July 2023 | 61

Exploring Gulf Lighthouses

Lighthouses are dotted along coasts across America from sea to shining sea and bodies of water in between. Known as a beacon of light and hope, lighthouses have guided many a weary sailor for hundreds of years, long before GPS, nautical charts, radar beacons, and other navigational aids were available. In 1789 Congress felt lighthouses were so important they passed the ighthouse Act, as the first public works program through the federal government and even before they established pay for themselves. This act established and supported the construction and upkeep of lighthouses, beacons, public piers, and buoys.

While the design and colors of lighthouses are beautiful, they also serve a function. The color of a lighthouse is based upon the hues of the environment surrounding the structure. If a lighthouse is up against a lighter background, such as rocks, it’s painted red and white to ensure visibility. The lighthouse will be painted white when up against a dark background, such as woods or a field. The height of the lighthouse is based on the curvature of the earth and is perfectly positioned to be visible to the sailor from sea. Lighthouse designs are up to the builder and the needs of the environment. They come in all different styles as well, from a traditional design to a house nestled on a rock to a unique castle standing tall against the sea.

The Gulf Coast has its fair share of lighthouses. While some are more famous than others, each has its own purpose and history, with one common goal, to keep ships and the sailors aboard them out of harm’s way and guide them to safety.

Pensacola Lighthouse-Pensacola, FL

One of the more famous lighthouses in the United States, the Pensacola ighthouse has guided sailors for hundreds of years. The first attempt at a lighthouse in Pensacola was built in a location that wasn’t ideal for sailors, so 25 years after its construction, money was allocated to build a new lighthouse only a half a mile away to guide ships into the harbor. irst lit on ew Years Day in 1859, the lighthouse has withstood countless hurricanes and war, even being fired upon and claimed by the Union during the Civil War. evertheless, the lighthouse stands today. While it’s most well-known for its haunted history, a recently uncovered homestead of freed slave, Charles art, on the property is a planned future e hibit for the lighthouse to show the impact of African Americans on the Pensacola ighthouse. The lighthouse is open to visitors and is a perfect place to watch the Blue Angels practice reservations required).

Cape San Blas Lighthouse-Port St. Joe, FL

The Cape San Blas ighthouse has a long history of unfortunate events. riginally built to warn ships of hazardous shoals that e tend out into the Gulf, the first structure was built in 4 but was destroyed in a storm two years later. In 1857 another structure was built but was almost destroyed by the Confederates during the Civil War and wasn’t in operation again until . rosion took a toll on the area and within the ne t couple decades, the lighthouse found itself in eight feet of water. A new, lighter skeletal structure was commissioned to replace the old lighthouse but the ship carrying it sank in the Gulf, only some of the structure was salvaged. Between storms and erosion, the lighthouse was damaged, rebuilt, and moved several times before being deactivated in . In 4, the lighthouse and structures were moved to a new location and are open to visitors.

Cape St. George Lighthouse-St. George Island, FL

The first St. George Island lighthouse was built in to guide vessels into the Port of Apalachicola. It stood years before being destroyed in a storm, and re-using the materials, was rebuilt on the southern cape of the island. This structure lasted a short three years before another storm came along and destroyed it. The third lighthouse was built further inland and was completed in , however, during the Civil War, the light stayed unlit so as not to help the Union ships. It wasn’t until August , , that the light shone again. urricanes continued to pummel the lighthouse and in 4, the lighthouse was deactivated. In , the lighthouse succumbed to the waves and fell into the Gulf of Me ico, but the St. George Lighthouse Association was able to salvage enough of the lighthouse to rebuild it in the center of St. George Island, along with a replica of the keeper’s uarters. Today, the -feet tall lighthouse is open to visitors and climbers.

Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Awards Brunch

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Awards Brunch was held at the aytowne onference enter on June . After fishing o shore for a few days, a full breakfast of eggs, croissants, bacon, sausage, grits, potatoes and assorted drinks made a lot of people smile. However, the highlight of the morning was the recounting of the tournament and the awards presentation.

The ulf presented some rough seas, however, competing boats with a combined 4 anglers caught and released billfish. While the tournament is named after the regal lue Marlin, other fish were caught including a tournamentrecord dolphin at . pounds reeled in by Jason ense Salt Shaker . Other notables included the top yellowfin tuna at . pounds brought in by lark Adams unnslinger and the top wahoo which tipped the scales at . was caught by Parker otton ird Dog .

When all was said-and-done, for the second year-in-a-row, antified, out of South Padre Island, exas, was the overall winner and took home a check for ,4 . reaking its own record, the team caught and released billfish, of which 2 were Blue Marlins.

For over years, the merald oast lue Marlin lassic M has been attracting captains, anglers, and fishing vessels from all over. The nd merald oast lue Marlin lassic is scheduled for June - , 4.

VIP Destin at Baytowne Conference Center
photos story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
July 2023 | 67
Savannah & Cody Garland Nicole, Lake & Harris Hartley Lance, Mary-Frances & William Mullins Jason Draughn & Johnathan Boone Suzanne Andrews & Ava Lauderdale Pam & Gary Jarvis

VIP Destin at Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Awards Brunch

Scott Becher & Mark Neifeld Chris, Piper & Brooke Hatcher Ellie, Mila, Lily & Haley Gonzalez Blake Svoboda & Mark Bailey Rachel & Matt Herman Andi, Tyler & Dustin Watson Jessie & Kaileah Baker Dylan Doubleday, Tim Jones & Wyatt Ferreira Brayden & Brooklyn Ivy Kaitlin Wood & Adam Helms
68 |
Adam Davidson & Jacob Lamar Eddie Arant, Rick Davis & Don Fitterer Brian Godbey & Krista Benaglio
Award-winning Chef Bea provides exceptional personalized chef services for any occasion. Whether you’re planning a private, romantic dinner for two, a dinner party, an intimate event, or simply want to spoil yourself with home-cooked chef meals, this Southern Yankee Queen and her team will deliver you an experience you and your guests will never forget, even if you tried! Southern Yankee
Southern Yankee Queen is ready to handle all of your catering needs along the Florida Panhandle. (850) 739-1902 Southern Yankee Queen LLC southern_yankee_queen southern yankee queen Contact us today! July 2023 | 69
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Ann Gwinnup, MD NOW OFFERING IV Infusion Spa Services Medical Cannabis Certification 4566 East Highway 20, Suite 105 Niceville, FL 32578 (850) 483-3313 ∂ ∂ 70 |

SALUD! to Service

In this Armed Forces Issue we salute those in uniform. Those who put their lives on the line and miss time with their families, all for the greater good of our country. We here at VIP Destin Magazine have compiled a cocktail to honor the branches of our military. So, we raise a glass to them and wish them good health, safety, and happiness. Salud!

The Light Infantry

with a mix of ingredients that are as solid as the Army itself, with some rye whiskey to fire u on your tastebuds.“Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey! The Army’s on its way.”

2 oz rye whiskey

1 oz Lillet

½ oz sweet vermouth (like Cocchi Vermouth de Torino)

4 dashes orange bitters

1 large orange peel for garnish

Place rye, Lillet, vermouth and bitters in a shaker with ice and stir. Rub orange peel around rim of a chilled martini glass; strain drink into glass. Twist orange peel over drink to release its oils and add to glass.

story by Anna McGauley Stockton

SALUD! to Service

The Navy Fizz

Representing the U.S. Navy, this gin-based cocktail is as smooth as the Blue Angels in a diamond formation with ingredients that go together like a crisp fall day with a win over Army. “Anchors Aweigh, my boys!”

1 ½ oz gin

1 slice nectarine

2 sprigs rosemary

¾ oz Campari

¾ oz simple syrup

¾ oz lemon juice

2 oz soda water

Muddle nectarine and one sprig of rosemary with the simple syrup, add remaining ingredients except soda. Shake, strain over fresh ice into a glass, top with soda and garnish.

The Leatherneck

In honor of the U.S. Marine Corps, this cocktail is no nonsense and gets the job done, much like the Marines themselves. A perfect drink for those who fight their battles from land and air and sea. Semper Fidelis

2 oz Canadian whiskey

¾ oz blue curaçao

½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Jet Pilot

While there are other branches of the military that have jet pilots, this one is in honor of the U.S. Air Force. Much like what it takes to become a pilot, a lot goes into this cocktail, but the end result is just as powerful and cool. FlyFight-Win

1 oz Jamaican rum

¾ oz Puerto Rican rum

¾ oz 151-proof Demerara rum

6 dashes absinthe

½ oz grapefruit juice

½ oz lime juice

½ oz cinnamon syrup

½ oz Falernum

1 dash aromatic bitters

½ cup crushed ice Cherry, for garnish

In a blender, mix the rums, absinthe, grapefruit and lime juices, cinnamon syrup, Falernum, and bitters. Add the crushed ice. Blend for 5 to 10 seconds. Pour into a hurricane or margarita glass. Garnish with a cherry.

The Stormy Seas

Last but not least, this cocktail honors the U.S. Coast Guard. This cocktail’s name says it all, braving the rough and often stormy seas, Coasties step in when things get rough, so they deserve a smooth cocktail. Semper Paratus

1 ½ oz light rum

3 oz ginger beer

¼ oz white cranberry juice

¼ oz red cranberry juice

Pour all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with ice and shake. Pour into glass and garnish with fresh cranberries.

Beach Flag Warning System

Florida’s Beach Flag Warning System uses flags in four colors to explain the water conditions on the beach. Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and South Walton Beaches use a flag system to indicate beach conditions. This system is in place for your safety. Please observe and obey the Flag System during your stay on the Emerald Coast.

125 Poinciana Boulevard, Miramar Beach, FL 32550 | 850-842-3200 | | Hours: Sun-Thur 11 am to 9 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am to 10 pm Oyster Happy Hour Monday - Friday 3:00 - 5:00pm Bar Happy Hour Monday - Friday 2:00 - 5:00pm Live Music Thursday - Sunday Home of the 102 foot bar including 32 beers on draft. Some of our specialties include little neck clams, freshly shucked raw oysters, New England style clam chowder and jumbo shrimp cocktail! Austons on 98, of Nashville roots, also features its very own “Real Deal Nashville Hot Sauce”! Thank you for voting for us! BEST Oysters! 76 |

SOCKS Top Hats And Tails

In 1993, Sara DeMonbrun founded Save Our ats and Kittens SO KS to find forever homes for neglected cats and kittens throughout orthwest Florida and to control overpopulation by spaying and neutering every cat or kitten before it is adopted. On June , the Fort Walton lks Lodge hosted SOCKS annual fundraiser: Top Hats and Tails.

We’ve been in the business of rescuing cats for over 30 years, and this is our 5th Annual op Hats and ails, said ancy Schimmer, xecutive Director, SO KS. This year we are turning our attention to advocating for cats and educating the public about the needs that cats have, and that’s what we are raising funds for. This year’s event included a bu et and guests were treated to a variety of activities including ra es and an online auction.

Through marketing and special events, SOCKS has found homes for thousands of animals. y partnering with local veterinarians SO KS also provides low-cost solutions.

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Angie Rodgers & Amy Sherbaum Chelsey Schultz & Hunter Bleha Deborah & Scott Stone Lee Fuller & Lisa Mercier VIP Destin at Fort Walton Elks Lodge Villy Ellinger & Dawn Montoya Jason & Amy Gooch Pepper Bahr & Maria McClean
July 2023 | 77
Hannah Roos, Jennifer McKeon, Aimee Shaffer & Quinton Williams Donna Hardin & Lisette Greene Jeanne Miller & Bonnie Phillips Steve Bennett & Hanna Joensuu Michael & Kim Shore Richard & Nancy Schimmer Brooke McLean & Melissa Bahr Jimma Grimm & Mike Sehman Chase Jenkins & Hannah Neville
Destin at SOCKS Top Hats and Tails 78 |
Nathan Fambrough & Breanna Trent Ryan Moshell & Skylar Streetman
Don & Barbara Padilla, Barbara McCarthy Carl & Shawn Bolender Pat Roberts & Terry Johnston
July 2023 | 79
Taylor Bryan & Jennifer Shannon

CALM Organization Receives $6K Donation from 100 Men Who Care Emerald Coast

Five Sea Turtles Return to the Gulf

The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released five rehabilitated sea turtle patients on Tuesday, June 13, at Inlet Beach in the Florida panhandle.

hooks, and Tank naturally passing his internal hook, he was ready to return home. Tank has been outfitted with a satellite tag for a study being conducted by Mote Marine Lab, tracking his longrange movements, and an acoustic tag by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to track his nearby and in-shore movements.

CALM Organization of Niceville, “Is truly grateful and thankful for partners like 100 Men Who Care Emerald Coast,” said Terri Steadman, President of the 501c3 nonprofit. CALM was selected recently as the organization’s quarterly recipient and presented with a check from representatives.

100 Men Who Care Emerald Coast was excited to make the award, “CALM is a great organization assisting single mothers to independently negotiate life challenges with tools gained in their resident program. We hit a $6,000 quarterly award for the first time in our history – with over sixty members now!”

Since turtle season began in May, the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center has been very busy with the intake of injured turtles, sometimes receiving three to four turtles per day. The staff at the C.A.R.E. Center are working very hard and around the clock to give these turtles the care they need for a successful release into their natural environment.

“Cantaloupe”, a subadult loggerhead weighing in at 74 lbs., was foul-hooked at Okaloosa Island Fishing pier on June 11, but had no internal hooks or other ailments so was immediately cleared for release once the hook was removed.

“Peach”, a subadult loggerhead weighing in at 134 lbs., was foul-hooked in the left front flipper at the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier on June 5th. Peach also had a treble hook and j-hook in her esophagus that was non-surgically removed here at the center.

Lastly, “Ethyl”, a subadult loggerhead with a weight of 104 lbs., was also foulhooked in the mouth at the Pensacola Beach Fishing Pier on June 12th. Ethyl had no additional need for medical treatment after the hook removal so was immediately cleared for release.

CALM provides a home, counseling, education, employment opportunities, and life skills training in a classroom environment to moms and their kids for up to 6 months. CALM house has been “home” for over 38 moms and 48 children (littles) since opening on October 16, 2018. See info at CALM Organization, Inc. (Crisis Aid For Littles and Moms) | Facebook.

“Aries”, a subadult loggerhead weighing 150 lbs., was accidentally hooked at Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier in October of 2022. Aries finally passed her tests and was cleared for release after an eightmonth stay at the C.A.R.E. Center.

“Tank” is very special because he is an adult male loggerhead, the C.A.R.E. Center does not see adult males very often. Weighing in at 202 lbs., he was accidentally hooked at the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier roughly two weeks ago and after successfully removing all external

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park Our Mission

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is dedicated to educating, entertaining, and inspiring our guests to respect and preserve wildlife by providing unique and memorable experiences for visitors of all ages to connect with marine life.

July 2023 | 81
Scott, Dave, Al & Ed

White-Wilson Community Foundation’s The Little Black Dress Party Returns

pair to honor at this year’s event. We are counting down the days until we can come together once again to positively impact the lives of those here who need it most.”

First introduced in 2010, The Little Black Dress Party has been a longtime staple on the Emerald Coast. All proceeds from the event benefit the C a 501 c 3 nonprofit to help increase access to life-changing health services for underserved people in the community.

The White-Wilson Community Foundation (WWCF) will host the return of its award-winning fundraising event, The Little Black Dress Party, on Saturday, September 16. Guests will gather at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to help raise funds to provide critical health services for individuals in Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton Counties.

The Little Black Dress Party is an evening dedicated to celebrating good health and raising funds for community members in need. This will be the event’s 11th year and will feature dinner, dancing, live and silent auctions and entertainment. Dr. Patrick and Mrs. Sandra Anastasio of Emerald Coast Infectious Disease will serve as the evening’s honorary chairs.

“Funds from The Little Black Dress Party directly help us achieve our mission,” said Teresa Halverson, Chair of the Board of Directors. “The last several years have been nothing short of challenging, so we are bringing the event back to help continue maintaining and building upon support for our local systems of well-being.”

Halverson continued, “We are thrilled to have the support of Dr. and Mrs. Anastasio, after being two of the greatest advocates for our community during the pandemic, we couldn’t think of a better

Through the event’s success in previous years, the WWCF has been able to fund health education and prescription drug programs, provide free physical screenings, generate additional grant opportunities and encourage an extensive focus on local health deficits and collaborative efforts to solve them.

Individuals interested in supporting this event can become a sponsor, donate an auction item or purchase tickets to attend. Supporter opportunities for The Little Black Dress Party are available now. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida Announces 2023 Okaloosa County Big of the Year

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is proud to announce John Holguin as the 2023 Okaloosa County Big of the Year! This award is given to a mentor who goes above and beyond and is dedicated in helping their Little learn, grow and reach their full potential.

John has provided mentorship and friendship to his Little Brother Isaiah for over two years. They enjoy all types of

activities together, including disc golf, working on John’s family farm, boating and sporting events. In addition, they’ve worked through many challenges together, including transferring from Okaloosa Academy to traditional high school. John encourages his Little Brother to set goals and work towards them, but also recognizes the value of having fun outings. Last September, he took Isaiah to the University of Florida to visit family, tour the campus, see a volleyball game, and even surprised him with a suite for a football game.

John is the Chief of Operations at the kaloosa County Ta Collectors ffice and is involved in several community organizations including All Sports, Florida Special Olympics, Fort Walton Beach Recreation Center, Krewe of Bowlegs, and the Take Stock Program. John is always willing to help share our mission and has personally recruited multiple mentors for Big Brothers Big Sisters. On June 6, 2023, BBBS Staff, Advisory Board Member Rique Gwin, and Isaiah surprised John with the award during an All Sports meeting.

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Fat Tuesday Parade

HarborWalk Village

34 Harbor Blvd. | Destin


It doesn’t have to be Mardi ras season to celebrate Mardi ras in Destin. elebrate with live music on the main stage and a Fat uesday Parade. atch beads as the oats roll through the Village and the night with a Fire Spinning Show on the Main Stage by Autumn Lyfe.

Visit for information on this event and many others.


All American Thursday

HarborWalk Village

34 Harbor Blvd. | Destin


Celebrate the USA with a one-of-a-kind vintage airshow, hero salute, live entertainment, FI WO KS, and a fire-spinning show!

pm Hero Salute Vintage Air Show

pm ive Music

pm Fireworks Fire Spinning by Autumn yfe

Go to for all event information.


Rock the Docks

HarborWalk Village

34 Harbor Blvd. | Destin 7:00-9:00pm

ock out on the docks with this free weekly concert! ome out and enjoy di erent artists perform at the outdoor, fun for all ages venue!

Visit for information.


Destin Chamber’s Great American Cookout

Destin Chamber of Commerce

4484 Legendary Drive A | Destin 11:30am-1:00pm

Join the 10th Annual Great American Cookout, sponsored by Community Bank and Emerald oast itle Services and featuring non-profit spotlight Fisher House of the merald oast! njoy networking and a cookout at the hamber. Finish your meal with yummy Dippin’ Dots, courtesy of Dippin’ Dots Okaloosa!

Cost for the lunch is $15 for members and $25 for non-members. All registrations are due by Friday, July , at p.m. Prepayment is required.

Go to for tickets and information. for more events!
July 2023 | 85


Learn to Talk Dog

Comfort Suites

148 E. John Sims Parkway | Niceville 6:00-7:30pm

Dog-Harmony hosts “Learn to Talk Dog” presented by Debbie Revell, RN, Dip A , D D, A D. This seminar is ideal for veterinary employees, shelter employees and volunteers, and anyone actively working with dogs.

Visit for tickets.

JULY 21 & 22

Gumuchian Trunk Show

McCaskill & Company Fine Jewelry

13390 Highway 98 | Destin 10:00am-5:30pm

Anita Gumuchian and her daughters, Myriam and Patricia, carry on a family legacy in the jewelry industry that dates back over years. The umuchian women combine the excellence of traditional uropean craftsmanship with fashion-forward designs. From this vision the company’s “Designed by Women for Women” mantra emerged, embodying the confidence and beauty of all women. Visit for more information.


Book Bishes on the Beach

Embassy Suites by Hilton

570 Scenic Gulf Drive | Destin


Love romance novels? Bishes by the Beach is a book signing event with 60 of your favorite romance authors….at the beach.

Go to for tickets and author information.

JULY 29-30

Emerald Coast Big Game Fishing Club Youth Tournament

Harbor Docks

538 Harbor Blvd. | Destin

Ages 16 and under can try their hand at catching a big one at this tournament. $40 per angler and registration is required.

Visit for details.

Visit for more events!
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YP Sunset Social and Concer in e Vi age

Oering a variety of music, locals and visitors come to MKAF’s ultural Arts Village to unwind, network and enjoy an evening of music suitable for young and old alike. On June , this event was attended by the Destin hamber of ommerce’s Young Professionals roup.

Young Professionals of Destin YP is a networking group for those under the age of 4 looking to expand their professional and personal connections. And whether they’re planting cordgrass with the hoctawhatchee asin Alliance or attending workshops and conferences, the Young Professionals of Destin can be found promoting business and enjoying everything merald oast. As a part of the Destin hamber, YP works on their level to teach up and coming leaders to advocate for business and strengthen the community.

Since , the -acre site now known as the ultural Arts Village has been the home for the spring and summer concerts. roups such as the Young Professionals of Destin, friends, and visitors to the merald oast have enjoyed the food trucks and music of the Thursday concert series.

VIP Destin at Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village
photos story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Carole Antoon & Jennifer Brooks Bob Pilato & Beth Burnside Tim & Sue McCool Zandra Wolfgram & Bobby Parker Teresa & Bob Halverson
July 2023 | 91
Denis & Melissa Duhaime Blake, Tim & Liz Krueger Tabitha Clark & Heather Newsome Kellie Perry & Michelle Underwood Steven Gallagher & Micah McGuire Dave & Suzanne Morrow Steve & Carol Williams Damir Simovic & Kayla O’Leary Susan & Shane McCall Ruth Jenkins & Michelle Lopez Phil & Lynda Cook
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Marlene & Mike Kelly
VIP Destin at YP Sunset Social and Concerts in the Village
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I AM DESTIN Ryan Holloway

What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast?

I was born and raised in Montgomery, AL. My parents had a home on the Emerald Coast, so we spent many of our summers in Seagrove Beach. I devoted ten years to my father’s company, working my way from data entry to National Director of Public Relations at Holloway Credit Solutions. After my father’s passing in 2018, Heather and I realized how short life is and made the decision that it was time I took a different career path and pursued my dream of yacht ownership and chartering. It took us two years to find the perfect yacht for this venture, however, we found “Propensity” in 2020 and Holloway Yacht Charters was born.

What is your profession?

I am the founder and CEO of Holloway Yacht Charters and Fish and Fun Destin. I also have the honor of managing Craft Yacht Charters, Beach Coast Yacht Charters and I facilitate the brokerage of yachts with our charter clients.

What are some of your favorite things about Destin?

I love going to Destin Harbor and having a nice lunch on the water. I can sit there for hours watching all of the boats pass by. I am happiest when a vacationer tells me that their day with us was the highlight of their trip, a memorable day in their life, or “they can’t wait to see us again.” In my personal life, I enjoy spending time on the water with my family when our center console or yacht is not on charter.

Three words that best describe you. Fun, Ambitious, Resourceful.

Favorite place for going out?

Our favorite restaurant is by far Marina Café. When we are not spending our afternoon on the water, we enjoy visiting the harbor as there is always something exciting happening.

What is one thing that you do not go a day without?

The first thing I do every day when I wake up is look out of our bedroom window with a gorgeous view of Joe’s Bayou.

Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because…

Destin is a place where people move to make their dream a reality. I am Destin because this is where my dream became a reality. People save every year to visit the place we are all so fortunate to call home. Destin has been wonderful to our family and we look forward to continuing to provide a toptier service to both vacationers and locals!

photo by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.
Dream beyond the reasonable. Northwest Florida State College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Degree-granting institutions also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of Northwest Florida State College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website ( Enroll Now! 850.502.2895 | 72 Degree and Certificate Programs 12 Career Education Programs Aviation, Computer Programming, Culinary, Construction, Cybersecurity, Engineering, Health Sciences, Hospitality and Tourism, Information Technology, Public Safety, Transportation, and Welding $326.2 Million added community employment income, representing 7,335 jobs. 2 Campuses Niceville | Fort Walton Beach 5 Centers The Aviation Center of Excellence | Crestview DeFuniak Springs | Hurlburt Field | South Walton County

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