Bring in the Thanksgiving Season Destin Style


Feast. Drink. Beach (or Boat). Then, once that’s done, it’s… Dine. Drink (some more). Shop. Skate. Santa. Shop (some more). Ooooh and Aaaah. Relax. Marvel. No matter what your tradition is, one thing is for sure… our Destin Thanksgivings are special!

You can start the holiday season with a special sparkling event during the 7th Annual Sparkling Wine and Holiday Lights, Sat., Nov. 16 from 4-6 p.m. This sparkling event will feature more than 30 champagnes and delicious appetizers at featured Village restaurants. You’ll enjoy the sounds of the season with carolers, plus a sneak peek of the first tree lighting of the season in the Village! And while there, dust off those skates and get in the winter spirit at The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Baytowne on Ice. For those who miss the cold and ice, this seasonal ice rink is the perfect opportunity to share some of your favorite holiday traditions. Ice rink is open Oct. 26 – Feb. 1. Hours vary daily.

The City of Destin’s 13th Annual Holiday Craft Show will be held at the Destin Community Center on Friday, Nov.15 from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be hand-crafted jewelry, wreaths, books, concessions, and much more from over 50 vendors. Free admission. Please call the Community Center at 850-654-5184 for more information.

Kick off your holiday season – and shopping – in style at the 7th Annual Bourbon at the Bay presented by Hand Arendall Harrison Sale Thursday, Nov. 21 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. at Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club. Sample bourbon, scotch and champagne, try your luck in the Destin Commons wine pull, bid on your choice of gifts, trips and more in the Ft. Walton Beach Medical Center silent auction, and enjoy decadent bourbon-infused fondue from The Melting Pot. New this year is the Beach Liquors VIP Room! Tickets are $45 and may be purchased at

Destin Commons and Bass Pro Shops welcome Santa to light the huge Holiday Tree in the middle of the square Friday, Nov. 22. Enjoy free face painting, free photos with Rudolph and Frosty, as well as a holiday photo booth while you listen to festive tunes. At 7 p.m., sit back and marvel at the holiday parade as Santa arrives on Main Street to light 50 feet of the most spectacular Christmas tree on the Emerald Coast! It all comes together with an extravagant finale of fireworks!

Just in time for the holidays, Northwest Florida Ballet returns to the Mattie Kelly Arts Center to present the 40th annual production of the classic holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. Performances will be held on Fri. and Sat., Nov. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and features live musical accompaniment by the NFB Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director and conductor David Ott. This timeless tradition is a celebrated favorite of families along the Emerald Coast as it marks the start of their holiday season.

Families are invited to ring in the season with Santa’s arrival at Silver Sands on Nov. 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and, featuring Kris Kringle’s grand entrance on a fire truck! Kids can gather around the courtyard in front of Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH to take photos with St. Nick and share holiday wishes. In addition, children can enjoy festive holiday-themed activities, including face painting and a special surprise from Santa. In the spirit of the giving season, the first 50 families to arrive at the event will receive a complimentary goody bag with a $20 Disney Store Outlet gift card!

Santa’s Magical Arrival at HarborWalk Village is a highlight of the season at HarborWalk Village Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 from 1-4 p.m. Celebrate with Destin’s finest as Santa and Mrs. Claus make their grand entrance Saturday at noon, kicking-off the season. You’ll enjoy kids crafts, face painting, and visiting jolly old Saint Nick.

And then there’s the beautiful Festival of Trees kick-off Nov. 26 from 4-6 p.m. at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. This year’s festival will showcase 12 uniquely decorated Christmas Trees from area non-profits. Grand Boulevard merchants will also host a festive Town Center Holiday Open House and Walkabout from 3-6 p.m.

A Holiday Baking Class, by Chef Jim Shirah, will be held at the Destin Community Center for children ages 8-14 on Nov. 26 and 27 from 11 am -2 pm. The fee is $40 for Destin residents/$50 for non-residents. Each student will learn how to bake and bring home several holiday cookies, treats, and more. Please register early or call 654-5184 for more information.

The Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving, Nov. 30, the Farmer’s Market will take place at Grand Boulevard from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Here Comes Santa Claus on Nov. 30 from 6 – 9 p.m. at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Get in the winter spirit with during the Here Comes Santa event. Cheer Santa on as he makes his way to Baytowne and watch as he lights the special Village tree! Enjoy face-painting, kids crafts and a beautiful fireworks display! Visit for information.

Excitement builds in anticipation for Santa’s arrival to light up the Henderson Beach Resort’s Christmas tree. Gather on the Piazza Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. for a festive celebration with a special Christmas performance by carolers from our local community. Enjoy traditional holiday drinks like hot cocoa and eggnog while Santa takes gift requests. Christmas Tree Lighting takes place at 7 p.m.

The City of Destin’s 33rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting will be held at the Destin Community Center on Thursday, December 5th, 2019, at 6 pm. This will be an outdoor event for the entire family with a visit from Santa Claus. There will be entertainment from local choruses and musical groups. Refreshments will be served after the lighting of the tree. Donations of canned food will be collected for families in need. Please call 850-654-5184 for more information.

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