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JANUARY 2021

PENSACOLA • PENSACOLA BEACH • PERDIDO KEY


THE WEDDING of your

DREAMS

GOLF COURSE | BAR & GRILL | HOLIDAY EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! SCENICHILLS.COM


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contents

Volume VI • Issue I

events 11 Bringing the Heat Grill Off 14 Afternoon Delight Garden Party & Membership Social 21 Christmas at the Clinic 31 Alice in Winterland 34 Jingle Jukebox Gala 40 Holiday Happy Hour 44 It’s a Scrooge Christmas 48 82nd Annual Camellia Flower Show 50 Perdido Craft Fair 54 State of the City Luncheon 58 Jingle & Mingle 60 PBC Annual Member Holiday Party

on the cover Crystal Shata’ Pope Photography by Javaughn Johnson - Real2Reel Visuals at Court of De Luna Event Space

departments 5 16 18 37 42 46 51 56 59 62

Straight Talk Save the Date Swizzle Coastal Cuisine Style Give Care Share Locale Adventure Out May We Suggest I Am Pensacola

features 25 Weddings Check out 2020 weddings from some of the area’s most exceptional wedding venues.

VIP Pensacola Staff Publisher Greg Alexander Associate Publisher Verla Price Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Verla Price Publisher’s Assistant Anna Stockton Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Greg Alexander Kevin Houghton Alex Mason Verla Price Anna Stockton Kristina Wright VIP Founder Jeff Watson

January 2021 | 7

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letter from the Associate Publisher Brides have been thinking about their wedding for so long they might not remember when the planning started. In actuality, the big day has been in the planning since young girls wobbled along in their mother’s high heels with a curtain draped over their head. In honor of years of envisioning your wedding, we dedicate this issue of VIP Pensacola to wedding planning. My favorite read this issue, Coastal Cuisine, presents some new wedding fare ideas from the teasing appetizers to the white tiered cake. Swizzle, showcases a mobile beverage service based in Pensacola, “Tap The Coast.” A professionally equipped signature bar serves various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and sports a digital video/photo booth with instant share. With travel restrictions looming again in the spring Adventure Out takes us to Coldwater Gardens, offering a unique honeymoon getaway close to the Emerald Coast. Spending nights in an elaborate treehouse would be my idea of a perfect adventurous start to a new life together. While reminiscing about my childhood dress-up days, I decided to take Pensacola Style back in time. Starting in the ‘20s, writing about the history of headpieces to the present day. The ever-changing headpieces are a fashionable addition to the bride’s overall presentation. Due to COVID over the last year, some weddings were scheduled, canceled, rescheduled; some people just decided to hold off until next year, and some went on as planned – but with modifications that never would have been anticipated. With ceremonies and celebrations erased from calendars due to shutdowns, two brides in particular managed dream weddings by working closely with the golf course at Scenic Hills Country Club and Court of Deluna Event Space to stay within the gatherings guidelines. These fairy tale stories start on page 25. In between the pages dedicated to our Bridal Issue, you will find the relentless, hard-working people who organize fundraisers moving to the streets, outside venues, and even their houses to continue supporting the causes. I was proud to cover “Bringing the Heat Grill-Off” as Pensacola police officers and Pensacola firefighters cranked up the smokers and started barbecuing on Palafox Street to raise money for one of their own. Ellen and Roger Vinson opened their home and grounds to The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild to host an Afternoon Delight Garden Party and Membership Social. Give Care Share takes us to an interview with Alicia Skolrood, Board President Guardian ad Litem Foundation (GAL), also known as Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in some states. Learn about the funding of this organization and the challenges they face in the upcoming year. We look forward to Save the Date on page 16 for information on upcoming events in the area as well as the new online fundraisers. One of the most significant black-tie events of the year decides to go virtual on January 15 as Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts their first-ever virtual event, The Big Gala. The Cordova Mall Ball will also go virtual on January 30 to present a fun-fi lled evening from your living room. I hope you enjoy our first issue in 2021. As we move into the new year, I ask that you continue to support the local charities, shop local, and give what you can of yourself to your family and friends.

Associate Publisher Verla@VIPDestin.com 8

| VIPPensacola.com

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At VIP Pensacola we are strong supporters of the non-profits that showcase the generosity of our area. Part of our inherent mission is to spread good will. We have contributed over $220,000 of valuable publicity and in kind donations to help fulfill the many needs of the non-profits in our community. Thank you for supporting us so that we may pay it forward. VIP Pensacola proudly supports:

21 Forever 5 Flags Sertoma Air Force Enlisted Village ARC Gateway Ballet Pensacola Healing Paws for Warriors Baptist Covid Relief Fund BBBS NW FL Blue Angels Foundation Boy Scouts Bread and Table Club Bridge Bright Ministries Chain Reaction Children’s Home Society Community Foundation of Northwest Florida Council on Aging Covenant Care Destin Charity Wine Auction Disability Resource Center Dog-Harmony Downtown Improvement Board Earth Day Pensacola Favor House Feeding the Gulf Coast First City Art First Tee Five Flags Rotary Club Folds of Honor Fore Her Breast Cancer Gold Star Families-Veterans Memorial Park Gopher Club - Pensacola Guardian ad Litem Foundation Gulf Breeze Rotary

Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation Gulf Coast Kids House Health and Hope Clinic Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund Impact 100 Jack and Jill – PNS Junior League Pensacola Keep Pensacola Beautiful Krewe of Blues - Diaper Drive Marine Corp Foundation Mercy Chefs Miracle League Mr. Robbins Neighborhood Naval Aviaition Museum Pace Center for Girls Pensacola Beach Chamber Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Pensacola Cordova Rotary Club

Pensacola Humane Society Pensacola Kids Business Fair Pensacola North Rotary Pensacola Opera Pensacola State College Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild Perdido Key Chamber Pilot Club Pensacola Rally Foundation Red Ribbon Foundation Redeemer Lutheran School Ronald McDonald House Sansing Foundation Seville Rotary Club Studer Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart Studer Institute Sunday’s Child The Secret Place Toys for Tots

University of West Florida Watson Family Foundation Junior Achievement of NWFL

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Winterfest Pensacola

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Heat

VIP Pensacola at The 5 Barrel

Bringing the

P

Grill Off

photos & story by Verla Price

ensacola police officers and the Pensacola firefighters cranked up the smokers and started barbecuing as “Bringing the Heat Grill Off” kicked off at 11:00 am Saturday, December 5. They were not cooking barbecue just for fun. They were not cooking because they were hungry. They were cooking to help one of their own raise money to help pay for his son’s battle with cancer. Local firefighter Lincoln Mixson’s son Wyatt, a six-year-old, has been battling a rare and aggressive cancer for close to a year. “Bringing the Heat Grill Off,” staged in front of The 5 Barrel, a brewery and taproom at 121 S. Palafox Street, brought lines of hungry people as they followed their noses to the smokers. Police officers and firefighters cooked, fi lled plates, and prepared boxes for take-out all afternoon while bantering cheerily with each other and the patrons. The sidewalk, fi lled with donated items and handmade gifts by family and friends, transformed into a silent auction. Unique items such as handmade jewelry by Hope Baker, wife of one of the detectives, and paintings by Officer Ike Isenberg, one of the city’s K-9 handlers, were on display. Sgt. James Parsons’ wooden flags were created from fires in the Pensacola area. Scott Novota’s handmade trees and snowmen sat alongside the Jack Daniel tumblers that Lisa Alverson made. This event, showing the Pensacola police and the Pensacola firefighters’ camaraderie, gave credence to giving and helping one another. If you would like to give to help Wyatt fight cancer, you can donate here: https://fop71pensacola.org.

Pattie Martin, Evie Mixson & Judy Champagne

Jed Martin, Darrell McClammy & Bill Beddow

David Scallan, Mike Slater, Philip Hoffman & Lincoln Mixson January 2021 | 11

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VIP Pensacola at Bringing the Heat Grill Off

Dusty Merritt, Alex Bullock & Kevin Jones

Barrett, Sawyer, Amelia, Carly & Randy Lee

Nick White, Noah Saenz & Daniel Delrio

Sarah Hamrick, Ophelia Cope & Deborah Mobley

Erik Gross & Dana Hall

Sable & Shaw Doggette, Sharleen Luoma 12

Jasmime, Ike & Keilani Isenberg

Kelly Eierhart, Amy Parsons, James Parsons & Pat Burns

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Sharesea Green & Pat Burns

Marcus Savage & Madison Mlinac

Colin Sperry & Kelly Akins

Darlene Lofton & Anthony Giorgio

Whitney & Jon Pytynia

Alex Bell & Chad Willhite

Logan Custer & Steven Kowallis

Curtis Evangelista, Richard Pino & Wade Gentry January 2021 | 13

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VIP Pensacola at the Home of Ellen and Roger Vinson

Afternoon Delight

Garden Party & Membership Social photos & story by Kristina Wright

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he Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild hosted an Afternoon Delight Garden Party and Membership Social on December 6 at the home of Ellen and Roger Vinson. Guests were invited to tour the expansive grounds, enjoy libations, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts. Throughout the evening, members had an opportunity to participate in a live auction featuring a framed set of uncirculated mint coins, donated by Marcia and Larry Schuffman, an unframed San Carlos Hotel print, and a surprise silkscreen print donated by Joey Vinson. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the PSOG has gotten creative with their fundraising efforts this year, and this was a small, but impactful gathering of members who support the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and their dedication to the arts. The PSOG is a group composed of women and men who are interested in and dedicated to volunteering and/or supporting the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra in a variety of ways. They traditionally have monthly luncheon meetings with musical entertainment, planned seasonal parties, and an Annual Membership Coffee in host members’ homes. Volunteer activities are centered around the needs of the Symphony and include fundraising events, hospitality for visiting musicians, hosting Opening Night Receptions, and children’s education concerts. The PSOG also organizes and supports Belles and Beaux, a group of high school students who volunteer at concerts and the Annual Symphony Ball. Their signature fundraising event is the Magnolias and White Linen Luncheon, which brings renowned speakers to Pensacola.

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Howell Tiller & Sue-Sue Sherrill

Trisha Woodburn & Ellen Vinson

Marte Picker & Cheryl Knowles

Dave & Lyndi Kessler, Dr. Nell & Dr. Jim Potter

Nina & Ray Savage

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Lorem ipsum

Thanks for voting Best Flooring in Pensacola!

Bonnie & Dick Bedics

Ann Mitchell & Roger Williams

Monet Kelly Payne, Margot Broxton & Wilma Steele

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JANUARY 8 Pensacola Mardi-Gras Kick Off Roger Scott Athletic Complex 2130 Summit Blvd. | Pensacola 5:00pm-11:00pm Kick off Mardi Gras with a new location and safety precautions but the same amount of fun. Enjoy bands, bars and the blessing of the floats. Tickets are required this year to join in the festivities. For more info and for ticket details visit PensacolaMardiGras.com.

JANUARY 10 Beautiful Beginnings Bridal Expo

JANUARY – APRIL Pensacola Ice Flyers 2021 Season Pensacola Bay Center 201 E Gregory Street | Pensacola Join our own Pensacola Ice Flyers as they start their 2021 hockey season. While the season may be shortened, the fun remains with fast moving excitement, along with theme nights and perhaps maybe a….”disagreement” or two. For game nights, times & tickets visit PensacolaIceFlyers.com.

Pensacola Bay Center 201 E Gregory Street | Pensacola 11:00am Join the wedding experts to help you plan your big day. Try samples, see the latest trends, check out venues, florists, decorators, and everything you need to make your wedding special. For ticket info and vendor info visit PensacolaBayCenter.com/events.

JANUARY 15 The Big Gala Virtual Event 7:00pm-8:00pm The Big Gala is normally one of the biggest black-tie events of the year! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Brothers Big Sisters is hosting their first-ever VIRTUAL Big Gala. This night may look different than years past, but it will still be fi lled with many of the fun signature elements! Invite your friends and family over for your own Big Gala watch party. With some sponsors using a Bigger Together at Home Gala Kit you can dress up or wear your favorite pajamas, this will be a night you won’t want to miss! For more info and for chances to win a $5,000 shopping spree at Berè Jewelers, visit bbbsnwfl.com.

JANUARY 20-24

JANUARY 30

Carmen

Cordova Mall Ball

Pensacola Opera 75 S. Tarragonna Street | Pensacola January 20 – 7:00pm January 22 -7:30pm January 24 -2:00pm

Virtual Event

Elise Quagliata stars as Carmen, opera’s ultimate seductress who uses her untamed charm to put rival lovers under her spell. Tickets are limited due to COVID precautions, live streaming also available. To buy tickets and for livestreaming details, visit PensacolaOpera.com.

To promote the health and safety of our community, the 26th Annual Cordova Mall Ball will be virtual. You’ll enjoy the same level of excitement, entertainment, and great experiences from the comfort of your home. Proceeds from the event benefit the Bear Family Foundation Pediatric Oncology Center for Hope at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. This event draws in thousands of participants from all over the gulf coast who come together for our community’s children. To date, this event has generated more than $6.4 million for the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, To support the cause and join your friends, visit GiveSacredHeart.org/events/mall-ball/.

Visit www.VIPPensacola.com for more events! Event information may be out of date due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Please confirm details with event organizers. 16

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Setting the Bar Higher story by Greg Alexander photos provided by Melissa Wilson Photography, Aislinn Kate Photography - Associate Photographer, Perla Martinez,

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Indie Pearl Photography, and Megan Munoz Photography

ap the Coast has literally set the bar higher for events in the Panhandle and South Alabama. They are a mobile beverage service based in Pensacola with a small fleet of fanciness that is sure to take your party to the next level. In addition to signature bars, they also feature a digital video / photo booth with instant share. Notice, we said “signature” … because their services are far from ordinary. Each of their unique mobile bars have a classic, timeless feel with modern features and design that culminate in an experiential, personalized, upscale service for all occasions. Professionally equipped to serve beer, wine, champagne, cocktails, coffee, and a variety of other non-alcoholic drinks for your indoor or outdoor event for 50 or 200, they have a bar and professional bartenders to help you throw the ultimate party. Whether using their Signature Mobile Bar, Double Tap Wall, or Mini Bar Cart, Tap the Coast can curate the perfect beverages for your events, taking all that stress away. Using the finest and most unique ingredients, they help to tell the story of the couple at a wedding in custom ways by incorporating the beer that they may have drank on their first date or during a memorable football game. They can create a signature drink and provide a beverage menu that connects and reflects each celebration’s uniqueness.

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Specializing in weddings, corporate events, fundraisers, showers, and all other private events, Tap the Coast was founded in 2019 by Dannon and Christopher Hooks, a husband/wife team with a mission to create memorable experiences for life’s unforgettable moments, realized while planning their own wedding. Drawing from their own experience in event planning and business management, the couple set out to make their dream a reality. With a little luck, they found the perfect vintage camper to renovate and tackled the project as weekend warriors, completing the build on their own in five months. Serendipitously, Chris is one of those guys who innately knows how to do everything. After creating his own business, Spotless Logistics, Dannon knew she had the perfect partner for her concept stating, “Acting as the Chip to my Joanna Gaines, we set out to transform trailers into bars. Through trials and errors, and a few hiccups along the way, in October of 2019, we had our first event, and Tap the Coast was born.” After seeing instant demand, they added to their services by converting a horse trailer into a mobile bar with a completely different set up and configuration than the camper. With a clear design plan in mind, they were able to transform the trailer in just 90 days, just six months after their initial launch. Determined not to let the COVID pandemic stymie their new business, they became creative and found ways to offer safe and healthy experiences. Phase III is now underway with more builds to come. Their future includes adding additional rental options and a variety of bar styles to meet the needs of events large and small, from the beach to barns. They are committed to being leaders in the mobile beverage service industry and are members of Mobile Bev. Pros, a community of mobile

bar owners, where they have learned, connected with other owners, and established best practices for their business to provide “top shelf” experiences and service. Transforming a vintage 1975 Serro Scotty camper into a modern style mobile bar required vision and a lot of work. Dannon is proud of the business that she conceived and put heart and soul into creating with locally sourced materials, supporting local businesses. She notes, “This business is so much more than a bar with kegs hooked up and covered in cute tile. It’s a labor of the heart and an act of service we want to share with the communities of the Gulf Coast.” Also important to Dannon is the relationships that have blossomed from clients. She has been there for businesses that hired her for their grand openings and launches, and many times, those have evolved into products and services that she is able to use as vendors and recommend to her clients. See a full list of offerings and services at TapTheCoast.com. January 2021 | 19

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BIG Benefitting

THE WE ARE

Virtual Event

GALA 2021

GER TOGETHER

Presented by

DEFEND, IGNITE, EMPOWER THE POTENTIAL OF YOUTH Friday, January 15, 2021, from 7-8 P.M. (CST) To learn more about how to view the live stream, chance to win, and sponsorship opportunities visit www.bbbsnwfl.org/events/big-gala/

Presenting Sponsor: Escambia County Sheriff's Office

Igniting Sponsors:

Bear Family Foundation & Stella Artois

Acts Retirement-Life Communities – Azalea Trace Adams Homes Bob Olliff, Morgan Stanley Emerald Coast Hospice Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon State Farm - John Shaffer Agency

Bigger Together Delivery Sponsor:

In-Kind Sponsors:

Jewelry Sponsor: Beré Jewelers

Beverage Sponsor:

Kool Companies

Bigger Together At-Home Gala Kit Sponsor: Gulf Power

Empowering Sponsors: Emma & Christopher Porter Publix Super Markets Charities

Defending Sponsors: Baptist Health Care Beggs and Lane, RLLP Clark Partington – Attorneys at Law Executive Landscaping, Inc. Florida Blue Gulf Winds Cares Foundation Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell Rafferty & Proctor, PA Navy Federal Credit Union Warren Averett CPAs and Advisors

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Ballinger Publishing Bella Magazine Cat Country 98.7, NewsRadio 92.3 | AM1620, ADX Digital Fiore of Pensacola Vivid Bridge Studios VIP Pensacola

To support this event and the work we do, you can text to give. Text "bbbsnwfl" to phone number 56651. This is a safe and secure way to give. By supporting the event you will impact kids throughout the panhandle by providing those facing adversity with strong and enduring, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Due to print deadlines, if we have inadvertently missed your name, please accept our sincerest apology.

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Country Club

Christmas AT THE

Clinic

photos & story by Alex Mason

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ealth and Hope Clinic hosted their annual Christmas at the Clinic fundraiser at Pensacola Country Club on Tuesday, December 1. Health and Hope Clinic is a volunteer and donor-driven medical and dental clinic to help meet the needs of the underserved and uninsured in Pensacola and surrounding areas. The event displayed beautifully decorated Christmas trees and wreaths donated by area decorators, florists, and businesses. The evening included a silent auction of the trees and wreaths with gift cards from businesses in Pensacola, along with a live auction emceed by Marty Stanovich of The First Tee of Northwest Florida. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and live entertainment. There was limited capacity in precaution of COVID and adherence to CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of all guests. An outside tent was set up, as well as the dining room at Pensacola Country Club, ensuring maximum social distancing opportunities while providing this live Christmas event. The venue was lit up with Christmas lights and firepits to bring in the holiday spirit and to keep the people warm on the cold winter evening. All the money raised for the event benefited the clinic, ensure they accomplish their mission of “providing health and hope to the hurting.”

Saylor Davis & Aimee Dumas

Christen & Stephen Rampersad

John & Rachel Stephens

Kersty Weidenhamer & Mercedes Jones

Brigette & Larry Brooks

Tammy Bohannon & Anthony Brown January 2021 | 21

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VIP Pensacola at Christmas at the Clinic

Chris Jaubert, Reid Torgersen & Matt Davis

Jeremy Portmann, Sally Bergosh & Vanessa Bettis

Olivia Silavong & William Philips

Ram Sompalli & Carol Powell

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VJ Sompalli & John Davy

Paul & Melissa McCleod

Ray & Earleen Campbell

Jessica Simpson, Judy James & Madison Wilson

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Weddings

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Crystal Shata’ Randolph & Louis Pope III In the Beginning

Please tell us about the ceremony… The soft and elegant glam with lush oral ceremony was extravagant. My wedding planner, Ramona Lindsey Hunter of V and T Events went above and beyond my expectations. I gave her a vision via pictures and she made it magical! It was nothing short of PERFECT! We had originally planned for an indoor wedding since it was summertime, but due to COVID-19 we changed our venue location, which was the best decision ever! Although our ceremony plans were changed to an outside ceremony with a reception inside, weather moved us inside. With Ramona’s stellar thinking and ideas, I chose to enter the ceremony in a silver and black 1960 Jaguar Austin Princess. I stepped out in shock of all my family and friends who attended even more excited to see my future husband waiting for me at the alter on a custom-made white vinyl ooring that inscribed “It was always you” in gold lettering. Why did you decide on De Luna Winery? While I was not a fan of having an outside summer wedding, De Luna Winery made my wedding vision even brighter with the beautiful outside courtyard area, lit up with colored lights. It was beautiful. I remember reaching out to Bethany, the owner of Court of De Luna Event Space one night via her business Facebook page. She wrote me back and asked if I would like to come for a walk-through that same day. When I arrived, I fell in love, not with just the beautifully lit courtyard, but the vintage bridal suite and man cave they have for wedding day preparations. Bethany reassured me that no matter what, I was going to have my wedding on July 25, 2020. It was hard, but I had to just trust the process, as things were just re-opening from the government shutdown due to COVID-19. Bethany was awesome! She is so passionate about her business and delivering amazing service.

photography by Javaughn Johnson - Real2Reel Visuals

Please tell us a little about how you met… We met at the age of 12 at a local basketball gym. Both of our fathers coached little league basketball so every time our dads had practice or games, we were both there. According to Louis, it wasn’t until my dad told my younger brother to play a one-on-one basketball game against Louis -- that’s when he laid eyes on me, but I think it might have been earlier than that. Louis says at that moment he thought I was a cute young girl. I, on the other hand, made it my business to make sure I was at the gym every Saturday. Later, I played basketball for his dad who coached girls’ basketball, which didn’t work out because I wasn’t that good and I remember missing a layup during practice and blamed Louis for distracting me. (His dad made him stop watching us after that). We got older and kept in touch throughout middle and high school, dating on and off. We even went to our senior prom together. I considered this as practice for our wedding which I hoped would come true one day. We went our separate ways after high school when I left for college. The time we spent away from each other helped us grow and brought us even closer than we were before. On Christmas Day 2018, Louis surprised me with a gathering of all our family and friends and popped the question. Of course, I said “yes” to #TyingTheRopewithPope.

The Big Day

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Married On July 25, 2020 Ceremony Location Court of De Luna Event Space Parents of the Bride Sylvia & Michael Randolph, Sr. Parents of the Groom Raymond & Monica Palmer First Dance Song “Everything” by Ella Mai featuring John Legend

Newlyweds of Pensacola

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Morgan Digmon & Chandler Westover In the Beginning Please tell us a little about how you met… I first knew who he was through mutual friends on social media. We both were attending the Passion Conference in Atlanta one year, and I just happened to see him and some friends walking down the street. We didn’t speak then, but we started talking through social media shortly after that. A friend and I eventually took a trip to Mississippi to meet him in person…and the rest is history! When did you know that you were meant for each other? I knew there was something different about him when we first met, but we lived about 4 hours apart so I didn’t know how that could even work. Chandler told me soon after we were dating that he was going to marry me one day, and I wasn’t sure how to believe that since he barely knew me and we lived so far apart. But the more we talked and saw each other, the more I didn’t want to be without him. We had the same values and he had all of the qualities that I was looking for in a husband. I knew he was the one for me when the distance didn’t matter at all and I couldn’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. Chandler said I made him the happiest he has ever been and knew he didn’t want to spend his life with anyone else. Tell us about the proposal… We had friends visiting from out of town. They asked me to go take some pictures of them on the beach, and then said we were going out to eat. Of course I wanted to get some pictures of Chandler and me while we were at the beach, too, which was exactly what they had planned. While we were taking pictures he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!

The Big Day

photography by Karissa Layne Photography

Please tell us about the ceremony… The ceremony was short but beautiful. We had my lifelong pastor officiate and all of our closest friends standing beside us. It was outside under the covered area, decorated with greenery and gold accents. We wanted the ceremony to be centered around God and what a Christ-centered marriage should be, and I think it was just that.

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Did you use something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue? I used the cake knife that my parents used at their wedding as something borrowed. My mom’s wedding dress was also used as decoration in the “getting ready” room.

Happily Ever After Where did you honeymoon? We honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico! Where will you reside when you return? We currently live in Pensacola, FL.

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Married On November 21, 2020 Ceremony Location Scenic Hills Country Club Parents of the Bride Mark & Tina Digmon Parents of the Groom David & Beth Westover Attending Guests 100 First Dance Song “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle

Newlyweds of Pensacoa

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There are many ways to prepare for your wedding day, or any other special event. Dr. Karen Kennedy can assist with your aesthetic needs.

D

KAREN E. KENNEDY, MD

r. Kennedy provides numerous medical and aesthetic treatments for face and body in addition to her thriving gynecological practice. Two of her most recent additions are EmSculpt NEO and Emsella. Dr. Kennedy is the first to bring EmSculpt NEO to the Florida Gulf Coast. This treatment simultaneously emits both radio frequency and high intensity electromagnetic energies to reduce fat more AND grow muscle more than any single technology on the market, becoming the gold standard for these results, for less time and less money. Fat cells are permanently damaged and slowly removed from the body. Clinical studies show on average a 30% reduction of fat. Dr.Kennedy is also excited about the results she is seeing with Emsella, a breakthrough treatment for incontinence. Emsella is a comfortable option for men and women of any age who desire a non-invasive solution for urinary incontinence. Dr. Kennedy looks forward to helping you regain health and confidence in the new year.

Offices in 2 convenient locations: 1118 Gulf Breeze Parkway · Suite 201· Gulf Breeze, FL (Behind the Gulf Breeze Hospital) Harvest Village, 7552 Navarre Parkway · Unit 18 · Navarre, FL (Behind Vinnie R’s Italian Restaurant)

Call to make an appointment today: 850.916.7766

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VIP Pensacola at Court of De Luna Event Space

Alice in Winterland photos & story by Kevin Houghton

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s the story goes, Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger that a rat-hole; she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. And these were the sights and sounds you would have experienced if you traveled down the streets of Pensacola leading to this year’s “Alice in Winterland.” For this night of enchantment to “Alice In Winterland,” Court of De Luna Event Space supported a formal white winter-wonderland themed ball to reflect how we, as a community, can still come together to share a beautiful evening with a wintery appearance. Approximately 75 people attended and enjoyed entertainment, such as an aerialist, a quartet from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra playing your favorite wintery music, a 20’ stilt walker, and all the characters of “Alice in Wonderland,” with fabulous eats and refreshments. All this wonderment is to benefit the non-profit DeLuna World Education which raises money for low-income art students and teachers.

Kristian Morrow, Vanessa Butterworth, Estelle McQueen & Josie Johnke

Andie Trahan & Dave Allen

Kenda & Shelley Asmus

John Manzanet & Tabbitha Manzanet

Brandon Neville, Josh Gilmore, Susie McCaskill, India Lowery & Melanie Dillon January 2021 | 31

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VIP Pensacola at Alice in Winterland

Hydie Engle & Ryan Alyashuv

Bob Cox, Cecily Armengol, Jessica Sullivan & Stephanie Tompkins

David Lunden, Ivan Riley, Mark McLeod & Kenny Holt

Shelly Hamilton, Christopher Smith & Bethany Lauren

Adam Greenwade & Daniela Gonzalez 32

Curtis & Amy Miller

Milaeros Mercad, David Hyde & Alessandra Mejia

Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Quartet

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An Award-winning Senior Living Community in Gulf Breeze Proper

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January 2021 | 33

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VIP Pensacola at Court of De Luna Event Space

Jingle Jukebox Gala photos & story by Kristina Wright

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ensacola Opera welcomed international opera stars Ginger Costa-Jackson and Paul Groves to an already impressive lineup of incredibly talented singers for their December 13 Jukebox Gala at the Court of De Luna Event Space. A total of seven singers with national and international performing careers joined together to sing familiar opera arias, tunes from Broadway, popular songs, and even a healthy dose of holiday music. This was all in support of Pensacola Opera and its nationally recognized programs dedicated to in-school arts education and community engagement. Postponed by the global pandemic and Hurricane Sally, Pensacola Opera’s Jukebox Gala was reimagined as “Jingle Jukebox” as our community prepared for a much-needed celebration of the holidays. Smoldering mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson, who has performed leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Paris Opera, and Barcelona’s Gran Teatro del Liceu, was joined by heroic tenor Paul Groves, who has enjoyed appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, Opera de Lyon, Paris Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Baritone Corey McKern combines his many appearances with Pensacola Opera with performances with Opera Hong Kong, Santa Fe Opera, Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, and Nashville Opera. Soprano Sheila Dunn is a native Pensacolian and the Chair of UWF Department of Music who has enjoyed appearances with Pensacola Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. With appearances in Houston, New Orleans, Redwoods Opera, Pensacola Opera, and the Leipzig Youth Symphony. Soprano Allanda Small makes her first appearance in this year’s Jukebox Gala. A former Artist in Residence with Pensacola Opera and a native of China, Bizhou Chang has appeared with Boston Conservatory Opera, Berlin Opera Academy, Janiec Opera Company, and Miami Music Festival. This impressive complement of singing talent was completed with tenor Peter Lake, who has appeared with Virginia Opera, Central City Opera, Houston’s Opera in the Heights!, and the Pacific Opera Project.

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Jeff Willard & James Nobles

Laura & Frank Gilliam

Sooz Cobb & Lyndi Kessler

Theresa Williams & Donna Williams

Bobby & Karen Emmons

Lucretia Hooper & Chris Ingram

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Shelby Hamilton & Bethany Lauren

Jana Roberts, Chandra McKern & Meg Burke

Cornelius Jenkins & Emily Chaney

Greg Seltzer & Kristin Carter

Paula Burns & Andra Morgan

April Lackey & Kelly Villhard

Jeff & Lydia Abram

Lucretia Hooper, Peyton Lackey & Pam Schwartz

Davis Allen & Amanda Nealis

Jerry Shannon & Dave Kessler January 2021 | 35

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Show your bridesmaids how special they are...

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Catering Creatively Customize Your Big Day story by Anna Stockton

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eddings have come a long way from the perfectly orchestrated, flawless yet boring days of baked chicken in a hotel ballroom. Today’s weddings are about fun and incorporating the guests in the festivities. The sky is the limit and creativity is encouraged, especially with these current food trends.

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Waffles and Omelettes and Mimosas Oh My! Brunch is more popular than ever. Who doesn’t like to drink their way through a Sunday? Many money savvy couples are choosing the daytime wedding route and serving brunch at the reception. ot only is it a crowd pleaser, it’s also a less e pensive way to treat your guests. affle stations, bloody mary bars, and beautiful fruit platters are a good way to treat your guests to a high-end spread without the high-end price.

Late Night Snacks Weddings in general tend to make even the lightest drinker indulge a bit more than usual. Whether it be an open bar or the liquid courage you need to shake it to ptown unk on the dance floor, wedding drinking can mean a long night of debauchery. But brides and grooms are coming to the rescue of their gleeful guests by providing late night snacks at the end of the reception. urgers, fries and even pizzas are becoming the go-to to send your guests home with good memories and a full belly. Don’t believe me just watch…..

You’re Bacon Me Crazy Have a favorite food? Share it with your guests by making it a theme at your reception. or instance, if you love bacon. Have an assortment of bacon prepared differently, like candied or smoked bacon. How about taking it a step further and have bacon donuts or a bacon cocktail. Maybe French fries are your am, set up a rench fry station with different types of fries and all the fi ins to dress them up. Your guests will thank you for it!

Comfortably Elegant Comfort food all dressed up is another way couples are making their guests happy. ac and Cheese in elegant silver bowls, sliders served in monogrammed pouches and even an upscale pasta bar are all ways to bring a warm welcome to your guests and give them plenty of energy to dance the night away.

From the Garden to the Guests Another way couples are changing up the traditional reception fare is putting an emphasis on locally grown and organic foods. Caterers are seeing an upswing in requests for local favorites, whether it be in season fruit from a local market or farm, freshly picked vegetables, even locally harvested seafood. A nice touch is to place a little sign in front each item with the name and location the item came from. This will wow your guests and will hopefully have them thinking local as well.

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Barnyard Bliss With the popularity of barn weddings at an all-time high, going rustic is a great way to carry the theme throughout your big day. Family style food bars with homestyle food are sure to please everyone, especially your more picky guests as they get to choose what they’d like to eat. Go one step further and have a local honey and jams to complement your meal.

Bring It On Home Maybe you’ve moved away and are getting married far away from your hometown. That doesn’t mean your hometown can’t come to you with what you serve at your wedding. If you grew up on the Gulf Coast but are getting married elsewhere, offer flights of beer from the Gulf Coast breweries or Gulf caught shrimp as an appetizer. If you’re a transplant from California, maybe a tasting of some California wines or some of those amazing SoCal tacos.

Just Truck It The Gulf Coast has some amazing food trucks. These meals on wheels show up in neighborhoods and breweries so why shouldn’t they make an appearance at your wedding too? Especially if you have a barn type wedding where tables can be set up outside, this is a perfect way to bring everyone together while enjoying a fun spin on the traditional wedding food. If you’d like to really wow your guests, finish up the meal with a surprise appearance by an ice cream truck.

Let Them Eat Cake….. Again Remember when everyone was doing something different for wedding cakes? Cupcakes, doughnuts, and even pies were fun alternatives to cake, not anymore. We’re back to cakes y’all! Pinterest and other sites are making it easy for a couple to pick the cake they like and have a baker make it to their specifications, down to every detail. Personalizing the traditional and getting the cake of their dreams.

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VIP Pensacola at Apple Annie’s

IRON PLAN SOLUTIONS

Holiday Happy Hour

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photos & story by Alex Mason

Martina & Mal Mason

ron Plan Solutions hosted their fourth annual Christmas Party and the December Business Happy Hour at Apple Annie’s in Seville Quarter on Tuesday, December 2. Business After Hours events give guests an opportunity to network in a relaxed, casual atmosphere; and an opportunity to build potential client relationships. Seville Quarter offered a historic, warm, and memorable environment for people to get out of their houses on a chilly winter evening. Many guests and clients were invited to a fun-fi lled night featuring drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and incredible door prizes. IPS, Trinity Heating and Air, Gradient, Minnesota Life, Southern Garden Florists and Gifts, Gary Sapp Automotive, and several other local businesses donated raffle items for the guests to win. These great prizes included gift baskets, wine, gift cards, and even floral arrangements. This event was a good opportunity for the Pensacola locals to step out and socialize with clients and friends at this annual event that is enjoyed by all each year. Jason & Kim Hedgepeth

Leslie Marchionne & Brad Pittman

Debbie & Gary Sapp

Monica Mortara, Michelle Lamar-Acuff, Demetri Athanasios, April Glover & Lacey Mann 40

Verla Price & Patti Hall

Becky Paris & John Manzanet

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Sean Kyle & John McDonald

Micki & Keaton Baumert

Robert Hazewinkel, Stacy Ferguson & Jeff Perry

Jeffrey Hudson & Brad Keel

Jack Williams & Chae Kyle

Joshua Henderson & Greg Cowell

Garrett Frech & Bobby Witschel

Pat & Bill Franklin

Bob Sanford & Mark McDaniel

Rafael Lowande, Karen Izzo & Milena Ghtait January 2021 | 41

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To Top it all Off…

Traditional headpieces from veils, to hats, to crowns! story by Verla Price

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rides have been adorning their heads from ancient times to the modern-day, creatively using hairstyles, veils, hats, and crowns, to achieve a signature look on their special day. Many brides spend almost as much time thinking about covering their heads … or not, as they do when searching for a unique dress. We decided to go back in time and visit the head covering trends created by brides over the years. The veil dates back to the days of arranged marriages; the veil was used to cover the bride’s face from the groom until he said, “I do.” The veil was also seen as a statement of the innocence of the bride. Wedding veils transformed through the years from covering the face to hanging serenely off the back of the bride’s head. There are many lengths to consider rom shoulder length to the oyal which flows behind the bride to over 120 inches.

‘20s

Veils gave way in the ‘20s to the Juliet Cap, a lace cloche headdress. Most were made of silk materials and decorated with flowers that matched the bouquet. The Juliet was prominent through the ‘30s but with fewer embellishments. The ‘40s brought small birdcage veils used to flatter ust the head o the bride.

‘50s

The 1950s presented tight- tting s ullcap veils and waist-length veils to accent the tiny-waisted brides. Through the years, adding length was used to achieve a more dramatic look.

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‘60s

In the 1960s, height was the rave. Veils were worn high on the head coming out of a beehive hairstyle or hooked to pillbox hats. The higher, the better! Towering veils fell to a more long flowy style in the ‘70s tying to the flower power revolution. Brides started throwing veils to the wind opting for flower wreaths or wide-brimmed hats. The Juliet cap even made a comeback in the ‘70s.

‘80s

Princess Diana’s epic 153-yard veil hooked to her tiara spun soon to be brides out of control and longer veils became the rave. Hence, the cathedral length veil was born. An extensive array of hats also appeared in this era. Hats were sitting high on the head and low on the nape with billowing veils following along behind.

‘90s

A plethora of choices allowed the ‘90’s bride to start the headpiece revolution that lasts through today. You will see veils of all lengths along with hats, crowns, tiaras, beads, and more creative options topping off the modern bride. Pulling from years past for ideas, no matter what they decided to wear, brides today are “on trend” even if they go without a headpiece. Freedom from tradition is now the tradition for the bride’s headpiece.

January 2021 | 43

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VIP Pensacola at Troubador

It’s a Scrooge Christmas photos & story by Kristina Wright

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xecutive Chef Alex Lamonte and Ashley Vosmera are a crazy dynamic food and wine team that have taken over Pensacola. Teaming up with the Bread & Table Club, these incredible chefs hosted their version of “It’s A Scrooge Christmas” at their restaurant, Troubador, on December 9. Guests were greeted in the courtyard by carolers singing to set the tone for the night. Chef Alex created an incredible variety of Christmas past, present, and future themed small bites to enjoy throughout the evening. Drink master Ashley Vosmera paired the perfect beverage for each dish and spoke about the inspiration behind each culinary idea the team created. The evening was fi lled with special guest speakers for each of the past, present, and future roles; bringing true Christmas Carol fashion and ambiance to the festivities. The Bread & Table Club was created by food obsessed friends who started thinking about what’s for dinner shortly after lunchtime and believe meals are best when shared with loved ones. They believe in the power of food to tell stories, help enrich our daily lives, deepen our relationships with friends and family, and forge connections with the world around us. The result is the making of Bread & Table Events. Whether interested in honing your culinary skills, gathering with friends to aid in your favorite cause, or just expanding your social circle, Bread and Table is a wonderful place to enjoy great food, while experiencing the joy of giving back to the community.

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David & Renee Dozier

Sheryl & Marty Stanovich

Shirlee & Tom Poulos

Chris & Genevieve Kurpius

James & Lisa Bradley

Kevin & Jody King

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Cliff & Karen Favereau

April Davidson, Katrina Crow & Monica Farish

Sue & Kit Nash

Shelly & Steve Black

Stacie Hammer, Diane Bakarian & Kim Logar

Milton & Rica Rogers

Bobby & Lauren Booth

Elena Wadih & El Khoury

Bob & Melissa Sidoti

Roman & Robin Nowak

Daniel & Barbara Rogers January 2021 | 45

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

We are For the Children!

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story by Greg Alexander

ecades Decades ago, judges presiding over child abuse and neglect proceedings throughout the country identified the need for someone within the legal process to solely prioritize the safety and well-being of the child involved. Court proceedings are sometimes complex, and judges wanted advocates who could bring a common-sense approach to the formal court process and who would put the child’s best interests first. This was the beginning of the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program, also known as Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in some states. Each judicial circuit in Florida has a GAL Program office and a small staff who recruit, train, and oversee the volunteer advocates. The First Judicial Circuit GAL Program includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties and the Circuit Director is Bryan Carter. Bryan leads an incredible team here locally, where over 2,000 children need support. The Northwest Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation is the support Foundation for the First Circuit GAL Program. The Board will attest that they are a working, volunteer board. The GAL Foundation also does not have any employed staff. The Foundation is comprised of leaders (most are also GAL advocates) from Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties. Their mission is to

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| photos provided by Guardian ad Litem Foundation provide for the needs of abused, abandoned, and neglected children and to support the volunteer advocates. The Foundation works hand in hand with the Program office as they share the ultimate goal of serving the children and volunteer advocates. Likewise, the Foundation has relationships with the State GAL Foundation, but are not formally connected. The State Foundation provides valuable aid with marketing, policy, and government affairs information while the local Foundation works to support the First Judicial Circuit with support through funding and volunteering. To learn more please visit our Foundation website at NWFGAL.ORG or the Guardian ad Litem Program website at GuardianAdLitem.org. Reach out to our recruiters: Escambia and Santa Rosa County Joan Irby - joan.irby@gal.fl.gov – 850.637.9689 Okaloosa and Walton Counties Carita Smith – carita.smith@gal.fl.gov – 850.461.3877 Carol Thomas – carol.thomas@gal.fl.gov – 850.203.6244

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Interview with Alicia Skolrood, Board President Guardian Ad Litem Foundation How is GAL Foundation funded? The GAL Foundation is fully funded through donations and fundraisers. We operate with extremely thin overhead of around 3%, using as much of the donated dollars as possible for the children in the Guardian ad Litem Program and in support of the volunteer advocates. As with every not-for-profit, the GAL Foundation was hit hard this year with fundraising limitations due to COVID-19. However, during our Christmas Campaign, we received several large donations from GAL Advocates and their families. These are individuals who already commit significant time and energy to their volunteer advocate roles and then gave even more – with their financial support. As I reflected on those donations, I realized it is really not surprising at all. These volunteers have seen, first-hand, what our children have endured. They trust the Foundation and believe in our Mission. We are funded by walking angels who believe deeply in our mission. We have several standing donors who contribute frequently to the Foundation, including Michles and Booth, The Office of JJ Talbot, The Walton County Bar Association, among others. We are so appreciative of all our donors and their commitment to GAL. Can you explain how the Foundation works with the State of Florida GAL? It’s a bit different structure than other nonprofit organizations. The GAL Foundation Board is not the governing board of the GAL program. The GAL Program is a department of the State and oversight and funding is provided through the State and Governor’s office. We are two separate organizations who work closely together. Our goal as a support Foundation is to provide additional resources for the children and volunteers within the Program. We oversee and provide funding for programs such as the Children in Need Fund, Special Events, and Recruiting and Retention. In addition, the Board works with the program office and at a State level to advocate for the Guardian ad Litem program, child abuse awareness and prevention, and child welfare needs within our community. Board Director Sandi Huster serves as our community outreach leader working to build partnerships with community organizations and leaders to champion our mission. Our Board recruiting and retention chair, Karen Jolly, works closely with the program office on recruitment opportunities and to share

we are to people. There are many wonderful organizations who serve vulnerable children, but Guardian ad Litem is a bit unique and even our Latin name takes a bit of time to explain. I think there is a misconception that it takes specialized education or training to be a volunteer advocate. Or, that the time commitment is too much for someone who works or has a family. Some people simply say, “I could never do that. It would be too painful to see a child suffering.” It is sometimes painful but no other volunteer activity has brought me as much assurance that I am making a difference as being a Guardian advocate and working with the Foundation.

with the volunteers how the Foundation can provide support. What impact has GAL Foundation made in our area in the last year? Our Children in Need Fund is one of our most important, longstanding, funded programs. The Children in Need Fund (CINF) helps provide the “extras” for our kids, like – clothes, a basketball, or a musical instrument for band. We have even partnered with other organizations to provide beds or refurbished computers for the children. The CINF is accessible to GAL volunteers who identify needs for the children they represent. In 2020 the CINF provided over $15,000 in support of local children. We provided new clothes for a child who was starting her 3rd school within a year. In one case, a family of four needed school supplies that had been lost when they escaped an abusive parent. A teenager was provided horseback riding lessons that provided a meaningful connection and therapy. One request involved a pregnant teenager who ran away from foster placement and returned in need of special assistance. We aren’t providing extravagant gifts or experiences. I wish that were the case. But, we are able to create some sense of normalcy for some of our children through the CINF. The Foundation also funded over $10,000 in a holiday campaign to ensure children received presents for Christmas. What are some of the greatest challenges the organization faces? Both time and money, but perhaps a unique challenge we face is explaining who

What are some rewarding parts of your involvement? The three children I represent as a volunteer advocate are thriving and safe. I have been a part of making that happen. Understanding my role as a guardian advocate and how much of an influence I have on their lives was powerful and humbling. I never want to let them down. Of course, we cannot share the details, but seeing them happy and safe is the most rewarding volunteer experience I have ever had. Additionally, we received one generous donation from a volunteer advocate’s son recently. When I met with him, he said, “My mom talks about GAL ALL the time. I mean – all the time.” He was compelled to donate because of her passion. And, what a proud mom she was that day! How did you become involved with GAL Foundation? I don’t think it was by chance. When my husband, Kent, and I became GAL volunteers a little over a year ago, we attended our training session with Carol Thomas, a great lady and one of the GAL Program leaders. Carol shared a quick summary about the GAL Foundation during her training and Kent turned to me and said, “You need to be President of that Board. You could make a huge impact.” I likely raised my signature eyebrow and gave him a “turn around and listen to our instructor” look. After our training, Kent just kept bringing it up. I made a few calls and within three months an email came that the Foundation was in search of a new board member. I joined the board in June 2020 and in September, after some mentoring from Larry Clarke, I was named President. It was less than a year after Kent’s comment during our training session. January 2021 | 47

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VIP Pensacola at The Garden Center

Pensacola Camellia Club’s

82nd Annual Camellia Flower Show

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photos & story by Kristina Wright

he Pensacola Camellia Club has a show and plant sale every year during the second weekend of December. Hobbyists from at least five states enter over 1,000 blooms in what is considered to be one of the top shows in the southeast. This year, Covid-19 inhibited many participants to submit entries, and only about 800 blooms were submitted. Blooms are placed into two categories: those that are grown in a protected greenhouse environment, and those that are grown outdoors; as most home owners would landscape their home garden. Camellia blooms vary greatly in color, form, and size. The show was open to entries from any camellia grower whether one has only one bush, or hundreds. Everyone is encouraged to participate. There is a classification of “Novice” for new camellia growers to compete for prizes with their blooms. If a plant does not normally bloom in the month of December, club members are available with easy-tofollow instructions to force plants to bloom early. Membership is not a requirement for attending meetings or placing blooms in the show. The club also collects donations for the local Toys for Tots toy drive, which they participate in every year.

LeAnna Browman & Carolyn Pulford

Joy Ward & Gary Warner 48

Louise Seitz & Skip Vogelsang

Norman Vickers & Thekla Morris

Debbie Brown & Carol Comber

James Derevil & Kristin Bennett

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Tanya Jones & Barbara Troendle

Kenny Holt & Rhonda Brach

Auto Accident • Physical Therapy Massage • Sports Injury • Healthy Living

2nd Lt. Zachary Moren, Christi Hawkin & 2nd Lt. Zuriel Rodriguez Viera

(850) 435-7777 www.drcraighenry.com 1602 N. 9th Avenue, Pensacola

Thanks for Voting Us BEST CHIROPRACTOR 3 years in a row and BEST MASSAGE in 2019! January 2021 | 49

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Greyhound Track

Jane Lee & Liz Hursh

Bobby & Dallas Steelman

Chris & Ben Johnson

PERDIDO AREA COMMUNITY

Craft & Vendor Fair photos & story by Kristina Wright

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he Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair on December 5. The Pensacola Greyhound Park was the perfect location for this fun fi lled shopping extravaganza, packed with vendors offering handmade crafts, beautiful jewelry, artwork, and more. This was a wonderful way to do some open-air shopping, while supporting area small businesses. Santa came to town from 2 - 5 pm, and was available for family photos, and just a hint of jolly good cheer. “We at the Chamber understand the financial challenges that small businesses have faced in the last several months. We want to give these businesses an opportunity to participate at no fee in a safe, socially-distanced, outdoor, holiday shopping event, in hopes they will attract some new consumers and make up some lost revenue,” said Dana Pagador, CEO of the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce. The Craft Fair was followed by a special Holiday Edition of Flicks on the Field, which hosted a free drive-in movie showcasing the Christmas classic, ELF, that began at dusk. Guests were able to enjoy the fi lm from the comfort and safety of their vehicles by tuning in to the soundtrack via FM radio. “At a time when families need an outlet for some safe holiday fun, hosting a free outdoor drive-in movie helps bring our community together,” commented Pagador.

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Josh & Lex Brown with Bailey

Tammy Matthews, Rion Ramirez & Scott Wall

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LOCALE O Guardian ad Litem Foundation Receives $49,000 Through ‘Larry Challenge’

In December, the Guardian ad Litem Foundation received a most special donation from board member, Larry Clarke, and his wife, Carol. Larry and Carol have been long-time Guardian ad Litem volunteers and mentors, representing abused, abandoned and neglected children in dependency court. Larry joined the GAL Foundation Board in 2020 and was an instant leader and mentor to many, including Board President Alicia Skolrood. When the Foundation launched a grassroot fundraising effort in July, Larry created the “Larry Challenge” with a promise to personally match all dollars raised during the campaign. Tragically, during the campaign, Larry and Carol lost their daughter, Paxton Hammett, in a car accident. Despite their grief, Larry continued his campaign and the family asked that in lieu of flowers at Paxton’s memorial service, donations be made to the Foundation in her memory. In all, the Foundation received over $49,000. There was a short ceremony at the Foundation’s December board meeting to celebrate Paxton and to thank Larry and Carol. This family has an unshakable faith and a heart for the GAL program that inspires all of us. “Paxton was a beautiful, positive, energetic, outgoing young lady who chased every challenge afforded her,” they wrote in her obituary. “She was a champion of God’s disabled, affl icted, uneducated and handicapped and spent much of her time volunteering....A major focus in recent years was that group of young people who left high school without graduating and now needed to pass the GED. She tutored many in their desire to return to productive society and make changes in their lives.”

Molly McGuire Endowed Scholarship Grows by $50,000 after McGuire’s/IPC Donation “Warm and Friendly” was Molly McGuire’s motto, and the adage remains the rule at McGuire’s Irish Pub, which has long been one of Pensacola’s most popular restaurants. Recently, friends and family of Molly, the restaurant’s and family’s matriarch, brought plenty of warm feelings to Pensacola State College. They also brought a check for $50,350 that will grow the Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship and provide even more funds for PSC students. Molly McGuire Martin died in 2014. Her husband, McGuire Martin, along with family members and friends in the Irish Politicians Club, a social club based at McGuire’s Irish Pub, established the scholarship in 2015 in her honor. With the latest donation, the endowment principal is now $350,350, making it the College’s sixth-largest endowed scholarship.

“They give from their heart,’’ said PSC President Ed Meadows, speaking to Molly’s friends and family at a ceremony in the Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Dining Room, thanking them for their support. “Their support of the College and this program has just been tremendous. We’re so grateful that they are part of the PSC family.” Guests at the ceremony sampled hors d’oeuvres, chocolate mousse with raspberry, stuffed mushrooms, strawberries Romanoff and more – prepared by the College’s Culinary Arts students, and wines poured by Hospitality Arts students. Culinary Arts student Patrick Newburn thanked the guests for the donation. A line cook at Union Public House in downtown Pensacola, Newburn is a Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship recipient.

Billy Martin, Molly McGuire Martin’s stepson, told the culinary arts students to enjoy their chosen profession. “There are a lot of hours and a lot of hard work,’’ he said. “But in the end, it’s very rewarding. Molly taught me to have fun and enjoy myself.”

Pensacola Sports Launches Hole in One Million Dollar Shootout

Pensacola Sports, along with several area golf courses, has announced a new golf program to build excitement for local golfers. Pensacola Sports’ Hole-in-One Million Dollar Shootout continues this month at three local courses: Marcus Pointe Golf Club, Scenic Hills Country Club, and Tiger Point Golf Club. Participating golfers from all three courses will be entered into the same pool, increasing the amount the golfer can win. Sign in at the golf club with a $3 entry fee valid for that round only. If a participating golfer hits a legitimate hole-in-one and after proper verification, the golfer will win a third of the entire pot, with a minimum guaranteed winnings of $200. Full rules and information can be found at pensacolasports.org/ holeinone/. In addition to the original winnings, all players who hit a hole-in-one during the program will be invited to participate in a $1 Million Dollar Shootout with date and time to be announced later. “One of the most exciting plays in all of sports is the hole-in-one,” said Pensacola Sports President Ray Palmer. “We think this is a unique way to promote the game, have some fun, and elevate the level of excitement for our local golfers and golf courses.” When a player makes a hole in one, they must notify Pensacola Sports with their information that day, if multiple hole-in ones are hit in the same day, the prize will be divided evenly. The competition starts January 2021 | 51

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LOCALE O over immediately after a qualified winner is determined. There are approximately 144 reported holes in one at the Pensacola area courses annually. The Pensacola Sports’ Hole in One Million Dollar Shootout is also a fundraiser for Pensacola Sports. Pensacola Sports is a private not-for-profit sports event and tourism company who improves our community through the power of sport… physically, emotionally and economically.

Congratulations to the National Philanthropy Day Award Winners! Association of Fundraising Professionals, West Florida Chapter proudly announced recipients of the 2020 National Philanthropy Day awards during a virtual celebration recently.

In case you missed it, here are the winners:

donations and charitable activities significantly enrich the community. • Coastal Moving and Storage was named the 2020 Philanthropic Business of the Year. This award honors a corporation or business in Northwest Florida that demonstrates outstanding commitment through financial support, encouragement and motivation of others to take leadership roles toward philanthropy and community involvement. • Ora Wills was named the 2020 Philanthropist of the Year. This award recognizes exceptional generosity and civic responsibility demonstrated by significant financial contributions to charitable organizations in the community. Thank you to all who contributed to the success of National Philanthropy Day this year! The organization is greatly appreciative of their generous sponsors, nominators, NPD committee, and many others. AFP, an association of professionals throughout the world, advances philanthropy by enabling people and organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising.

Anticipated Townhome Villas Ready to Hit Market Listing

• Melissa Stephany Johnson was named the 2020 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year. This award is for individuals with a proven track record of ongoing, significant time and commitment for one or more organizations. • The Faith Health Network of Baptist Health Care was named the 2020 Outstanding Faith-Based Organization of the Year. This award is for an organization that gives of itself to motivate and support its members’ service-related efforts and exhibits above-and-beyond qualities of service and giving. • The Birthday Party was named the 2020 Philanthropic Service Organization of the Year. This award recognizes a community-based organization that is not otherwise connected to a foundation or business, whose grant programs, 52

electric car charging station, automatic blind design, and sophisticated smart home integrations. Every detail was carefully and thoughtfully selected, including brilliant color palettes, pure Cambria natural quartz, and a Breckenridge gas fireplace with stone surrounding that complements the timeless, open concept of the kitchen and living areas. These iconic villas embrace exceptional, modern amenities where luxury design defies expectations.

The Village at Wright Street—a brand new residential development in downtown Pensacola includes modern and luxurious townhomes like nothing else around. The Townhomes are the perfect harmony of modern luxury and eternal beauty. This ornate block presents charming townhome villas designed with upscale construction and premium amenities for contemporary living. Each 3BR/2.5BA townhome is equipped with an indoor elevator that scales all three levels, a complete- home generator, an

The perfect union of craftsmanship and luxury is characterized by the urbane rooftop terrace crowned atop each residence. The two-part terrace features the Outdoor Living Rooftop Terrace as the primary space for entertainment and leisure, including a readily equipped wet bar, refrigerator, designed space for a hot tub, and pre-wiring for dynamic video/ audio equipment. The second Ancillary Terrace functioning as dedicated space to house mechanical units—but there is still ample space available to utilize as a rooftop garden, fitness area, or to fulfi ll another vision. The Spanish-Colonial architecture, with a modern twist, includes ICF construction, impact-glass windows, and other safeguards built to endure the Gulf Coast’s weather condition. Situated in the cherished neighborhood of Old East Hill, The Village at Wright Street is an upscale location tucked away from busy roads and intersections but is still only minutes from downtown, premier restaurants and shops, and just a short drive away from the white sands and coastal waters of Pensacola Beach.

| VIPPensacola.com

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VIP Pensacola at Blue Wahoos Stadium

State of the City Luncheon

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photos & story by Kristina Wright

he Greater Pensacola Chamber held their State of the City luncheon at the Hancock Whitney Club at Pensacola Blue Wahoos Stadium on December 17. Mayor Robinson presented to a small group with the current state of the City of Pensacola’s economy, as well as development and its accomplishments in 2020. The event was hosted by the Greater Pensacola Chamber and held in an open-air space with limited attendance and mandatory masks for attendance. Mayor Robinson discussed how the City of Pensacola has moved forward during 2020 despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Sally, while highlighting numerous projects completed this year throughout the city. Mayor Robinson’s presentation also featured areas of economic success in the city, including the Port of Pensacola, Pensacola International Airport, and Pensacola Energy. Mayor Robinson concluded the State of the City by thanking the Greater Pensacola Chamber, business owners, and the business community for their hard work to keep the Pensacola business community thriving in 2020. “Our job has been to keep you open during COVID, allow you to operate and be successful, and allow those opportunities for growth,” Mayor Robinson said. “We have a tremendous amount of growth around the corner in our future, and we’re very excited about that.”

Mayor Grover Robinson, Col. William & Kate O’Brien, First Sgt. Kim Caturla & Lt. Col. Kyle Meyer

Kaycee Lagarde & Sara Lefevers 54

Genna Anderson & Nathalie Ales

Anna Higgins & Jay Frasier

Deb Corbin & Magi Williams

Reid & Kristina Rushing, Stacy Taylor & Justin Beck

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Will Moore & Ray Walker

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.

Voted Best Dentist

Dr. Stephanie F. Tilley, DMD

Dana Mullins & Debbie Kemp

3927 Creighton Road | 850-479-2525 | www.emeraldcoastsmiles.com

Paul Stanley, Willa Licata & Todd Thomson

Carroll Scarborough & Mike Mangrum January 2021 | 55

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Local Getaway or Honeymoon Hideout story by Liesel Schmidt

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raveling in a pandemic has made everyone reconsider plans for their tropical island adventures or European getaways. Many honeymooners have had to put out-of-thecountry travel on hold for now and look for a temporary solution to celebrate their union. If you are waiting to travel big to celebrate your first anniversary and staying closer to home for honeymooning, then Coldwater Gardens is your perfect fit. Your sense of adventure can be teased without giving up your comforts from home as Coldwater Gardens has everything imaginable—and possibly more. Some may call this camping taken to the next realm, but you will not see any gimpy, nylon tents

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around here because “roughing it” is not in their vocabulary. It is a place where you just show up with your hand luggage and the rest is there and ready to go. Since it opened to public in 2015, Coldwater Gardens has hosted thousands of campers— or “glampers,” as guests at this glamorous campsite would more accurately be termed— giving them the perfect way to get out and explore without having to roll out the bedroll. Admittedly, the 350 acres of land here still provides ample space for the purists who want to keep it as authentic as possible; in addition to its designated back-to-nature campsites along the edges of Coldwater Creek, the grounds also offer three types of sleeping accommodations that could even turn most girly girls into happy campers. Guests can book space in one of their glamping tents, eco-designed cottages, a tiny-house cabana, or even in their spectacularly modern tree house which could be a honeymooner’s paradise. Each of these options is nothing short of

stunning, offering everything one could possibly need to relax and enjoy a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of urban living. If you are not quite in-love with the idea of a tent? Book your stay in something with solid walls like the eco-design cottages which greatly resemble hotel suites in their spacious layouts. “Our eco-design cottages were built with comfort in mind. They’re all geo-thermally climate controlled and have full kitchens with all of the essentials as well as a king size memory foam bed, a large bathroom, a pullout leather sofa, hardwood flooring, exposed cypress both on the interior and the exterior, and a screened porch.” To satisfy your outdoorsy urges further, the cottages provide their very own fire pits, charcoal grills, and Adirondack furniture to make alfresco entertaining even more ideal. With room to comfortably accommodate four slightly intrepid nature enthusiasts, the glamping tents are somewhat palatial; boasting full electricity, a queen size memory foam bed, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker and water kettle, a wardrobe, and running lights and fans. “They’re quiet and comfortable, but they still provide you with the sense that you’re camping,” explains Coldwater Gardens manager Nick Phoenix. Just outside, each tent is equipped with a charcoal grill, a fire ring, and even outdoor furniture.

| VIPPensacola.com

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“Coldwater Gardens provides a fresh and unique setting that combines a modern approach and style with the sublime beauty and intrigue of the woodlands of the Florida panhandle.”

While glamp tenters don’t have their own bathrooms, they share access to a centrally located bathhouse that will make you forget you are in a campground. There’s far more to Coldwater Gardens than simply taking an alternate route to camping. “Our main goal in starting Coldwater Gardens was to develop an environmentally friendly business that would help restore its 350 acres of land back to Longleaf Pine Forest, to grow quality produce for our local communities, and to provide a place where people could come and actively learn about agriculture and the environment as well as gain a better understanding of land management practices,” says Coldwater Gardens owner Rusty Erdman. With that in mind, guests at Coldwater are given the perfect point of entrance for adventuresome explorations through the forest with hiking and biking trails, private access to sandbars along the creek, and launch areas for kayaks and canoes. Its multiple gardens offer up edible delights for seasonal harvesting and picking, and Coldwater makes their plentiful produce available to guests as well as local buyers at area restaurants and farmers markets. The local chickens are yet another component of Coldwater’s mission of creating agricultural awareness. They earn their keep by supplying fresh eggs as well as a few other things that might not quickly come to mind when you think about the role that these yard

birds play in the agricultural community. “When chickens roam freely, they’re an excellent method of natural pest control in the gardens because they eat the bugs and worms that are harmful to the plants,” Phoenix explains. Naturally, all that fine dining produces something else useful: manure, which Coldwater puts to use as fertilizer. It’s a happy cycle that seems to shine in this thriving outpost of nature, so lush and green and…alive. Honeybees buzz around, actively taking their place in the Coldwater life as pollinators and producers of deliciously golden honey that can be purchased onsite. Shitake mushrooms grow heartily here, quite at home in the eco-system that Erdman and his staff have so expertly put in place. Everything is engineered with precision and purpose, from the impressively self-sustaining hydroponic gardens and aquaponics to the more humble container gardens that bear steady supplies of herbs, vegetables, and edible flowers. Coldwater Gardens provides a natural backdrop for creating truly unforgettable memories. The views all around are nothing if not incredible, overlooking the verdant landscape that bursts with boundless color and life. When the sun goes down, the stars come out to play. “Coldwater Gardens provides a fresh and unique setting that combines a modern approach and style

with the sublime beauty and intrigue of the woodlands of the Florida panhandle,” says Phoenix. “In everything we do here, we truly strive to protect and nurture the environment and provide a relaxing, rejuvenating place for people to step outside of their overlydeveloped, over-stimulated daily lives. This is a place that combines elegance, nature, agriculture, technology, and community— and we get to do all of that right here, set amidst the unmatched beauty of the northern Gulf Coast.” Coldwater Gardens is located at 7009 Creek Stone Rd., Milton, Florida 32570. For more information, call (850) 426-1300 or visit www.coldwatergardens.com.

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VIP Pensacola at Emerald Republic Brewing Co.

FPRA

Jingle & Mingle photos & story by Kristina Wright

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Gordon Paulus & Kim Stefansson

he FPRA hosted their annual Jingle Mingle on December 10 at Emerald Republic Brewing Co. This year, this event held some extra sentiment, due to Covid 19. In this small gathering, members, prospective members, and friends came together to network and share their holiday spirit and awarded door prizes. The FPRA also holds monthly informational luncheons, coffees, and happy hours to help educate the community on opportunities within the Pensacola chapter. The Florida Public Relations Association is the oldest public relations association in the United States. FPRA is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners who, through ethical and innovative practices, enhance the public relations profession in Florida. FPRA provides a variety of services, benefits, and opportunities. It is dedicated to programs and activities that enhance the success of the public relations professional. Steve & Kimberly Blair

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Benjamin Murphy with Baxter & Jonathan Thompson

Heather Mosley, Heather Hobbs & Kendrick Hobbs

Megan Chapman, Lindsey Steck & Sarah Whitfield

Kristoffer Poore with Luna & Greg Riegler

| VIPPensacola.com

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Custom Build Wine Racks – Prices are Quoted Hunter Wine Racks & Cellars Hunterreps.com/Cellars

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3 Stone Diamond Engagement Ring - $53, 890 Center Stone 2.17 Emerald Cut Diamond Jewelers Trade Shop JewelersTradeShop.com Wedding Photography & Videography - Prices Vary Cameron Zane Weddings CameronZaneWeddings.com

Plan the wedding of your dreams on the golf course. Scenic Hills Country Club ScenicHills.com

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VIP Pensacola at Crabs

PENSACOLA BEACH CHAMBER

ANNUAL MEMBER

Holiday Party

Patrick Saden & Craig Weber

photos & story by Patti Hall

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rabs on Pensacola Beach hosted the Pensacola Beach Chamber’s Annual Member Holiday Party on December 15. It was a fun and cheerful night starting with socializing, drinks, and appeitizers. Guests then enjoyed a sit down dinner provided by the chamber. During this festive occasion the winners of the 2020 Lighted Boat Parade were announced. Commissioner Robert Bender and his family were the special guest judges. The winners are: Best of Show - The Most Lit (25’), Most Merry Under 27’ - Big Tiny (20’) and the Most Merry Over 27’: Shady Lady 42’. “The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all our participants this year as every boat was very impressive. We are proud of everyone coming together after such a chaotic year, and we hope to see our Boat Captains again next year for an even bigger lighted boat parade,” said Matt Clark, Assistant Director. The night ended with a lot of happy winners of door prizes donated by members.

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Kerry Pelletier & Christine Brewster

Virginia & Matt Clark

Bill & Terry Preston

Megan Chapman & Jimmy Herlocker

Juston & Margaret Takacs

Alusa & Julie Still-Rollin

Marcia Hover & Glen Hill

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Joshu & Jenise Roth, Bob Sundius

Angela Moore & Wanda Radcliffe

Robert Bender & Patty Spradling

Diane Tyson, Bettie Lee & Dave Sundstrom January 2021 | 61

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I AM PENSACOLA

Debbie Sapp

What is your hometown and how did you end up in the Pensacola area? I was born in San Diego, California, to a father in the Marine Corps so we moved all over the US. I attended so many schools I lost count (5 in 1 year). So when my father retired we moved back to his hometown of Pensacola. We lived here for about two years and then moved to Panama City where I attended junior high and high school. Two weeks prior to starting college, my supervisor at Whataburger asked me to move back to Pensacola. So I packed my car and moved back in September 1983 and have lived here ever since. What is your profession? I never really knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I managed Whataburger for years, then McDonald’s recruited me from them. I also worked for The Limited Corporation. I’ve been to college three times. I’ve earned a degree in education, business, and nursing. One afternoon, while I was working as a nurse, Gary sent me flowers. Of course my flowers came from Southern Gardens Florist. When I called to say thank you he told me those would be the last ones I would receive from there because they were going out of business. The owner’s husband was in the Navy and had orders to leave Pensacola. So Gary said unless you want to buy a flower shop… and I guess the rest is history. Two weeks later I signed papers to buy Southern Gardens Florist. It was supposed to be a hobby. But my hobby has turned into a full-time career. What are some of your favorite things about Pensacola? It’s a very small big town. It seems like everywhere I go I know someone or know someone in their family. I absolutely love that. It’s still part of the south. It’s not unusual to hear thank you, please, yes ma’am, and no ma’am. I like when someone holds my door open. These are things you don’t find anywhere else. Just the kindness of people here is always amazing. Three words that best describe you. Empowered. Fun. Accomplished.

photo by Verla Price

Favorite place for dining and/or to go for entertainment and/or go for outdoor activities? Favorite places to eat: Pot Roast and Pinot, The District, George Bistro + Bar, and O’Brien’s Bistro, and Tuscan Oven. What can I say, I’m a foodie. We love to camp locally in our new fifth wheel, or go out boating. Of course shopping is my favorite hobby hands-down, imagine that! Finish this statement, I AM PENSACOLA because… I am Pensacola because I love our community. I love the people in it: my family, my friends, and my customers. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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