VIP Destin Magazine, September 2020

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events 13 Legendary Marine presents Coastal Distancing 22 Bubbly Baytowne 25 Destin Chamber Business Before Hours Candidates Forum 37 August First Friday 45 Save the Kids 51 Emerald Coast Gator Club Season Kickoff 57 Rock the Docks 71 Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours

coming soon!

departments 20 34 40 42 48 54 60 64 67 74

Adventure Out May We Suggest Destin Style Coastal Cuisine Giving Back Swizzle Give Care Share Save the Date Locale I Am Destin

features 28 Leading Ladies The Destin area has some of the top business owners and managers around... and many of them just happen to be women.


on the cover !"##$%&'()&%*"+ ,$-.'/.&01 ),-"-.*!/,0#10 !"#$%&'(()%&*+,%-$./.#01'$* !"#$%&'#("!"&#)!*+

!"#$%&'() Greg Alexander

7(&%21() Priscilla Atkins

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

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

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

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

!"#$%&'()6&/*&&%&.-1. Anna Stockton September 2020 | 9

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As summer wanes from us, I am reminiscent of past years filled with festivals, art shows, music events, networking, and travel. Considering the lack of activities and social gatherings due to COVID 19, it seems impossible to say, but the past few months have passed in a blur. Perhaps we have tried harder than ever to keep businesses afloat while working out new ways to fundraise and staying in close contact with friends under social distancing rules. I am proud to say in this issue of VIP; you will see how Destin’s resilient people have managed to do just that. You will read about Legendary Marine’s new way to present entertainment on the coast with boats, music, and movies shown on a ship in the bay. The Village of Baytown utilized outdoor areas to bring back Bubbly Baytown - an evening of sipping champagne and shopping. HarborWalk Village hosted Rock the Docks, a free concert series on the Destin Harbor. All these events promoted social distancing while having fun. September also features our Ladies’ Issue with Destin Style kicking off to a few pages of shoe fashions followed by May We Suggest with local items from bath salts to a girl’s best friend... diamonds. Leading Ladies, a presentation of local business profiles starts on page 28 and I must say we have some amazing ladies working in Destin. As you dig deeper into the pages, find that we have four main kinds of shrimp here on the Gulf Coast and learn the best seasons to catch each of them in Coastal Cuisine. Swizzle educates us on the history of Oktoberfest, the world’s largest and longest-running beer festival. I decided to share Montana’s beauty with you as described from the inside of my helmet in Adventure Out on page 20. You may decide you need this kind of excitement in your life, and if so, you will be on a dualsport motorcycle looking for a touring company like Rocky Mountain Detours. In this issue, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center announced the new board members and Give Care Share tells us of a home of refuge and hope here on the Emerald Coast for girls victimized by human trafficking. I hope you enjoyed reading about the area’s accomplishments and upcoming events. I will leave you with two things. Shop local and be kind to the people who serve you. Mark your calendars as October starts the nominations period for Best In Destin - our readers choice awards. You, the readers of VIP Destin Magazine, select the best businesses in the Destin area. Watch for the official categories in our October issue.

photo by Kristina Wright


Have a Fantastic September.

!"#$%&'#()" Associate Publisher 850-502-7970


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Weí ll walk you through the home buying process.


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Weí ll be a friendly face to assist with your banking needs.

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Weí re here to answer all your fi nancial questions and help you plan for the future.

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VIP Destin at Crab Island

photos & story by Verla Price


egendary Marine’s Coastal Distancing- Boat, Movie & Music Tour kicked off the first of three events on August 15, near Crab Island on the Choctawhatchee Bay. The Bay was rocking to more than waves as Cadillac Willy, the area’s premier classic rock band kicked off the celebration at 6 pm. The band wound down around 7, when Captain Jack Sparrow entertained the boaters as Pirates of the Caribbean was shown on the 60-foot television screen, courtesy of Splashboards Media. The entertainment continues Saturday, September 12, on Legendary Marine’s flats with special guest, Eric Lindell and the movie presentation of Captain America. The final night of Coastal Distancing is on October 10 where Ghostbusters will be the feature presentation with music and location announced soon. Legendary Marine welcomes Amazing Lash Studio and Proffitt PR as partners on this community event with Step One Automotive Group as the music sponsor. These fun-fi lled evenings are free to the public; all you need is a boat or a friend with a boat. Mark your calendars and join the fun as each event includes a fundraising aspect supporting Food for Thought Outreach Emerald Coast Honor Games, and Emerald Coast Autism Center. Additional Sponsorship opportunities are available for other local businesses. Contact for more information.

September 2020 | 13

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photo by Land Sea Air Photography

Back: Bobby Wagner, Hannah Martin, Donna Proffitt & Levin Bracken Front: Megan Gaster, Jimmy Proffitt, Jessica Bracken, Jami Eliason, Todd Royall, Beth Brock & Shannon Ford

Megan & Kris Harrison



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Patti Hall, Gayle Vann & Bill McKissick

Joe David Sullivan, Shawn Shackelford, Clayton Bonjean, Patrick Willson & Metz Barnes

September 2020 | 15

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!"#$%&'()*"(+#,(-&#,.(/, 850.650.8511

DESTIN FLOORING AMERICA 12889 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite 113B ∑ Miramar Beach, FL 850.689.8977

DESTIN FLOORING AMERICA 2254 South Ferdon Boulevard Crestview, FL

d es t i n f l o o r i n g a m e r i c a d e s t i n .c o m 16


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.,!/!012/)345/6,+710,(8/8'9:0(;/12'/5-'976*/<,781 =3>?=?>/#5?<$////9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 18 | (850) 267≠ 0050 %?.@?/>A%?/#5?<$ 7684 W. County Highway 30A | (850) 267≠ 0013 .3<543BB5////1073 E. John Sims Parkway Suite | (850) 729≠ 0176 &5.%?<AB? CDB)/#>55E5

Commercial and Residential Real Estate Group

17 W. Cedar St. | (850) 434≠ 2244 836 Gulf Breeze Parkway | (850) 932≠ 6278


Real Estate Team

©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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!"# $"%&"'(")*&"+,# -&")+"+ !.'(")/0( story & photos by Verla Price

A Mike Georgeson


s a young girl, The Appalachian Mountains were my playground. With the realization that I could explore more places and see more things on a dirt bike, I organically developed a fondness early in life. My love for motorcycles went through stages, and over the years, I evolved into an adventure rider, the industry term for off-road exploring on a street-legal dirt bike -- commonly referred to as a dual-sport. My greatest accomplishment as an adventure rider to date would be the Trans American Trail -- riding rough unpaved roads running east to west crossing the U.S. through forests and mountain ranges while camping on the trail. One setback to being a female adventure rider is that riding alone is not recommended due to remote areas with little or no access to help for a mechanical need or mishap. The best way around this is to work with a touring company specializing in dual-sport adventure rides. Options to plan a trip range from hiring a guide for a day, to weeks on the trail. Some people use their own gear and ride their own motorcycles; others rent everything. I have booked a few tours and hired a few guides over the last few years with great success. This year, dealing with time constraints, I opted to leave my motorcycle at home and booked an all-inclusive tour for the first time. A quick search provided Rocky Mountain Detours, located in Columbus, Montana, offering a three day guided tour complete with camping gear, and a DR 650, my ride of choice. Beginning to end, Rocky Mountain Detours


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provided the best experience. The attention to detail, starting with the bike and camping gear, to the terrain we rode, was exceptional. I received excellent customer service from the minute I walked out of the airport. I was on the bike pre-packed with camping gear within two hours of landing and riding to the mountains. The first evening placed us in a remote camping area where the trees gave way for a beautiful Montana moon to shine on my first night in the tent. The ride started early Saturday morning with breathtaking scenery and a stop at Big Ice Cave, 50 miles south of Billings, Montana, in the Pryor Mountains. The cave is a single chamber with 2 openings, a traditional entrance, and a vertical entrance that ice and snow enter through. Cold air flows into the cave in the winter and gets trapped, forming thick ice that stays frozen year-round. We continued riding higher into the mountains, enjoying exceptional views overlooking Yellowtail Reservoir on the Bighorn River that are only afforded off road. A quick stop at Pen’s Cabin, constructed in 1925 in the Pryor Mountains’ Wild Horse Range, caused us to encounter a traffic jam … with a herd of wild mustangs. The day continued through some sandy desert riding, lush green valleys, and rocky mountain passes ending in Cook City for dinner at a small cafe. Here, I realized we were very close to Yellowstone, and I requested a visit to Old Faithful. Mike Georgeson, the owner of Rocky Mountain Detour’s, happily obliged the change in plans. Yellowstone offered the regular tourists sights and a lasting memory of riding beside a buffalo as traffic slowed for him to pass. As the day ended, my only regret would be riding Beartooth Pass in the dark. Standing at over 10,000 feet on the Montana and Wyoming

border, I can only imagine the views I missed by asking to see Old Faithful. Mike Georgeson and Jerry Gardner of Rocky Mountain Detours created a fun, challenging ride fi lled with unforgettable sights and scenery that could not be seen otherwise. The pace was always up to me, and there was never any pressure to do anything I was not comfortable riding. Whether you may be a female adventure rider like me or a group of men and women, these guys can accommodate. Rocky Mountain Detours also offers a unique winter experience on motorcycles modified with skis on the front instead of a tire. I will seriously be considering a snow bike moto camping weekend this winter. As John Muir eloquently stated, “The Mountains are calling, and I must go.” Rocky Mountain Detours llc. 1008 E Pike Avenue Columbus, MT 59019

!"#$%&'#()#*+,-#$.#$*+#/'0/-+#.1#$*+#2%&3+4#&.55# $*+#$*&.$$5+#6/-+#.7+'4#,'-#8&+,9#1&++#1&.(#$*+# 6.&5-#$*,$#,11.&-0#(+#$*+#7,00/.'#$.#&/-+:; September 2020 | 21

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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

!"##$%&!'%()*+, photos & story by Steve Barber


ubbly Baytowne is BACK. Guests enjoyed an evening of sip and shop through The Village of Baytowne streets with free champagne and shopping. Check-in was by the entrance fountain to receive a complimentary glass and a map outlining specific merchants to visit from 5-7pm on August 20. The event was free and for 21 and up only. 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. Mark your calendar for Bubbly Baytowne scheduled to repeat on October 22.

Alan Meyers & Leighann Elliott

Jim & Barbara Montgomery 22

Brenda, Renee, Roy & Lauren Pomes


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Stacy & Brian Hebert

Felecia Neal & Kylah Roan

Kevin & Christi O’Leary

Carla Laborde & Lee Vonderhaar

Elizabeth & Thomas Griner, Thomas Lloyd Griner

Dave & Kathy Stewart

York Gill & Maria Velez

Jaye Brown

Helena Hadley & Jada Lawrence

Kevin, Debra & Lauren Elliott September 2020 | 23

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VIP Destin at The Henderson

Business Before Hours

Candidates Forum

Kevin Bowyer & Michelle Terry

photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

T Shane Moody & Dion Moniz

he Destin Chamber of Commerce hosted the first Business Before Hours Candidates Forum at The Henderson on August 14. From 7:30-9:00am, attendees met the candidates for Florida House of Representatives District 4, Okaloosa County Commission District 5, and Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools. After breakfast each candidate spoke on their forum and took questions. The Henderson also ensured extra precautions with masks and only allowing up to 130 guests in the large ballroom, along with the ability to view online so those who chose to stay home were able to watch each candidate. Sponsored by Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation and also featuring non-profit spotlight The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Marcia Hull, the director of Mattie Kelly Arts, was thankful for the opportunity to be a sponsor, especially this year, their 25th anniversary season. Marcia talked about the support and the mission to “Build arts and culture in our community, with the heartbeat of education in the outreach initiatives.� There was a special membership deal for the day only and a drawing for a VIP table if attendees decided to become a member. It was a successful morning fi lled with well wishes to each candidate, questions answered, and a chance to get out in a safe environment to listen in on what candidates are passionate about.

John Roper & Mike Whitley

Teresa Allen, Denise Kendust, Shantelle Dedicke, Marcia Hull & Meloney Howell September 2020 | 25

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VIP Destin at Business Before Hours Candidates Forum

Rich & Maureen Johnson


Megan Byers & Chelsea Fox

Lori Smith & Ashley Bailey

Monica Autrey, Elizabeth Spies & Debbie Eggers

Jonathan Tallman & Sandra Atkinson

Jason Hall, Tera & Brian Keister

Rachel Borgie, Charlette Dunworth & Melissa Read

Susan Arnold, Kathey Mitchell & Myla Martinez

Hannah Putynkowski, Antonia Poat & Jillian McCarthy


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Nell Stubblefield & Amanda Schmidt

Lane Redding & David Mars

Gerard & Tracy Perillo

Stan Hall & Devon Kiss September 2020 | 27

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ancy Bown, CPDTKA is a certified dog trainer and the founder of Dog-Harmony. She has lived in Destin for over 50 years.Founded in 2013, Dog-Harmony is on a mission to build mutually nurturing bonds between dogs and humans: we help dogs rescue people. In establishing their services, they sought not only to reduce the number of unwanted dogs in shelters, but also to create truly harmonious relationships between adopted dogs and their new owners. They focus on humane education as a tool for Certified Dog Trainer, ensuring that dogs find Founder of Dog-Harmony lifelong, loving homes. 850.376.4190 Nancy graduated from 237 Market St, Santa Rosa Beach the Animal Behavior College in Southern California with a certification in dog training and now acts as a mentor for student dog trainers. She is a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) as recognized by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and a member of the professional organization. She is also an instructor and evaluator for Intermountain Therapy Animals as well as an evaluator for the AKC Good Citizen Test. Her training methods are positive with no prong or electric collars. Nancy has three dogs: Holley is 14 years old and is an original Alaqua Animal Refuge dog, Stan Lee and Leah were adopted through Dog-Harmony.




arisol Gullo, 2017 South Walton Artist of the Year, owns and operates Not Too Shabby Boutique with two locations in Miramar Beach and Inlet Beach with her husband, Tony. They specialize in restoring and building custom furniture and this is where Marisol’s passion for art took off. Marisol has taken her life experience and built her own, one of a kind aesthetic and vision. Marisol grew up in Costa Rica, earned her law degree and became a lawyer. She and Tony met and married in Costa Rica, then honeymooned in South Walton. They Owner, Not Too Shabby Boutique immediately fell in love with the area and 850.419.3976 | 9755 US-98, Miramar Beach promised each other that 12805 US Hwy 98 East, Unit P101, Inlet Beach they would move here one day to start their family. In 2001 they packed up and moved to South Walton. Marisol and her family love the community and have built a life and a business here. She loves the melting pot feel of the area where so many people have chosen to live and realize how special a place the Destin area truly is. Marisol believes in following one’s dreams, adapting to any situation, and to challenge herself both in her personal life and her art. Discovering new inspiration is the most rewarding part of her work as an artist.



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ebra Henry has been a practicing CPA in both Florida and Alabama since 1982 and is the owner of her own practice, Debra Henry, CPA, located in Miramar Beach. The majority of her professional career has been working in public accounting with an emphasis on tax planning and compliance for individuals, self-employed business owners, small business corporations, LLCs, and nonprofit organizations. Debra is also experienced in representation of clients with IRS issues. Her firm was voted “Best Owner in Destin” in 2019 Debra Henry, CPA and 2020 due to her commitment 850.687.4461 to client service Miramar Beach and development of close client relationships. Debra takes a proactive approach helping her clients make better decisions to decrease tax liability with effective tax planning. She also helps small businesses improve profitability by assistance with monthly accounting, sales and payroll tax needs. A graduate of Auburn University, she is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, Florida Institute of CPAs and Alabama Society of CPAs. Debra is very active in the community serving as Treasurer on the Alaqua Animal Refuge Board, Sinfonia Gulf Coast Board, and Scenic Walton Board. She is also actively involved with the Alaqua annual Sip N Shop and Animore’ events.



odi Ketchersid opened RealJoy Properties in 2006 and has been an expert on the local real estate scene ever since. In 1999 she graduated from law school, where she also met her husband, Bill, who is a local practicing real estate attorney and licensed agent. Together they have five children, ages 8 to 34. Local, personal, and highlyinvolved in the community, her boutique firm consists of skilled real estate specialists who treat every transaction with care and diligence. Jodi has consistently been a top producer on the Emerald Coast and is proud of the close-knit team she has cultivated over the years. “Now, more than ever, buying and selling real estate is a huge and often Realtor, Owner RealJoy Properties overwhelming process,” says Jodi. “We pride 850.424.3094 ourselves in guiding our 4014 Commons Dr W STE 100, Destin clients every step of the way and building lasting relationships. We live in paradise and it’s a joy to help clients find their own little slice.”



olanda Martillo is the office manager at Bay Foot and Ankle Center, PA, and has been working with Dr. Francia Squatrito since the opening of her practice in February of 2016. Yolanda has been working in the medical field for the past 20 years in different specialties, from ophthalmology, allergy, and immunology to today in podiatry. The Army brought Yolanda and her family to this area from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where she built her career in the medical field and later received a bachelor’s in healthcare administration, and finally, in 2009, a master’s in business administration. She is passionate about the podiatry practice she and Dr. Squatrito have worked so hard to build and is looking forward to what their hard work will bring in the future. Bay Foot and Ankle Center has been a big challenge for Yolanda, both she and Dr. Squatrito opened the doors with the intention of providing the best podiatric care in the area, and so far, it has been a success. As an Army veteran, Yolanda feels proud to serve our military community and works hard to provide all Office Manager, the patients of Bay foot and Ankle Center Bay Foot and Ankle Center with the best possible care.


850.855.4048 1775 Lewis Turner Blvd, Fort Walton Beach Leading Ladies 2020 | 29

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DR. CATHER MCKAY Coatal Skin Surgery and Dermatology 850.314.7546 912 Mar Walt Drive, Fort Walton Beach


r. Cather McKay is a native of Mobile, Alabama. She attended Vanderbilt University where she double majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Spanish. Following graduation, she spent time volunteering in a medical clinic in rural Guatemala. She went on to complete medical school at the University of Alabama School of Medicine (UAB), followed by an internship in internal medicine and dermatology residency at Tulane University. During her training, she was elected into the Alpha Omega Alpha honor society and received a grant for research on hidradenitis suppurativa. She currently serves on the Editorial Committee of the National Women’s Dermatologic Society; as well as the patient education committee of the Skin of Color Society. She is an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Dr. McKay will be joining Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology in September of 2020 and will work in the Fort Walton Beach location. Dr. McKay spent years away for her education and is happy to come to the Gulf Coast area along with her husband Jack and dog Taco. She enjoys establishing long-term patient relationships to meet all skin care needs. She specializes in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology, for children and adults.


tephanie Phillips has constantly been recognized as a top producer in her industry for over twenty years. She has a passion for helping others, and throughout her career has dedicated herself to assisting her clients. In September of 2019, Stephanie decided it was time to take a leap of faith and open her own brokerage, Resort Real Estate Group. What a journey the past year has been, opening a beautiful new office, located in Grand Boulevard. Within a few months, Resort Real Estate Group, has flourished, and is currently ranked fourth in sales inside the Sandestin Resort. Stephanie’s vision as owner and broker for the company is not to be the largest, but to be the very best. The boutique office has the flexibility to cater specifically to every client’s individual needs. Stephanie is consistently challenged to find that perfect balance between the work she loves and her deep commitment to serving her community. She is an active member of several local organizations that allow her to give back. Follow Stephanie as the “Resort Girl on the Go” on Facebook and Instagram.

STEPHANIE PHILLIPS Owner & Broker, Resort Real Estate Group 850.585.3197 215 Grand Blvd Suite 201, Miramar Beach

KENDRA SHEIKHO Realtor, Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast 315.405.6744 321 Harbor Blvd, Destin


o know Kendra is to know a mother, military spouse, Real Estate agent and friend. Balancing life and work is a job in itself, but this entrepreneur has made it her mission to show you can grow an empire and family together. Like others, Kendra’s story does not begin in Real Estate or on the Emerald Coast. It begins in Detroit, Michigan which was Kendra’s home for twentyfour years and helped shape who she is today. The United States Army brought Kendra and her husband Nick and 3 children in 2011 to the 7thSpecial Forces Group on the Emerald Coast. When Kendra and her family first arrived, she wasn’t sure what direction to go. However, as they explored their new stomping grounds, Kendra earned her Real Estate License and immediately went to work. As a wife, mother and agent she is busy from the time she opens her eyes to the glass of wine before bed and won’t have it any other way. Recently, she decided to hang her license at Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast. Today, Kendra works alongside like-minded professionals, continues building her empire and proves that women can pursue their passions and find success despite the odds.


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llyson is a licensed Aesthetician, skin care therapist and owner of Allyson’s Salon and Spa in Destin, Florida with over 20 years of experience and training. Besides the salon and spa she has a skincare line. Allyson is a native of West Point, Georgia and her choice to be an aesthetician came from growing up in the beauty industry and competing in modeling and beauty pageants. “It took me to amazing places and led me to meet inspiring people at an early age”. Like many, Owner, Allyson’s Salon and Spa Allyson started visiting Destin as a child with 850.650.2667 her family for vacation 981 US-98 #12, Destin and that’s when she fell in love with the area and wanted to settle here because it felt like home. Allyson and her husband Jack love Destin and the beautiful white sand beaches as well as amazing talent from musicians to artist, entrepreneur’s and some of the best local businesses and restaurants that bring so many people here from all over the world to enjoy. Allyson believes in community involvement and is active in many local charities and causes. She is a sponsor with the Destin Snowbirds, which has a membership of over 2,000. Allyson’s love for helping others is how her skincare line evolved.



nna Stockton is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, but after moving around the country for 12 years, she settled in Pensacola in 2018. Anna started with VIP Magazine in March of this year. She spends her time baking and exploring all the Gulf Coast has to offer with her three children and dog, Johnny. With a history in victim advocacy, Anna took a break from her career to raise her children before embarking on her new career with VIP Magazine. As the daughter of a long time newspaper editor, media was always of interest to her and working at VIP Publisher’s Assistant gives her the chance to be VIP Magazine part of the business side of the magazine as well as 904-525-9258 the creative side. Anna enjoys getting to know the local businesses and how to best serve their advertising needs as well as writing about local events and features such as Coastal Cuisine and Adventure Out. In addition to her work with VIP Magazines, Anna volunteers at her children’s schools, the National Naval Aviation Museum, and uses her love of baking to bring a touch of home to the sailors and marines on board NAS Pensacola.


Distributed from 30A to Fort Walton Beach





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8/28/20 9:41 AM ï 321 Harbor Blvd, Destin Fl, 32451 ï m: 315≠ 405≠ 6744 ï o: 850≠ 842≠ 3211

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Emeralds and Pearls - $65 Lily Chartier Pearls

Bath Salt with essential oils $12.00 Allyson Salon and Spa

Antelope sandals, Kaya - $189 Sunset Shoes & Lifestyles

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Taylor Top by Frankie’s Bikinis $90 Alexis Bottom by Frankie’s Bikinis $95 Ophelia Swimwear

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SkinMedica TNS Advanced+ Serum $295 Destin Plastic Surgery’s SkinCare Clinic

Peygotii Monogram Diamond Sterling Pendant - $290 Frill Seekers Gifts

Gold and Diamond Cuff Bracelet by Gabriel New York - $2,850-$3,425 Emerald Lady

Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub $21.95 for 4.2oz Lush Cosmetics at Destin Commons

Hydrating and exfoliating five-minute masque smoothes and renews for luminous, healthylooking skin - $60 Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

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VIP Destin at Realty One Group Emerald Coast

Realty One Group Emerald Coast

August First Friday photos by Steve Barber | story by Cora Rasmussen


he first Friday of every month Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast opens the doors a little wider and celebrates agents, supporters, families, builds new relationships, and strengthens old ones. EveryONE is welcome to join in the revelries and learn more about ONE! A local beer is on tap every month and good bites are never scarce. You may see a food truck in the parking lot or a fresh selection from one of our local favorite spots! In the age of COVID-19 the festivities are kept to the large front porch and outside areas to keep friends and family safe. First Friday was started by owners Jacqui and Matt Luberto as a way for agents and associates to come together and share their experiences and with a throwback nod to Matt’s military service; one of his favorite base commanders started the tradition a few years ago at a prior duty station. The Luberto family always knew they wanted to carry on that ritual in some way with this new group. The camaraderie built here leads to better business for customers and real estate agents across the board. Realty ONE Group Emerald Coast is proud to be leading the way as the #UnBrokerage. When you’re ready to learn more about ONE, the doors and opportunities are always open. See you next First Friday!

Jamie Schneider & Jordan Stutler

Janara Bostick & Lisa Buchman

Cora Rasmussen & October Rooney September 2020 | 37

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VIP Destin at August First Friday

Brandy Parker & Alana Melendez

Linda & Michael Stahl

Jacqui & Matt Luberto

Ray Chavez, Kelly & Steve Sipes

Ryan, Vianka, Maria & Reagan Heary

Abbey Knowles & Melissa Dean

Michael Leahy & Jenni Blandino 38

Heidi Sheikho & Kendra Sheikho

Jackson Luberto, Riley Lutz & Devon Tucker


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!"#$! %&'(5'*/&673'8

Your classic sandal, with just enough bling to make any trip to the sand stylish. Dress them up for a sea-side lunch, pair them with your hottest cover-up, or dress them down for a casual trip to the market.


A must-have... the classic heel. Not limited to, but certainly most importantly, in black. Understated, classy, sophisticated, uncomplicated- the shoe you can’t go wrong with. It comes in every color, and goes with everything!



Every woman needs a wow-factor shoe. Keep the rest of your outfit neutral and classic, and then hit’em with the statement piece! Whether you’re into animal print, studded-bling, or a bold color, this is the way to get noticed.


Perfect for out-and-about, on-the-go days, these simple canvas shoes come in every color and pattern imaginable. They’re a quick way to pull an outfit together- no effort, all cute!



For the days when you just need to be comfy. These natural slip-ons come in handy for family trips to the park, a quick grocery run, or even just checking the mail. Of course, they’re still just as fashionable as a fancier shoe, but without even having to try!

When you’re in between a sandal and a wedgejust a little boost, but nothing drastic. You can find these styled to your taste from simple, solid colors to bling and floral accents.


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Take your sandals a step further with a strappy wedge. These are great from spring to summer, and can be easily paired with shorts, skirts, dresses, or even jeans.

A sophisticated look for a sophisticated woman. The heeled boot kicks your outfit up a notch, with no apologies! Typically found in suede or leather, and in a variety of colors, these are the look for serious boss ladies.

Sometimes you just need to keep both feet on the ground. Flats are the perfect way to keep it fresh without killing your feet. They’re especially ideal for outdoor areas where heels wouldn’t fair well in grassy or sandy terrain.




Business with a high-brow vintage twist. This lace-up, formal footwear was originally meant for special occasions, but now has styles to fit more casual situations.

Every now and then, you just want to bring a little sass to the table. Finding a platform, peeptoe heel will definitely do the trick! Pair with a perfect pedi, and you’re ready for a girls’ night out.

Just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you can’t keep up appearances. Running shoes come in all colors and styles, so you can coordinate with your favorite workout wear.

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


ubba Blue from the movie Forrest Gump said it best, “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea,” before famously listing all the ways in which shrimp can be prepared. Fortunately for those of us on the Gulf Coast we don’t have to go far to enjoy all the “fruit” the sea has to offer. All we have to do is stop in our local seafood market. The shrimp industry is big business along the Gulf coast. From the marine hardware stores to local restaurants to the actual shrimpers themselves, the impact of Gulf shrimp runs deep in our local communities. As opposed to imported shrimp, Gulf shrimp are highly regulated so you get a higher quality product from a natural habitat. Gulf shrimpers are focused on sustainability and are proud of the taste and texture of the shrimp they bring to the local markets. With the exception of a few changes to protect other marine life, shrimping practices along the Gulf coast haven’t changed much over the years. The trawl net drags along the ocean floor with tickler chains that cause the shrimp to jump.

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Along with the tickler chains, the bottom of the net has weights to keep it in place while the top of the net has floats to ensure the net stays open. The turtle exclusion device, or TED, allows turtles to escape the net and the bycatch reduction device, or BRD, enables other marine life to do the same. Both of these devices were designed by shrimpers to reduce the negative impact shrimping has on other marine life. There are four main kinds of shrimp that can be found here on the Gulf Coast. The local brown shrimp gets their name because of the iodine rich diet. This shrimp has a robust flavor that works well with shrimp forward dishes like local favorites, gumbo and jambalaya. White shrimp have a sweet and mild flavor, thanks to the low salinity water in the bayous they

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call home. These shrimp work best for boiling and sautéing as they naturally soak in seasonings. Pink shrimp are even more sweet and mild than white shrimp and do well with delicate sauces such as shrimp and grits. And finally, we have the Red Royal shrimp, these rich and buttery crustaceans are the pride of the Gulf Coast. Often compared to lobsters, Red Royals can stand on their own or be used in a light dish. Much like fruit, the different kinds of shrimp have seasons in which they are harvested. Brown shrimp are best during the summer months while the best white shrimp and red royals can be found in the cooler months. Pink shrimp taste their best when harvested in the cold months. Whatever time of the year it is, it’s always a good time to serve up some Gulf Coast shrimp. As Bubba Blue said, “There are so many ways to make shrimp.” Whether you boil it and serve it as shrimp cocktail or as a meal in a low-country boil, fry it on up, put it on a kabob, or cook it in a pasta dish, this versatile crustacean can satisfy even the most discerning taste.

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VIP Destin at Landing Park

Save the Kids photos & story by Steve Barber


peaceful march was held at the Landing in Fort Walton Beach on July 30 which was human trafficking awareness day. Participants felt like they should step up for children to bring awareness to this growing, horrific crime. March organizers included Faith Carswell, Melanie Marshall, and Shannon Hooker. According to their spokesperson, Faith Carswell, in the last 5 years child sex trafficking has increased by 846%. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime worldwide and human trafficking generates $150.2 BILLION dollars annually worldwide. 1.8 billion images of child sex abuse are shared online every day. 75% of these are of children under 12 years old and 10% are infants and toddlers. There are an estimated 750,000 pedophiles online right now. To donate and or get involved visit:

Lori & John Benaquis

Kayla & Stephanie Mercer

Mary Aho & Faith Carswell

Jennifer, Michael, Mike & Gia Paone September 2020 | 45

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VIP Destin at Save the Kids

Melanie Marshall, Faith Carswell & Shannon Hooker

Isaiah & Jessamyn Hawkins

Kelly Love & Kristin Britt

Derek Gross & Ben Merrell

Shannon & Chase Hooker

Jessica Wilson, Jeimy & Jaymie Jimenez 46

Railey Newman, Brandi Newman, Kesha Fowler & Layla Newman

Jessica, Jocie & Jaelynn Kreimoyer


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ECCAC Announces 2020/2021 Board of Directors photos provided by ECCAC | story by Kay Phelan


t a recent virtual board meeting, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) announced their 2020/2021 line-up of board members and officers. The Walton County Sherriff Office’s (WCSO)Major Audie Rowell is their new President, Janet Parker is Vice President and Alan Wood is Treasurer. Other members are immediate past president, Bill Fletcher, along with Tammy Pierce, Eric Aden, Todd Bierbaum, Shaun Eubanks, Velia Lala, Renee Pellegrino, Artie Rodriguez, Tom Saffel, Michael Thompson, Annie Stutts and Demetrius Fuller. Julie Porterfield, ECCAC CEO said, “We so appreciate our 2020/2021

officers and board members. Thanks to Bill Fletcher for his successful 2019/2020 presidency. I have every confidence under Major Rowell’s leadership, along with our board members, we will have another successful year which translates to being able to help the children in need of our services.” ECCAC provides services in a child-friendly environment to help identify, treat and support children in abusive situations, as well as helping to prevent child abuse through education and prevention programs. With a Center in Okaloosa County and the Pierce Family Center in Walton County, they house representatives from the Florida

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Department of Children and Families, Child Protection Team, State Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement, licensed mental health counselors, and ECCAC’s staff and volunteers. In ECCAC’s 20-year history, over 15,000 children have received more than 170,000 services at no cost. For further information about the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, visit or call 850-833-9237. If abuse is suspected, call the anonymous Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.

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VIP Destin at Harry T’s

!"#$%&'()*%+, GATOR CLUB

Travis & Maryann Royall, Heather Hintz & Todd Royall

Season Kickoff photos & story by Zhalman Harris

L Brent Bartruff & Megan Harrison

Lori Moore & Jen Floro

ocated right under the iconic lighthouse on the Destin Harbor, with stunning views of the East Pass, is Harry T’s Restaurant, where the season kickoff of the Emerald Coast Gator Club took place. The event which was held on August 19 this year, is a yearly event put together to showcase the coming year scholarship recipients to University of Florida in Gainsville. At the start of the event, President, Brent Bartruff welcomed guests, thanked them for their support and gave them brief information of the organization, and the events they put together to raise funds for the deserving kids who are awarded these scholarships. According to Bartruff, they initially planned to give 3 awards this year but ended up giving 6 awards. The recipients who were present to receive their scholarships were, Ariana Hasan, K. Balasubramaniam, Teresa LaNasa, Nathaniel Rudman and Kobe Philips. After the presentation of scholarships and live auction, Tom Manning was appointed as President Emeritus of the Emerald Coast Club.

Joe Reames, Steve McLain, Tom Manning & Pat Dooley

Harrison & Shelley Waller

Nathaniel Rudman, Ariana Hasan, K. Balasubramaniam, Teresa LaNasa & Kobe Philips September 2020 | 51

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

!"#$%&'()*+, Back Row from left: Mike Davis, Carter Davis, Erik Davis Front Row: Zoe Davis, Peggy Davis

850.796.2424 415 Mary Esther Cut Off NW, FWB

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!"#$%&''(' %)*+,'',) story by Lana Stewart Harrington


o you notice anything? The clinking of steins, the oompah music and the sweet smell of grain in the air? Oktoberfest is near! But in September, you say? Yes! Traditionally, Oktoberfest begins in mid-September and runs 16 days, ending on the first Sunday in October. So, for all of you who have only been celebrating in October, good news! You can add another two weeks to your party schedule. How did the world’s largest beer festival and longest-running tradition begin? In the year 1810, Germany celebrated the royal

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wedding of Bavarian Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, who later became king and queen. The multi-day celebration included steins of beer, giant feasts, and horse races. Thankfully, the festivities were such a hit that they became an annual tradition. In modern times, Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, attracts up to six million people who gather together to eat, drink, and be merry. The mayor taps the first barrel of beer, which signals the official beginning of the festival: “O’Zapft is!” which in English means “It’s tapped!” Attendees consume roughly 2 million gallons during the festival. Yes, you read that right! There is plenty of fun to be had, including singing in the beer halls, dancing to Bavarian polka music and watching the parades. The original six breweries still brew beer for the event with a recipe from the early 19th century. Breweries include Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten. Oktoberfest beers can be found under different names including the labels Oktoberfest, Festbier, or Marzen. The original style of Oktoberfest beers was Marzen or “March Beer,” which was beer brewed in March and kept in cold storage until the fall. It originated from a style called Vienna-style Lager. This beer was darker and maltier than what is served at the event today. Sometime in history Oktoberfest beer changed to a style known as Festbier, a lighter, more quaffable beer. I love this season of beers because the flavors range from light, crisp, and nutty with a deep golden color to heavy malt, toast, and caramel with an amber-red hue. Topping your beverage off is a thick and fluffy white foam—perfection! Rule of thumb: the true German styles will be on the crisp and clean side, while the American styles tend to be on the malty, nutty, caramel side. Another reason I love this season of beer is the food pairings. Oktoberfest beers are incredibly compatible with different types of food but are a match made in heaven with German fare like Bavarian soft pretzels with grainy mustard, bratwurst and sauerkraut, Wiener Schnitzel, and basically anything fried. The beer also pairs beautifully with cheese—aged Gouda, Manchego,

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Gorgonzola. Create a charcuterie board, pair it with an Oktoberfest beer and prepare to have your mind blown. The key to pairing beer with food is that one should not overshadow the other. They’re partners. Flavors can complement or contrast with each other. That is what makes the pairing exciting and elevates your meal from “eating” to “dining.” Put on your best pair of lederhosen or dirndl and grab your liter stein. It’s time to celebrate the season! While you’re at it, support your local brewery and grab a six pack of their Oktoberfest offering. Drink, eat, and shop local! Finally, drink this beer fresh. It is not meant to be aged. Prost! Lana’s craft beer & food pairing website: Follow her on Instagram & Twitter: @LanaDelBeer

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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village



photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

ll Summer long, HarborWalk Village hosts three different weekly family-friendly events that bring in tourists and locals alike. On Saturdays they host Rock the Docks, a free concert series to rock out to right on the Destin Harbor. August 8 showcased Dion Jones & The Neon Tears from 7:00pm 9:30pm that gathered all ages to dance and enjoy the warm evening. With all that HarborWalk has to offer, it keeps the kids engaged, not only with the live music, but also with yummy treats from ice cream and cotton candy to food trucks to the entertainment of zip lines, rock

climbing, and local vendors along the HarborWalk. It makes for a great date night to have dinner, walk the docks, and relax for some local music from a different artist each week. Rock the Docks started in late May this year with John Hart Project, and June with Scenic Heights, Tyler Livingston and The Absolutes, Flash Flood, and Jessie Ritter. July featured Sway Jah Vu, Blake Brock, and The HooDoos, and August showcased The ShakeDown, Dion Jones and The Neon Tears, and ended on August 15th with Scenic Heights.

Mireya Martinez & Justin Colunga

Amanda & Liza Bostick

Ashton Koen & Adam Beckton

Madison Smith, Sarah Wright, Erin Hollenbeck, & Alysa Paladino September 2020 | 57

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VIP Destin at Rock the Docks


Sonya Thomas & Sabrina Chamber

Ronald Spinks, Edwardo Miranda & Javy Hernandez

Ricy Stone & Jaqueline Calhoun

Erica Burleson, Tina Fant & Kristi Hariss

Keith & Kristina Spain

Tuesday & Jim Cousin

Mike Bass & Brandon Robinson

Rylee Fiveash & Hannah Hunter


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photos provided by The Secret Place story by Greg Alexander


n an undisclosed location in the Greater Emerald Coast Area stands 10 acres of land that has been developed into a community that is transforming young girls who have been victimized by human trafficking. Most appropriately monikered The Secret Place, it is a home of refuge and hope for girls ages 12 to 17. At The Secret Place, healing takes place over time while dignity is carefully restored through a process with trained counselors and caregivers. Necessary medical and clinical services are provided for the residents and they are enabled to further their education and dream of a bright and healthy future. At The Secret Place, these victims are allowed to recapture their purpose and God given identity. The Secret Place is a faith based, state licensed program through a partnership with the Department of Children and Families. Residents will participate in the program for 7-9 months, before returning to their biological family or being placed with a specialized therapeutic foster family, to continue their journey of healing. Human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. A minor of sex trafficking is someone subjected to the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age. Child victims of human trafficking are forced, induced, or coerced into providing labor, services, or commercial sex. A trafficked child may be compelled to engage in illegal activities such as prostitution or the selling of drugs. Most often, Instead of being treated as victims, they are treated as criminals and are prosecuted accordingly. Arrest and prosecution can further traumatize victims and leave them with an ongoing distrust of law enforcement, which often prevents victims from seeking assistance. Additionally, the criminal record that results from being prosecuted can become a barrier for future employment and other opportunities. Thus, it is necessary for states to enact laws that both protect and assist children that have been exploited for labor or sex. The laws that provide this type of protection are called safe harbor laws. Children are fortunate to have organizations like The Secret Place take them in and give them a re-start from circumstances that were mostly out of their control. Please visit for more information about their services and for ways in which you can help this vital resource for victimized children. 60 |

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Interview with Kristin Lipscomb Founder and President – The Secret Place

What is the mission of A Secret Place and how long has it been serving young girls in our area? The Secret Place was founded in 2018 with its mission to bring hope and healing to survivors of human trafficking. The Secret Place has three focuses: • State Licensed Safe House Residential Program which includes a 7-9 Month live-in program; medical, dental, and vision services; individual and group counseling; continued education; life-skills, art, music, community garden, and sports environments; and survivor mentorship. • Outpatient counseling & wrap around services • Prevention and Training. What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with the organization? The most rewarding part of leading this organization is knowing that a child’s life can be dramatically altered for the good -- that children are learning that they have a choice for their future. Knowing that these young ladies can begin to walk in freedom and to realize they have not been forgotten is a further point that provides me excitement about the work we are doing at The Secret Place.

What size of staff exists? Currently we have 12 staff members and several lead volunteers who oversee outreach and volunteer initiatives . Are there volunteers? We have over 400 trained Volunteer Advocates. Is there a success story you can share? Every milestone is a success story for us as these survivors continue on their path toward healing and restoration. One special milestone was a survivor who we walked with and established a recovery plan, who is now in nursing school. What is one thing you want readers to know about A Secret Place? The Secret Place is here to be a survivor’s answer. We are committed to doing our part to see dignity restored and dreams recovered for every survivor we come into contact with. How can someone help your cause? Become a Volunteer Advocate. Become a Financial Partner.

What sort of structure exists, or is it individualized for each child? Every therapeutic plan is individualized as every individual’s journey is different. 70% of the children we work with are in and out of foster care so we work closely with the Department of Children and Families, lead agencies, as well as the client’s community to establish the best plan. How do you connect with your prospective residents, do they all live onsite? Residents that need safe harbor live onsite at the safehouse. How is the program funded? The program is funded by donations, state reimbursements, and grants.

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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

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Best Public Relations Firm 2013≠ 2020 Best Event Planner 2018≠ 2020 Best New Business 2012

9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 24 |

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Best Public Relations / Advertising Firm 2015≠ 2018 Best Event Planning Firm 2015≠ 2018

Miramar Beach, FL 32550


(850) 460≠7 777


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SEPTEMBER 4-6 Baytowne Art Walk The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd. | Miramar Beach Stroll the Village streets as you browse a variety of artwork from both regional and local artists. Enjoy LIVE music each night from local entertainment. This three-day festival is fi lled with world-class art and entertainment from some of the best artists of the Southeast. Live Music Schedule: Friday: 5:00pm - 7:15pm Kyle LaMonica ~ 7:30pm - 10:00pm Jessie Ritter Saturday: 5:15pm - 7:15pm Casey Kearney ~ 7:30 - 10:00pm Matt McCarty Sunday: 5:15pm - 7:15pm Chris Alvarado ~ 7:30pm - 10:00pm Ken & Andi Johnson Visit to find out more!

SEPTEMBER 12 SEPTEMBER 11 Business Before Hours The Palms Bistro 4201 Indian Bayou Trail | Destin 7:30pm – 9:00am Join the Destin Chamber of Commerce for our Business Before Hours featuring non-profit spotlight Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Registration and payment are required before the event. Masks will be mandatory and capacity is limited to 100 guests. Please visit to register.

SEPTEMBER 17 Business After Hours at The Market Shops The Market Shops 9375 Emerald Coast Pkwy. W | Miramar Beach 5:30pm – 7:30pm The Walton Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at The Market Shops is free for Chamber members and is $10 for non-members. The community is invited to explore The Market Shops outdoor shopping center while enjoying live music, as well as light bites and complimentary refreshments from The Market Shops merchants. Those attending will receive a punch card with a map of the lifestyle center outlining specific merchants to visit throughout the night. Guests will receive a stamp from each shop they visit on their pass card. Once the fully stamped card is returned to the check-in table, it will be entered in to the grand prize drawing featuring gift cards, baskets, special merchant products, and more provided by the merchants and participating Chamber members. For more information and to register for the event, please visit the Chamber’s website at

Coastal Distancing Tour Crab Island 6:00pm-9:00pm Hosted by Legendary Marine, Amazing Lash, and Proffitt PR, this event provides an opportunity for all boaters to enjoy live entertainment aboard their vessel with their family alongside fellow boating friends and family. The event will kick-off with live music at 6:00pm followed by a movie at 7:00pm. The movie will be displayed on a 60-foot television screen on Crab Island courtesy of Splashboards Media. This event includes a fundraising aspect to support three amazing local charities: Food for Thought Outreach, Emerald Coast Honor Games, and Emerald Coast Autism Center. Locations and entertainment details can be found on Legendary Marine Facebook events page and website events calendar, as they are confirmed. Contact for more information.

SEPTEMBER 18 International Talk Like A Pirate Day The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd. | Miramar Beach 5:30pm-7:30pm Ahoy Matey! Join us for an evening full of adventure with our Special Guest Captain Davy. Come dressed in your best pirate costume and get ready for a scavenger hunt, magic show, costume contests, and much more!

SEPTEMBER 25 8th Annual Fore Her Golf Outing Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club 334 Golf Club Drive | Santa Rosa Beach 9:00am – 3:00pm Sponsor, donate, or golf! Raising funds for breast cancer patients in financial need along the Emerald Coast. Fore Her pays for utility bills, car payments/repairs, mortgage/rent among other bills that come up when a breast cancer patient is going through treatment and out of work. Visit for details and to register.

Visit for more events!

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LOCALE O Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Receives Three Quality Achievement Awards Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesStroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring stroke patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and other stroke treatments aligned with the most up-to-date, evidence-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. Before discharge, patients should also receive education on managing their health, get a follow-up visit scheduled, as well as other care transition interventions Fort Walton Beach Medical Center additionally received the association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Advanced Therapy award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed to reduce the time between the patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-buster tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. “Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our stroke patients by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Stroke initiative,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. “The tools and resources provided help us track and measure our success in meeting evidenced-based clinical guidelines developed to improve patient

outcomes.” Fort Walton Beach Medical Center additionally received the Association’s Target: Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To qualify for this recognition, hospitals must meet quality measures developed with more than 90 % of compliance for 12 consecutive months for the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.” According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds and nearly 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

Emerald Coast Science Center Seeks Community Support to Continue Its Mission The Emerald Coast Science is reaching out to its local community as it works to overcome COVID-19 related losses. The virus has caused a halt to field trip programming, outreach programs, and special events. Because of this, the center has started an Emergency Support Fund to allow it to implement virtual programs, care for its 35+ animal ambassadors, and continue to positively impact children by delivering fun, memorable learning opportunities. Donations can be made at supportECSC. The Science Center was making huge strides in impact from 2018 to 2019, seeing a 20% increase in field trip students and a 53% increase in museum guests. This upward trend was continuing in 2020 until the center was forced to close due to covid-19 in March. With the closure of the center and area schools, the museum lost one-third of its annual revenue. As an independent nonprofit, the center is solely responsible for the cost to own and operate the building that houses the museum. It is unknown when traditional programming, fundraising events, and school outreach will be able to resume, leaving most revenue sources for the museum barred. The center has begun to pivot programming virtually, including virtual field trips, virtual planetariums, and specialty virtual lessons for schools

and libraries. As it embarks on this change, the museum is in need of the community’s support to continue positively impacting children and families with memorable learning opportunities.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company Announces 2020 Fall Theater Education Program Hey kids! Save your drama for the stage this fall. Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) announces its roster of 2020 Fall Educational Theatre Programs. “There couldn’t be a time where selfexpression through the performing arts is more essential for our children,” said ECTC co-founder and producing artistic director Nathanael Fisher. “We realize most of the schools in our community cannot offer the theater arts and so we are thrilled to be able to supplement with our professional education programs.” ECTC continues its popular Educational Theatre Program with creative and engaging offerings designed especially for young thespians from pre-school to high school. The full schedule of class dates and times along with and registration rate information can be found at www.EmeraldCoastTheatre. org. All programs are offered at either Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s (ECTC) performance space located at 560 Grand Boulevard in Grand Boulevard Town Center in Miramar Beach or at the Florida Chautauqua Theatre (FCT) located at 848 Baldwin Ave. in DeFuniak Springs. ECTC is implementing a Safety Protocol Plan in accordance with Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to ensure patrons can enjoy all offerings in a safe environment. Legally Blonde Jr. Classes run Aug. 15-Nov. 16 for grades 6-12. Performances: November 13 at 7 p.m.; November 14 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Legally Blonde JR. follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. Elle takes matters into her own hands by crafting a showy song-anddance personal essay and charming her way into law school. As Elle begins outsmarting September 2020 | 67

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LOCALE O her peers, she realizes that law may be her natural calling after all. Legally Blonde JR. features our talented teens in this energetic musical that has fun roles for everyone! Tuition $395 (payment plans available). Annie Kids Aug. 18-Nov. 7, Tuesdays 4-6 p.m. Big Players (grades 3-5), ECTC Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach Aug. 20-Nov. 7, Thursdays 3-3:50 p.m. Mini Players (grades K-1), ECTC Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach Aug. 20-Nov. 7, Thursdays 4-5:30 p.m. Little Players (grades 2-3), ECTC Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach Aug. 27-Nov. 21, Thursdays 3-3:50 p.m. Mini Players (grades K-1), Florida Chautauqua Theatre, Defuniak Springs Aug. 27-Nov 21, Thursdays 4-6 p.m. Little/Big Players, Florida Chautauqua Theatre, Defuniak Springs Performances: Nov. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. (Grades 3-5); Nov. 7 at 2 p.m. (Little Rascals/Grades 1-3); November 21st & 22nd at Saturday 7pm / Sunday 2pm at the Florida Chautauqua Theatre With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. Annie is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of an orphanage run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. Throw in a grumpy billionaire and an adorable dog named Sandy and you’ve got something to smile about! The sun will come out today when you get to see your child shine onstage. Tuition: Little and Big Players $375, Mini Players $170 (payment plans available). Homeschool Class Aug. 26-Oct. 28, Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. for ages 7-12 News this year, ECTC offers a super fun, high-energy one-hour drama class that culminates with a showcase at the final class. Teamwork, collaboration, working with others, and just plain fun is incorporated into every part of this class. Students will play theatre games, sharpen improv skills, and learn to act and musical theatre techniques as well. This is great for all homeschool students of any skill level who enjoy the performing arts. $150 per student (payment 68

plans available). Musical Theatre Cabaret Session One: Sept 2-Oct. 7 for grades 6-12 with performances Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Session Two: Oct. 28-Dec. 7 (except Nov. 25) with performance Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays 4:30-6:30 p.m. Take a class with Opera Master Peter Lake that focuses on vocal training, while preparing you to take the stage. Multiple sessions are offered throughout the year so you can take every chance to improve your skills. Students will rehearse one to two pieces throughout the six weeks and perform for parents in a cabaret style showcase at the final class. $170 per student (payment plans available). Junior Thespian Troupe Aug. 15-May 4, Saturdays 1-4 p.m. for grades 6-8 Spring performance: May 4 at 7 p.m. In partnership with Seaside Neighborhood School, this ensemble of thespians is a chartered member of the Educational Theatre Association’s Junior Thespians and will be competing at regional and state competitions. This troupe will focus on specialized training, acting techniques and implementing those techniques into performance. Tuition $865 per student (payment plans available). Jr. Company The ECTC Jr. Company is an opportunity for high school students 9th-12th to continue their theatrical education. Members of the company have the opportunity to audition for several performance opportunities at ECTC as well as time to work on their individual pieces to be featured in a showcase. Students have exclusive masterclasses with the professional actors who come to work at ECTC. There are also opportunities for practical experience in technical theatre for all interested students. Our goal is to provide students with the advanced opportunities and educational training they need to succeed in whatever they do! Tuition $865 per student (payment plans available). ECTC Jr. Company & ECTC Junior Thespian Showcase Aug. 15-May 4, Saturdays 1-4 p.m. for grades 7-12 Performance May 4 at 7 p.m.

An exciting showcase featuring group and solo works by ECTC’s talented teens and members of ECTC’s Junior Thespian troupe. This evening will include classic and contemporary musical theater pieces, improv, and comedic and dramatic selections. Don’t miss this one-night only event that will be fun for the whole family. $865 per student. A $30 non-refundable registration fee applies to each class. Multi-class discount, sibling discounts and payment plans are available. Applications for the Paul Londe Scholarship fund are also available online. The community is invited to attend and support these young thespians at their final performances, which are open to the public. Tickets for Educational Program shows are as follows: ECTC Kids Program tickets are $12 in advanced and $15 at the door; ECTC Teen Program tickets are $15 in advanced and $18 at the door. Ages 4 and under are free, but must sit on an adult’s lap. To register for ECTC 2020 Fall Theatre Education classes, visit www.

Food For Thought Celebrates Multi-Year Partnership With St. Joe Community Foundation

Food For Thought Outreach and St. Joe Community Foundation are excited to announce their multi-year partnership with Food For Thought receiving a $105,000 grant over the next three years to support their efforts in fighting food insecurity and childhood hunger. Food For Thought’s mission is to remove the negative impacts of hunger, and to empower children to get the most out of their education and development by providing them weekly access to healthy, easy to prepare meals through their many programs. The contribution will provide $35,000 per year for Back-to-School and Holiday food programs at Food For Thought.


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LOCALE O During 2019-2020 school year before the COVID-19 “Stay at Home” Order, Food For Thought was providing weekly backpacks of food to over 3,300 students across Okaloosa and Walton counties. When the global pandemic hit and schools closed their doors, Food For Thought shifted immediately into curbside services and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. “We are expecting at least a 25% increase in enrollment this school year which will be over 4,000 students. Food insecurity and unemployment continues to affect our community and our services will help bridge that gap for families,” says Tiffanie Nelson, Founder & CEO of Food For Thought Outreach. “We are so grateful to have generous partners like the St. Joe Community Foundation. Their multi-year commitment helps to ensure our services can continue and the food insecure children who need us the most, will be able to count on us for support.” Since March, families have been receiving curbside food distributions, each vehicle receiving 30 to 50 full size food items, often including twenty-five pound boxes of fresh produce generously provided by City Produce, in order to prepare full meals for the entire family. Food For Thought is currently serving 500-600 families a month while staff and volunteers are strictly adhering to safety guidelines including wearing face masks, social distancing, increased sanitizing and cleaning procedures in the pantries, and less than 10 volunteers working together at any one time. “The St. Joe Community Foundation is very proud to support Food For Thought’s mission; in times like this, we are grateful to see them step up to meet the overwhelming needs in the community,” adds April Wilkes, Executive Director of St. Joe Community Foundation. This shift in programming means 60,000 food items are needed per month in addition to replacing $120,000 in donation losses from postponed or cancelled events and fundraisers from March into September. The community can join in the giving by supporting Food For Thought’s Stock the Pantry: Virtual Team Fundraiser. The annual Stock the Pantry Food Drive has been revamped to be a virtual team-based fundraiser this year. Instead of collecting

food items, FFT will have a virtual fundraiser, where each team will contribute to raise money towards the goal of $150,000 which is equivalent to 300,000 food items. This fundraiser runs virtually from July 14 through August 22, and will enable Food For Thought to be able to continue to provide food to families and students, as the need is ongoing and growing. Please reach out to: for more information or to register your team. If you or someone you know is in need of support from Food For Thought, you can get information about food distribution the following ways: follow on Facebook @ FoodForThoughtOutreach, email support@ or call 850-714-1960.

New History Walking Trail to Honor Fort Walton Beach Visionary Susan Myers The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Foundation is extremely pleased to announce another project to promote our area’s history. The Susan Myers Fort Walton Beach Historic Walking Trail will be developed as a project of the Fort Walton Beach Chamber; this project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida. The Walking Trail, established in memory of Susan Myers, will serve to preserve the history of Fort Walton Beach. The Trail will be anchored by the Visitors’ Center in the Gulfview Hotel, the oldest remaining original structure in downtown Fort Walton Beach. Among other sites, the Trail will encompass the Native American Indian Temple Mound, the Civil War Camp Walton and Brooks Landing. Both guided tours and self-guided tours will be available for the Trail, introduced by viewing the History of Fort Walton Beach video produced by the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce. A similar grant was awarded to the Chamber from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program when they established the Bud and Dorie Day Patriots Trail which had its ground breaking in 2015. The Susan Myers Walking Trail is scheduled to open in June 2021.

Local Boutique Public Relations Agency Welcomes New Team Member After its launch in 2015, Whitney Lee has built SociaLee PR and Media Co’s client roster into a variety of industries. With a growing list of responsibilities, it was no time until Lee added to her team. Elizabeth Eulberg began with SocialLee in April of 2020, right as COVID 19 struck the nation. Through the transition of businesses adapting to quarantine and social distancing, Eulberg jumped in head first to take on various roles and responsibilities to manage the communications efforts for numerous accounts within the SocialLee portfolio. Eulberg’s experience in the Destin/ Fort Walton Beach area is extensive. She moved to Navarre, Florida immediately after graduating from the University of West Florida in August of 2016. She began her career as the Social Media Manager for The Greater Fort Walton Chamber of Commerce before being promoted to Director of Administration. She then moved into the corporate healthcare industry when she became the Marketing and Health 2 U Coordinator for the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. Lastly, she took on the Marketing and Sponsorship Coordinator position with the Destin Commons. Her experience in various industries located in the Destin/Fort Walton market easily transitioned her into working with unique and diverse clients such as United Way Emerald Coast, The Island Ft Walton Destin by Hotel RL, Clemenza’s Uptown Station, The Arc of the Emerald Coast and more. Eulberg spearheads social media management, along with strategic content creation, media relations, email marketing and more. “Elizabeth has been an amazing addition to our team,” said Whitney Lee, founder and principal of SocialLee. “She is creative, driven and an incredibly organized project manager. We are truly so lucky to have her on our team!”

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VIP Destin at Northwest Florida Fairgrounds

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he Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted their Business After Hours networking event at the Northwest Florida Fairgrounds on August 20. From 5:30-7:30, attendees caught up and networked while enjoying music from DJ Zoran, food from Helen Back Pizza, drinks and more from Catering Cafe 1958, and a live auction emceed by FWB CEO Ted Corcoran that had everyone laughing and bidding more. Corcoran stated, “Folks are enjoying getting out and socializing with each other after months of not seeing one another.” With a few new members, Corcoran made the environment a comfortable and easy way to get to know one another with a little healthy, fun competition during the auction and even had some bid together. It was a great way to get together again in person and get business growth going again. All chamber members are invited to come and also bring a friend to this event. Brian Sparling, Director of the Northwest Florida Fair, was pleased to help host the event. Even though they won’t be able to have the fair this year, they look forward to hosting. The Fairground is available for other functions and small businesses events.

Brian & Trisha Marks

Melissa Heath & Barbara Britt

Zoran & Ivana Coteat, Mike Chastain September 2020 | 71

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VIP Destin at Business After Hours

Diane Freeman & Renee Hosh

Rachel Borgie, Lauren Shawcross & Aline Ibanes

Elaine Sheldon & Anne Ziegenhorn

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Kari Painter & Melinda Ericson

Dan & Jax Bubis

Brian Sparling, Jacie Chandler & Diane Fraser

Lin Moormann & Dayna Stinebiser

Eppi Assaretto & Neil Tabot

Barbara Britt & Ashley Bailey


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Sean Graves & Keith LaPine

Jackie Kirely & Kim Margold

RJ Murdock & Chuck Mitchell

Patrick Mundle & Marvin Loveless September 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 was born and raised in Murfreesboro, TN, a town just outside of Nashville. I moved to Destin right after I graduated college six and a half years ago. My family vacationed down here when I was growing up so I fell in love with the area as a little girl. When I was in college, I told my parents I was going to get a summer job in Destin. As the homebody that I was, they did not take me seriously. However, I ended up landing a summer job at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort at 19 years old as a Recreation Coordinator. I did that for three summers and moved down here full time after graduating college in 2014. What is your profession, and what led you to choose it? With all the events in our area, I quickly gained an interest in event planning and had several friends in that world already. With my degree in Broadcast Journalism, I did not have any experience in event planning but I was involved in Junior League of the Emerald Coast and someone told me about the Event Coordinator position that was open for the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC), so I applied. I am thankful to this day that Julie Porterfield took a chance on me and now I have been with the ECCAC for over four years and recently became promoted as their Development Manager. I still oversee ECCAC’s events but now I also get the pleasure of working more closely with our generous donors. I love going to work every day knowing I am positively impacting our community and making a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children. What do you like best about Destin? What makes it unique? I always tell people that I love Destin because it is a small town with all of the amenities that a big city has to offer. We have some of the finest restaurants, the best shopping, top-notch events, and the prettiest beaches! The best part of it all is you get to enjoy all of these things and still bump into friendly faces when you are out and about. What are three words that best describe you? Ambitious. Dependable. Energetic. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? Aside from our beaches, I love event season in Destin! The fall and the spring are my favorite times here. We have a festival for everything and each festival benefits a local non-profit. I love that there is always something going on and you can go out and have a great time while raising money for the vulnerable people and animals in our community.

Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because‌ I believe in Destin. The people of Destin have always believed in me and have always extended a hand when I needed one. I believe that Destin is the best community and I will always do my part to support Destin and make it the best place to live and vacation.

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photo by Kay Phelan

Also, I love the people of Destin! Everyone here feels like family. I moved down here not knowing a single person and now it is rare that I go somewhere and not see someone that I know. Everyone here is so friendly, welcoming, and supportive. It is the community that makes Destin so attractive to me. .

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