The Emerald Coast Convention and Visitor's Bureau is helping locals and tourists alike have 'A Very Emerald Christmas' with a string of events in Destin and Fort Walton Beach throughout the month of December.

Destin mayor Sam Seevers and Fort Walton Beach mayor Mike Anderson were on hand at the opening event of the campaign Nov. 20 at Clemenza's at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach. Seevers said she is happy to drive over the bridge to Fort Walton and team with Anderson to help start the new fiscal year with a memorable holiday season.

"We're not ending last year; we're kicking off a whole new ball game. Yesterday is over. Now is the time to do some really positive things. Let's not wait for the weather to get warm. Let's do it now," Seevers told the crowd.

The effort is in conjunction with a $203,725 nationwide advertising campaign to market the Christmas holidays as another tourist season along the Emerald Coast.

Along with ads in magazines, on radio and websites, A Very Emerald Christmas also includes several events for locals and tourists alike, including the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation's Sounds of the Season at the Cultural Arts Village Dec. 6 and the 27th Annual Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade on Dec. 15.

"We've got all different kinds of special events. Not only that, we've got all the different shopping centers that showcase Christmas tree lightings and all types of promotional things for people," Seevers said. "We also have those special little cameo visits from Santa Claus."

Thom Gossom Jr., a member for the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council, said it is very important for Fort Walton Beach and Destin to come together for campaigns like A Very Emerald Christmas.

"I see it all as the Emerald Coast. I think we have a geographic block in our minds," Gossom Jr. told The Log. "I think it's wonderful that they are working together. I think it's going to be good for the overall area."

For more information on A Very Emerald Christmas, including holiday specials, a complete calendar of events, special holiday restaurant menus and shopping opportunities, visit