VIP Destin Magazine, July 20

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events 12 2020 Billy Bowlegs Poker Run 14 Velcro Pygmies: Concerts in the Village 19 Power of Networking Luncheon 27 Wednesday Night Concerts 33 Destin Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours 47 All-American Thursday Night 53 FWB Chamber BAH 56 Dog-Harmony Benefit Concert 60 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic 64 Unity March on the Beach 72 Boomin’ Tuesdays

on the cover !"#$%!&'(&) *%+,-".%/"(01&(( /"0+01-,2"3$43 !"#$%#&'(#))*+ !"#$%&'($)#*+,&-,.+

departments 24 30 36 40 44 50 66 69 74

Coastal Cuisine Swizzle #trending Destin Style May We Suggest Give Care Share Save the Date Locale I Am Destin

business profiles 58 Rodos Realty

;<!/6(&.%1/0-2->%1(/?.-@@ !"#$%&'() Greg Alexander

6(&%21() Priscilla Atkins

*&&+,%-.(/!"#$%&'() Verla Price

7+1.)%#".%12/8)%.()&9 !'+.+2)-:'()& Greg Alexander Steve Barber Zhalman Harris Shanna Magnuson Verla Price Anna Stockton Jeff Watson

0-1-2%12/34%.+) Steve Barber !)+4",.%+1/34%.+) Jessica GraĂąa *45().%&%12 Steve Barber Verla Price Jeff Sarault !"#$%&'()&/*&&%&.-1. Anna Stockton

;<!/=+"14() Jeff Watson

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!"##"$%&$'(%#)"%*+,!-.)"$ This month, among other things, we are excited to bring back coverage of some of the area’s current and in-person events, festivals, and fundraisers that weave the fabric of the Emerald Coast. While these events and gatherings looked a bit different, the hosts and respected leaders found a way to make them successful while offering social and physical separation to minimize the spread of COVID 19. Although VIP Destin Magazine is an events-centric publication, we have multiple ways in which we have been able to keep our readers in touch with what is going on in the local business, social, and charitable scene. We have had countless positive calls and comments on how we have pushed forward, created interesting and dynamic content without missing an issue, and are proud to be at this point. While exercising our creativity over the last few months as events were scaled back (or non-existent), we have had opportunities to brainstorm and find new, recurring features that will forever enhance our goal. We are introducing one of those in this issue. The new feature, called #trending, will be a mainstay, and our wish is to give you a glimpse of something that has left an impression with us, whether it is new or old. This new feature will allow us to exhibit things ranging from food and wine, books and blogs, and even cars or travel destinations. It will be a space where we will share inspiring places or things that will help enhance the lives of others in some minimal way. On page 36 you will find the inaugural #trending with an indulgence for your tastebuds via the Coopie. I will be the first to admit that the oeuvre of VIP Destin Magazine is meant to be positive, light, and to showcase the good in our local area. We exhibit great pride in publishing a product each month that shows people with smiles who are supporting, engaging, rewarding, and building up the community that folks from all over the world are so drawn to. So while you are stuck in traffic, in a long line at the grocery store, or waitlisted at a restaurant, remember how fortunate you are to be where you are.

!"#$%&'#()*+#" Publisher


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VIP Destin at The Gulf Restaurant


!"##$%!&'#()* +&,(-%-./ photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he 5th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Poker Run presented by Legendary Marine held their Captain’s Party at The Gulf Restaurant Okaloosa Island on June 19. Boat captains had the chance to meet and mingle with each other before the “Run” on Saturday morning, June 20. Guests enjoyed delicious hor d’oeuvres from the kitchen of The Gulf. Guests also enjoyed music by a live DJ and a chance to participate in a raffle, and received an event shirt, a swag bag of goodies, entry into the Poker Run, and entry to the Afterparty. Even though the party was planned to be a fun event, Jeremy Holcomb from Legendary Marine gave the captains tidbits on safety, the route of the race for the nine stops, and encouraged every one to have fun but make safety their first priority. Master minds of the party Todd Royall and Gayle Vann welcomed their guests to the event and give a brief history of the poker run and why it’s held each year. “This event has typically been held on Mother’s Day weekend, but due COVID 19 and the threat of cancellation we decided to hold it on Father’s Day weekend,” said Ms. Vann. All proceeds from the benefit went to Emerald Coast Autism Center and the William Augustus Bowles Foundation.

Bart Begley & Micah Caldwell

Tade Wolfe & Kacy Turpin

Heather Hintz & Todd Royall

Brian & Alicia Murphy 12

Mary Alice Armstrong & Tom Wright

Nancy & Tim McCoy

Jackie Syverson & Jeremy Holcomb


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Sharon Burt & Andrea Roberts

Kalah McCoy & Hugh Hathcock

Charlie Potts & Matt Turpin

Jacob Scheler & Megan Gaster

Tracy Poston & Therese Dodson

Mary Tinsley & Robin Donlon

James & Lynsie LoPiccolo

Beth & Gerry Chalker

Jaime Hall & Dan Mattioda

Jimmy Thomas, Jerry & Sydney Stethem July 2020 | 13

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VIP Destin at Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation

!"#$%&'' ()*+,"photos & story by Zhalman Harris

Mary Bailey & Becky Thornton

Jerry & Leslie Sullivan


he long awaited “Concerts in the Village” by Mattie Kelly Art Foundation resumed with a bang on June 4 at the Mattie Kelly Art Foundation featuring one of our favorite bands The Velcro Pygmies. Concert-goers, who were all ready to get out of the house, were excited to mingle and enjoy good music with friends and family under the stars. Fans did a great job adhering to the social distancing guidelines, and found it easy to have a great time at the concert. The Velcro Pygmies delivered a nonstop high-energy rock show for the audience, taking them on a journey back in time to great undiluted rock ‘n’ roll hits. The Velcro Pygmies travel the country year round — from the Gulf shores to the Great Lakes — to share the sights, sounds, and stone-washed denim of the glorious 80s, schooling audiences on the difference between a rock band and a rock show. From start to finish, they commanded the stage with a prowess uncommon in today’s industry, and they left spectators begging for more. Henly Hardin & Carly Sawyer

Tracy & Kevin Louthain 14

Marcia Hull & John Toombs

Bob & Gwyn Wendt


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Sydney & David Batchelor

Langley & Bill Lindsley

Jen & Marcus Walther

Hillaree Durso, Shantelle Dedicke & Maxine Orange Bern

Liz Bowers, Jessica Rintala, Heidi Gonzalez & Jessi Beauchamp

Sheri Thillet, Teresa Imdieke, Jenifer Tomasello & Kathy Whidden

Barry Bradshaw & Bob Halverson

Amanda Schrand, Mindy Moniz, Tonya Palmer & Nicole Browning

Steve Boswell, Dion Moniz, Kevin Bowyer & Nick Bowyer July 2020 | 15

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VIP Destin at Magnolia Ballroom Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort

Power of Networking Luncheon photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


alton Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the June 2020 Power of Networking Luncheon at the beautiful Magnolia Ballroom at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Baytowne on June 10. This was the first in-person networking event in months, and attendees were happy to meet up with other local businesses and entrepreneurs. CEO of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, Megan Harrison stated, “I am very grateful we moved to a 50 person gathering; so thank your being here- we’re excited to be interacting in person again.” The chamber continues to take measures to be safe and practice social distancing especially at in-person events. Walton Area Chamber of Commerce members also mentioned it’s also the area’s first business networking event in surrounding counties. Someone had to be the first to jump in, doing so with safety protocol was the best way to move forward with events- and the Chamber did a great job of it! Sponsored by A Superior Air Conditioning Company, attendees also participated in a distancing-safe game that had them find their other half of a movie quote, which made for a great way to chat with new people. The event also featured prizes and a bag lunch by Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort.

Jimy Thorpe & Jimmy Dallas

Angela Reynolds & Morgan Nelson

Jeri Michie & David Butler

Donna Montalvo & Janet Piepul

Jeff Welch & Brenda Gray

Roberta Ramsey & Paul Batt

Hannah Green, Marianne Ireland, Laura Andrews, Megan Harrison & Gabrielle Kilgore-Woods July 2020 | 19

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VIP Destin at Power of Networking Luncheon

Bill Blanken & Ashleigh Voisin

Hannah Green, Allison Smith & Barry Tate

Cheyenne Matthews & Laura Pentel-Klang

Tara Nettles, Melissa Young & Kim Holley 20

Larry Greene & Dennis Wenrick

Renee Butler & David Balmer

Drew Niermann, Tyler Nall & Audie Rowell

Gabrielle Kilgore-Woods & Chelsea Fox

Lisa Johnson & Jennifer Dodge

Andy Holdnak, Michelle Royce & Jeff George


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!"#$%&'()*+,( story by Anna Stockton


hether you’re a fan of the ever-popular cherry popsicle or you like to take a walk on the wild side with a root beer flavor, popsicles are bound to bring back a memory or two. This sweet, refreshing treat reminds me of hot summer days growing up in Florida, after hours of running through the sprinkler or clotheslining each other in heated games of red rover. Popsicles were always a way for the neighborhood kids to cool down together. It probably wouldn’t come as a surprise that popsicles were invented by a child. That’s right, in 1905 11-year-old Frank Epperson left homemade soda on his porch overnight with a stir stick in it. The next morning he found that the soda had frozen and he could eat it by holding the stick. They didn’t get the name popsicles right away. Like any 11-year-old would do, he named them after himself and Epsicles were invented! It wasn’t until 1923 that an older and more sophisticated Frank patented his creation that he renamed popsicles, named that because his children would ask for “pop’s sicles.” In no time, this new sweet treat took the country by storm. In the early 1920’s it’s estimated that Coney Island Amusement Park sold over 8,000 popsicles in one single day. Epperson’s passion for cool inventions didn’t stop at popsicles, he would go on to patent the fudgesicle, the dreamsicle, and the creamsicle. While store bought popsicles have expanded their flavors past the traditional cherry, banana, orange, grape, watermelon, and root beer, there’s nothing like a homemade popsicle to show off your creative side. The possibilities are endless and whether they’re for the kids, adults, or the pups, homemade popsicles will sure take any gathering up a notch. Fun molds, mixing of flavors, and adding a little “spirit” are all great ways to shake up your summertime fun!

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1/2 c. rum 3/4 c. chopped strawberries 2 c. limeade 4 oz. fresh lime juice 8 mint leaves, chopped 6 wooden popsicle sticks

Mix all ingredients together then evenly divide mixture into popsicle molds.


1 cup chopped strawberries 1 cup blueberries 1 banana chopped 3 cups plain Greek yogurt divided into three equal parts 1 1/2 tablespoons fine sugar divided into three equal parts water red and blue food coloring optional 10 popsicle sticks

Blend the strawberries with 1/2 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 cup water. Pulse until well combined. Add 1 cup Greek yogurt and blend until fully smooth. Add 3 drops of red food coloring if you would like the color to be a bit more vibrant (optional). Set aside. Keep refrigerated until use. Repeat steps with each type of fruit, using blue food coloring with the blueberries if you’d like a bolder blue (optional). Start by adding a layer of blueberry mixture to the bottom of each popsicle mold. Add your popsicle sticks and allow layer to freeze for about 2 hours. Follow with layer of either banana or strawberry. Allow this layer to freeze as well before adding your final layer. Allow pops to freeze fully.


1 banana 1 1/2 cups watermelon 1 cup pineapple

Puree together and pour into silicone muffin cups. Freeze and serve to your furry friend.


• Heat up your syrup before freezing. Believe it or not, hot water freezes faster than cold water. This DIY “flash freeze” creates smaller ice crystals, making the flavor more evenly distributed and of course, less wait time to enjoy your creation. • Another option to create your own “flash freeze” is to freeze the filled popsicle mold in a mixture of salt and ice. Adding salt to ice can lower the temperature of ice to -21 degrees Fahrenheit. • Use a pastry bag or simply cut the corner off a freezer bag to fill the molds easier and with less mess. • Allow your popsicles to freeze for about 40 minutes before adding the sticks. That way the stick will stay put. • Once your popsicles are frozen, run the mold under warm water to loosen them from the mold. • Use a bottle brush to clean the molds and get them ready for your next popsicle creation.

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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

!"#$"%#&'()*+,-( ./$0"1-% photos & story by Steve Barber


he Wednesday Night Concerts at The Village of Baytowne Wharf are BACK! Guests enjoyed a relaxed evening on June 17, bringing their lawn chairs and blankets to the outdoor concert and with live music from local favorite, Forrest Williams Band. Social distancing was practiced with groups no larger than 10 people and each group maintained a 6-foot distance from other visitors. The Wednesday Night Concert Series runs from May til August each Wednesday at 7:00pm on the events plaza lawn. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is the “heart and soul� of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and the gathering place for everyone visiting, living or working along the Emerald Coast. For more information on upcoming events visit

Bob Harris & Boni Rekus

Jerry & Debbie Coughlin

Lisa & Paul Reaves

Lauren & Jack Corkey

Jimmy & Julia Doolittle

Brian & Akena Kauf

Shannon Quinlan

Vickie & Larry Verbage July 2020 | 27

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VIP Destin at Wednesday Night Concerts

James & Brenda Long

Ammond Allphin & Erin Larson

Chone & Meka White

Kristi Ford & Traci Hager 28


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©2020 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicesand the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServicessymbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.Æ Equal Housing Opportunity.

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story by Steve Barber

urricane Season is here and the best way to embrace it head on is with the Hurricane cocktail. The Hurricane is an iconic, tropical cocktail made with light and dark rum, passion fruit juice and other fruit juices. The Hurricane is a popular drink served in New Orleans and the Southeast United States and is traditionally served in a tall, curvy “hurricane glass,” although in the French Quarter, where public alcohol consumption is legal, you often see it served in disposable plastic cups – some of enormous proportions. The name “hurricane” most likely came from the strength of the drink as well as the first vessel the drink was sold in. The average hurricane has an alcohol content of about 18 percent ABV (36 proof). The history of the Hurricane cocktail is an interesting tale of supply and demand, inspiring what would become a legendary cocktail, especially in the South. The creation of the passion fruit–colored drink is credited to New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien whose bar allegedly started as a speakeasy called Mr. O’Brien’s Club Tipperary and the password was “storm’s brewin.” In the 1940s, O’Brien needed to create a new drink to help him get rid of all of the less-popular rum that local distributors forced him to buy before he could get the preferred liquors such as scotch and whiskeys. He poured the concoction into hurricane lamp– shaped glasses and gave it away to sailors. The drink caught on, and it has been a mainstay in the French Quarter ever since. The O’Brien’s bartender at the time, Louis Culligan, published the first hurricane recipe in an issue of Cabaret magazine. Another story says that it debuted during the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Queens and was named after the location it was created in, The Hurricane Bar. The hurricane cocktail is a relative of the daiquiri and includes many variations including the blue hurricane, Hawaiian shooter, Bahama mama, and a Jamaican rum punch, just to name a few. There are also variations of the Hurricane, depending on where it is made, and they may use ingredients like Navan liqueur, orange juice, Grand Marnier, or Irish cream. As for the most popular recipe, it usually mentions the usage of one-part dark rum, one-part white rum, passion fruit syrup and lime juice. The hurricane cocktail is made differently on the islands of the Bahamas where the drink is composed of various measures of coffee liqueur, 151 rum, Irish cream, and Grand Marnier. It is 30

commonly found in the downtown bars of Nassau. Although you can enjoy this fruity tropical cocktail during the balmy days of summer or year around, actual hurricane season ends November 30. Enjoy!


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MAKES 1 DRINK !"#$%&!%"'( • 2 oz Light rum • 2 oz Dark rum • 1 oz Fresh lime juice • 1 oz Orange juice • 1/2 oz Passion fruit purée • 1/2 oz Simple syrup • 1 bar spoon Grenadine • Garnish: Orange wheel • Garnish: Preserved cherry &!$%)'!*"( Gather all ingredients and add into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a large Hurricane glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange half-wheel and a preserved cherry. Garnish with the grapefruit slice.

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VIP Destin at Emerald Grande

photos & story by Zhalman Harris


n June 12, Destin Chamber of Commerce held their first in-person event in over 90 days. The Business Before Hours breakfast sponsored by Hand Arendall Harrison was held at Emerald Grande. Attorney at Law and partner at Hand Arendall Harrison, Dion Moniz- who also serves as Chairman of the Board at the Chamber- welcomed attendees, and thanked everyone for coming before introducing his speakers. Jennifer Adams of Visit Destin - Fort Walton Beach provided an update on summer tourism, the new Venture Out program, and plans to promote the fall season. Florida Rep. Mel Ponder shared information from Tallahassee, Eglin Federal Credit Union was welcomed as the newest Trustee member, and guests learned more about non-profit sponsor Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Lucky attenees won door prizes which were donated by Eglin Federal Credit Union, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, and the Taylor Haugen Foundation.

Rachel Velasquez & Emily Buckley

Kathey Mitchell & Myla Martinez

Joey & Christine Martinez

Stacy Young, Victoria Wyatt & Katelyn Kladder

Marcia Hull & Mel Ponder

Bill Head & Fred Fenn

Alyssa Tidwell, Nicole Noblitt & Shanna Hanks July 2020 | 33

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VIP Destin at Business Before Hours

Kim Holley & Tim Kersanac

Matt & Amy Cavinder

Lindsey Pope & Brenda Gray

Julie Cotton & Pam Martin 34

Eric Navarre & Renee Ankerson

Mel Ponder

Jennifer Gutai Comella & Kathy Townsend

Amanda Schmidt & Stephanie Larabee

Chuck Mitchell & Jim Wood

Lt. Chad Rewis & Mike Powell


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Cookie + Pie = Coopie


t may be a mouthful to say the name Sweet Tennessee Gooey Peanut Butter Coopie. Just saying it makes your mouth water, but oh what deliciousness the flavors and textures these magical ingredients make. First, I know you are wondering if “Coopie” is a typo. It most certainly is not – it is the perfect marriage of a cookie and a pie. With the first bite, you know it was not just serendipitous to meld these ingredients all together, but rather an innate skill of Jim Norton who is cultivating his brand of “Sweet Tennessee” products. Jim is a recipe creator, cook, lifestyle expert, and consummate party host. With a fine-tuned palate and a quest for perfection, Jim has always crafted his own recipes for appetizers, main dishes, desserts, and even specialty liqueurs. In June of this year he played around with some of his favorite ingredients that culminated in a pie that was absolutely too beautiful and too good not to share. He began posting images and on his well-followed Instagram blog (@thejimnorton) and his followers were demanding that he share more than just pictures. Jim, always eager to share his skills, created some next-level packaging for the pies and began shipping to fans near and far. It only took a few days before he really knew that his Sweet Tennessee Gooey Peanut Butter Caramel Pie packed an impactful punch. He immediately went back to the kitchen, honestly, he probably never left it, and began crafting ways to get this divine dessert more easily shareable. From there, he tweaked the recipe a bit, ending with a cookie version of his pie. Because it started as a pie, and because the end result is still as much a pie as it is a stand-alone cookie, Jim cleverly monikered his new creation a Coopie. The Sweet Tennessee Gooey Peanut Butter Coopies are a base of peanut butter cookie topped with peanut butter caramel, sprinkled with peanuts, sea salt, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Adding more to his lineup, Jim has created a chocolate version of his pie that is convertible to a Coopie, as well. The Sweet Tennessee Gooey Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie has an intense chocolate flavor, hints of peanut butter with that grainy texture of sugar that we all love, and topped with crushed Heath Bar. Although Jim’s Coopie is quickly becoming a viral sensation, it is currently only available through his Instagram account, but don’t think Jim doesn’t have broader plans in the works. Coopies have trended so quickly that Jim is already working on new things and currently has a “Make at Home” mix for the Gooey Chocolate and Peanut Butter Pie created and ready to ship, again, of course, in the most elevated and beautiful packaging one would imagine. His Sweet Tennessee products are the ideal way to treat yourself and your family or, are an appropriate gift for anyone with a sweet tooth who you wish to impress. Jim Norton is a talented individual whether he is in the kitchen crafting recipes, hosting elaborate dinner parties at his home for 3 people or for 300 people, blogging about his culinary creations, or for making guest appearances on TV talk shows showcasing his skills. He is always on trend and someone that everyone needs to know.



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Follow Jim on Instagram at @thejimnorton and on Facebook at The Norton Recipe where you, too, can order a Coopie, catch up on his latest indulgences or just be entertained (he sometimes sings, too).

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Moday ≠ Saturday, 10am ≠ 9pm Sunday, Noon ≠ 8pm


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July 2020 | 39

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elebrate this Independence Day in true red, white, and blue fashion. Create the perfect outfit for fireworks, family BBQs, and shopping - no matter what July 4th occasion you’re stepping out for, do it in style.

If you’re in the mood to dress it up, choose a dress in a solid blue with a white print. Whether it’s polka dots, stars, or stripes, this fun, classy combo will do the trick. Add some pops of red to seal the deal- earrings, a handbag, or even a bold shade of lipstick. Complete the look with a pair of white flats for a show-stopping ensemble. Now, if denim is your thing, grab your favorite pair of jeans, and dress them up or down depending on your patriotic plans. Try a blue three-quarter sleeve blazer with a red tank underneath. Finish accessorising with red and white accents- don’t forget the white sunglasses! For a more casual look, go for flats or sandals, and if you want to kick it up a notch try pumps. Spending the day relaxing with family and friends? Keep it simple with a pair of white shorts and a solid blue or red top. Layer a few beaded bracelets to finish off the color trio, and boom- you’re ready for sparks to fly. Or maybe your relaxing day is at home with popcorn and a movie- pull out those red, white, and blue tie-dyed pajamas and wear them proudly! With so many combinations, it’s easy to mix and match, creating the perfect look. So this 4th of July, make sure you’re dressed for the show- in all it’s red, white, and blue glory!



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IP Destin Magazine has always aimed to create covers which embody the true VIP spirit of socializing throughout the area. Choosing that one special photo each month is no small feat, but always results in giving readers a sneak peek into what the rest of the pages hold. From fundraisers to celebrations, and ribbon cuttings to groundbreakings, VIP Destin Magazine is the place to look when you want to see what’s going on around town. Take a look back with us at our July Covers as we look forward to making many more July memories with the community.

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Dog Treats, Peanut Butter - Grain Free Recipe Net Weight 8 oz Bag - $12 Dog Harmony

Hand sculpted artisan sterling silver with leather and freshwater pearls - $175 Lily Chartier

Show me Your Mumu Dress - $144 Island Clothier – Sandestin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Gooey Peanut Butter Caramel Pie, Gooey Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pie - $42 Sweet Tennessee instagram @thejimnorton

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Krewe St. Louis Matt Oyster Sunglasses - $275 Sunglass World at Destin Commons

6/29/20 8:40 AM

Scout Daytripper Namastay at the Beach - $45 Southern Living at Destin Commons

Bermuda Sands Women’s Gold Dress with Shorts - $95 Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club

JS 5’9 Nitro Hyfi - $780 Maui Nix Surf Shop at Destin Commons “Opalescence Go” take home whitening kit - $99 Smileology

12” Stella Boho solar lantern, made of water resistant Tyvek fabric - $48 Clay 30A

November 2015 | XX

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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village

!""#!$%&'()* +,-&./)012'3,4 photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


ummer events at HarborWalk Village are in full swing and the All-American Thursday Night Event was packed with locals and tourists on June 18. Until the middle of August, Thursday events start with a 6:30pm hero salute and vintage fly over with live music. Band of Revival played on the 18th and will be back on June 25, July 9, 16, 23, August 6 and 13. The main stage will showcase Modern Elorados on July 2 and July 30. Along with boat tours, fireworks cruise, games and food, HarborWalk has local vendors offering a little extra shopping. The night ends with fireworks over the Harbor and a firespinning spectacular at 9:00pm. Summer events three nights a week at the HarborWalk is a great way to enjoy the evenings with family. You get not only local shops and delicious restaurants but entertainment for all ages. It was a warm night that drew in a crowd ready to take advantage of the beautiful sunsets and scenery of Destin.

Josh Kelton & Lauren Morgan

Patrick, Alyssa, Avery & Elody Wright

Jade & Morgan Dunn

Tyson Whiddon & Becca Russell

Matt Lowe & Sierra Roach

Laken Weaver & Matt Popov July 2020 | 47

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VIP Destin at All-American Thursday Night

Ron Vasko & Shelley Scalise

Chrissy & Bill Howell

Danny Westlake & Renee Altman

Laurie & Tim Horn, Amy & Terry Davenport 48

George & Bethany Chesney

Buddy Carter & Brittany Byrd

Kendall Holmes, Michelle Davis & Riley Hall

Lauren & Brian Fulkenberry

Timothy & Mindy Land

Rachel Velasquez, Greg Festherston & Mae Leroy


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David M. Rutherford *Military Discounts Available*



850.460.2995 127 Harbor Blvd. | Suite 3A | Destin, FL

Berlin Gardens, Brown Jordan, Jensen Leisure, Klaussner, Lane Venture, Lloyd Flanders, Polywood, Ratana, Seaside Casual, Skyline Design, Summer Classics, Telescope, Tommy Bahama, Tropitone, and Winston

Ask about our in≠stock items available now!

AOG, Big Green Egg, Broilmaster, DCS, Delta Heat, Fire Magic, Green Mountain, Memphis Grills, MHP Products, Twin Eagles, and Wilmington Grill





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photos provided by Healing Paws for Warriors | story by Greg Alexander


n 2015, the idea of service dogs for treating veterans was discussed by a few local community members. It was Sheila Hale and Mike Arena who co-founded Healing Paws for Warriors and have remained the backbone of the nonprofit as they continue to be heavily involved in current day-to-day decisions. It is a resilient program that represents veterans helping veterans from personal experience and trained service dogs. HP4W’s is a volunteerbased program whose supporters have big hearts and are dedicated to supporting our military men and women. Sheila has cultivated the program from infancy, creating and executing the policies and procedures, logo, website, social media, and fundraising. She serves as a wizard behind the scenes making all program areas function and she selfless gives of her time serving as director of operations and program manager. Mike serves as the executive director and is on the frontline with his service dog Orion. Working with each veteran during service dog and resilience training and promoting community awareness and support are part of Mike’s responsibilities. Also, after veteran and K9 graduation, Mike personally follows up with each team creating an ongoing family program environment. Sheila, who is a 27-year government employee, met Mike, a retired Air Force medic who served over 23 years, and realized that he was one of those veterans who struggled with battle-field traumas from serving his country. She had heard of a service dog program and the difference it was making to veterans when they returned home from deployments. Sheila encouraged Mike to attend a service dog program. After Mike returned from the program, everyone realized that the dog (Orion) and the program made a difference and for the first time, Sheila saw Mike’s smile. From that smile, she knew that she

needed to step up and do what she could to bring the program to the local area. HP4Ws services the Florida Panhandle population. The Emerald Coast is home to the largest military population within the state. It is estimated that more than 63,000 veterans and approximately 50,000 active and reservists reside in the Florida Panhandle. HP4Ws program targets approximately 10,000 warriors in the area who have or are experiencing post-traumatic stress (PTSD). For veterans interested in the program, applications are located on the HP4Ws website, or call 850-716-8198. To volunteer to support the HP4Ws mission or to donate, please also visit www. If you know of an organization that would like to learn more about service dog benefits and have a guest appearance, please contact:

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Interview with Sheila Hale

Co-Founder – Healing Paws for Warriors What is the primary mission of Healing Paws for Warriors?

What is most rewarding with the organization?

Save a Veteran - Rescue a Dog! Healing Paws for Warriors is a local veteran founded and veteran led 501(c)(3) that provides rescue to trained service dogs and help to veterans faced with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and/or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) at “no cost” to the veteran, with continued support, reducing the statistic of veteran suicide.

Seeing lives and families change before, during, and after the process. My heart melted when a veteran’s young daughter came up to me with a big hug and said, “Thank you for giving me my daddy back.” Or, spouses trying to hold their families together and after finding the program regaining a semblance of who their significant other once was after returning from the war.

How is the organization funded?

Also, the friendships that develop after the program and graduates that join us as volunteers. The HP4Ws family continues to grow, often spends holidays, birthdays, and events together.

Funding comes from donations, grants, fundraisers, and community events. Currently, a person or business who donates $5K supporting a veteran/K9 team has naming rights for a future service dog. How has Healing Paws for Warriors impacted the local community? Over the past 5 years, HP4Ws has graduated over 27 veteran/K9s teams and are projected to graduate 17 more teams this year. After completing the HP4Ws program the veteran is certified to be a dog handler and receives 2 certifications—Canine Good Citizen and Canine Good Citizen Advanced. HP4Ws then recognizes their efforts in a graduation ceremony. HP4Ws improves the local community by providing a medical device (service dog) to military and veterans, reducing suicide and allowing warriors to re-connect with family. What is the greatest challenge facing Healing Paws for Warriors? Increased funds would provide more veterans receiving dogs and cover expenditures including shelter costs, vet care, food, kennel costs, and service dog and veteran training. Currently, the program’s operating budget supports 10 veteran/K9 teams a year with a 1-year waiting list. Additional resources would provide a campus including land for training and a building for office/training space and a building for lodging of veterans who travel from a distance. The program’s resources have grown through community support, including partnering with Northwest Florida State College – Niceville for training grounds and office space. Where do the dogs come from? Over 95% of the dogs used for our program are rescued from shelters within the Panhandle. The other 5% are either owner surrender or breeder donation.

What is the length of the program for each veteran? The training program requires the veterans to meet 3 times a week for 2-3 months depending on how well the veterans are learning. The dogs are paired with their veterans during week 2 and are required to return for annual certifications to remain in the program. How large is your staff? Currently, HP4Ws has approximately 10 dedicated volunteers and 1 dog training contractor. We are a volunteer-based program that increasingly continues to grow. What is one thing you want readers to know about Healing Paws for Warriors? Save a Veteran - Rescue a Dog helps reduce veteran suicide. Empowering our heroes to begin their recovery with their new service dog allows them a new start, to enroll in college, start new jobs, and most importantly return to their families with their freedom and independence. Service Canines are a treatment aid for PTSD, TBI, MST, where medications often fail. The service dogs are a proven recovery tool for these invisible disorders. Many returning Veterans suffer from the sights, sounds, and memories of the horrors of war. They carry this home with them, and depression and suicidal thoughts are common. According to the Department of Defense 1 in 5 Veterans suffer from PTSD and 1 in 6 will attempt or have suicidal tendencies. We have seen and believe in the difference a canine can make in this life or death matter. Are there any upcoming events? Independence Paws Volleyball Tourney sponsored by Juana’s Pagodas Sailor’s Grill in Navarre will be July 25. Events can be found on our Facebook page or website.

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VIP Destin at Hsu Educational Foundation


!"#$%&##'()*&+',-"+# photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce held their June Business After Hours on June 25 at the all new Hsu Educational Foundation located in Fort Walton Beach Commerce & Technology Park. The event, not like a typical business After Hours, was a fun, happy-hour styled tour with a ribbon cutting and a short program. Guests had the privilege of touring the Hsu Educational Foundation, a high-tech learning, 28,000 square foot facility that hosts 15 educational labs and training spaces to support Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) based classes, workshops, events, and expos. Hsu Educational Foundation, Step One Automotive Group, along with a few volunteers from Hurlburt Field, developed a process for design prototype, printing, collecting, cleaning, and packaging thousands of items of personal protection (face shields, masks, mask spreaders) for donation to help healthcare and front-line essential workers, some of which were given to attendees to sample during the event. Dr. Paul Hsu of the Hsu Educational Foundation welcomed and thanked his guests for being a part of the “Big Day� for the facility.

Tiffany & Shon Kingrey

Aubrey & Tim Simoneaux

Gary Haase & Mel Ponder

Michael Ristom & Dr. Paul Hsu

Lauren Gilbert & Jason Hernandez

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VIP Destin at Business After Hours

Victoria Wilkenson & Laura Doyle

Rick & Tony Rausch

Curt Palermo, Dawn Pack & Troy Paul

Chris & Sarah Peavy

Kristie McDonald, Raffaella Fant & Bill Sauls

Ashlyn Preston & Phil Ginter

Bob Sires, Matt Battaglia, Amanda Negron & Nathan Sparks 54

Tori Jones & Maureen Bierman

Nicole Browning & Jessica Bracken

Jim Morris & Rob Jernigan


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VIP Destin at Beach Dog Aqua Therapy



photos & story by Steve Barber

he gang came together for a fundraiser on June 23 for Dog-Harmony in the form of a live show by Rob Romans, “Sunsets, Songs, and Stories,” at Beach Dog Aqua Therapy in Santa Rosa Beach. A large, outdoor space to allow social distancing was enjoyed by all. Guests brought their chairs, coolers and enjoyed live music as they bid on items in the silent auction to benefit Dog-Harmony. Although the event celebrated our favorite four-legged pals, it was for humans only this time around. Elevate Next Business Consulting, Beach Dog Aqua Therapy, and Singer-Songwriter, Rob Romans sponsored the charity event to raise money in honor of Chloe, a Dog-Harmony rescue dog who works at Elevate Next and takes swim lessons at Beach Dog Aqua Therapy. If you were not able to join the fun, you can still donate to Chloe’s GoFundMe Charity campaign benefiting Dog-Harmony here: Beach Dog Aqua Therapy provides therapeutic wellness programs for our canine companions. Elevate Next empowers organizations to grow their business profitably through creative, customized business solutions. Dog-Harmony is a Santa Rosa Beach-based 501(c)3 that supports our community (pups and people) by providing humane education programs for children and dogs in order to keep dogs at home and out of the shelters. Their tagline is “helping dogs rescue people.” To learn more about their programs and educational materials, such as their published Human & Dog Harmony book for children, please visit

Nancy Bown & Renee Broxson

Zhalman Harris & Amanda Schrand 56

Lisa Duren & Deb Hannan

Karen Murphy & Colleen Riddle

Christie Soloman & Diane Kenney

Rob & Gina Romans, Peter Finley & Mary Foresman


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Sip the finest margarita Savor fresh seafood, enchiladas and more with sauces from scratch Join us for drinks, dinner, lunch or Sunday brunch

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GRAND BOULEVARD Sandestin 850.654.5649

6/28/20 4:04 PM


A Pillar of Trust & Respect photos & story provided by Rodos Realty Partners

Introducing St. Kitts


ordering the pristine, natural setting of Henderson Beach State Park, St. Kitts is the final condominium to be constructed in the 31-acre Silver Shells Beach Resort. The luxury property provides stellar amenities including a stunning lagoon pool, health and fitness facilities, on-site dining, spa, and luxury vacation accommodations. As the licensed brokerage for St. Kitts Condominium, Rodos Realty Advisors recently helped launch the presale of the sixth and final condominium tower at Silver Shells Beach Resort. St. Kitts design will make it the premier luxury condo development anywhere along the Emerald Coast. With 13 levels of extraordinary Gulf views, St. Kitts offers three standard and three penthouse floor plans. Interior features include luxurious finishes, summer kitchens, multiple private balconies and more. Don’t miss out on Destin’s newest luxury living. RESERVE YOUR UNIT TODAY! St. Kitts is an opportunity to invest in a long-term stable asset in an otherwise turbulent economic environment. Why you ask? According to Rodos Managing Partner, Steven Franco, “St. Kitts is a safe investment to hedge against the current market volatility. It’s a place that you, family, and friends can enjoy for years to come, while at the same time receiving positive cash flow from rental of your unit as the Emerald Coast is a hugely popular driving vacation destination second only to Disney World in the State of Florida.” The experience is what makes St. Kitts stand out. Whether you enjoy golf, tennis, fishing, boating, shopping and/or mostly relaxing on the white sand beach, there is something for everyone to make your stay a memorable experience. Take advantage early of pre-sale selection of unit choices. The developer is offering a 15% discount on pre-sale pricing of units for a limited time only. In addition, there are 10 select cabanas reserved for the exclusive St. Kitts pool available for sale. For more information, please contact a Rodos sales agent to assist you in the selection of a St. Kitts condominium unit.

15000 Emerald Coast Parkway • Destin, FL 32541 850-337-5555 | | 58


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FLOOR PLANS STAPLETON 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,380 sf

WESTBURY 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,590 sf

BELLMONT 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2,840 sf

CHARLESTON PENTHOUSE 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3,910 sf 2-story residence

BASSETERRE PENTHOUSE 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3,965 sf 2-story residence

NEWCASTLE PENTHOUSE 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, 4,540 sf 2-story residence

Destin’s Newest Gulf Front Luxury Condominium July 2020 | 59

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VIP Destin at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

photos & story by Jeff Watson

Randi & Steve Dodson

Brendan Parker & Sara Becnel


he 18th Annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic once again entertained Sandestin with the most exciting tournament sport fishing along the Gulf Coast. With 79 boats ranging from center consoles to massive sport-fishers, the competition was stiff as some of the best anglers in the business vied for over $1.7 million in prize money. Twentyseven optional ways to enter this tournament gave everyone a fighting chance to take home a significant check along with bragging rights for the next year. These vessels and their teams left the Destin pass at 1pm on Thursday to make the 100 mile-plus run to deep blue water in pursuit of the elusive blue marlin and other sport fish. As boats continued to back down to the Sandestin scales well into the evening on Saturday, it was obvious that nearly perfect weather conditions had provided for excellent fishing as a record number of blue marlin weighed in. Large wahoo and dolphin along with a record 198lb yellow fin all took home prize money, while the hometown sport-fisher “Mollie� with Capt. Jeff Wholes at the helm and Angler Wes Long on the reel, landing the top prize of $514,993. What an exciting weekend for the teams and spectators as Sandestin put on an amazing tournament once again!

Ben & Austin Carnes

Faith & Allen Gunn

Maggie Yelverton & Jeff Watson

Sarah Birge & Sailor Funk 60


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Bracken Law, PA serves the areas of Destin, 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Panama City Beach, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.


(850) 792-2677 | | 30A | 2930 W. County Highway 30A, Suite 210 | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Holiday Plaza | 12273 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 107 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550


2014 - 2019

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2016 - 2019

6/28/20 4:06 PM

VIP Destin at Santa Rosa Beach



photos by Janie Schmidt

| story by Jalen Jones

peaceful march for Unity and Black Lives was held on Sunday, June 14. After a week of meeting and talking with local law enforcement, leaders, and others, citizens from all across the county gathered at the parking lot across from Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill at 1:00pm with masks on and signs in hand. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. As people continued to gather, they talked about the reason they are able to come together and experience such peace, love and unity. “After praying over the event and our country, we began to march. Many people driving along the road honked in agreement, but we also encountered a few people who made it clear they did not support the event,� explained local organizer Jalen Jones. As marchers made their way to the beach, several leaders prepared to speak, sharing their personal experiences with unjust law enforcement, bullying and racism in school, as well as how they might move forward and make sure their voices are heard by voting and participating in events such as Black Out Day. This event was both powerful and peaceful and organizers hoped to be an example for what peaceful protests can and should look like as our country navigates current issues for unity.


Nick Pillon & Cosima Franchini

Julie, Sarah & Abby Blamsah

Markissa Miller & Haley Minger

Tim Haney, Makenzie, Chole & Kyla Hanks

Makaehla Harrington & Jalen Jones

Dennis & Cindy Braaten


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Dot Long, Frank Day & Daniel Uhlfelder

Sarah Gossett, Taylor Saczynski & Jena Faust

Amber & Lt. Col. Nicholas Sweeney, Soraya & Jett

Liz, Tom, Maiya, Madi & Nova Bowers July 2020 | 65

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JULY 5, 12, 19 & 26 Sunday Cinema at Baytowne Wharf The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd., | Miramar Beach Movie starts at 8:00pm Grab a lawn chair or blanket and cozy up on the Events Plaza Lawn for a featured fi lm on the big screen! Movie Listings: July 5 | Abominable July 12 | Finding Nemo July 19 | Incredibles 2 Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions and working hard to ensure a safe and clean environment for everyone who visits The Village. We will be encouraging social distancing. Groups must be no larger than 10 people and each group must maintain a 6 foot distance from other visitors.

JULY 7, 14, 21 & 28

JULY 7, 14, 21 & 28

Cirque du HarborWalk

Movies on the Beach

HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Blvd. | Destin 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy. | Fort Walton Beach 8:00pm – 10:00pm A festive night on the Harbor fi lled with revelry and wonder, welcome to Cirque du HarborWalk! Prepare to be amazed with everything from trapeze artists and stilt walkers to fire spinning every Tuesday night of Summer. Music by Doc Roc. Discover the magic and a whole new world of fun at HarborWalk Village!

Visit for information on all events.

Lights – Camera – Action! Come on out to The Boardwalk, on Okaloosa Island as we light up the silver screen Tuesday nights. Grab some food or a tasty drink from one of The Boardwalk’s restaurants, then take your seats (in the sand) at Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar for a family-friendly movie on the large inflatable screen… right on the beach! Movie showings are subject to weather conditions. Visit

JULY 8, 15, 22 & 29 Okaloosa Island Fireworks The Boardwalk 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE | Fort Walton Beach 9:00pm Make your Wednesday’s BOOM! Throw down a blanket on the beach or dine from one of The Boardwalk restaurant’s, however you choose to watch bring come out to The Boardwalk for the Okaloosa Island Summer Fireworks happening each Wednesday through August 12th 2020! Visit 66 |

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JULY 9, 16, 23 & 30 MKAF Concerts in the Village 4323 Commons Drive W | Destin 6:00pm – 9:00pm The Florida Travel Guide named The Concerts in the Village as one of the “Top Ten Things to Do” in Northwest Florida. The Foundation presents 15 annual concerts in a spring, summer and fall series featuring a diverse genre of music suitable for all ages and families spanning four generations. National, regional and local musicians perform annually on the Dugas Stage. Thursday, July 9, 2020: Jeffrey Steele Thursday, July 16, 2020: Accent Wednesday, July 22, 2020: The Ultimate Eagle’s Tribute, On The Border Thursday, July 30, 2020: Forrest Williams Band Visit for concert information.



7th Annual Great American Cookout

3rd Annual East Pass Slacker 0.5K

Destin Chamber of Commerce 4484 Legendary Drive | Destin 11:30am – 1:00pm

Boathouse Oyster Bar 288 Harbor Boulevard | Destin 10:00am – 1:00pm

Join us for our 7th Annual Great American Cookout Sponsored by Community Bank and Emerald Coast Title Services! Enjoy networking and a cookout at the Chamber. Our nonprofit spotlight is Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. Cost for the lunch is $10 for members and $20 for non-members. All registrations are due by Friday, July 10, at 1:00pm. Prepayment is required, and walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

Join us for our 3rd Annual East Pass Slacker 0.5K, specifically for those “underachievers” who enjoy cold beer and the shortest walk possible. All proceeds will benefit Road Dogg Rescue. Registration table opens at 8am at the Boathouse Oyster Bar. Get checked in and grab a Bloody Mary to kick things off right. A shotgun start at 10am will send participants to three stops to participate in drinking activities. The Slacker who completes all 3 stops and cross the finish line will win! Awards ceremony to follow. Visit

Visit to register.

JULY 31 65th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival Downtown Fort Walton Beach Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE | Fort Walton Beach 6:00pm – 9:00pm Join us at The Landing for a live concert in the park. Capt. Billy and his Krewe will dock at the Landing around 7:00pm for a reconnaissance mission and skirmish. The Skirmish’ will feature Capt. Billy along with his Krewe coming ashore in an attempt to capture the City. The Honorable Mayor Rynearson will attempt to defend the city from these marauders with the outcome unknown, but either way fireworks to follow.

Event information may be out of date due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please confirm details with event organizers.

Visit for more events! July 2020 | 67

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LOCALE O $70,000 for COVID19 Relief Provided to 15 Local Non-profit Organizations

United Way Emerald Coast released their third phase of grant money totaling $70,000 to 15 local non-profit organizations in Okaloosa and Walton counties from their COVID-19 Relief fund. Since United Way began the COVID-19 relief grant process, they have provided a total of $140,000 back to 19 vetted local non-profits. United Way works with hundreds of partners to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Their COVID-19 relief grants provide support to non-profits who provide housing assistance, utility assistance, healthcare, child care, and food security to working households negatively impacted by COVID-19. “Because of the sudden economic impacts of COVID-19, many local hard-working households are still struggling to make ends meet. Our non-profit partners are trying to do all they can to rise to the challenge of these uncertain times,” said United Way CEO Kelly Jasen. “We are proud to support their efforts – and thousands of local families – with these COVID-19 Relief Grants. We are incredibly grateful for the corporate partners, individual donors, and volunteers who are stepping up to help our community address these unprecedented needs. Because of these partnerships, Phase 3 funds were allocated to 15 vetted non-profits supporting the people hardest-hit by this pandemic.” The 15 local non-profit organizations selected to receive funds include: Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast, Caterpillar 2 Butterfly Outreach Center, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, Children in Crisis, Early Learning Coalition of the Emerald Coast, Feeding the

Gulf Coast, Fresh Start Children & Families, Homelessness and Housing Alliance, Mental Health Association, Okaloosa County Council on Aging, One Hopeful Place, Opportunity Place, S4P Synergy, The Salvation Army. The non-profits were required to submit a COVID-19 relief grant application in order to be considered for funds. Each non-profit will also be required to submit results, showcasing how the funds were able to directly impact the families and individuals their organizations support in the community. “Since March 1st, Opportunity Place has received 239 calls from individuals and families seeking shelter. We were only able to shelter 27. The funds from United Way and Gulf Power will enable us to help those that we are unable to shelter, but who still have pressing economic needs,” said Kathryn McNabb Cochran, PhD, Executive Director. “The funds will be used to prevent homelessness by covering rent and utility costs for those facing eviction and to help those already experiencing homelessness get back into their own home by covering re-housing costs. These funds will go a long way in preventing and relieving homelessness in our County during this pandemic.” The COVID-19 Relief Fund was made possible by several local businesses. Gulf Power Foundation, Florida Blue, Publix Super Markets, Eglin Federal Credit Union, Wind Creek, Beast Code, Truist Foundation, Beach Community Bank, Wells Fargo, Whole Foods and 40 individual donors. To support the COVID-19 Relief Fund, please visit relief.

Fine Art Destination Opens Its Doors in Miramar Beach, Florida On June 3, 2020, J.Leon Gallery + Studio, the area’s newest fine art destination, opens in Miramar Beach, Florida. Born with a vision to make high-end art attainable for everyone, the gallery features seven artists and a fully equipped ceramic studio for both classes and open studio time for advanced

artists. Owner and artist, Jason Lindblad, welcomes all guests to the gallery to experience the journey of creativity. Megan Patterson, Studio Director, and Ceramics Instructor brings a unique talent to J.Leon Gallery + Studio. As a ceramicist, Patterson instructs both Beginner Wheel Throwing Classes and Beginner Hand Building Classes. Each guest is encouraged to unleash their creativity and enjoy the process of creating something new. J.Leon Gallery + Studio is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays. For additional information, class and workshop signup, and to view upcoming events visit and follow the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

Costa Enterprises McDonald’s Celebrates Archways to OpportunityTM Graduates with Surprise Graduation Ceremony Costa Enterprises McDonald’s celebrated two recent graduates, Josiah Gould and Candice Montague, who were able to attain higher education degrees through Costa July 2020 | 69

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LOCALE O McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity Programs. Due to COVID-19, traditional graduation ceremonies were cancelled, so the Costa team took it into their own hands to celebrate the accomplishments of Gould and Montague. Complete with a cap and gown, balloons, and a custom McDonald’s hamburger cake, each of the employees were surprised with a graduation celebration at the Mossy Head and Niceville McDonald’s. “Graduation is such a momentous occasion and something you work so hard towards,” said David Costa, CEO of Costa Enterprises McDonald’s. “We wanted to celebrate and do something extra special for our crew members in the Archways program since they have been working overtime to achieve these degrees. They deserve it!” Gould and Montague both completed the Costa McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity Program, which provided them with the funding needed to accomplish their recent degrees. This program offers Costa McDonald’s employees funding to pursue their path to success and continued education including earning a high school diploma, working towards a college degree, and access to advisors who assist with an education or career plan. Some of these benefits go beyond the scope of the company and are also extended to immediate families of eligible employees.

with the hope of growing into a more senior position. Montague graduated with an associate degree in nursing from Northwest Florida State College. Originally from Niceville, Montague has personal ties with Costa Enterprises McDonald’s and has grown up with some of the team members within the company. Montague was also awarded a glass Archways McDonald’s Award commemorating her completion of the nursing program. She has been employed at the Niceville Costa McDonald’s for three years as Shift Manager and plans to take her state boards before moving to Hattiesburg, Miss. to pursue her nursing career.

“I love the customers, teammates, regulars, and crew members at Costa McDonald’s,” Montague said. “I am extremely thankful for this company and what they’ve been in my life. I’ve been able to find my dream, maintain a flexible schedule, and the people I worked with became my family.”

AdvantaClean of the Emerald Coast Serve First Responders

appreciation for their countless hours and service to the wellbeing of our community. We have a written comprehensive sanitization protocol that is approved by Industrial Hygienists from around the country that we follow. Our highly trained technicians are OSHA Certified, and we maintain insurance specifically for virus cleanup. We also only use EPA approved solutions,” Jim said. This was not a car wash or detail service. Upon arrival, the AdvantaClean team members fogged the interior and hand wiped the high touch-points of each vehicle to insure they were sanitized. Tanner went on to say, “these are the people taking care of us during one of our countries most difficult times. We feel this is the least we could do to say thank you.” This event was held in the parking lot of the American Legion located at 311 Main Street in Destin Florida on Saturday, May 2nd starting at 9am and finishing around 3pm.

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Gould, a crew member at Costa’s Mossy Head location, has been with the Costa team for over two years and recently graduated from Career Online High School with a focus in retail customer service certification. After graduation, he plans to continue working for Costa Enterprises McDonald’s 70

Jim and Cindy Tanner, Owners of AdvantaClean of the Emerald Coast, announced their company served first responders within their local community, by providing a free vehicle sanitization and purification event. This event was open to all doctors, nurses and any supporting healthcare workers who are part of the first line of defense. It also included Law Enforcement, Fire Fighters, or any other first responder personnel directly dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We at AdvantaClean want to show our


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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

BOOMIN’ Tuesdays photos & story by Greg Alexander

Pete & Jordyn Wilson

Bill & Terri Graft


he arrival of summer brings on lots of excitement and family fun at the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin. On Tuesday, June 23, The Village was especially festive as they hosted Boomin’ Tuesday, which continues on each Tuesday night through August 4. Boomin’ Tuesday began at 7:15pm with lawn games and a DJ Dance Party with DJ Mike Whitty in the Events Plaza, which had moms, dads, grandparents, and children of all ages dancing and having fun. Then, at 9:15pm the music shifted in tune to the extraordinary blasts of colorful fireworks in the sky over the lagoon. With not a bad seat in the village, there are some vantage points that make it feel more exciting. Folks lined the bridges for a front row view over the water. A few others had an inside scoop, or were just in the right place at the right time as they enjoyed dinner from the upstairs balcony area at Slick Lips Seafood and Oyster House, where they were provided spectacular views from their tables. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is the heart and soul of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and the gathering place for many locals and visitors along the Emerald Coast.

Deanna White & Danielle Ripley

Jody & Allen Capdeboscq 72

Jeff & Summer Peavy

Greg & Marci Glasson

Mike Martin & Vera

Avery, Bailey, Jack, Claire & Clinton Van Hook

Bill & Lisa Compton


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Nick, Tiffany & Ava Frezza

Alex, Kayla & Julie Frosinos

Sawyer, Lucas, Ray & Ann Hopkins, Ann White & Emiann Hopkins (front)

Zach Streuling & Hunter Streuling

Emme Ossenberg, Sophie Johnson & Kate Muehlbauer

Sophia, Norma & Summer Putman

Paxton, Wendy, Greg & Gabi Saurette

Brian Richey, Ellie Towns & Sydney Skrivanos July 2020 | 73

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What is your hometown, what brought you here to the Emerald Coast, and how log have you lived here? I’m not originally from here, but I got here as soon as possible! My home town is Spring Lake, NC, and I still consider myself a Tarheel at heart. The wonderful people and the beautiful beaches brought me to the Emerald Coast over 20 years ago, but my love for Children In Crisis and what we do for kids is why I stayed. What is your profession, and what led you to choose it? After serving our great nation for almost 29 years in the US Air Force, I felt a need to continue serving after retirement by helping give a home to at-risk foster children of the Florida panhandle. What do you like best about Destin? What makes it unique? I’ve had the great opportunity to live in a lot of different communities all over. However, I’ve never experienced nicer people with larger hearts anywhere than the Emerald Coast. What makes it even more unique - we have the most beautiful beaches anywhere! What are three words that best describe you? Caring. Compassionate. Driven. Give us a few of your favorite things about Destin. There are so many great activities, events, and things to do! Did I say great beaches and wonderful people? I have to mention the delicious food and awesome restaurants too! I am Destin because I love the people of the Emerald Coast! Our awesome communities and the diversity our military and tourism brings are a blessing to all!

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photo by Zhalman Harris

Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because…

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