VIP Destin Magazine - March 2022

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MARCH 2022


Find your fabulous. Corcoran Reverie has your luxury home on the Emerald Coast.

COR C O R A N R E V E R I E . C O M SEAGROVE • 4043 E COUNTY H W Y 30A , STE D, SA N TA RO SA BE A C H , FL 32 4 5 9 • 8 5 0 .2 3 1 .5 0 3 0 DESTIN • 4014 COM M O N S DR, STE 100, DE STIN , FL 32541 • 8 5 0 . 4 2 4 .3 0 9 4

©2022 Corcoran Group LLC. All rights reserved. Corcoran® and the Corcoran Logo are registered service marks owned by Corcoran Group LLC. Corcoran Group LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each franchise is independently owned and operated.

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Volume XIX • Issue III

events 15 Palate & Palette 18 VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal Party 23 Brunchfest 27 Wine & Fries 37 A Football Fan’s Red Carpet Love Affair 44 Destin Chamber Business After Hours 46 2022 Air Force Contracting Summit VIP Networking Reception 54 Caring & Sharing Spring Fashion Show & Luncheon 56 Power of Business Luncheon 61 Sandestin Gumbo Festival 68 Mardi Gras Murder Mystery Masquerade 70 Destin Chamber Business Before Hours 75 Blue Dog & Bourbon at Bijoux 80 A Symphony of Taste Mardi Gras Food and Wine Festival 82 Shrimp & Grits Festival 91 Fire & Ice Gala

departments 20 30 51 65 72 78 85 88 94

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

features 33 Best In Destin 2022 40 Luxury & Financial Profiles 42 Business ProfileARC Chimney Sweeps 48 Business ProfileCBM Mortgage

VIP Destin Magazine Staff

on the cover

Publisher Greg Alexander

Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Megan & Kris Harrison

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Graphic Design Brian Goins Patti Hall

Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge

Photography by Harley S. Sampson, Jr. at Fire & Ice Gala

Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Moffitt Verla Price Content Creator Anna Stockton

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Zhalman Harris Alicia Noble Harley S. Sampson, Jr. Anna Stockton Savannah Vasquez VIP Founder Jeff Watson March 2022 | 9

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letter from the Associate Publisher Learn To Be Happy Recently, a friend who I had not seen in a while asked me how I was doing. I replied that I was doing well. She pressed for a better answer inquiring about my health. I replied that I am blessed with good health and feel great. Then she asked but are you happy? I thought for a moment and smiled as I answered. I couldn’t be happier. A few years back, I started thinking of important things like family, friends, time for myself, and hobbies. I changed careers to achieve more flexibility to chase my dreams, travel, and ride motorcycles. I believe happiness comes from making a conscious decision to enjoy the moment, embrace the future, and forget the past. A big part of being happy depends on learning to relax, pampering yourself, and diving into new adventures. In the pages of our Luxury & Financial issue, you will find many ways to do just that. For example, Step One Automotive’s Maserati Ghibli would be an excellent way to spin around the beach looking for seashells. When you open a bottle of the bubbly for a quick toast at sunset, you can share the history of champagne after you read Swizzle. Maybe you would enjoy a day on the open seas with Holloway Yacht Charters featured in Adventure Out. In Destin Style, learn how to throw a memorable cocktail party. This issue’s #trending feature shows a fantastic children’s book by a local author set in the waters of the Gulf Coast, and finally… get to know Dion Moniz in I Am Destin. Over the last month we have all been busy attending many of the area’s incredible events, many of which we recap in this issue. 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. We love supporting as many non-profit causes as possible. Thank YOU for reading VIP Destin Magazine; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.

Associate Publisher 850-502-7970

Be on the lookout for our VIP Destin Ambassadors, Joe & Lea Capers, at area events. 12


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VIP Destin at Legendary Marine

PALATE & Palette photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


egendary Marine hosted the 6th Annual Palate & Palette Wine Dinner and Live Painting fundraiser for Shelter House on the floor at their beautiful showroom on February 5. Opening at 6:00 pm, attendees were treated to a five-course meal crafted by several of the area’s top chefs. Transformed into an intimate dining experience, the showroom had displays and activities for everyone to enjoy. If you weren’t checking out a new boat, you could bid on one of the many silent auction items or watch the guest artist complete a painting for the live auction. Sponsoring presenters included: Compass Resorts, Step One Automotive Group, and Emerald Coast Title Services (ECTS). Presenters, sponsors, and donors have their reasons for supporting Shelter House. Attorney Alison Hand of ECTS proudly stated that, “We have sponsored every year because it’s a wonderful cause.” Kerri Ford’s answer (Timber Creek Distillery) was more personal, “This year’s sponsorship is in honor of a friend we lost to domestic violence.” Founded in 1985, Shelter House is a non-profit center serving domestic and sexual violence victims and survivors in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Shelter House is the area’s state-certified domestic and sexual violence center. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Palate & Palette event is an important fundraiser for Shelter House’s programs. Ranging from confidential shelter to counseling and support services, everything is provided free.

Rosalyn Wik & Keith Lemasters

Fran Herrbold & Gabe Campbell

Merideth Williamson, Mindy & Dion Moniz, Alison Hand

Raffaella Fant & Fernando Arellano

Kerri Ford & Brenda Barnes March 2022 | 15

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VIP Destin at Palate & Palette

Shaun & Irina Roberts

Drs. J.C. & Robin Zarate

Val & Kris Wambach

Chris & Vicki Camp

Josh Foster & Carmen Ionascu

Robin Landa & Mitchell Detwiller

Dr. Gary Kipp & Paula Meyer

Dylan Hoover & Rachel Guidry 16

Bradley Copeland & Nicole Kiser

Gemma & Manny Alfinez


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VIP Destin at Emerald Grande

VIP Destin Magazine

Cover Reveal Party photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.





verlooking the Destin Harbor and Norriego Point, the iconic Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village hosts events ranging from elegant weddings to weekend spa getaways. On February 4, the Emerald Grande was abuzz with area business leaders for the February VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal. The entrance to the room held a large display of the cover featuring Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Northwest Florida State College, J. Wren Supak, Art Gallery Director and Curator of Northwest Florida State College, and Dan Henkel, Mayor of Niceville. After checking in and registering for the evening’s door prizes, which were donated by many of the businesses whose representatives were in attendance, guests were treated to drinks and an incredible selection of delicious hors d’oeuvres. Displayed across the room were copies of the February issue of VIP Destin Magazine and the guests enjoyed looking through the issue. William Kelly, owner of Sea and Sand Jewelry, stated, “I’m here to be a part of the community and support VIP Destin Magazine. It’s nice to get out and enjoy the camaraderie of others.”

Stephanie & Steve Holcomb

Lea Capers, Mary Chris Murry & Todd Reeves

Kevin Henderson & Stephanie Alvarez

Heather & Ryan Holloway

Mindy & Dion Moniz

Destin Lowery & Mary Cornelison


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Maggie White, Amy Milligan & Charlene Myers-Sponholtz

Larry Cowsert, Dan & Jennifer Vargo

Donnavon Lalputan, Verla Price & Young Kim

William Kelly, Scott & Elizabeth Spies March 2022 | 19

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Bring on the Bubbly story by Anna Stockton


hether you call it bubbly, champers, or you fancy yourself one of the Real Housewives and call it “champs,” champagne is a staple cocktail among everyone from the elite in the winner’s circle to the millennials at a bottomless mimosa brunch. With its accidental discovery and long, yet unclear history, champagne is as interesting and as thrilling as the bubbles that make it famous. There are many different stories about who exactly discovered champagne, but everyone seems to agree on one thing, the discovery was not only accidental, it was also downright explosive. Wine that is mistakenly bottled before it has finished the fermentation process has been around for as long as people have been making wine. However, this wine was to be avoided and even called “devil’s wine” because of the bubbles that formed in the bottle. In fact, these bubbles weren’t just unsightly, they were dangerous. The bottles used for wine were quite thin at the time so the pressure of the bubbles would cause the corks to pop off or the bottles to explode causing a chain reaction of exploding bottles among the nearby batches. This caused the loss of perfectly good wine, as well as human injury from debris ... but did I mention the loss of perfectly good wine?

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The Champagne name is protected and only refers to wine and sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wines from other regions should be referred to as just that, sparkling wine.

One of the most popular stories regarding the discovery of champagne is the story of a monk named Dom Perignon who lived in the Abbey of Hautvillers in the early 1700s. The story goes that he decided to open a bottle of the bubbly wine and was dazzled by the fizziness, so he poured himself a glass to give it a try. Apparently, Dom loved the way the bubbles tickled his nose and he enjoyed the taste so much he called out “Brothers come quickly! I’m drinking stars!” It’s said that he made it his mission to develop a process to ensure his wine would always be bubbly from there on out. The problem is that this story, although a great tale, has been mostly proven false. A newer theory is that England had a larger role than first thought, as papers dating back from 1662 have been discovered that document the English adding sugar and molasses to wine from the Champagne region, thus creating a secondary fermentation process to create a bubbly masterpiece. While most vintners still looked down on this “bubbly mistake,” in the late 18th century

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French and English Royalty took a liking to this new sparkling wine and began serving it at their royal events. As word got out about this exclusive bubbly beverage, the aristocrats and wealthy members of society wanted to show their elite status by also getting their hands on the sparkling wine and demand for the product grew. Soon three champagne houses opened in the Champagne region of France, Moet and Chandon, Taittinger, and Louis Roederer, all to keep up with the demand from the wealthy. The English also took a large role in the spreading of the bubbly love and are credited with speeding the champagne industry into what it is today. With the various tales of how it came to be, champagne has quite the storied history, from “bursting” onto the scene 300 years ago, to Europe “bubbling over” with excitement at its arrival, to bringing “effervesce” and joy to our lunch dates with friends. Champagne is a go-to like no other, whether you’re celebrating a big event, or simply nothing at all.

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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village

Brunchfest photos & story by Savannah Vasquez


runch was served to a sold-out crowd at the inaugural Brunchfest at the HarborWalk Village in Destin on February 12. Booths were set up along the harbor with unique cocktails and brunch bites from 23 local restaurants and drink vendors, all vying for the title of Best in Brunch. “This is our first year and it actually came about because one of our event coordinators said she has always wanted to plan a brunch festival,” said Brittany Bryd, Events Manager at HarborWalk. “We are really excited to have a sold-out event in our first year.” From smoking Bloody Marys to savory breakfast tacos, patrons brunched and munched their way through the festival to the tunes of local band Jones and Company. Festival attendees voted on their favorite booth and the prize of best bite was awarded to East Pass Seafood and Oyster House for their salmon bite with edamame salad and French toast with berry compote. The verdict is in, Brunchfest is on the menu for next year, so be on the lookout for everyone’s favorite mealtime festival.

Michelle Samuels & Giselle Cunningham

Valerie Rojas & Zach Stroman

Sean & Angel Hart, Jon Aelly, Kaylin Forbush, Jessica Daughtry, Annemarie McClain, Jack Daughtry & May Proch

Derek Rackliffe & Summer Langford

Kameko McGuire & Kaila Sheffield

Matt Griffin, Rob & Cara Riccio, Harry Paulus, Mandy Griffin, Tiffany & Melvin Bryant March 2022 | 23

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VIP Destin at Brunchfest

Preston & Christina Booth

Kevin & Katy Tate, Kim & Jeff McDonald

Makenzi Stephens & Helene Gedeon

Whitney Cornish, Vanessa Jean, Amber Waters, Dawn Stuckey & Victoria Peck 24

Cheyanne Fuller & Mary Bradford

Sandy & Karl Trammell

Annemarie McClain, Angel Hart & Kaylin Forbush

Brittney Dijkhuizen, Jenni Brunson & Bobby Parker

Autumn Lyfe & Daniel Rash

Lisa Brown, Jennifer Bell, Tami Blackshear, Ashley Stafford & Bobbie Street


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Best Mexican/ Latin American Restaurant!


M yPepito m NICEVILLE-BWB 4585 US HWY 20 Suite 100 850-279-4949

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FORT WALTON BEACH 1313 Lewis Turner Blvd 850-226-4147

DESTIN WEST 757 Harbor Blvd 850-650-7734

DESTIN EAST- MIRAMAR 36112 Emerald Coast Pkwy 850-269-7788

2/27/22 9:16 PM

Life’s a



L I F E ’ S A D A N C E 2 0 2 2 | June 30 | Pensacola Saenger Theatre | Benefitting Junior Achievement

S TA Y T U N E D F O R T I C K E T S A L E S A N D S I G N U P F O R U P D AT E S Show brought to you by Victor & Melanie Luna & Gene & Amanda Hurd VICTOR LUNA | 850.420.0799


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VIP Destin at Hotel Effie

Mary Jane Cornish & David Costa

Carey Sue & Paul Beasley

Wine & Fries

Misti Staudt & Alex Zack

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


s the sun set over the Panhandle, guests of the Ronald McDonald House Charities’ Wine & Fries fundraiser watched in awe as daytime hues changed to darkness. Hosted by Hotel Effie and powered by Step One Automotive Group, this party with a purpose brought people together in an effort to raise funds to keep families close while their sister, brother, or child heals. “The primary purpose of the event is to raise funds for the mission and to support the families of Ronald McDonald House,” said Kathryn Coaker, Mission Partnership Manager for Ronald McDonald House - Northwest Florida. Kathryn continued, “the families come from a variety of backgrounds, and we serve all pediatric needs.” Hotel Effie’s expansive, pristine rooftop bar was transformed into an elegant event space courtesy of Alpha Lit, Cindy White Balloon Design, and Emerald Coast Entertainment Services. Over 100 guests in attendance sipped on a variety of wines while noshing on hors d’oeuvres and McDonald’s famous, hot French fries served by McDonald’s local franchisee, Costa Enterprises. Throughout the evening, bids were cast for a variety of silent auction items including jewelry, spa services, local getaways, gift cards and more. Guests also tried their luck to win a “Wine-Pull” raffle featuring countless bottles of wine. Through ticket sales, donations, the silent auction, and raffle sales, the 2022 event raised a record-breaking $29,020 for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida.

Mollie & Austin Williams

Donovan Smith & Georva Ruffin

Kathryn Coaker & Summer Jimmerson

John & Linda Stege, Angelica Stege & Anthony Connor March 2022 | 27

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VIP Destin at Wine & Fries

Scot Copeland & Van Geeker

Steve Moorhead, Amelia & Cliff Beard

Adrian Looney & Lisa Smith

Alissa Alfaro & Melissa Phillips

James & Star Brayboy

Becky Day & Cathy Marinan

Madison & Jared Johnston

Tammy & Jimmy Darnall

Connie Randle, Sandy Sims & Sarah Bell 28

David Hester & Levin Bracken


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LESS PAIN. MORE LIFE. Angela & Justin Johnson, Theresa Vangogh

Voted best in Destin for pain management. Let us help you with:


Lauren Grobsmith, April Smith & Nogah Winfield

Brendan Parker, Sara Becnel & baby Scarlett

4495 Furling Ln Suite 10, Destin | (850) 279-4145 Rosa & Kevin McKone, Theresa McKone |

@CRYO850 March 2022 | 29

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story by Anna Stockton

magine this, you’re cruising on a yacht along the crystal-clear waters of Destin, shades on, drink in hand, being waited on hand and foot by an attentive staff. Well, imagine it no more, Holloway Yachts is here to make that dream a reality. Holloway Yachts is a dream all its own for owner Ryan Holloway. He grew up boating and always wanted a yacht to call his own. Ryan unknowingly laid the foundation for his company when he purchased his first lu ury boat, a ea Ray undancer. After thoroughly en oying this boat and everything that went along with it, Ryan decided he’s “gonna need a bigger boat” and purchased a Hatteras 45. But a trip to a boat show in Miami would further pave the way to realizing his potential in lu ury yachting and building a business that would create an e perience for others to en oy yachting as well. He was living in ontgomery, Alabama at the time, yet memories of vacations in Destin navigated Ryan to decide on the emerald waters of Destin to be the home base of his new business, Holloway Yachts. Holloway Yachts now boasts a beauty of a vessel – Propensity, a Princess V72. This 75’ yacht has three staterooms along with three full bathrooms. With a sun pad, swim platform, and a central stereo system, there’s plenty of outdoor space to en oy while the upper salon with a table and banquette has plenty of room to take the party inside. rincess achts are ritish lu ury yachts known for their high-end materials, attention to detail, and unique layout. No two of their yachts are e actly alike.

photos by Harley Sampson, Jr.

New pickup location at Heron Harbor! 850-80-YACHT •

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Whether you want to tool around the area for a few hours, a full day, or just want to cruise around and catch one of the gorgeous Destin sunsets, Holloway Yachts has a trip option for you. Multipleday and travel charters are also available for those who want to extend their luxury yacht experience. Each of these charters include Captain Barry at the helm, fuel, snacks, fruit, drinks, an ice cream dessert, and of course, a champagne toast to kick off your cruise. To take your experience over the top, Holloway Yachts has partnered with private Chef Nathan Davis of Polished Chef 30A. The staff’s goal is for guests to be able to sit back and enjoy the views while they tend to your every need. Holloway Yachts’ motto is “If you ask for anything, we failed.” They stress that their staff will make sure your day is absolutely perfect and it will be one of the most memorable days of your life. Propensity is arguably the prettiest boat in Destin and many guests have proposed, celebrated anniversaries, birthdays, or just wanted a romantic or family day. The yacht has also hosted girls/guys days out, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and weddings. It’s up to the you on how you’d like to spend your charter and Propensity’s crew is more than happy to accommodate. You can cruise the gulf or the bay and then anchor along the beach or a secluded island for some peace and quiet. If you want to be part of the crab island party, Captain Barry can anchor at Crab Island or have the yacht’s SeaDoo zoom you over to enjoy the island fun. A floating lay-out deck, along with a sitting tube float and three-person inner tube will ensure you get the most water fun possible on your charter.

Owner Ryan Holloway, a USCG licensed Captain himself, his wife Heather, and their children make Holloway Yachts a family affair. Heather, an operating room nurse, and both children, students at Auburn University, are all hands-on deck at high season to help charters run as smoothly as possible ensuring everyone has the best experience. Their daughter is a Phi Mu majoring in law and justice and is planning a future in Homeland Security. Their son attends Auburn’s Honors College majoring in economics. Ryan graduated from Auburn with a degree in finance and international business, continuing with his Masters in Finance. While Ryan is a 5th generation graduate from Auburn, Heather is a Troy alumnus. They are involved with their local church and the Auburn Club Board of Directors. The Holloway family believes firmly in keeping the area’s beaches and harbors clean to leave the best environment for future generations to enjoy the waterways as they have. Philanthropy is at the heart of the Holloway family. They are very involved with Alzheimer’s and ALS research as well as donating to Montgomery Catholic Prep, the school their children attended, to fund a scholarship for economically disadvantaged children to attend the school. Donating to local food banks is also a heartfelt cause they support. Ryan is a member of Tigers Unlimited, Auburn’s top athletics donor organization where he gives back to the university that has meant so much to his life and other generations of his family.

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Shopping & Retail Outdoor Furniture Bay Breeze Patio

Wine Shop/Liquor Store Beach Liquors Seafood Market Blalock Seafood & Specialty Market

Women’s Accessories Cheetah Chix Boutique Men’s Clothing o t tfitt r

Shopping/Lifestyle Center Destin Commons Place to Spoil Him Ecco Motors

Jewelry Emerald Lady Jewelry

Furniture isidro dunbar MODERN INTERIORS Eyeglasses/Sunglasses Mollega Eye Care Children’s Clothing Pink N Blue Avenue

Gift Shop Sea and Sand Jewelry

Locally Owned Retailer Sea and Sand Jewelry

Place to Spoil Her Serenity by the sea Spa

Home Décor/ Accessories Stock & Trade Design Co

Shoe Store Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles Women’s Clothing Today’s Boutique

Entertainment Place for a Date Bitterroot Food and Spirits

Place for a Weekend Getaway ot ffi

Charter Fishing Experience Charter Boat Huntress

Place to Take the Kids LuLu’s Destin

Place to Go Dancing Bric à Brac Restaurant & Bar

Place to Watch a Sunset Cruisin’ Tikis Destin

Party Boat Experience Destin Princess/ Destiny Party Boat Fishing Place for Girls Night Out HarborWalk Village Place to be Seen HarborWalk Village

Hotel Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Golf Course Kelly Plantation

Water Sports Experience Power Up Watersports Resort Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Local Annual Event Sandestin Wine Festival

Place to People Watch The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Health & Wellness Medical Spa Aqua Medical Spa

Urgent Care Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast

Podiatrist Bay Foot & Ankle Center

Pediatrician Coastal Pediatric Group, LLC Dermatology Practice Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology

Place for a Massage Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

Doctor Michael Stickler, MDDermatology Specialists of FL Women’s Wellness Provider Mitchell Silver, MD Dental Practice Nathan Hall, DMD

Vein/Vascular Care Coastal Vascular & Interventional

Aesthetician Patricia SgobbaDestin Plastic Surgery

Anti Aging Destin Botox Laser & Facial Esthetics

Cosmetic Dentist Smileology

Pain Management CRYO850 Performance & Recovery

Medical Practice Destin Plastic Surgery Plastic Surgery Destin Plastic Surgery

Chiropractic Clinic Emerald Coast Chiropractic Miramar Beach

Weight Loss Renew Aesthetics & Anti-Aging Clinic

Orthodontist Stubbs Orthodontics

Alternative/Natural Medicine The Aesthetic Clinique IVbar30A

Senior Living Community The Blake at Miramar Beach

Medical Center White-Wilson Medical Center

Wedding & Bridal Place for Stationery/Invites Frill Seekers Gifts

Place for Rehearsal Dinner Mimmo’s Ristorante Italiano

Wedding Venue Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Place to Buy Wedding Dress Simply Elegant Bridal

Place to Pop the Question Henderson Park Inn

Place to Buy Engagement Ring McCaskill & Company Place to Get a Tuxedo Men’s Wearhouse

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Vision Care Eye Center South

Wedding Planner Nicki Cox- Island Sands Beach Weddings

Reception WaterColor LakeHouse

2/27/22 9:23 PM

Limo/Transportation Service 654LIMO, Inc. Charity/Non-Profit Alaqua Animal Refuge Hair Salon Allyson Salon and Spa

Place for Eyelashes, Nails, or Makeup Allyson Salon and Spa

Specialty Cleaning Service ARC Chimney Sweeps

Real Estate Company Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - PenFed Realty Pest Control/Wildlife Management Bryan Pest Control


Flooring Destin Flooring America Florist Destin Floral Designs

Bank/Financial Institution Eglin Federal Credit Union Golf Cart/ATV Electric Cart Company Sign Company Eloquent Signs

Title Company Emerald Coast Title Services, LLC Event Planner Emily BuckleyEmerald Grande at HarborWalk Village

Photographer Cathy Catanese

Property Management Five Star Beach Properties

Alarm/Security Company Coastal Protection, Inc.

Luxury Automobile Sales Gregg Orr Pre-Owned Destin

Mortgage Lender CBM Mortgage

Real Estate - Residential Corcoran Reverie

IT Firm/Web Design CRC Data Technologies Accounting Firm Debra Henry, CPA

Specialty Contractor Destin Discount Granite & Cabinets

Beer Selection 3rd Planet Brewing Dessert Ben & Jerry’s

Place for Cocktails Bijoux

Bloody Mary Bitterroot Food and Spirits Outdoor Dining Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House

Crab Cakes Bric à Brac Restaurant & Bar Casual Dining Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer Outdoor Bar Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer

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Credit Card Processing Gateway Payments

Boat Sales & Service Gulf Coast Boating Centers Heating & Air Service Gulfshore Air Conditioning & Heating, Inc.

Law Firm Hand Arendall Harrison Sale, LLC

Event Venue Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

New Business Holloway Yacht Charters

Pet Care & Accessories Petland Fort Walton Beach

Insurance Firm Insurance Zone

Homebuilder Randy Wise Homes, Inc.

Customer Service Insurance Zone

Interior Design Firm isidro dunbar MODERN INTERIORS

Real Estate Professional- Female Jacqui Luberto Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast Architect JDF Architecture Banker Lane ReddingProgress Bank

Cleaning Service Maids in Action Cleaning Services

Real Estate - Commercial Mary Anne Windes, CCIMReal Estate Professionals of Destin Inc. General Contractor Michael SpicerSpicer Design Build, Inc.

Cocktails & Cuisine Margarita Cantina Laredo

Chef Chef Al MassaBrotula’s Seafood House & Steamer Italian Restaurant Clemenza’s at Uptown Breakfast Crackings Burger Fatboys

Catering Gather & Graze on the Emerald Coast

Locally Owned Restaurant HOLI Indian Restaurants Buffalo Wings Island Wing Company

Vacation Rental Company Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.

Public Relations Firm Proffitt PR

Real Estate Professional- Male Royce W. Mitchell

Payroll Firm/Human Resources SimpleHR Real Estate Team Some Beach GroupKris Laidlaw & Chris Bent

Automobile DealershipPre Owned Step One Automotive Group Automobile Dealership- New Step One Automotive Group Automobile Repair/Service Step One Automotive Group Pool Building/Service Sunset Blues Pool Service

Interior Designer/Decorator Todd D. Reeves

Financial Advisor William Edward Blanken, Jr. Blanken Management Landscaping/Lawn Service Wyscape

Asian Jasmine Thai

Happy Hour Pepper’s Mexican Grill & Cantina Fine Dining Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Bartender Maggie White - Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House

Oysters Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar

Sushi Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi

Pizza Landshark’s Pizza Co.

Special Occasion Restaurant Marina Cafe BBQ Moe’s Original BBQ Appetizer Pazzo Italiano Ristorante & Bar

Mexican/Latin American Restaurant Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant

Steakhouse Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood

Gumbo Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House

Seafood Restaurant Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House Brunch Sunset Bay Cafe

Wine List Vin’tij Food & Wine

2/27/22 9:23 PM

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Progress Looks Like Creating Memories That Make A New House

Destin 35008 Emerald Coast Pkwy 850.837.1380


Inlet Beach 12805 US Hwy 98 E 850.909.0420 Santa Rosa Beach 3063 US Highway 98 850.724.1400

NMLS# 401921



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VIP Destin at Grand Boulevard

A Football Fan’s Red Carpet Love Affair


photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

rand Boulevard in Miramar Beach hosted “A Football Fan’s Red Carpet Love Affair” on February 12. Benefiting Dog Harmony, the $10 entry fee included a professional red-carpet photo and a chance to win great prizes. The canine contenders competed in three categories: best dressed, most creative, and most enthusiastic. Sponsored by Step One Automotive, JC’s Gourmet, Destin Brewery, Gulfshore Heating and Air Conditioning, and Elevate Next, the doggy fundraiser included refreshments, one of which was smoked snapper dip from JC’s Gourmet. Krista Landen, Marketing and IT Manager with Gulfshore Air explained their reason for sponsoring the event. “...the owner, Steve, loves animals and chooses to support Dog Harmony and all of their community events.” Dog-Harmony Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)3 that works to keep dogs from becoming homeless. While it offers the typical links to low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and microchipping clinics, the volunteer-run organization is a different ‘breed’ of rescue, focusing on humane education and training, an unfulfi lled need to keep dogs in their homes. Volunteer Jim Cole, who was brought to the event by Logan, talked about his efforts, “we work with elementary school children in Okaloosa and Walton counties and we are thankful for these types of fundraisers”.

Jane Taylor with Murphy & Chris Kent with Sammie

Emma Grace Grisoff with Birdie & Layne Grisoff

Vickie Gatliff with Stella Mae

Joshua & Janie Schmidt with Finn

Parker Dewrell, Darra Flanagan & Wendy Bishop

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VIP Destin at A Football Fan’s Red Carpet Love Affair

Mike & Liz Sibley with Dee

Chris Baksay with Margot

Diane Kenney with Bella

Butch & Debby Floyd

Ann Harris with Lulu

Linda Quinlan with Saban & Liliana Quinlan with Alys

Mary & Ed Grayden

Dorine & Tim Williams with Maui & Kona

Drew Smith with Hendrix & Stevie Ray

Jim Cole with Logan

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food and spirits Established in 2020, Bitterroot Food and Spirits is Destin’s premiere establishment for high-end cuisine and cocktails. Thoughtfully crafted and always fresh, we aim to lead the industry by example. No exceptions, no compromises.


KRIS LAIDLAW (The Property Prince of the Panhandle)

850.276.8308 CHRIS BENT (Mr. Miramar)


Hours of Operation: Dine In or Take Away Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Brunch: Saturday-Sunday, 11a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner: Monday-Sunday, 4 p.m. Small Bites: Daily from 2:30-4 p.m. Happy Hour: Daily 3-6 p.m.; $5 Old Fashioned Mondays Catering & Events: Let us host your next gathering, in the restaurant or off site!

850-460-8881 4463 Commons Dr West STE A | Destin, FL 32541

Gift Cards Available


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Annemarie McClain


Destin’s Leading Professionals in the Business of Luxury and Financial Matters

Gulia Metcalf

4339 Legendary Drive D112 Destin, FL 32541 (850) 424-5707

Gulia Metcalf brought the sweet children’s boutique Pink N Blue Avenue to our community over 7 years ago. Striving to do her best and staying strong to be the one and only children’s boutique in Destin, Gulia curates unique, hand-picked, hard to find brands. Born and raised in Russia, Gulia studied political science and management in college, graduating with highest honors and has been a resident of Destin for 16 years. Gulia has a strong work ethic, sets high standards, and follows the golden rule. She came from another country, not speaking the language, not having anyone local, she relied on strength and determination to embrace her ambitions. She’s enjoying sharing each aspect of business with her children, Gigi and Bubby; they are her pride and joy and daily motivators. She’s active in the community through school volunteering work and many kids’ activities including dance, piano, gymnastics, and baseball. Gulia and her family are excited to be building a new home for the store that is set to open soon. The Metcalfs are big Disney fans, enjoy travel, outdoors, sightseeing, and helping others. Gulia is proud to be part of the most amazing Destin community.

Annemarie is the Branch Manager and Senior Home Loan Advisor of CBM Mortgage in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. She has a true passion for real estate and has traveled and lived all over the world with the numerous opportunities being a military spouse has offered. A Permanent Change of Station (PCS) from state to state and overseas has given her firsthand experience in the VA Mortgage Loan Process. Working for over 5 years as a civilian for the Air Force and Army has strengthened her with extensive knowledge of the specific requirements associated with each branch. Annemarie’s previous positions in Home Insurance and Title Companies have provided an additional wealth of knowledge. Her strong work ethic and sense of urgency set her apart from others as a dedicated, hardworking employee who goes above and beyond to exceed expectations every time. Annemarie has been awarded Chairman’s Club for 2020 and 2021 with CBM Mortgage. Annemarie loves to travel and experience new cultures. Living in Germany will forever be the experience she will never forget and hopes to visit often. She says she will always be a Southern California girl at heart, but embraces all the beauty and charm of Destin and the surrounding areas.

165 Brooks Street, Suite A Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 (850) 461-1474 NMLS ID #2004055 CBM Mortgage is an Equal Housing Lender CBM Mortage, Inc.- Company NMLS #282839



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Business Profile

ARC Chimney Sweeps provides award winning quality customer service, and even higher quality workmanship. Providing award-winning customer service in the chimney industry is the benchmark behind ARC Chimney Sweeps. They not only have a grueling interview process and hire only the best candidates, but they believe that their technicians go above and beyond all expectations. Background checks, extensive training, and educational programs are provided for their technicians, focusing on not only chimneys but on customer service as well. For your safety and peace of mind, ARC Chimney Sweeps technicians will arrive in uniform and in a company vehicle making them easily identifiable. heir philosophy is that it is as important for the technicians to care for their customers as it is to care for their chimneys.

ARC Home Services Include: Chimney Sweeping Safety Inspections Chimney Repair Fireplace Repair Leak Repair Fireplace Installs Gas Logs Fire Pits Dryer Vent Cleaning

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ARC’s customer service shows in their performance and ratings. They recognize that everyone has a busy schedule, and they work hard to keep your home beautiful by doing everything possible to keep your home looking the same as it did before they arrived - as the technicians are trained in spot-free chimney cleaning. Multiple methods are used to rid your immediate environment of any soot or debris that may come loose during your chimney cleaning. The only sign they’ve been to your home is the smile on your face and the security of knowing your fireplace and chimney have been cleaned and inspected by the best. Their team is extremely close, and they work hard to build and maintain excellent relationships. The comradery within the crew, as well as their families, has made their efforts to be family oriented something that

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now comes naturally. They believe that these relationships with their crew result in similar relationships with their customers, which is why customers return again and again. Customers' health and safety are of the utmost importance, too. This drives ARC to educate their customers in proper maintenance of their burning system. They do not provide your typical routine maintenance, they provide a full consultation to help customers learn more about how their fireplace and chimney function, as well as what they should be aware of when using it. Unlike

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most companies, they welcome you to ask questions about your system. Having a fireplace is one of the most rewarding things about owning your home and having confidence in its safety is paramount. A never cuts corners and uses only the best products when dealing with your burning system. sing a fireplace has many benefits. Obviously, heating your home stands out above the others, but they focus more on the experience of using the fireplace - whether it’s gathering around to chat as a family or having a quiet evening by yourself, they are committed to helping their customers create a memorable and safe experience every time they use their fireplace. ARC loves and supports the community and everything it offers by making it a priority to become involved in many ways. They are passionate about making an impact locally and have especially enjoyed sponsoring many sports teams through the local schools. ARC Chimney Sweeps serves the entire Emerald Coast area and they are proud to be more than a chimney sweep company, they are a family who recognizes the importance of customer service, education, and safety when it comes to your family.

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VIP Destin at 790

Business After Hours photos & story by Zhalman Harris

Amanda Beck & Tara Passehl

Tera Keister & Annie Wainman

Lori Smith & Jason Belcher

Christina & Joey Martinez

Jeremy McVay, Stefanie Greenwood, Heather & Ryan Holloway

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estin Chamber held another awesome Business After Hours at the all-new locally owned 790 Bar & Restaurant. The event, also sponsored by 790, took place on January 27. Attendees were able to check out the restaurant’s new location on Highway 98, all while winding down after a long workday. This event allowed attendees to meet new clients and promote their businesses while expanding their network. Guests enjoyed socializing, cocktails, and appetizers. Lucky winners took away some fabulous prizes which were provided by fellow businesses and attendees. 790 is a locally owned restaurant serving Florida seafood and Louisiana flavors in a casual coastal atmosphere.

Sam & Regina Samy

Kyle Bauman, Diana Jernigan, Kim Kopp, Shane Moody & Teresa Hebert


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Kevin O’Rourke, Brian Keister & Tim Kersanac

Let the


help YOU look Your BEST this year! THANKS FOR VOTING DR AMBER WIEBE AS BEST ANTI-AGING IN DESTIN ONCE AGAIN! David Butler, Shannah Hanks & Davis Joyner

Dr. Amber Wiebe is a provider who teaches other providers Dr. Amber Wiebe DMD, MAGD, MAAFE, FICOI is highly trained in facial aesthetics. A traveling National Instructor for more 10 years in Botox and Juvederm Family of Fillers, she attained her Mastership in The American Academy of Facial Esthetics. Dr. Weibe is a graduate of University of Notre Dame, where she was a Division 1 athlete. She blends knowledge, passion, and artistry to help you defy your age and look and feel your best. Ivana Coteat, Leah Skalsky, Donna & Paul Montalvo

The scope of practice includes both cosmetic dentistry and non-surgical facial aesthetics, which provides for a true “full-face” approach to cosmetic anti-aging treatment. Dr. Wiebe’s passion and drive comes from the ability to profoundly change lives and to defy the aging process through holistic approach to comprehensive facial aesthetics. BEFORE


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VIP Destin at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Jenny Bowers, Sam Bowen & Ashley Andruss

William “Bill” Loiry, Matthew & Sarah Garry

2022 Air Force Contracting Summit

VIP Networking Reception photos & story by Alicia Noble

Paul Wolownik & Steve Odom


or the ninth year, the Defense Leadership Forum hosted the Air Force Contracting Summit, held on February 8 and 9 at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. The first day of this two-day event ended with a VIP networking reception. After a day of speaker sessions and networking, VIP business attendees, exhibitors, and speakers gathered in one of the Hilton’s ballrooms to enjoy food and drinks, and speak with fellow military contractors. The topics of conversation were all things aircraft, weapons, technology, energy, facilities, and more. The summit brings together hundreds of contracting officers, contracting experts, and business leaders from all over the country. This year, more than 600 contractors and military personnel registered to attend in-person and virtually. The Defense Leadership Forum is a public organization that works to bring together government, military, and business leaders in order to identify solutions to best defend our country.

Erin & Brian Liesveld

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Corey Auger & Nathalie Valdeon


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Anna Gibson, Joel Abrahams & Sarah Delgado

Hans Forde & Eugen Toma

Brooke Rosicka & Allison Smith

JR Osorio, Jill Cadenhead & Tim Krueger March 2022 | 47

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Business Profile

Thank you for supporting a local lender!


Mortgage started in a town called Front Royal, Virginia, in 2005 by their CEO, Cory Michael, who wanted to bring a different experience to the mortgage industry. What makes CBM different from their competition is their firm commitment to customer service. Their offices are located in the communities with which they do business, and that makes them accountable to each of their clients; they go to the same grocery stores as their customers and their children go to the same schools as their customers’ children. Working at a local level allows the entire CBM team to maintain an intimate atmosphere without losing sight of their goal — to connect you to an effective solution to your home loan needs. Annemarie McClain is the Branch Manager and Senior Home Loan Advisor at CBM Mortgage. When using Annemarie’s team and CBM Mortgage, your loan remains in house from start to finish.



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What does “stayng in house” mean for you? Faster Turn Around Times and Continuous Communication • Clients have a one-stop shop where CBM Mortgage works close to their realtors and provides step-by-step processes to the parties involved. • Smoother Closings- receiving clear to close sooner will provide the title company with closing documents earlier instead of at the last minute, the hectic rush of knowing how soon to close. Clients are not just a fi le that is pushed along from one department to the next. CBM maintains this approach and works together to make your transaction seamless. • Quicker Paydays- with the listing side, this is incredibly appealing, especially in multiple offer situations. As CBM Mortgage can move the process along faster, funding can happen sooner meaning all parties are able to see closing day in the near future, resulting in having the typical 45day closing reduced to 30 days or less.

CBM Mortgage is licensed in Alabama, Florida, Washington DC, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia and growing rapidly. CBM Mortgage offers a variety of loan programs to fit any borrower’s needs and their experienced staff will take the time to explore and explain every option. CBM Mortgage professionals are available to answer any and all questions you may have in order to establish the exact right loan for you. It is their goal to provide you with everything you need to make an informed decision about your real estate financing solution and get you one step closer to your dream home. Remember, clients at CBM Mortgage are more than just customers. They are part of the same community. 1st Year Anniversary Celebration!

Thank you for voting us BEST Mortgage Lender! 165 Brooks Street, Suite A | Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 | Cell: (850) 461-1474 | NMLS ID #2004055 CBM Mortgage is an Equal Housing Lender CBM Mortage, Inc.- Company NMLS #282839

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We guarantee our products are 100% authentic


Louis Vuitton, CHANEL, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Burberry & more


We purchase preowned authentic luxury goods,including handbags, wallets, jewelry and sunglasses

CONSIGNMENT Put your bag on consignment in our store


4495 Furling Lane Suite 150 • Destin, FL 850.424.7772



850.837.2999 BEST WINGS So happy your families are our loyal fans!

981 US HWY. 98 Destin, FL 32541 (Winn Dixie Shopping Center near Target)



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Swanky Soirée A

story by Anna Stockton

nyone can throw a cocktail party, right? You just put out some drinks and snacks and let the festivities begin. But not everyone can throw THE cocktail party, because if you want to host a cocktail party that will wow your guests and get them talking, it’s all about the elegant details. An important piece of the cocktail party puzzle is glasses and serving ware. Believe it or not, having the right glass for a certain drink does make a difference. I mean, who wants to drink their martini from a highball glass, your whiskey sours out of a margarita glass, or your wine out of a juice glass -- although some of us may have that friend who thinks that’s just fine. If you have a signature drink for your party, make sure you have plenty of appropriate drinkware for it while also having glasses available for the other drink options at your party. Serving ware is important for serving your guests snacks and appetizers while keeping your party elegant. We all know having finger foods and snacks is proper etiquette as well as ensuring your guests have a little something to soak up the alcohol, as sometimes drinking on an empty stomach can

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affect some (ahem) decision making. Using your finest platters will ensure your party has a chic touch while also being functional, so bring out those heirlooms or wedding gifts and let them shine. Along those same lines, serving pieces are also going to be important to streamline the luxurious feel of your party. Matching serving sets, including tongs, spreaders, appetizer spoons and forks will show your guests no detail was overlooked.

dressed servers on hand to bartend and pass out food not only leaves you able to relax, socialize, and enjoy your own party but it also While some may believe elegant means plain revs an elegant cocktail party up a notch. It’s -- it doesn’t have to be such. Having accessories a great idea to let the experts handle mixing with a little personality will show off, well... your the cocktails and tend to your guests so you’re personality. Ornate ice buckets and scoops are free to savor these moments and entertain your guests. eye catching while elegant vintage pieces also show class with a throw-back flair. You can never So, as you’re planning your elegant cocktail go wrong with classic, clean lines when it comes party, show off those beautiful serving pieces, pay attention to the details, free up your hands to your accessories. It brings a stylish, trendy by asking for help and most importantly, if it has look without being boring. Another thing to to do with Snoop, save it for another party. consider when choosing accessories is cocktail napkins. Because despite the urge to display your cocktail napkins that say “fo shizzle, welcome to our hizzle” or “let’s get ready to stumble” because, frankly.....they’re hilarious, they’re not exactly acceptable for a classy affair. High-end monogrammed or plain cocktail napkins are the way to go for your elegant cocktail party. Let your own witty quips steal the show, not the cocktail napkins. If you really want to go all out for your swanky soiree, call for help... literally. Having smartly 52


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VIP Destin at Vue on 30a

Caring & Sharing Spring Fashion Show & Luncheon photos & story by Alicia Noble


aring & Sharing of South Walton’s Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show has been a way to raise funds for the organization’s vital programs for more than a decade. This year, the event was held at the Vue on 30a on February 20. The sparkling turquoise waters of the Gulf were the perfect backdrop as attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch provided by Vue on 30A. As people entered the venue, they stopped at the bar to grab a drink, sponsored by Indigo, a clothing, arts and décor boutique in Watercolor. Each year, Caring & Sharing holds an event in the spring and one in the fall. Volunteers spend the months leading up to the events putting together outfits from Caring & Sharing clothing items to wear for the fashion shows. During the event, guests browse through racks of clothing curated by Caring & Sharing and can purchase items from a pop-up boutique. All the money raised from event tickets and fashion items sold go towards programs providing food, financial assistance, mental health counseling case management, and emergency shelter. A silent auction was also part of the show, comprised of items donated by local businesses. Guests browsed the items and wrote down their bids, hoping to win. For those not able to attend the event, Caring & Sharing is accepting donations on their website,


Lynne Adcox & Lynn Richardson

Julia Holmes & Melanie Goepfert

Ali Weil & Kristen Laurent

Susan Mahaffey & Debbie Pearson

Karen Murphy & Colleen Riddle

Emily Proctor & Crawford Sanefer

Lisa Baker & Dee Sakach

Annie & Parker Stutts


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Susan Robson, Monica Sullenberger, Jessica Schleeder & Brenda Whitwell

Angela Turner & Emily Turner



12889 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite 113B, Miramar Beach, FL


Carolyn Killian, Denise Schmidt & Sissy Steiger

Diana Giles, Earlena Marshall & Cooper Giles


2254 South Ferdon Boulevard Crestview, FL March 2022 | 55

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VIP Destin at Hotel Effie

Gina Stephens & Aubrey Robbie

Libbi Cartwright & Delanne Bernier

Heather Cleveland & Kim Wetzel

Power of Business Luncheon photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

Shannah Hanks & Stacey McGilvray


he Walton Area Chamber held their monthly Power of Business Luncheon on February 4. Providing attendees with networking opportunities, a fine meal, and a guest speaker, the Power of Business Luncheon is a great midday break from office activities, especially when you are immersed in the elegant surroundings of Hotel Effie in Sandestin. Sponsored by United Way Emerald Coast (UWEC), the February luncheon topic was: How United Way Can Help Your Business Meet Its Corporate Social Responsibility Goals. UWEC is “On a mission to build a stronger region - a region where all children have the opportunity to learn and thrive, where families are financially secure, and where people can live their lives to the fullest because they have the good health to do so - today and for generations to come.” Kim Cox, UWEC Board Chair, stressed, “It’s important for businesses to partner with UWEC to help our neighbors through volunteerism and financial giving.” To become involved in UWEC’s programs or to make a donation, visit For further information regarding Walton Area Chamber events, please

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Ami & Matt Cavinder

Carol Rogers & Tori McCann


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Katie Cagle, Meloney Howell & Eric Navarre

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Mike Coupe’, Kelly Jasen & Kim Cox

Tony Steele, Kevin Rosa & Gary Brielmayer March 2022 | 57

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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Joe Caton, Jay Ammons & Miranda Jarvis

Matt Labo, Leslie LaBo, Karlie Biegler, Hailey Nieuhaus, Jakob Lewis, Leia Burto & Hank Taylor

Sandestin Gumbo Festival


photos & story by Alicia Noble

undreds of gumbo-loving event goers gathered at the Village of Baytowne Wharf on February 19 for the 33rd Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival. The family-friendly festival included live music, bloody Mary samplings, and of course, unlimited tastings of gumbo from the area’s favorite restaurants and businesses. The Sandestin Gumbo Festival has been known as one of the largest and most popular winter events in the area for many years. Many gumbo cook-off participants dressed in Mardi Gras themed attire for the occasion and handed out beads. Children danced to live music and played games on the green at the center of Baytowne. Guests voted for their favorite gumbo by placing tokens in a bucket at the booth of the one they loved the most. They strolled through Baytowne discussing their favorite recipes, popping into Baytowne’s shops, and enjoying sounds from local band Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe. Aside from a people’s choice award for best gumbo, awards were also be given for best non-restaurant gumbo, best display, best new participant, best veteran, and best Bloody Mary.

April Shepherd & Brooks Conley

Jeff & Sue Welch

Karen Phillips & Olivia Moore

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VIP Destin at Sandestin Gumbo Festival

Beatrice St. Julian, Tatiana Ransom & Lyla Barrino

Karan Accardo, Izzy Shepherd, Carolyn Rella & Amy Kyser

Tim Brand, Makenna Proffitt & Cara Phillips

Lisa Pizzo & Elizabeth Baer

Sarah Shapse, Brandon James & Chamblie Webster

Heath Armstrong & Regina Garrity

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Tom Altamura & Mike West

Angela Aretz, Sophie Aretz, Zach Bryant, Wendy Bryant, Alto Lockemy & Katie Call


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Another in a series of Capers Family Adventures


Protect Your Pot of Gold with Insurance Zone

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GI V E | C A R E | S H A R E

story by Anna Stockton


he Northwest Florida Ballet is highly regarded for providing world-class ballet performances and for training students in the art of dance. The company has performed with such well-established companies as the Atlanta Ballet, the Miami Ballet and the Washington Ballet. Since 2001, NFB has also operated the NFB Academie through a public-private partnership with the Okaloosa County School District for 3rd through 8th grades. In 2012, the Pre-Professional Program was launched to serve high school students, bridging the gap between the student and professional world of dance. NFB has produced many outstanding professional dancers and teachers who perform throughout the US and Europe. In 1995, Todd Eric Allen, former NFB student and native of Northwest Florida, returned to the area to accept the position of Artistic Director of the company after a distinguished career with Louisville Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Northwest Florida Ballet was founded in 1969 by dance pioneer Bernadette Clements Sims, as a nonprofit organization.

photo by Lorelei White

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Interview with CEO/Artistic Director

Todd Eric Allen

What impact has your organization had on the community? From the 13,000 sq. ft. Sybil Smith Lebhertz Center for Dance Education facility and our 3,500 sq. ft. Studio Annex, we serve as a cornerstone for downtown Fort Walton Beach. In addition to the $1 million impact on the community as indicated by a previous Haas Center study, NFB has also contributed to the area over the past 52 years by: • Hosting nearly 400,000 patrons at over 450 main stage productions and more than 60,000 patrons at over 75 free outdoor performances • Casting over 3,000 local children as performers in The Nutcracker for 42 consecutive years • Welcoming over 10,000 special needs children and young adults at exclusive performances tailored to their needs • Teaching 250 students weekly in evening school dance classes • Enrolling 156 students annually in the NFB Académie in 3rd – 8th grades as an A+ school for 15 years in the Okaloosa County Public School District

photo by Jen von Nida

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GI V E | C A R E | S H A R E What are the future goals of your organization? As part of the collaborative effort with the Okaloosa County School District, NFB provides space for all NFB Académie elementary school academic classes on the second floor of the Miramar Place building. The middle school academic classrooms and the art, music, and French classrooms are housed across the street in NFB’s main building, the Sybil Smith Lebhertz Center for Dance Education. NFB facilitates dance classes for elementary and middle school students in the main building. In 2018, the Miramar Place building was unexpectedly put on the market for sale, and the academic classroom space was in jeopardy of being lost. To facilitate the purchase of the property, NFB announced the launch of the Académie Academic Classroom Capital Campaign. Our goal is to secure the necessary funds over the course of the next two years. To learn more, visit What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with NFB? Sharing this beautiful art form with our students and our community. What would you like readers to know about your organization? Our goal is to enrich the lives of those who live, work and visit Northwest Florida through a positive cultural experience with our organization. What special events does NFB hold? NFB hosts a variety of special events each season. The remaining season performances include Beauty and the Beast on March 12 at 7:30 p.m. and March 13 at 2:30 p.m. at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center. This original production choreographed by NFB International Guest Choreographer and Mobile Ballet Artistic Director Katia Garza celebrates the 18th-century story with new choreography, exquisite costumes and enchanting set designs.

photo by Jen von Nida

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photo by Jen von Nida

The season concludes at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation with Ballet Under the Stars on June 25 at 8 p.m. This unique production features international guest artists performing a mix of contemporary, neoclassical and classical pieces from guest choreographers and the NFB repertoire in a more casual outdoor atmosphere. Please tell us about your dancers. The corps de ballet of NFB is comprised of local dancers, most of whom have been trained through our NFB Académie. We employ resident professional dancers and international guest artists representing many different countries. Please tell us about your staff. NFB employs over 30 professional teachers and administrative staff. We also have a wonderful group of volunteers from the community that helps in our wardrobe department and backstage during our performances and an active volunteer board of directors that guides our organization. How can someone volunteer, support or get involved with Northwest Florida Ballet? Visit our website to keep up with the latest news and important information about our community classes, NFB Académie/ Pre-Professional Program, company performances and ways to support the company. You can also reach the office at 850-664-7787 for additional information.

photo by Lorelei White

2/27/22 9:36 PM

3 Locally Owned Restaurants 3 Different Experiences ALL BY THE SAME CULINARY PROFESSIONALS

Seafood & Sushi for the whole family

Fresh from the Gulf Local Ingredients Southern Hospitality

210 HARBOR BLVD. | DESTIN, FL | 850.460.8900 | BROTULAS.COM 56 HARBOR BLVD. | DESTIN, FL | 850.424.3507 | EASTPASSSEAFOOD.COM 36120 EMERALD COAST PKWY. | DESTIN, FL | 850.460.2909 | JACKACUDAS.COM 67 brotulas.indd 1

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VIP Destin at Hidden Creek Golf Club

Rosa Houston & Nic Katona

Mitch & Brenda Robbins

Stormy Carroll & Bill Andersen

MARDI GRAS MURDER MYSTERY MASQUERADE photos & story by Savannah Vasquez


he good times were rolling at Hidden Creek Golf Club on February 5, as more than 120 masked partygoers arrived for the second annual Mardi Gras Murder Mystery Masquerade benefiting the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge (ECWR). “Last year we had about 46 people come out for the masquerade, but this year we had to sell more tickets for non-character participants because we had such a huge response,” said Natalie Dyson, organizer of the event and veterinarian for ECWR. Funds raised between ticket sales, raffle, and silent auction will go toward supporting ECWR during the upcoming spring season. Dyson explained that during spring the refuge bursts at the seams with baby animals, sometimes even experiencing three baby seasons in one year. “We are just about to start our first baby season of the year and at the height of baby season we can have 150-200 animals that we have to bottle-feed on a schedule every 20 minutes,” she said. “The funds raised tonight will mostly be going toward the spring animal care.” As for the masquerade, participants mingled around trying to solve the mystery while enjoying food from Where Y’at Seafood Market and Restaurant and wine and beverages from The Vine Wine Bar Bistro & Shoppe, Tito’s, and 30A Hard Seltzer. Auction items from more than 120 local businesses and valuing $10,000 most definitely brought in a handsome Fat Tuesday for ECWR operations.

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Erin & David Crumbley

Ashley Damm, Amanda & Chirs Gilbert, Brian & Erica Adcock


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Natalie Dyson, Christie Baker & Denise Song

Florida’s LARGEST Holi Festival of Color

F E ATU R I N G Janelle & Jimmy Jalil, Dana Cassady



Macy Kenneth, Annette Beard & Stephanie Scott

4323 Commons Drive West Destin, FL 32541 Tickets available at! Vendor opportunities available! 850.750.1418

Russ Martell, Nicole Weaver, Megan Gaster & Barb Martell March 2022 | 69

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VIP Destin at Embassy Suites

Destin Chamber

Business Before Hours Adana Elder & Jenny Larson

Ashleigh Voisin & Shane Moody



photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.

mbassy Suites by Hilton hosted the Destin Chamber’s Business Before Hours on February 11. After checking in and dropping their business cards into the hat, attendees prepped themselves for breakfast and guest speakers. Sponsored by Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican, the event’s featured guests included Toby Williams from Rocky Bayou Christian School (RBCS) and Diana Jernigan, Business Consultant with the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UWF. Toby Williams began the presentations by outlining the school’s philosophies by saying their teachers are trained to look at each student as an individual. She also noted that the school is accredited and that they are the only Christian school in Florida with a full special services program. Diana Jernigan continued the speaker’s portion of the morning by letting everyone know that the SBDC helps entrepreneurs realize the dream of business ownership and also assists existing businesses to remain competitive. Awards were also presented to Debbie Bruce for Business Person of the Quarter and to Jenny Larson for Chamber Ambassador of the Quarter. Director of Operations for Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican, Savannah McQuaig stated, “We have eight locations on the Emerald Coast. We support each and every community and are happy to be sponsors of the Destin Chamber.”

Scott Brooks & Brooke Sterrett

Joshua Allen & CareySue Beasley

Debbie Eggers & Bill Mason

Teresa Allen & Neko Stubblefield

Matt Condon & Ryan Holloway

Kaitlyn Trawick & Meloney Howell


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Sheree & Jeff Moody, Debbie Bowdenstine

Thank you for voting us

Best Children’s Clothing

The Beaufort Bonnet Company | Bogg Bag Saltwater Sandals | Minnow | Maileg Jellycat | Kickee Pants | Posh Peanut Kevin Bowyer & Jearl McCall (850) 424-5707 4339 Legendary Drive D112, Destin, FL 32541

David Butler, Savannah McQuaig, Stefanie Greenwood & Terésa Hebert

Monica Wallis & Lockwood Wernet March 2022 | 71

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MARCH 12 & 13 Beauty and the Beast Mattie Kelly Arts Center 1000 East College Blvd. | Niceville Saturday - 7:30pm | Sunday - 2:30pm This original production choreographed by Northwest Florida Ballet international guest artist and Mobile Ballet artistic director Katia Garza celebrates the 18th century story with new choreography, exquisite costumes and enchanting set designs. This tale as old as time has been beloved by generations of children celebrating the beauty and joy within. Visit to purchase tickets and to learn more.

MARCH 12 & 13


ECCAC Gala and Golf Weekend

Soirée on the Bay

Saturday 5:00pm ~ The Gala Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa 4000 Sandestin Blvd. | Miramar Beach

The Dugas Family Estate 38 West Hodge Road | Santa Rosa Beach 3:30 - 7:00pm

Sunday 10:30am ~ The Golf Tournament Kelly Plantation 307 Kelly Plantation Drive | Destin The annual Gala & Golf Weekend is the biggest fundraising weekend of the year for Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. The Gala Features a cocktail hour, dinner, live entertainment, as well as live and silent auctions. The Golf Tournament begins with a cook-out style meal and a shot gun start at 12:00 pm.

A lavish gathering with fine wine, food and spirits benefiting Children’s Volunteer Health Network. Dance to The Tip Tops Band and enjoy the fireworks after dark at this exclusive event, don’t miss out on the shooting of the cannon at sunset. Tickets can be purchased at

Visit to purchase tickets and find out more.



Holi - Festival of Colors

St. Paddy’s Day Family Party

Mattie Kelly Arts Village 4323 Commons Drive | Destin 12:00 - 5:00pm

HarborWalk Village 34 Harbor Boulevard | Destin 2:00 - 4:00pm

Join the Festival of Colors 2022. The world’s happiest and most entertaining event. Celebrating spirituality, community, love, and diversity with music, celebrity DJs, multi-cultural cuisine, full bar, hookah, shopping, kid’s activities, and much more. Throw color freely on everyone, make new friends, enjoy the day with family and friends.

The luck of the Irish is coming to HarborWalk Village. Enjoy an Irish Dance Performance by the Carpenter Academy at 2:30pm. As well as kid’s activities, a leprechaun treasure hunt, and fun surprises for lucky adults.

Visit to purchase tickets.

Visit HarborWalk-Village for a full calendar of events.

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VIP Destin at Bijoux

Blue Dog & Bourbon at Bijoux

Lisa Turpin & Henry Huff

photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


Jenifer Tomasello & Deb Nissley

ouring rain kept everyone inside for a warm and intimate gathering at Bijoux Restaurant & Spirits on February 18. As part of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s (MKAF) Artful Dining Series, Blue Dog & Bourbon at Bijoux offered hors d’oeuvres, bourbon tastings, and a meal presented by Chef Jack McGuckin. However, the highlight of the evening was the display of original artworks from the late George Rodrigue’s private collection. 1992 was the year the Blue Dog became cemented in pop culture when Absolut Vodka commissioned George Rodrigue to paint promotional pieces for the company. Since then the Blue Dog has become a part of the New Orleans scene. In 2017 The Life & Legacy Foundation with Wendy Rodrigue was formed to inspire children of all ages. Since its founding the foundation’s work has reached over 45,000 students. Art is an important part of our culture. Sometimes is make a statement while at other times it makes us think. Yet, we too often take art and art history for granted and MKAF is the placeholder that keeps art alive on the Emerald Coast by organizing events such as the Blue Dog & Bourbon at Bijoux showing. These regular reminders of the importance of art are needed “... because they bring awareness of the arts to the community,” stated Jenifer Tomasello, MKAF Board member. The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) is an independently operated 501C3 not-for-profit corporation established in 1995 honoring the late Destin matriarch, Mattie M. Kelly (1912-1992). To support or learn more about the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, check out their Facebook page at mattiekellyartsfoundation.

Su Zin & Richard Olivarez

Carey & Luke Lewis

Jana & Todd Walker

Susan & John Kaiser March 2022 | 75

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VIP Destin at Blue Dog & Bourbon at Bijoux

Beth Clavier & Rio Clavier

Cole & Lydia Blair, Crystal & Brett Tidwell

Mike & Sarah Vogel

Keith & Maureen Gamble, Walker Gamble 76

Marc Engel & Zach Henle

Dana Chandler & Heather Parker

Melanie Moore, Wendy Rodrigue-Magnus & Demetrius Fuller

Blevins & Jennifer Howard

Dick & Diane Lauterbach

Taylor Robbins, Chandler Robbins & Gerard Perillo


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Luxury Yacht Celebrate Your Special Day with Panache!


Enjoy an Elegantly Catered Brunch or Happy Hour Cruise Delight Your Guests with Dolphins at Play Explore the Grandeur of the Emerald Coast

“Explore. Enjoy. Experience Yacht Life!” PARROT HEAD YACHTS, LLC PARROTHEADYACHTS.COM (850) 980-5824

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Purple sapphire and diamond bracelet by Omi Prive’ – price varies with carat weight McCaskill and Company

2022 Maserati Levante Starting MSRP - $81,200 Maserati Pensacola

Luxury Accessories Re-seller - Prices Vary Lux Exchange

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2010 Château Cheval Blanc SaintÉmilion 1st Grand Cru Classé “A” 100-point rating - $1,700 Beyond the Grape Wine Shop

Private Charters - Starting at $3,000 Holloway Yacht Charters

2/27/22 9:42 PM

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VIP Destin at Northwest Florida State College

Joe Purka & Todd Craven

A Symphony of Taste Mardi Gras Food and Wine Festival photos & story by Savannah Vasquez


John & Linda Leatherwood


fter a year off, the 30-year tradition of the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Food and Wine Festival was back on at Northwest Florida State College on February 20. The event, which featured local beer and wine companies as well as local restaurants, served as a fundraiser for the NFSO’s youth programs. “The festival supports our Northwest Florida Youth Orchestra and our youth programs, for example the John Leatherwood Concerto competition,” said NFSO Guild President Joe Purka. “At the concerto competition I will be presenting scholarship checks to two of our young performers who will be playing with the orchestra.” Around 250 patrons mingled around enjoying food and wine from 13 regional vendors while listening to the live band Rule of Four. In addition to the tasting, a silent auction was held with donations from 40 local businesses. This is the first full season for the NFSO’s new conductor Todd Craven.

Jeanette Shires & Jennifer Boxen

Wayne & Vicki Alexander, Yazman & Bryan House, Mark & Tamara Schroeder

Paula Manthny, Lynne & Scott Fehrenbach

Ed & Joyce Modica, Chris & Bob Guy, Lark Bostick


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Welcome Spring Breakers! Joshua Philion, Ty Menser & Michael Burger

Home of the 102 foot bar including 32 beers on draft.

Happy Hour $1 off all drinks and selected 1/2 price appetizers ~ Daily 3-6 Live Music Wednesday thru Saturday ~ 5:30-8:30 Sunday Brunch with Endless Mimosas and Bloody Marys ~ 11-3

Jeanette Shires, Mary Grace Rahm & Brian Gatewood

125 Poinciana Boulevard, Miramar Beach, FL 32550 850-842-3200 | Sun-Thur 11 am to 9 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am to 10 pm

Simple, Smart, home security solutions for every need. Angie Rakas, Hannah Shively & Justice Jones

Thank you for voting us

Best Alarm/Security Company

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FL License EF20001301

Alarms * HD Video * Access Control * Locksmith March 2022 | 81

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VIP Destin at Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer

Polita Ramos & Alesha Fairchild

Tyler Jarvis & Chris Ruyan

photos & story by Savannah Vasquez


Adam & Jenna Kaelin with Stella

he third annual Shrimp and Grits festival hosted by Brotulas Seafood House and Steamer on February 19 was packed with locals and visitors alike. Ten local restaurants competed for the tastiest shrimp and grits, with proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast. “We decided to start the festival three years ago because nobody was doing it and it’s a southern tradition,” said Brotulas co-owner Chris Ruyan. “We’ve had very positive feedback, the community loves the event, the cause, and of course the shrimp and grits.” The festival’s growing popularity proved true this year as it sold out several days before the event. In addition to the shrimp and grits, there were also drink vendors, a kid’s zone, and a band. The sunny Saturday brought the perfect late winter weather for dining on the Destin docks.

Daniel & Jake Kearney

Victor Vega & Rob Engel 82

Chris Carson & Rachel Kopald

Amy & James Holmes

Danielle & Matthew Colvin, Sterling & Madison Huggins


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Brooks Salter, Chef Al Massa, Amaris Coley & Nicole Salter

Stephen Mika, Amber Espinosa & Art Calmis

William Vineyard, Kellie McCaffrey & April Clark

Chris Ruyan, Shantelle Dedicke & Sherbin Rassa March 2022 | 83

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story by Anna Stockton


here are so many multitalented people right under our noses here on the Gulf Coast. One of those is local author Todd Fisher who has a tale to tell, an exciting, underwater tale. Set along the coast of Destin, Pensacola, and Orange Beach, a small Yellowtail Snapper is challenged to a race by a young but large Barracuda. Yes, Todd Fisher, author of the children’s book Louie’s Great Race, has quite the Gulf Coast tale to tell and you need to hear it and share with all your friends -- children and adults. While Todd has a full-time job as Covenant Care’s Chief Innovation Officer helping them navigate the country’s rapidly changing home health and post-acute ecosystem, writing is a passion and important hobby for him. He loves creating and exploring new ideas and has learned to take that passion and channel it in writing. He said he has been trying to write a novel for nearly 20 years, however, perfection and time are his enemies -- but he’s committed to see that passion to completion very soon. When COVID-19 hit and he was spending more time at home with his family, Todd decided to direct some of his energy into taking a childhood tale and turning it into a story he could share with others.

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Inspired by a story he told and retold his son, Evan, Louie’s Great Race is a story about bravery, perseverance, and teamwork. Louie is a small Yellowtail Snapper that gets challenged in a race by Rocko, a young but much larger Barracuda. The story is set in the Gulf Coast waters of Northwest Florida and Alabama. Todd’s vision was to tell a story that is not just exciting and entertaining, but one that grabs young readers with interesting character development and teaches all readers a bit about our awesome Emerald Coast. Louie and Rocko are the two central characters with a cast of others known as the Briny Bunch, who help Louie throughout the race. Sam the Nurse Shark, Scoops the giant Manta Ray, and Sea Turtles Charlie and Ralph are by Louie’s side to help him with his adventures. Todd really wants young readers to believe they can accomplish great things if they put their minds to it. Todd is in the process of writing the second book of the series which will be titled Frankie Goes Crabbing. At the end of Louie’s Great Race, the story foreshadows the setting on Crab Island in Destin, Florida. Frankie Goes Crabbing and an animated short will be released in 2022. You can buy Louie’s Great

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Race online at all major book distributors or in Pensacola at Bodacious Book Store, Aqua Decor and Design, and The UWF Historic Trust Children’s Museum. You can also pick up the book and other merchandise from their website www. Todd Fisher has lived in Pensacola since 1980 when he, his parents, and two brothers relocated from Tampa. Like many locals Todd has seen Pensacola boom into the vibrant, growing, and much-admired community it is today. He grew up in Northeast Pensacola and attended Cordova Park, Workman Middle, and Washington High School, before heading to Florida State University, earning a degree in classical history and where he developed his passion for writing. Post college, Todd found himself in the booming technology industry of the 90s and has spent the last 26 years working in technology and business sectors. Todd has been published in both the European Business Review and All China Review highlighting how-to and the importance of building scalable and successful business and technology models. Todd and his family live in downtown Pensacola. It is so wonderful seeing folks from our area live out their passion and share their creativity with the community. Louie’s Great Race is fun for everyone and is currently #trending in our household.


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LOCALE O NWFSC Awarded Grants for Careers in High Demand Industries Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) was awarded two new grants to support students pursuing innovative workforce and career education opportunities that lead to employment in high-demand industries. The Florida Department of Education awarded the College $116,954 through the Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant to support apprenticeships in Computer Support and Computer Networking. With this grant, NWFSC will work with employers and CareerSource Okaloosa-Walton to make apprenticeship opportunities available to public and external organizations through outreach efforts, job fairs, collaborative partnerships, and web-based activities. Tuition for the apprenticeship programs is paid by the employer, making them free to students.

Two components of the new apprenticeship programs are: the Required Technical Instruction (RTI) and the On-the-Job Training (OJT). The RTI comprises 328 hours of classroom work taken in a computer lab at the college’s Fort Walton Beach Campus. Students will work with faculty members who are appropriately qualified in each of the various RTI classes over two semesters. The OJT will occur at the apprentices’ respective employer’s job site. Each apprentice will be assigned a mentor to provide instruction ensuring they achieve the learning objectives set by the employer. The program anticipates at least five apprentices completing each program beginning in 2023. The Florida Department of Education also granted $2 million through the Early College Career and Technical Education grant to expand the dual enrollment program at NWFSC’s Collegiate High School. The Collegiate High School is a public charter school located on the College’s Niceville campus. The innovative charter school enables 10th - 12th-grade students to simultaneously earn a standard highschool diploma and a transferable two-year Associate in Arts degree or transferable college credits. As a public school, the Collegiate High School is free to students.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Names Northwest Florida’s Hospitality Heroes

In February the hospitality industry gathered to celebrate the best of the best in the industry recognizing several standout individuals for their dedication and achievements in their careers. Named Hospitality heroes in their respective fields were: Hotel/Resort Front Of House - Rosalie Wong of Hampton Inn & Suites Destin. Hotel/Resort Back Of House - Carrie Pritchard of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties. Hotel/Resort Manager - Jeff Welch of Hilton Garden Inn Destin/Miramar Beach. Restaurant - Front Of House went to Maggie White - Slick Lips. Restaurant - Back Of House included Alex Johnson of Brotula’s. Restaurant Manager went to Steven Stephenson of Crab Trap Destin. Culinary Manager went to Robert Preston of The Bay. Sales & Marketing - Stacey Brady of Grand Boulevard. Educator - Julie Cotton of Northwest Florida State College. Vendor named was Supreme Paper. Veteran named was Andrew Isolano of The Bay. Spirit of Hospitality went to Nick Sarra of Saltwater Restaurants. Golden Pineapple went to Billy Martin of McGuire’s Irish Pub. In such a difficult and busy industry along the Gulf Coast, these individuals were honored to be named among their peers for their standout performance. South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is Celebrating its 10-Year Anniversary A dazzling roster of celebrity winemakers, mixologists, and chefs will converge April 21-24, 2022 in idyllic South Walton’s Grand Boulevard Town Center to wine, dine, educate, and entertain guests as part of the four-day celebration of wine, spirits, food, music, fun, and goodwill. South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The award-winning, nationally ranked Festival draws wine and food industry icons such as Peter Mondavi, Jr., Marc Perrin, Don Hartford, Cristina Mariani-May, Jean-Charles Boissett, Norman Van Aken , South Walton’s

own Chef Emeril Lagasse ,and many more. Given the caliber of A-list participants, it’s no wonder USA Today touted it as “one of the South’s stand out food and beverage festivals.” Special guests for the 2022 festival include Greg Brewer of Brewer-Clifton, who was named winemaker of the year for 2020 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Jill Russell of Cambria, Niccolo Maltini with Antinori, which will be featured in the culinary village, with a pairing menu to taste. Guest distillers include Freddie Noe of Jim Beam, Knob Creek, and Basil Hayden, and Lisa Wicker with Willow Jane bourbon. Nathan Aldridge is the Manager of Education for the Institut Du Fromage and known for his passionate and fun approach to spreading the gospel of cheese. Chateau Minuty Rosé will have a St. Tropez lifestyle tent and Jackson Family Wines will be poured in a featured tent as well. Wines from Italy will be featured in the Savor South Walton Culinary Village where Antinori and Natalia Verga wines will be paired with an Italian tasting menu. In addition to pouring their wines and spirits, participating celebrities will lead tasting seminars on Saturday and Sunday in the Seminar tent. The festival kicks off Thursday at 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. with Winemakers & Shakers, held at Wine World in Destin. The VIP Wine Tasting takes place Friday, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., followed by the Friday night Craft Beer & Spirits Jam, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The Grand Tastings are Saturday and Sunday, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The VIP Tasting ticket is sold out. The South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival is truly a celebration of wine, food, and music that everyone can feel good about. This event is a major fundraiser for the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation with proceeds benefiting more than a dozen children’s charities in Northwest Florida. Learn more at

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Relax and enjoy our crystal clear waters while cruising along the Choctawhatchee Bay. Covered from the sun by a provided bimini top, you can relax and enjoy the breeze while floating at Crab Island, our local hang out spot.

BOAT RENTALS FIRST N TA K OF FUEL IS ON US! That’s right: s No fuel charge for your first tank!

Thanks for voting us Best Watersports Experience!

• Boats for 10-12 people • Available for half day (4hrs) or a full day (8hrs). • Trained employees provide instructions on how to operate your boat • Provided directions, a map of the local waterways, and lifejackets • Your rides are fueled and ready by the appointed time.

(850) 461-1034 1201B Miracle Strip Parkway SE • Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548

Follow us on social media: @PowerUpWatersports

“Have an Adventurous Day!”



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Service Manager

March 2022 | 89

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850-654-5466 (LIMO)

• 24/7 live reservations and dispatch • Easy online reservations • Over 14 years experience • GPS tracking on all vehicles

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VIP Destin at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

Fire & Ice Gala photos & story by Harley S. Sampson, Jr.


ritten by Robert Frost, the poem “Fire and Ice” was published in Harper’s Magazine in 1920. Regardless of one’s take on the meaning of the poem, guests of the February 11 Walton Area Chamber’s “Fire & Ice” themed annual gala wore gowns mirroring the colors found in fire and ice. One noteworthy exception to the black-tie event was Bobby Wagner who was decked out in a Jack Frost costume. Touted as the business community event of the year, the annual gala is an opportunity for the Chamber to share the vision for the upcoming year. The gala is also a celebration of past successes and a tribute to those companies and individuals who create jobs and support the communities of Walton County. Presented by Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, early attendees for the networking cocktail reception were able to get right in line for the evening’s entertainment. In addition to the drawings, there was also a sponsored photo booth. The Chamber board’s gavel passed hands from Kevin Henderson to Nathan Cordle who stated, “I am excited to take the gavel this year as Chairman of the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce. Big shoes to fi ll following my friend Kevin Henderson, but I am looking forward to building on his success and efforts to continue advocating for a strong business community and economic development in Walton County and Northwest Florida.”

D.C. & Julie Matthews, Mindy & Dion Moniz

Christine Fox & Mark Bammann

Morag & Kevin Rosa

Bill Cartwright, Katie Bast, Libbi Cartwright, Susan Kadi, Suzanne & Joe Simpson March 2022 | 91

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VIP Destin at Fire & Ice Gala

Nogah Winfield & Dereck Hildreth

Kathryn & Dewayne Youngblood

Denny & Carol Wenrick

Megan & Kris Harrison

Shannah Hanks & Joel Wood

Taylor Henley & Angie Resiak

Trevor & Lane Redding

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April Smith & Verla Price

Jane & William Blanken


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A new synergistic partnership between Beachworx & VIP Destin Magazine is designed to support your business’s growth in a professional office environment. Your membership includes a dedicated workspace and value-packed digital and print promotions to VIP Destin Magazine’s audience.

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Dion Moniz

What is your hometown and how did you end up on the Emerald Coast? I’m from Panama City and moved to Destin in 2012 with the plan of expanding my law firm of (then called) Harrison Sale McCloy, to start our “Westward Expansion” into Walton and Okaloosa Counties. I initially rented a one-room office in the Regus building and worked remotely with my legal assistant in Panama City. Slowly I cultivated my network and clientele, eventually opening our Santa Rosa Beach office in 2014 and the Destin office in 2016. We’re now working on an expansion of our joint ECTS/HAHS location in Santa Rosa Beach, and plan to open two new ECTS locations later this year. What is your profession and what led you to choose it? I have been practicing law for 21 years, starting in insurance defense litigation but have evolved my practice into what it is now -- real estate and business law. With the move to Destin, I decided that I wanted a separate title business for residential closings in Walton/Okaloosa so, in 2014, I, and several other Florida partners in the law firm, acquired Emerald Coast Title Services for that purpose. I am a partner/member of (now called) Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC, and President of Emerald Coast Title Services, LLC. What led me to the law profession? Well, as a child, I would always argue with my parents and my mom would say I should be a lawyer. In high school, I took a law studies class and participated in the Mock Trial Team; it was the first year our high school had the team and I was one of the lead lawyers. We placed third in State that year and I had the time of my life, so that’s when it clicked for me. Mom is always right! What are some of your favorite things about Destin? Destin is one of the most beautiful places in the world and an excellent place to live, work, and play. After a long day at work, you can catch an amazing sunset, take a walk on the beach or enjoy fishing or paddleboarding; the weekends allow us more time to enjoy all the nature we have here. But the greatest thing about Destin is the people who live here. The business community is strong and continually supportive. Destin businesses and individual professionals strongly support each other as well as those in need. I love being a part of a giving community and I love giving back, hence my involvement in several nonprofit organizations (Destin Rotary Club, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, All Sports Assoc., Ellison McCraney Ingram Foundation, 100 Men Who Care, and Aletha’s Legacy). Three words that best describe you. Driven. Dedicated. Loyal. What is the one thing you would say you do not go a day without? Impact. I can’t get through the day without impact. I am a fanatic about making some positive impact or contribution to a client, the community, or my family....hopefully all three! If I feel that I’ve done that, a nice toast of Bourbon finishes my day and that’s a bonus. Cheers! Finish this statement. I AM Destin because… I believe that our community is one of the best in the world, and I devote a great deal of my time into trying to help make it even better than it already is.

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