VIP Pensacola - May 2022

Page 1

MAY 2022

ISSUE

PENSACOLA • PENSACOLA BEACH • PERDIDO KEY



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In honor of national pet month, we have made a $500 donation to Phoenix Rising Rescue.

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contents

Volume VII • Issue V

VOTE ONLINE MAY 10-28

events 10 14 19 22 26 28 30 34 36 40 44 50 52 56 58 62 64

Manolos & Cosmos Bootleg Ball Homeruns for Heroes Dinner on the Grounds Community Bank Grand Opening 26th Annual Spring Ice Show Miami Nights Art of Fashion Good Morning Pensacola Clover Pick a Bowl Fill a Bowl Evening in White First Tee Golf Gala Women in Business Coffee Celebrity Dining Experience 2022 Chamber Golf Classic Jr. League Spring Luncheon Men Who Cook 21 Forever Golf Classic

on the cover Maggie Haas & Tara Dominguez Photography by Kevin L Houghton at Manolos & Cosmos

departments 16 32 42 47 54 59 66

Swizzle Green Perspectives Adventure Out Style Coastal Cuisine Give Care Share I Am Pensacola

features 24 Business Profile Deluna Management Services 38 Business Profile Home2 Suites by Hilton Gulf Breeze Pensacola Area and Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze

VIP Pensacola Staff Publisher Greg Alexander

Art Director Priscilla Atkins

Associate Publisher Verla Price

Graphic Designers Brian Goins Patti Hall

Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Kristin Moffitt Verla Price Content Creator Anna Stockton

Contributing Writers/ Photographers Steve Black Patti Hall Kevin Houghton Anna Stockton VIP Founder Jeff Watson

May 2022 | 7

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letter from the Associate Publisher

Life doesn’t come with a manual. It comes with a mother. It is May, the month with a day dedicated to celebrating mothers -- those incredible, sweet, loving women who brought us into this world and often threatened to take us out. I often reflect on my childhood, realizing my mother was a saint, as she put up with my antics with a smile -- and a switch. I count my blessings that she taught me right from wrong, patience, and especially manners. The words “Please remove your elbows from the table” still echo in my head from time to time. If you are lucky enough to share May 8 with your mother, treat her to something unique and hold her dear to your heart. Throughout this issue, we are happy to showcase many people enjoying many events. Some of our stories will cheer your heart as we spotlight some fun pet features. If you are like me and travel with a furry companion, you check areas for local venues and events that welcome not only us, but our pets as well. In Adventure Out you will find many significant areas to explore with your pet and score an adventure nearby. Style offers bold prints swinging into fashion -- maybe a new animal print on furniture or a statement piece will catch your attention. And there is nothing like the thrill of landing a giant cobia and cooking your catch for dinner. See our fresh cobia taco recipe featured in Coastal Cuisine.

If you know of a non-profit or charity holding an event you would like to see featured in VIP Pensacola, please call me. Our mission at VIP Pensacola is to support as many non-profit causes as possible. Thank YOU for supporting VIP Pensacola; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.

Associate Publisher 850-502-7970 Verla@VIPDestin.com

Be on the lookout for our VIP Pensacola Ambassadors, Shelley & Steve Black, at area events. 8

| VIPPensacola.com

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VIP Pensacola at Maserati Pensacola

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

Joey & Sherri Ziegler

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he evening was HOT, HOT, HOT on March 26, when Bread & Table Club and Mystic Mafia threw a New York style party at Maserati Pensacola appropriately named “Manolos & Cosmos.” The guests were greeted with a pink “red” carpet, security guards, paparazzi, and pink cosmos immediately upon arriving and entering the doors. This “Sex in the City” themed party was one to remember with luxury cars, rhinestone heels, high fashion and gorgeous people in chic attire. One hundred percent of the proceeds went to benefit the Children’s Backpack Program, Feeding the Gulf Coast. The event raised $13,500, which will enable the program to feed 100 children every weekend for the entire school year. A DJ, specialty cocktails, delicious desserts, high-end catering, and additional opportunities to donate to this worthy cause were just a few of the evening’s highlights. Traci Dunn & Bobby Blanchard

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Shelley & Steve Black

Madelyn Schellang & Christa Parrish

Nisarg & Katie Parikh

Sue & Kit Nast

Marli Burris, Amy Brown, Alina Wirth, Jennie Keyman & Jennifer Belcher

| VIPPensacola.com

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Miriam & Terry Fussell

Rianna Jorgenson & Ashlee Warner

Joey Z, Brad Carter & Shawn Brown

Lori Hoskins & Christine Royer

Maggie Haas & Tara Dominguez

Wadih & Elena El Khoury

Sheryl & Marty Stanovich

Daniel Rogers & Cheryl Nolan-Cazes

Dr. Scott Morrison & Monica Farish

April Davidson, Jena Wells, Karen Fleming, Sherri Ziegler & Summer Carter May 2022 | 11

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VIP Pensacola at Museum of Commerce

Tab & Brittany Bright

Steven Gray & Tucker O’Connor

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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he University of West Florida Historic Trust hosted the Bootleg Ball: Spirits of the Speakeasy at the Museum of Commerce on April 2.The Museum of Commerce provides a snapshot into life in an 1890s streetscape, complete with historic storefronts and artifacts on exhibit -- it was the perfect location for the event. This 1920s inspired party had patrons donning their jazziest zoot suits and flapper dresses, pinstripes, sequins, feather boas, and headbands as they gathered for a roaring good time. The ever-popular Classic City Catering was on hand with passed hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie, dinner included steamship round cut to order, and to die for desserts. The Bottle Shop offered libations served in the main area and a VIP lounge which, by the way, required a password to enter in true speakeasy style! Live music from King of Swing Octet, DJ Albert Lao, dancing from the period, visits from historic reenactors, and other surprise 1920s prohibition-themed and inspired experiences entertained throughout the night.

Stephanie & Stephen Robison 14

Kyla & Rusty Shaw

Leslie & Max Saam

Malcolm Ballinger & Cari Wilson

Chris Middleton, Scott Barrow & Mark Leidner

| VIPPensacola.com

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Rachel Bowlby & Garrett Denton

Caitlin Rhea, Anna Wall & Jessie Cragg

Peggy Butler, Teri Levin & Robin Zimmern

Spencer Gonzales & Emily Griffin

Tori Bennett, Don & Donna Seavey

Amy Eve, Elizabeth Gray & Claire Stewart

Richard Rodriguez, Anna Lochas & Connie Crosby

Susan Waters & Cynthia Clark

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HAIR OF THE DOG

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story by Anna Stockton

any of us have been there, although some more than others. That “oh my goodness, what have I done? Why did I drink that much? What did I say/do? Why was I dancing? That bar doesn’t even have a dance floor” moment when you open your eyes in the morning, knowing it’s going to be a long day of recovery. While you may be tempted to wallow in your misery as you chant “I’m never drinking again” over and over, there are some things you can do to help speed along the process and get you back to fully functioning adult status in no time. You’ve heard the saying “hair of the dog that bit you.” But what does that mean? Basically, it means to drink alcohol in order to recover from your hangover. Since hangovers are partly due to alcohol withdrawal, there is some science to support this hangover remedy. While having a drink or two will usually take the edge off your hangover and is a great way to go over the highlights of the previous night with your friends, it’s probably not the best habit to get into as it can perpetuate a cycle that isn’t exactly healthy. Another way to get yourself back up and running is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Not to get too “sciencey” but if you’ve noticed that you spend more time in the bathroom when you’re drinking, there’s a good reason for that. Alcohol inhibits the release of a hormone called vasopressin. This hormone decreases the amount of urine your kidneys make, since the hormone is decreased, your kidneys go into overdrive

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making urine when you’re tossing back a few. Basically, the more alcohol you drink, the more you have to urinate, the more dehydrated you can get. So, putting those fluids back in your body is key to feeling better, especially before bed. If your hangover comes with the unfortunate side effects of diarrhea and vomiting, you’re going to have to double up on the fluids. Drinks like Gatorade, Pedialyte, and liquid IV are always good to have on hand for these occasions. One of the side effects of alcohol intake is that it can seriously mess with your blood sugar, so some of that head pounding and weakness you feel the next day may actually be from low blood sugar, not the four glasses of wine, 2 beers and that shot you had, well maybe that too. And if you’re like me you exacerbate the problem by choosing to chat, dance, laugh, and basically do anything but put food in your body. But that means there’s an easy solution -- carbs baby! Toast and juice or a cheeseburger and coke can help bring your blood sugar levels back to where they need to be and put you on the road to recovery. Taking over the counter pain relievers is another good way to take the edge off your hangover, ibuprofen and aspirin are both helpful in getting rid of the headache and achy feeling that a night of overindulging can cause. Never take acetaminophen though as alcohol can intensify the toxic effects it can have on the liver. Caffeine can also help with a hangover. While it doesn’t necessarily have any magical effects like some of the others mentioned, the caffeine can snap you out of some of the grogginess that goes hand in hand with the aftermath of a night of going overboard. The last suggestion to get rid of your hangover and probably the most obvious is to sleep. Heavy alcohol intake can disrupt sleep patterns and cause you to have an exaggerated hangover due to sleep loss. Choosing your nights out wisely, and not the evening before a work day or an early morning of sports for your kids (hangs head in shame) will allow you to sleep in and possibly right through your hangover all together.

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VIP Pensacola at NEP Ball Park

Jeremie Leach, Nico Gara & Erik Abreu

Patrick Frazier, Ken Simmons & Melissa Bunn

Homeruns for Heroes photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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tep One Automotive Group challenged the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office to a charity kickball game on April 2, with Mayor Grover Robinson throwing out the first pitch. The pregame festivities included a kid’s zone with bounce houses, obstacle courses, face painting, a DJ, and Escambia County’s own SWAT vehicles, along with their K-9s and equines. Hamburgers and hot dogs were served up, courtesy of the sheriff office’s team. A donut eating contest, won by Colonel Jeremy Small, topped off the festivities. Step One Automotive Group donated $100 for each base stolen, $250 for every run scored, and $500 for every homerun scored by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, which led to a total donation of $10,000. Funds raised benefited the Escambia County Sheriff Foundation. The foundation strives to foster engagement opportunities while promoting public safety through community outreach and improving the quality of life for every citizen in Escambia County.

Phillip Folmar & Tyler Folmar

Madrina Ciano & Darra Flanagan

Jeremy Small & Michelle Crutchfield

ESCO Group May 2022 | 19

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VIP Pensacola at Homeruns for Heroes

Team Step One Automotive Group & Team Escambia County Sheriff’s Office

Caroline & Jake Lucas

Stephen Housman, Delarian Wiggins & Mayor Grover Robinson

Matt Watkins with “T-BO”

Braxton & Brian Maloy

Kerri, Khole, Deshawn & Maureen Gibbs 20

Jason Dunnelly & Chris Leverett

Jamie, Scott & Zach Schroeder, Chris Bryan

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VIP Pensacola at 5eleven Palafox

Dinner on the Grounds photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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eleven Palafox held an important and special “Dinner on the Grounds” fundraiser event on April 14. Levin Papantonio Rafferty’s Peter Mougey and his wife Katrina sponsored this event to help remedy our community’s nutrition insecurity problem. Event proceeds will help fund the Heart of Pensacola, a new program providing healthy food to those who live in local “food deserts,” as well as benefit the American Heart Association’s education and research efforts. All 300 tickets were purchased for a sold-out “Dinner on the Grounds” - a 1930s-inspired Southern farm-to-table, strolling-supper, all-community gathering, and hails as this year’s “Heart Ball.” Under beautiful, crisp white tents, a variety of local chefs prepared and served their best dishes to guests, including grilled scallops, BBQ short ribs, fried collards, and fresh shucked oysters just to name a few. The evening boasted perfect weather, a live blues band entertained patrons, there were silent auctions with luxurious gifts, a wine pull from private reserves, and a Heart Market fi lled with local vendors’ goodies, fresh flowers, one-of-a-kind paintings, and more.

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Gena & Richard Kelly

Gordon Pike & Sue Straughn

D.C. Reeves & Sydney Dawson

Carter J & Keesha Hawley-Roberts

Jared & Madison Johnston

Bradley & Kelly Rhodes

Ashton Hayward, Bobby Switzer, Alice & Jeremy Switzer

| VIPPensacola.com

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Dr. Sandra Winborne, Grace Marshall & Dr. Lusharon Wiley

Heidi Huerta, Grace Sullivan & Cindi Bear Bonner

Dr. Jason & Amanda Stern

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Greg Adams, Mike & Sara Papantonio

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Business Profile BRINGING 5 STAR SERVICE TO THE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY

Deluna Management Services is a property management company located in downtown Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola is one of the greatest cities on the Gulf Coast. From beautiful beaches and the home of the majestic Blue Angels to the charming downtown lifestyle, it is a wonderful place to live and to vacation. Deluna Management’s vacation rental inventory has grown immensely just in the last year to include a large selection of homes throughout the Gulf Coast from Navarre to Perdido Key. Deluna Management was founded in 2018 by local leading Real Estate Team Erik Hansen and Clayton Henderson. Together they combine 20plus years of Professional Real Estate and Property Management experience. Erik and Clayton have a great philosophy in providing expert industry services that offer an unparalleled experience to their customers.

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Their dedicated team of 3 onsite Property Managers, Inhouse Bookkeeping, Quality Control Director, and Guest/Tenant Relations Specialist, provides a diverse but outstanding service to their clients. With this spectacular team they are able to conquer challenging obstacles of the dayto-day life and property management. Deluna Management is the one stop shop for Air BnB, Short Term Rentals, as well as Long Term Rentals. They believe in building a relationship with not only their owners but with their guests and tenants to fulfill a -star experience. Deluna Management has a very approachable structure and knowledge that provides homeowners the resources to have a seamless process when it comes to managing their property investments. They specialize in taking your average residential home and turning it in a passive income source. With a vast inventory of

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properties, Deluna provides each guest or tenant an unforgettable living experience. They take a lot of pride in providing a “next level” experience in all their Air BnB rentals. Deluna’s primary goal is to make guests feel welcome. They want their guests’ stay to be as comfortable and relaxing as possible, while also providing quick and friendly assistance when needed. It is their hope that one of their rentals will be your new favorite home away from home. Marketing is key to successful rentals. They provide a market analysis for each property for management services. They have access to data to assist in creating a marketing plan, analysis, and other research to maximize your investment. They conduct an extensive screening on any potential tenants at no additional cost to you and handle

everything, from moving your ualified tenant in, to rent collection, to maintenance. Deluna conducts inspections upon move-in and moveout that include documentation of the property’s condition. While your property is occupied, they conduct routine inspections to ensure that issues are addressed in a timely manner and resolved to keep your investment in excellent condition. Deluna Management has a cost-effective program that protects owners from the high cost and the time consuming headaches that come with evicting a tenant, so their investment is protected. With their 20-plus years of experience and their aggressive approach to both long term and vacation property management services, this fullservice, one-stop shop property management firm is the one you should look to for help.

Call today, and book your next short term stay at one of their 5-Star properties.

(850) 776-3960 21 S Tarragona Street, Suite 103, Pensacola FL 32502 Delunaairbnb.com | DelunaManagementServices.com

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VIP Pensacola at Community Bank

Lori Newcomer & Terri Merrick

Chip Wells, Ty Johnson, Justin Woodard & Kent Tinsley

Community Bank Grand Opening photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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ommunity Bank celebrated the opening of their newest branch office located on North 9th Avenue on April 21. The Greater Pensacola Chamber and Santa Rosa Chamber hosted the ribbon cutting and the event was standing room only. This is their 53rd branch location, and it’s right here in Pensacola. The event was catered by Emerald Coast Private Chefs who served up a spread containing micro-BLTs, grilled and chilled shrimp, chocolate tarts inside edible bowls, and bacon-wrapped chicken. Live guitar music entertained the guests.

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Molly Martin & Kim Sullivan

Kishane Patel & Pastor Larry Watson

Todd Thomson & Liko Crump

Nicole Partridge & Angie Morris

Back: Steve Kerr, Chris Chili, Matt Newcomer, Daniel Joyner & Jason Crowe Front: Larry Portillo, Kevina Campbell & Erin Clanton

| VIPPensacola.com

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May 2022 | 27

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Civic Center

26th Annual

Spring Ice Show photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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he Greater Pensacola Figure Skating Club members and guest skaters wowed an audience of over 500 at their 26th Annual Spring Ice Show on April 3. The event was open to the public and took place at the Pensacola Bay Center. Themed “Movie Night,” it was the largest production in the organization’s history. Skaters from Destin to Mobile, and from ages two years old to adults, performed solos, group numbers, and pairs routines to everyone’s favorite movie tunes. From Pink Ladies and T-Birds to baby sharks and hockey drills, the evening was fun for all ages. Operating as a Learn to Skate USA club, GPFSC is a local 501(c)3 that is dedicated to promoting physical activity and improving ice sports accessibility for all community residents and visitors. Having grown exponentially over the past two years, GPFSC currently provides seasonal ice access to over 250 area skaters from October through April. Participants travel to Pensacola to take advantage of the only public ice in the area. Endorsed by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, and US Speedskating along with support from Special Olympics, Learn to Skate USA offers programs for all ages and abilities.

Kassia Albarran, Ann Hill, Malachi Brown, Sharon Gaubert & Missy Frisco

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Leah Dingal, Addsion Lefave & Mary Burns

| VIPPensacola.com

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VIP Pensacola at Museum Plaza

Miami Nights Art of Fashion

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photos & story by Nicole Partridge

he moon was shining on a warm afternoon along with light coastal winds creating an amazing tropical welcome for Miami Nights Art of Fashion event. “Our Covenant Care Foundation is extremely excited to present the 16th Annual Art of Fashion event in Pensacola! We transformed every element of the evening to make a truly unforgettable experience. The proceeds help us to create memorable wishes for seriously ill children and adults. It is definitely a night to remember!” said Christie Saffold, Senior Director of Development. Dubbed as the Hottest Party of the Year the Museum Plaza lawn was transformed with South Beach flair. The raised catwalk runway featured local celebrity models with the latest looks for Spring and Summer. Guests enjoyed tapas, signature drinks and tasty desserts. Dillard’s exclusive pop-up glam and shopping venues included the latest fashions, bags, shoes, shades and spring scents. Art of Fashion was presented by Dillard’s and Step One Automotive Group and emceed by Brent Lane of Cat Country 98.7. VIP Lounges were presented by Peaden Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical. All proceeds support Covenant Care Foundation’s My Wish program, a 501(c)3 not for profit charitable organization that works to grant wishes to seriously ill children, adults and families.

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Delayna Blankenship & Reagan Pommier

Veronique Zayas & Erin Luttrell

Sally Bergosh & Tori Marsh-Bergosh

Amanda Hurd & Summer Chason

Shawn Rawcliffe & Michelle Riley

Charlie & Paige Davis

Caleb Rasnic, Houston Glass, Shane McKay & Sienna Meyer McManus

| VIPPensacola.com

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Jimmy & Megan Herlocker, Bradley Sanders

Hong Potomski, Paige Davis, Christin Mathis & Shannon Evans

Mallory Studer, Matt Walker & Jennifer Bell

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Stacy Keller Williams, Shelby Hamilton, Antonio & Tina Royster May 2022 | 31

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Green Perspectives from

Pets and Your Landscape

article by Steve R. Black

Our pets, especially dogs, seem to enjoy our lawns as much as we do. A young dog that has been inside most of the day will exert its energy behaving like a kid that has been sitting in a classroom with no outside time. This energy translates to their paws ripping and shredding the lawn. While a large space can absorb the wear with little visual impact, a smaller lawn can simply be chewed up over time and eventually all you will have is dirt. Armed with information, this can be avoided. Another potential issue with dogs is that some of them like to munch on the lawn grasses and

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even some of the plants. This activity seldom is enough that it would affect the quality of the landscape. While the consumption of grasses are usually not harmful, we do need to be aware of the plants in the yard and their potential for poisoning if consumed. The once popular Sago Palm is poisonous. Other potentially harmful plants are Azaleas, Oleander, Japanese Yew, English Ivy, and Philodendron. (A more complete list can be found online.) Young dogs are very curious and get bored easily. I do not recommend ridding the landscape of all potential hazards but re-directing their attention with chew toys and good exercise.

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Steve R. Black

Practicing Agronomist and Landscape Design along the Gulf Coast for 36 years

Nearly 70% of American households have pets that’s 85 million households and 69 million of these households have at least one dog. Dogs are the most popular pet and have the largest impact on our landscapes. By the way, we are spending $99 billion on our pets. And interestingly, in 1988 only 56% of households had at least one pet. During the recent pandemic pet adoptions skyrocketed. Our dogs love us, we love them back. They tear stuff up and we simply repair it and move on to something else. There is a way forward with whatever your challenge may be. Do note that a 35-80 pound dog needs approximately 2,500sf of lawn to expend its energy. Smaller breeds need as little as 250-500sf. These numbers are benchmarks and since dogs, like people, are very different and have a wide variety of personalities and needs. You know your animal(s) and its traits so you must keep this in mind when making decisions concerning the size of the space needed.

consumed much at night. This results in a greater concentration of urea. This is similar to spilling a chunk of fertilizer onto your lawn. It will kill it and eventually the edges of the area will be very green as rain and/or irrigation water dilutes and flushes some of the nitrogen. (Note: Nitrogen is what makes the lawn green in the right amounts.) A larger lawn will not show the impacts unless the tendency is to do their business in one particular area of the lawn. Training your dog to relieve itself in a mulched area is also a good answer.

Dog urine can kill the most resilient of grasses. Many landscape plants die or partially die due to an errant shower from a canine. I have witnessed the damage myself many times over the years with property owners sometimes completely oblivious to why their lawn is really green and/or really dead in small spots. So, what exactly is causing the grass to die? Canine diets high in processed protein will have a higher concentration of urea. Urea is a form of nitrogen and in high concentrations it will kill plants. Altering your dogs diet could potentially lessen damage. You may also have noticed that the first trip to the lawn after a long night seems to kill the grass every time. This is because the dog starts its day a little dehydrated since water is not

So what is the answer? If your space is small you may want to first consider a small breed dog. If you are again having trouble maintaining grass, you may want to consider Artificial Pet Turf. The old idea of “astroturf” has come a long way and the new “Pet Turf” is extremely resilient, looks like real grass and, it is even treated to hold down pathogens and odors. Properly installed artificial pet turf may last 10-15 years (and longer in most situations) with minimal maintenance. We are seeing installations become much more common, especially in multi-family projects where a small dog park will serve many canines. Most of us will go the way of natural turf, however, be aware of the practices required to be successful.

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Dog poop has the same effect but left in place can be a danger to humans since pathogens may be present. This should be removed immediately and put into the trash headed to a landfill. Any remaining on the ground may kill the grass. Diluting with a water hose will help. The size of the lawn space will greatly affect the outcome. Hopefully some of you are lucky like me -- my mini Pomeranian uses the mulched area of our planting beds.

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Yacht Club

Nicole Partridge & Barbara MacNeil

Jim Fitzpatrick & Austin Ackerson

Angei Morris & Quinn Breaux

Good Morning Pensacola photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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he Chamber of Commerce held their Good Morning Pensacola Membership Breakfast at the Pensacola Yacht Club on April 1. Gourmet coffee, hot tea, and a breakfast buffet including freshly picked fruit was available for attendees. This event is a great time to meet fellow Chamber members, get local economic updates, and be involved in the business community. Todd Thomson, president of Greater Pensacola Chamber kicked the meeting off with remarks about memorable past events and some exciting upcoming ones. Recognition of Mike Denkler for many years of volunteer leadership was offered by Matt Simpson, Emcee. Florida Power and Light, as the presenting sponsor provided valuable energy saving tips for consumers. Special guest Erik Bremer, the new Wahoo’s play-by-play announcer, was optimistic about this year’s baseball team and offered a few hints about changes at the stadium, including new LED lights that flash and change colors. The Pensacola Chamber of Commerce hosts this and other membership events throughout the month, including the ever-popular Business After Hours. Great start to the business day at Good Morning Pensacola. Learn more at pensacolachamber.com.

Dorian Zwierewicz & Kyle Polhlopek

Brian Wyer & Christie Oliver

Olon Hyde & Jason Courtney 34

Michelle Sauls & Darra Flanagan

Jeri Cox & Roxanne Howell

| VIPPensacola.com

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Genna Anderson, Eddie Murray & Jessica Simpson

Thanks for voting us Best in Pensacola!

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Steve Kerr, Ray Walker & Erik Bremer

Large Wine Selection Full Bar NOW Open Outdoor Patio

Ruthie & Zach Noel, Tammy Ward

HOURS Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday: 11 am - 3 pm Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday: 4 pm - 8 pm Brunch: Sunday: 11 am - 2 pm

Kirk Waters, Todd Thomson & Jim Beran

Cordova Marketplace 4350 Bayou Blvd · Pensacola, FL 850.477.9120 · obriensbistro.net May 2022 | 35

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola State College

Clover Pick a Bowl Fill a Bowl photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

Barbara MacNeil & Suzanne Byfield

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arch 25 was a big day for Manna, the area’s largest food pantry, as Pensacola State College hosted the annual Clover Pick a Bowl Fill a Bowl benefitting this important local cause. In 2018, the event was renamed in honor of longtime supporter Bill Clover, a PSC visual arts professor for 52 years. In their 15th year, this event helps Manna fight against hunger and ensures neighbors in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties get the healthy food they need. In 2021 Manna provided food to 31,014 people. Over $53,000 was raised, setting an event record. The sold-out event hosted over 350 attendees. Ticket holders picked a unique, handcrafted bowl created and donated by staff, students, and friends of First City Art Center and the PSC Visual Arts Department. The bowls were then fi lled with samples of cuisine from local restaurants including The Grand Marlin, Scenic Hills Country Club, and Mr. Pollo. Laura Hussey & Will Estelle

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Hank Carlstrom & Amanda Clayton

Carla & Tony Scarborough

Leo & Penny Lynne

Laurie & Loren Lazear

Scott Weichbrodt, Breeze Schmidt, Madisyn Tidwell, Jesse Sproles & Brandon Nelson

| VIPPensacola.com

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4/29/22 9:06 AM


Thanks for voting us

Best Pet Grooming/Boarding

(850) 764-3886 CampBowWow.com Email: Pensacola@CampBowWow.com 2410 Langley Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32504 May 2022 | 37

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4/29/22 10:17 AM


Business Profile

Home2 Suites by Hilton Gulf Breeze Pensacola Area

In the Gulf Breeze area, tourists, business travelers, and out of town family and friends have the luxury of choosing from many hotel options. When you recommend a place for friends or loved ones to stay, you want to make sure they have a good experience making them want to return again and again. The Home2 Suites by Hilton Gulf Breeze Pensacola Area and the Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze will always welcome guests and their pets with open arms and give them the home away from home feeling one comes to expect from the area’s Southern hospitality. You heard that right, both the Home2 Suites by Hilton and the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton are among the select few pet-friendly hotels in the Gulf Breeze and Pensacola Beach areas. With an abundance of nearby walking trails, dog parks, groomers, vets, pet stores, and pet-friendly restaurants - travelers can feel comfortable bringing their four-legged family members along for a memorable beach getaway or business trip. Each hotel hosts complimentary watering stations, welcome treat bags for dogs at the front desk, and multiple “relief” areas around the property for convenience. The Home2 Suites by Hilton is just steps away from a local pizzeria and bar that has a lovely outdoor patio area where you and Fido can relax for the evening after a hard day’s work. Speaking of families… if you are looking to host a reunion, wedding group, or any type of gathering, both properties offer group rate discounts. The hotels understand that even in the peak of tourist season, folks still want to gather and make lasting memories without breaking the bank. The onsite amenities and the location of the two hotels offer a perfect opportunity for just that. They are both centrally located right between Pensacola Beach and Downtown Pensacola, providing quick and convenient access to everything this area has to offer. Guests can start their day with a complimentary breakfast, enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the beach playing frisbee with the kids and pooches, then get dressed up for an enjoyable night out on the town. The Hampton Inn & Suites has a couple of local restaurant options within walking distance, as well as a nearby bar with a breezy, waterfront deck featuring live bands and some of the most awe-inspiring sunsets.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Gulf Breeze Pensacola Area

940 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561 http www.gulfbreezepensacolaarea.home suitesbyhilton.com 38

While both hotels have many similarities, each of them still has a character of its own, which guarantees a perfect fit for any guest and their desires. Home2 Suites by Hilton Gulf Breeze Pensacola Area offers stylish, extended-stay accommodations providing a comfortable experience with spacious suites making you feel right at home. The rooms host a kitchenette featuring streamlined approaches to storage and function with hip and modern innovations -including a “working wall,” that incorporates the kitchen with a flexible working media space. The nspired Table is a complimentary daily breakfast serving artisan breakfast sandwiches and several potential combinations of hearty and healthy choices. The ome arket is open

| VIPPensacola.com

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Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze

for guests to purchase food, drinks, and other essentials -- especially that midnight craving for ice cream! Guests find a warm and welcome atmosphere with a saline swimming pool and sundeck, a grilling space with tables and umbrellas, outdoor fire pit and lounge area, and the Oasis Lobby -- a community space perfect for social gatherings, individual work, or meeting zones. When longterm guests must come back to reality and work off some of those luxurious dinners from our coastal area, the Spin2 ycle is an integrated fitness and laundry room, allowing guests to do laundry while working out. Next door, there is a shopping center complete with hair and nail salons, a Publix grocery store, boutique shops, and a wide variety of dining options. As for the families and travelers looking for warm and cozy surroundings, the Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/ Gulf Breeze offers a humble culture with core values focusing on the belief that family matters – including your pets! Whether in town for business or pleasure, all guests of the Hampton Inn & Suites can start their day by enjoying a complimentary full hot breakfast buffet that features an exceptional waffle station - complete with whipped cream and sprinkles. For busy travelers on the go, the Hampton also offers convenient “On-the-Run” breakfast bags with fruit, a breakfast bar, and a bottle of water. After a long day of exploring the area or returning “home” from work, guests can fix a cup of tea or coffee at the -hour beverage station and mingle in the Perfect Mix Lobby or relax from the comfort of their cozy guestroom. Maybe most importantly is the daily cookie hour - where the super sweet front desk staff makes life even sweeter by serving up fresh baked cookies every afternoon. If you need something a little salty to go along with your afternoon treat, step into the uite hop filled with snacks, drinks, toiletries, and local merchandise for purchase. For those working while in town, the Hampton Inn & Suites has a fully equipped business center as well as a Boardroom meeting space with complimentary Wi-Fi access. The quiet and spacious Boardroom comfortably seats up to twelve people and has a large flatscreen T making it easy to share presentations and take care of business. The Boardroom is available for rent, even for guests not staying at the hotel. The friendly Sales Team offers great rates and specials, especially for locals looking for an affordable and quiet place to meet. Overall, the two hotels, located less than a mile apart, each have a wide variety of options. It is guaranteed that any guest, whether staying one night, or , can find what they are looking for in either the Home2 Suites or the Hampton Inn & Suites in Gulf Breeze. The accommodations and the warm, welcoming staff will make you feel right at home,where you will look forward to coming back time and time again.

Hampton Inn & Suites Pensacola/Gulf Breeze

61 Gulf Breeze Pkwy, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561 http://www.pensacolagulfbreezesuites.hamptoninn.com/ (850) 203-1333 May 2022 | 39

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VIP Pensacola at Bayview Park

Kenon Beasley & Denni Rand

Leigh Baker, Crystal Bremner, Amanda Carpenter, Stacy Robello, Madrina Ciano & Brittany Simpson

Evening in White photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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he Junior League of Pensacola held their Sixth Annual Evening in White FUNdraiser event on April 2. This year, the mystery location, revealed only hours beforehand, was at Bayview Park. The event started in Paris as Diner en Blanc, and is a pop-up blanc-themed picnic where attendees dress in white attire, bring their own picnic baskets, white décor, food, beverages, utensils, and elaborate centerpieces and enjoy the night with friends and family. Proceeds benefit the Junior League of Pensacola, a women’s volunteer organization that strives to empower women through leadership and community service. The secret location held a myriad of different sized tables with crisp white tablecloths alongside activities such as cornhole, Jenga, photo ops, a silent auction that included giveaways from salons and dental and vision practices, as well as hotel stays, kid’s baskets, and more. To learn more about Junior League of Pensacola and empowering women with civic leadership skills visit pensacola.jl.org.

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Shelbie Andrews & Kate Andrews

Kenneth & Tawana Gilbert

Veronica & Dan Seymour

Kayla Harmon & Brooke Potrzeba

Jen Wasilenko, Lori Brabham, Shea Moore, Alex Morris & Kelly Morris

| VIPPensacola.com

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4/29/22 8:37 AM


Contessa Gibson, Susan Gibson & Melissa Moyer-Pusch

Susan Ragan, Debbie Hibberts, Karen Montee & Anne Jacobi

Sandy Biggs, Cyndi Holt, Mary Inman & Carolyn Fetner

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ADVENTURE

WHO LET THE

DOGS OUT? story by Anna Stockton

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ur pets have become a bigger part of our lives than ever before. We take them with us to eat, to have drinks, and to get exercise. We consider them a part of the family and include them in family pictures, activities, and even tell them we love them before we leave the house and give them a time we’ll be back so they don’t worry (okay, maybe that’s just me). We are lucky to live in an area that appreciates our pets as much as we do and provides them ample space to run, play, and just live their best lives. Here are some great places that we have explored with our pets and we encourage you to do the same with yours.

Tarkiln Bayou State Park 2401 Bauer Rd. Pensacola, FL Tarkiln Bayou offers you and your dog a unique trail experience. Sitting on over 4000 acres, the trails in this state park will take you through the wet prairie, cypress and titi forests, and brings you all the way to the bayou. There are two trails to choose from -- the Tarkiln Bayou Trail, a half mile ADA accessible trail that leads to an observation area with beautiful views of the bayou and the Perdido Bay Trail, which is a far more challenging six and a half miles of rugged terrain with stream crossings and muddy areas, leading to the bayshore beaches. Both trails are completely pet friendly, providing your four-legged friend is on a leash and you pick up after them. There’s plenty of wildlife to take in too, with deer, bobcats, racoons, and even an alligator or snapping turtle ... so maybe make sure your curious pup doesn’t try to investigate that moving rock that MUST want to be their friend.

Downtown Pensacola Palafox St. Pensacola, FL Pensacola shows other cities “pup” with their dog-friendly ways -- especially the downtown area. Whether you’re strolling through the streets or dining in the outdoor area of a restaurant, you’ll find pets happily hanging out with their owners. Of course, pets must be on a leash and owners must pick up after their furry friends, but downtown is a great place to see an impromptu pet parade. Most of the outdoor events held downtown are pet friendly and some are even geared towards your pet. For instance, these combine the area’s two favorite things, Mardi Gras and pets, for the annual Pawdi Gras event or the ever-popular pet costume contest for Halloween. Many restaurants downtown have outdoor seating so you can bring your pet along for an afternoon or evening of great food in a fun environment. Overall, downtown Pensacola has everything you and your pet need for a pup-tastic time.

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Pensacola Beach Dog Parks Pensacola Beach, FL If your dog is anything like mine, they love to frolic in the water, then roll in the sand, then frolic some more, then roll, then shake themselves all over me before climbing into my car and settling in. Well, Pensacola Beach’s Dog Parks offers just that kind of doggy fun. The east-end dog park location is just past Portofino, at lot 28.5, while the west location is at parking lot 21.5, just west of the last condos on the Gulf. Dog-friendly beaches are rare in this area so these beaches are true gems and great for getting you and your pups some much-needed salty vibes. Dogs must stay on a leash, even while playing in the water and a rabies tag must be visible at all times. The beaches are open from sunrise to sunset except during sea turtle season (May 1-October 31) when the hours go from 7am to sunset.

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VIP Pensacola at Court of DeLuna

Sheila Martin & Dave Penzone

Golf Gala

Jeremy & Jennifer Reese, Leo Lynne

photos & story by Patti Hall

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Mac & Mendi McCormick

Sheryl & Marty Stanovich

William & Marli Burris 44

he 5th Annual Golf Ball Gala was held at Court of DeLuna on April 8. Guests arrived in their best and most creative Caddyshack inspired attire. There was plenty of entertainment with music by the Bay Bridge Band, lawn games to test your skills, and The Masters Tournament was aired live. Guests enjoyed delicious bar-b-que from Hot Spot BBQ. Cherrie’s Sno Balls and Taste Buds satisfied their sweet tooth. For liquid refreshments, bartenders from LaTeeLa Mobile Bar made Masters-inspired cocktails. There were live and silent auctions with a rare, signed Hideki Matsuyama Srixon golf bag along with a fish fry and clay shoot package for 35 people, among other trips and golf memorabilia available. All proceeds benefit the youth programs of First Tee Gulf Coast. The non-profit organization teaches life skills through golf while advancing accessibility to the game.

Nelson Munn & April Davidson

Cari Wilson & Malcolm Ballinger

Sharon Ellison, Sarah Dimitroff, Jen Hobbs & Virginia Anderson

| VIPPensacola.com

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Christian Fulk, Megan Townsend, Emily & Austin Beede

Shawndy Moulton, Donald Ward, Kaily & Braden Ladnier

Rachael & Russell Gandy, Pete & Jackie Coonan

Jeff Thornton, Beth Clark, Margaret Thornton & Brooks Clark May 2022 | 45

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Robert C. Harbour, MD Voted Best Eye Care Professional 2021 Voted Best Eyecare Professional 2020 Voted Best Eyecare Professional 2019 Voted Best Medical Practice in Pensacola 2018 Voted Best Eyecare Professional 2017

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4/29/22 10:17 AM


ANIMAL HOUSE story by Anna Stockton

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hings are getting wild with home style trends these days. With the animal inspired style craze in full swing, you can bring the wild outdoors into your home with a new spin on classic décor.

Lamps are often a subtle part of your décor, not necessarily noteworthy but completely functional. Well, lamps are boring no more thanks to this animal-focused craze. Whether you’re a bird, elephant, dog, fish, or even a llama lover, there’s a lamp that captures not only your personality but also the eyes of your guests. These lamps range from muted to over the top, depending on your taste and with classic colors like gold and silver to go with your already fabulous color scheme. One strategically placed animal lamp will not only be an interesting conversation piece but will also keep you on point with current trends in your home. Fabrics are another great way to keep up with different trends. The versatility of fabric allows you to make anything from accent pillows to re-covering your classic wingback chairs and everything in between, all without the commitment of redecorating when your style preference or trends change. Animal inspired fabrics can keep you on point and with so many color schemes to choose from, it can easily be incorporated into your décor. An ottoman with an animal print can jazz up your neutral toned sofa, an accent chair with a print of a tiger or even sea life, or sofa pillows with an animal print can add pizzazz and give your living room décor a polished look. The bedroom is another place you can show your wild side -- easy now, this article is about your décor. Throw pillows and accent chairs work just as well in other parts of the house as they do in the living spaces. Just place some flamingo print throw pillows on the bed or add a tropical bird print bench in your room and watch the space come alive. Smaller accessories that follow this trend are another way to freshen up your home. Animal inspired barware makes a statement of functionality, uniqueness, and style. This trend can extend to animal figurines, book ends, and even planters. And what trendy animalistic home would be complete without some on-point, wild, wall art. Whether it be light and fun like a leopard lounging on a settee or something more natural like a wolf or moose -- wall art makes a statement and is a fun way to keep up with this trend. Whether you decide to go all out with this design craze or add small animal inspired changes to your décor, it’s a great way to add interesting touches to liven up and bring out the wild side of your home.

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ADD A LITTLE ANIMAL TO YOUR HOUSE Boxhill Lion Pot - Starting at $149.00 (available in black or white) Boxhill.com

Arthur Court Alligator Handle Scoop - $29.99 Amazon.com

Harbaugh 27.75” Giraffe Table Lamp $169.99 Wayfair.com

Woven Animal Head Wall Décor $199.00-$299.00 (Elephant or Stag) BallardDesigns.com

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Hawksbill Accent Chair in Sea Turtle Fabric - $253.23 HomeThreads.com

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American Bison Wood Wall Art - $659.00 PotteryBarn.com

Ngala Trading Company Cheetah Throw Pillow $195.00 Perigold.com Fairlee 31.89” Flamingo Lamp $185.99 Wayfair.com

Zoo Animal Military Uniform Candle Holders - $39.57 (two-piece set) Etsy.com

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Zebra Cocktail Chair - $689.00 TheInside.com

4/29/22 9:13 AM


VIP Pensacola at Greater Pensacola Chamber

Angei Morris & Erica Grancagnolo

Women in Business Coffee

Austin Ackerson & Sally Fox

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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Todd Thomson & Ms. Magi Williams

Michelle Salzman & Sara Lefevers

Quinn Breaux & Liko Crump 50

he Women in Business Council met March 29 at the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce downtown. Approximately 40 businesswomen gathered for fresh coffee and donuts, sponsored by Titanium Wireless, to discuss starting something unique and inspiring. This Council promotes participation and leadership of women at all levels to learn, grow, and to network in our surrounding communities. Members also share ideas and experiences with each other and address some of those unique topics women in business face in today’s world. Attorney Sally Fox of Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon was also on hand, along with Magi Williams, to deliver a few words of wisdom on how important it is to thrive as businesswomen. The Women in Business Council meets quarterly, and seating is limited. Contact the Pensacola Chamber for further information.

Susan Clark & Jessica Perez

Darby Drapeau & Melissa Dandridge

Anna Grace Garrick, Genna Anderson & Jessica Simpson

| VIPPensacola.com

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4/29/22 9:14 AM


Celebrity Dining Experience

VIP Pensacola at The Cutting Board

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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he Celebrity Dining Experience was a fantastic time to enjoy a fabulous dinner while supporting Food Raising Friends (FRF). This unique benefit dinner was presented by Sunbelt Title Agency and The Cutting Board in Milton, FL on April 5. Local celebrity servers included Representative Michelle Salzman, Colton Wright, Genevieve Kurpuis, Tom Lloyd, and Mary Young, bringing the 4-course meal right to the table for the 75 attendees in two separate seatings. The Cutting Board featured an all-star menu for the evening including fresh salad, crab appetizers, lobster tail with drawn butter, fi let mignon cooked to order, twice-whipped potatoes, and smoked bacon-wrapped baby asparagus. The evening’s fare was topped off with chocolate molten cake with lightly braised marshmallows. To add to the fun door prizes and 50/50 drawings were offered and the winner, Red Washington, was so kind to donate the $650 cash back to Food Raising Friends. FRF provides free lunches for children during summer months and breaks when school meals are not available. To learn more visit foodraisingfriends.com.

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Briana Snellgrove & Tom Lloyd

Missy Rogers & Devan Hacker

Michelle Salzman & Marty Stanovich

Mary Young & Donna Chapman

Rebecca McKeithen & Colton Wright

Kimberley Anderson & Genevieve Kurpuis

| VIPPensacola.com

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4/29/22 9:15 AM


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Chasing Cobia T

story by Anna Stockton

his is an exciting time of the year on the Florida Panhandle. The temperature is warming up, the spring breakers have come and gone, and the obia are igrating. or fisher an, it s the ost wonder l ti e o the year or their avorite ga e fish, the Rachycentron canadum, AKA Cobia. See those fisher en in the tower They are chasing Cobia can be recognized by their black or dark brown scales with lighter stripes going down their sides and on their nderbelly. Their head is wide and flat with a rotr ding lower aw and d e to their larger ectoral fin, can sometimes be mistaken for a shark. Although adults can reach lengths of six feet and up to 150 pounds, the average Cobia is around three and a half feet long. hile they ve been o nd in rigid waters all the way to Nova Scotia, Cobias are more abundant in sub-tropical and tropical waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. They re o en water fish b t can o ten be o nd both off-shore and in-shore, even in mangroves as well as aro nd coral ree s. nlike any other fish, these c rio s Cobias are drawn to noise and activity and can often be found around the pilings of piers, under boats, and occasionally they even cruise around under sea turtles. They re known to be aggressive eeders and chow down on crab and other cr staceans, s id, fish, eel, and even so e rays altho gh they re not above scavenging the leftovers from the meals of sharks and other larger predators. eca se o obia s desire to be a art o the arty crowd and position themselves under and around boats, they re airly easy targets or fishing. They re known or being good ga e fish and e citing to catch as they make you work for them. Live bait is best to catch these lively fish, es ecially sing their avorite snacks crab and eel. co rse, there are si e reg lations or

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catching Cobia to allow the species to thrive. While it varies from state to federal waters, the minimum fork length is between 33 and 36 inches, the fork length is measured from the tip of the jaw or snout, with a closed mouth, to center of the fork in the tail. yo re able to s ccess lly catch one o these eisty fish, they re good eatin . obia is known or its tasty eat with a resh and b ttery flavor. The te t re is fir , like swordfish b t has the oil content ore like sal on, aking it oist. obia eat s also e tre ely healthy with little fat, high protein, and is full of potassium, vitamin , and those o ega atty acids that kee o r bodies healthy and happy. High mercury levels are sometimes o nd in these fish so they sho ld be cleaned and t on ice to revent bacteria growth, otherwise they re a sa e, healthy, and tasty fish or all to en oy. Due to their texture, Cobia can be prepared in many ways. Whether you decide to bake, sauté, fry, smoke, broil, or even grill these fish, yo ll be getting a high ality fish ll o fight and flavor.

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Turn THIS.... Into THIS Cobia Fish Tacos INGREDIENTS:

8 oz Cobia 2 limes 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/4 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp cumin 1/4 tsp chili powder 2 tbsp canola oil

1/4 head red cabbage 1/2 red onion 1 tbsp chopped cilantro 4 small soft corn tortillas 1 tbsp plain yogurt dash chipotle chili sauce 4 slices avocado

DIRECTIONS: 1. Place the cobia in a baking dish and squeeze half a lime over it. Add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with salt and pepper and turn the cobia in the marinade until evenly coated. Refrigerate, and let marinate for at least 20 minutes. 2. Combine the cabbage, onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Squeeze half a lime over mix. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. 3. Warm the tortillas. Wrap the warm tortillas in a clean dishcloth and set aside while you prepare the cobia.

photo courtesy of

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Destin Fishing Charters

4. Brush the pan with oil and heat to a medium-high heat. Cook the cobia on each side for 5-7 minutes per side until fully cooked and flakes easily. To serve, add the cabbage slaw, fish, sliced avocado, and drizzle of spicy yogurt (yogurt mixed with the chipotle sauce).

4/29/22 9:16 AM


VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Country Club

Austin Ackerson & Gerald Mathis

Thomas McVoy, Spencer Olson, Rhett Williams & Alec Purser

2022 Chamber Golf Classic photos & story by Patti Hall

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he Pensacola Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Golf Classic was held on April 11 at the Pensacola Country Club. It was a fantastic day for a 4-person net scramble tournament. Chick-fi l-A on Nine Mile Road gave participants chicken sandwiches as they played. Key sponsors for the event included Community Bank, Chickfi l-A on Nine Mile Road, Highpoint Hotel Corporation, Antler,

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Courtyard by Marriott Pensacola West, Harvesters Federal Credit Union, OWA, Gulf Coast Insurance, International Paper, SouthState Bank, and Rapid Response Team. The funds raised go back to the mission of the Greater Pensacola Chamber, which is to promote and improve the region’s quality of life, driven by the growth, success, and civic engagement of the business community.

Kayleen Quarles & Quinn Breaux

Dan Kenan & Randy Johnson

Genna Anderson & Sara Lefevers

Brian Finkbone & Wanda Radcliffe

Lee Hall, Carroll Scarborough, Justin Brooks & Kyle Brooks

| VIPPensacola.com

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VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Yacht Club

Ginny Hahn & Lori Hahn

Christy Rogers & Veronica Seymour

Cheryl Howard & Carolyn Brown

Jr. League Sustainers

Spring Luncheon T

photos & story by Patti Hall

he Junior League of Pensacola held their Sustainer Award and Joan Gonzalez Award Luncheon on April 20 at the Pensacola Yacht Club. Attendees enjoyed a delicious lunch with strawberry shortcake for dessert. Susan Kingsbury-Ridgeway introduced the 2022 - 2023 boards, and Ildi Hosman introduced the recipient of the 2021 Joan Gonzalez award. Winner of the Joan Gonzalez Award, Meri Asmar, has been in the Pensacola Junior League since 1996. Her involvement in the League includes Membership Development Chair and Corresponding Secretary. Her resume of community leadership and involvement is distinguished and varied. It includes serving on the Gulf Coast Kid’s House Board of Directors, President (and member since its inception) of IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area, Board Chair and Funds Distribution Chair of United Way of Escambia County, and as a Governor’s appointee as Board Chair of the Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County. Brenda Summersell presented Family Promise, a Community Response for Homeless Families, the first Junior League of Pensacola Sustainers Award. The award was made possible by the Sustainer Cookbook Committee profit from cookbook sales. Family Promise Board members Lauren Clark and Dr. Donna Jacobi Pruett were in attendance to receive the $2,500 check presentation. Family Promise of Escambia County’s mission is to engage communities and faith-based organizations in ending homelessness.. one family at a time.

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Laura Griffin, Katherine Murphy & Susan Kingsbury-Ridgeway

Emilie Bova & Theresa Harrell

2022-2023 Board Members

| VIPPensacola.com

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

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story by Anna Stockton

here’s no doubt that our little part of the country is a sportsman’s paradise. Florida’s Gulf Coast offers great places to hunt as well as fresh and saltwater fishing. Sportsmen Givin’ Back is a non-profit that combines all the things they love about the area’s outdoors with a passion for serving and helping the community. Sportsmen Givin’ Back is a local, non-profit organization with a heart and mission of helping the less fortunate in our community. Established by avid outdoorsmen and lovers of the great outdoors, the organization seeks ways to create opportunities for others to experience similar adventures, such as fishing trips for special needs children or hunting excursions for wounded warriors. To honor the life of a special and courageous friend, they have now named their hunts the “Wyatt Mixson Memorial Hunts.” Additionally, this group of outdoor sportsmen try to help those in our local area by supporting other charities, sponsoring families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and spreading love through their Community Kindness Projects.

Interview with

Bryen Ballard, Founder and President How did this organization come about? The story of how Sportsmen Givin’ Back came to be is one of faith, passion, and willingness to follow God’s plan. The short version is, I knew I was called to do more, but I wasn’t sure what that was or where to start. After spending time with other non-profit organizations and talking with friends and family, I realized there was a gap between people who wanted to “do good” and the charities that were already striving to make a difference. Somehow, we needed to connect these groups. Together with other avid outdoorsman, we came up with the idea to start a non-profit organization that serves as the bridge between the charities and the potential supporters. We didn’t stop there though, as outdoor enthusiasts, we also wanted to provide opportunities for children with special needs and wounded warriors to experience the same wonderful adventures we enjoyed. What impact has Sportsmen Givin’ Back had on the community? The impact our organization has on the community is far-reaching with almost infinite possibilities. Not only are we able to directly reach individuals and families through our Community Kindness Projects and Wyatt Mixson Memorial Hunts, and other outdoor adventures, but we are also able to reach thousands more through our contributions to other charities and causes. Each year, we look to support organizations that are not only passionate about serving the people in our community, but that do so with kindness, integrity, and open hearts. What are some future goals? We achieved a major milestone in 2021 with the celebration of our 10th banquet, where we donated nearly $100,000 to local charities and causes. Moving forward, we want to continue growing our SGB community, raising even more money, and blessing more people. Ultimately, Sportsmen Givin’ Back wants to make a positive impact on our community that impacts multiple generations to come. What events does your organization host? Our biggest event is our annual, family-friendly, fundraiser banquet, where we enjoy a delicious meal and outdoor speaker, but most importantly we raise money to give back to other charities and causes. Throughout the year, we host individual outdoor excursions, such as hunting or fishing trips for special needs children, wounded warriors, and young adults that may benefit from mentoring. Additionally, we support families at Thanksgiving and Christmas. What is the next event open to the public? We are finalizing the details and date of our annual banquet. We will release the official “save the date” soon, but for now, we can tell you it will be in the fall, most likely a Saturday evening in October. How did you get involved with Sportsmen Givin’ Back? I founded Sportsmen Givin’ Back by following God’s plan to do more for my fellow man. May 2022 | 59

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GI V E | C A R E | S H A R E What’s your favorite thing about being involved with the organization? The people. SGB exists to help people and bless others and through the generosity of our supporters, we have been able to do just that, touching thousands of lives. For me personally, I have had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people and hearing their stories along the way. I’m grateful that through SGB we can help them in various ways, but even more so, I’m thankful for the ways these individuals have changed me and my life. From the youngest to the oldest, the ones with special needs, the ones facing hard times, and everyone in between, the people we are trying to help are constantly challenging me to do better, be better, and love people more. What would you like our readers to know about Sportsmen Givin’ Back? Sportsmen Givin’ Back is not about one person, a board of directors, or even receiving public recognition for what we do. We are a community of difference makers – made up of our donors, volunteers, sponsors, banquet attendees, supporters, board members, and more. Our “SGB Community” works together to make a difference and bless as many people as possible. We often share about our banquet,

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hunting/fishing trips, holiday spirit, raffles, and more. However, we don’t share the details about our Community Kindness Projects. Sometimes we hear about a need due to an unexpected medical situation or other financial circumstance. SGB has delivered groceries, helped create raffle drawings, donated furniture, paid utility bills, and shown kindness in many other ways. But so much of that support happens behind-the-scenes, out of respect to the privacy of those we serve and because we’re simply trying to live out our mission and help others without being boastful. How can someone get involved or support your nonprofit? We are always looking to expand our SGB Community and therefore our ability to impact even more people. Some ways people can get involved are: • Attending our banquet • Volunteering to help with our outdoor adventures • Sharing about our organization with others • Sponsoring SGB as an individual or a business • Introducing us to a local charity and how they impact the people in our community For more information, you can follow us on Facebook: @SportsmenGivinBack, Instagram: @SportsmenGivinBackFL, or email us: sportsmengivinbackfl@gmail.com.

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VIP Pensacola at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

M

en Who Cook was held on April 3 at the Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center. Over 35 amateur chefs were on hand showing off their cooking skills, all to benefit the PACE Center for Girls Escambia-Santa Rosa Counties. The chefs spent time staging their food tables, and preparing sampling plates of some extraordinary appetizers, meats, soups, salads, pastries, and candies. Some of the most popular samples were the meats, ranging from beef briskets to prime-time bourbon topped with southern pecans. This was a sold out event with 240 food-loving attendees coming out and supporting this fundraiser. After a two-year break, people were happy to have Men Who Cook back up and cookin’ again. Guests were able to enjoy drinks, listen to live bluegrass music, bid on silent and live auctions, and participate in a wine pull. Professional female chefs selected a few winners from each category. The overall “Top Chef” was chosen from these, as well as a “People’s Choice Award” selected by the participants.

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Don South & Eugene Robichaux

Whit & Carol Johnson

Beverly & Tom Vaughn

Donna Parra & Sherry Hartnet

Rene Abel & Cathy Powers

Steve & Shelley Black

| VIPPensacola.com

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Joe & Delana Calle, Loretta & Mark Anderson, Jill Sensenig & Ruth Kane

Kelley Touchstone, Tiffany Cosson & Ashely Campbell

Rocky Parra, Nikki Fugma, Robert Combs, Margaret-Anne West & Kaeyla Vansickle

“Big Moose” & Seth Ensor May 2022 | 63

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VIP Pensacola at Scenic Hills Country Club

Rick Gorman & Leo Lynne

21 Forever Golf Classic

T.J. Prime & Matt LaFon

photos & story by Kevin L Houghton

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Dennis Monroe & Chris Williams

Ethan Barnes & Ed Williamson

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cenic Hills Country Club hosted the 5th annual 21 Forever Golf Classic on March 26. This charity golf tournament is held annually in memory of Samantha Gorman. Attendees wore her favorite color -- purple, and remembered her on what would have been her birthday. Family and friends came together to enjoy the golf classic in her honor. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was jovial, the drinks were cold, and the golf carts and golf balls were flyin’! Food, fun, and games met players at holes along the course. There were also the longest drive and closest to the pin competitions for the day. Other festivities included a raffle, live music, and a low country boil. Proceeds raised benefit the Youth Association of Northeast Pensacola and The Miracle League, who has given out over 125 softball scholarships alone.

Matt Williams & Ed Villar

Spencer Mullet & Chad Sipka

Andrew Neville, William Bird, Brent Johnson & David Chavers

| VIPPensacola.com

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Woody Ray & Colby Schreiber

Bridgette Jensen, Trey Myers & R.J. Lewis

Cheri Hlubek & Avery Flowers

Dana Fike, Bill Lacy & Mike Vogel

Rodney Randle & Sam Waite

Bill Carper, Skip Stone & Kevin Briski

Bubba Grover, Tom Doyle & Harry Adams

Mike Wroblewski & Ray St. Pierre’

Todd Williams & Mark Rhedin

Bucky Bates, Mike Herman, Steve Ross & Chris Williams May 2022 | 65

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I AM PENSACOLA

Lt. Kevin Biggs

What is your hometown and how did you end up in the Pensacola area? Pensacola is my hometown. I was born and raised in Pensacola and graduated from Tate high school in 1992. What is your profession? I am a Law Enforcement professional at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. I have been working with the K9 unit as a handler since 2006 and am now the lieutenant in charge of the K9 Unit. While working as a handler I worked three patrol dogs and was able to put hundreds of criminals in jail. I chose this profession because I would have the ability to make my community a safer place to live, and be able to provide an example to the citizens of Pensacola. What are some of your favorite things about Pensacola? The history and landscape of Pensacola is truly unique. You can go from the beautiful white sand beaches to the expansive rural areas in the north part of the county. Three words that best describe you. Loyal, Persistent, Honest. What is one thing that you do not go a day without? Talking to my family and loved ones. Finish this statement, I AM PENSACOLA because… I believe in the potential of Pensacola. For example, after Hurricane Ivan I saw the citizens pull together and come through a very tough situation. Pensacola is a very unique area because of the support its citizens show for Law Enforcement. I am Pensacola simply because of the hard working and dedicated people who live here and are constantly working to improve Pensacola. Lt. Kevin Biggs, OIC of Escambia County Sheriff’s Office K9 Division, is pictured with K-9 Shane. Lt. Biggs is supervisor of Shane’s handler, Officer James Freeman, II. Shane is named in honor of PFC Shane Austin, killed in the line of duty in Iraq 10/8/2006. photo by Nicole Partridge

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