Holiday Happenings ‘Round Town

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Honor our veterans at the Veteran’s Day Celebration on the Harbor will be held Nov. 11 from 4 – 7:30 p.m. at the Main Stage and entertainment by Cadillac Willy from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The ceremony will include historical remembrance and recognition of all branches of the services, patriotic entertainment, and special keynote speakers!

Join the 10th Annual 30A 10K Thanksgiving Day races (10K, 5K and 1-mile run/walk), Nov. 25 in Rosemary Beach. All money raised this year will be donated to: The Point Washington Medical Clinic, the Walton County Education Foundation, Northwest Florida Guardian ad Litem, and the Seaside School Foundation. The 10K race ensues at 7:30 a.m. The 1-mile fun run starts immediately after at 7:35 a.m. The 5K race starts at 9:30 a.m. Visit http://30a10k.com to register.

Shop till you drop at Harvest House’s 13th Annual Christmas Bazaar Sat., Nov. 13, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Held outside, it will include plenty of Christmas items for sale that must go. All proceeds go back into the mission. If you are looking to donate or volunteer, you can call Harvest House Destin at (850) 837-2277. Visit www.harvesthousedestin.org.

A biker tradition for more than 40 years, the 42nd Annual Toys 4 Tots Ride on The Emerald Coast is Sunday, Nov. 14 sponsored by Emerald Coast HOG Chapter #3605 and Emerald Coast Harley-Davidson. The ride begins at Emerald Coast Harley-Davidson with registration at 8:30 a.m. and KSU at 11 a.m. Donate a toy and share the joy! All funds benefit Children in Crises (CIC) and Emerald Coast Children Advocacy Center (CAC).

While you’re in Baytowne, dust off those skates and get in the winter spirit at The Village of Baytowne Wharf’s Baytowne on Ice. This seasonal ice rink is the perfect opportunity to share some of your favorite holiday traditions. Ice rink is open now – Feb. 2nd. Hours vary daily.

Compete in Rock Out Climbing Gym’s annual Thanksending bouldering competition on Saturday, November 20 from 11:30-2:30 p.m. If you want to watch the competition, spectators can join for free. Registration starts at $35. Visit rockoutclimbing.com.

Polar Express FREE movie night at Baytowne Wharf is a family tradition. Bring blankets and lawn chairs to the Events Plaza Lawn Friday, Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. to enjoy this Christmas favorite movie under the stars.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin hosts a special light show on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights from Dec. 1-22 during the 12 Nights of Lights where the tree lights in the events plaza will dance and blink to music at 6, 7 and 8 p.m.

Northwest Florida Ballet’s 52nd season begins with The Nutcracker at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21 at 2:30 p.m. NFB’s 42nd annual performance is the only full-length version in the area and features a cast of more than 140 performers including international guest artists and over 100 local children. The NFB Symphony Orchestra will provide musical accompaniment for all public performances. To purchase tickets, visit nfballet.org; $40 Adult/$20 Child.

The beautiful Festival of Trees kick-off is Nov. 23 from 4-6 p.m. at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Participating organizations will be competing to win cash prizes totaling $7,000 and you will have a chance to cast your vote for the People’s Choice award. The trees debut the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and remain in the park through Christmas Day for the public to enjoy and learn more about some of the area’s non-profits.

Join in the holiday cheer as Grand Boulevard hosts photos with Elf On The Shelf in Grand Park at the Festival of Trees display every Saturday, Nov. 27th – Dec. 18th from 2-4 p.m.

Join J.Leon Gallery + Studio in Miramar Beach Friday, Dec. 3, 5-7 p.m., for the annual Holiday Shop, Sip, N’ Stroll featuring J.Leon Gallery + Studio, McCaskill & Company and Mollega Eye Care & Optique. Shop local favorites, sip festive beverages, snacks, and enjoy a boutique shopping experience with some surprises. Visit jleongallery.com or the Facebook event for more details or call (850) 842-3051.

The 37th annual “Jingle Bell Rock” Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. Applications must be received by Wed., Dec. 1, and can be dropped off in person to the Destin Community Center (101 Stahlman Ave), faxed to 850-654-8998 or emailed to recreation@cityofdestin.com. Your entry fee is the donation of a toy for a local charity. All donations can be dropped off at the Destin Community Center. The floats will begin at the Downtown Destin Shopping Center and travel west down Harbor Blvd. (Hwy. 98) to Stahlman Ave. You can watch the parade on the north side of Harbor Blvd. Call 850-654-5184 for more information.

The City of Destin hosts its Christmas Decorating Contest where festive light displays all around town compete for your nominations. Judging will take place Dec. 1-15 for nominated homes and businesses. Winners will be announced a few days before Christmas and are recognized the following month at a City council meeting with a plaque from the mayor.

Awards are given in the five categories: Best Decorated Home; Best Decorated Business; Best Decorated Organization; Best overall Holiday; and Best on the Harbor.

Put on your Jingle and come Mingle at FPRA’s Mingle and Jingle Holiday Mixer on Thursday Dec. 16 at Sunset Bay Cafe from 6-9 p.m. sponsored by Okaloosa Gas. Music, Heavy Hors D’oeuvres, Champagne Toast, Cash Bar, Silent Auction and more await you. What a great way to gather with your friends to get into the festive holiday mood! Please bring a toy donation to benefit Guardian Ad Litem Foundation of Northwest Florida. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/…/mingle-jingle-holiday…

Supporting Defenders of the Front Line, Veterans and First Responders, this year’s annual Honor Games will be held Saturday, Nov. 13 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Register at deka.fit/honorgames2021. 2021 Beneficiaries: Special Ops Survivors, Air Commando Association, Healing Paws for Warriors, The Special Forces Association Chapter 7 and Okaloosa Sheriff’s Star Charity. Visit www.emeraldcoasthonorgames.com or follow on Facebook or Instagram.

Temple Beth Shalom of Fort Walton Beach is proud to present its Havdalah & Hanukkah event on December 4th at 6 p.m. This exciting evening is open to the public, Jewish or not, and will feature the lighting the Menorahs for the 6th night of Hanukkah. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own Menorah to participate in this meaningful practice. There will be live music, Hebrew dance, games and light refreshments to include Sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and Latkes with all the trimmings. There is no charge, but Temple Beth Shalom encourages you to sign up at its Facebook page or call Michael Walker at 850-543-4997 for more information.

Santa is in Town!
Santa’s Arrival at Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Nov. 27 is a highlight of the season! The word on the street is Santa will be arriving by horse drawn carriage with the fireworks show starting sometime between 6:15 and 6:30. You can visit Santa at The Village of Baytowne Wharf at his sleigh beginning Sat., Nov. 27, at his arrival celebration and during the Tuba Christmas event on Saturday, Dec. 11. If you miss those, you can still visit Wednesday nights Dec. 1-15 in the Village. Visit https://www.baytownewharf.com.

Kick off your Christmas season when Santa arrives to light the biggest Christmas Tree on the Emerald Coast at Destin Commons Nov. 19, 6-8 p.m. The celebration includes free face painting and photo opportunities with Rudolph and Frosty characters all set to festive holiday tunes. Santa will ride in the holiday parade which begins at 7 p.m. down Main Street in Destin Commons to arrive at the tree lighting. Fireworks are immediately following.

You can visit Santa at Bass Pro Shop at Destin Commons from now through December 24. There’s also free games, crafts, and photos with Santa. Families who visit Santa receive a free 4×6 professional photo as well as a free digital download. Additional photo packages are also available for purchase. During your visit, you can mail your letter to Santa and receive free giveaways while supplies last. To book your visit online and for Covid protocols, visit basspro.com.

You can visit with Santa at HarborWalk Village beginning Sat., Nov. 27, where Santa and Mrs. Clause will be at the main stage. Kids can enjoy crafts, face painting, and a Rudolph-themed treasure hunt on Santa’s arrival day. Bring your letter to Santa and drop it in the special North Pole mailbox located near the stage. For every letter received, $1 will be donated to a local children’s charity. All of Santa’s guests will receive a special treat and a FREE 4×6 photo. Visits with Santa will continue for the following three weekends until Dec. 19.