And so it begins.

To the casual observer, it looks like just another snowbird season: more traffic on the roads, especially Emerald Coast Parkway, and longer wait lines at our favorite restaurants. However, behind what is obvious there is a well-organized community making arrangements to ensure that the Destin snowbirds feel right at home for next few months.

Perhaps our expectations are high, but that’s because we have been warmly welcomed and treated wonderfully for decades by many of Destin’s businesses and organizations. Our list of vendors increases every year. They are listed on our website,, in the blue banner at the top of the first page. The best “thank you” we can give is our patronage.

Nearly 60 snowbird golfers gathered at Emerald Bay Golf Club for the first "Nine & Wine & Whine" event last Monday, and another 52 graced the greens at Shalimar Pointe for the first 18-hole outing Friday.

Golf participation has exploded this season, and the courses are scrambling to accommodate the flocks. Swingers and duffers are encouraged to check their emails often for event information and to attend the weekly meetings to reserve a spot on the tee-time sheets. If an event fills up and you miss the cut, please don’t let that stop you from enjoying all the golf specials and play-dates offered by our many golf vendors.

Another season’s first was Ken Yee’s casino trip to the Hard Rock Casino on Friday. This will be a weekly adventure that will alternate between the Hard Rock and Scarlet Pearl casinos. I kiddingly say that this is a “middle-of-the-night” activity because, even though the ticket says the bus leaves from The Track at 6 a.m., they are ready to roll by 5:30 a.m., and anyone who gets there later might just get “booed.”

Ken has been organizing these trips through Good Times Bus Tours, another vendor, for many years. His team has long included Jim the driver and Monty the group leader. Sadly, Monty passed away recently, and for many snowbirds who have enjoyed his crusty humor, he will be hard to replace. However, Debbie was delightful and the trips are sure to be a lot of fun.

The Singles Friendship Club is also up and running for the new season. Lunch gatherings are planned to follow the 11 a.m. Tuesday morning meetings. The venue will change each week. This week, singles will meet at Vintij. Jan Langham chairs the gathering and her contact information can be found on the activity sheet and on the website.

Getting back to our high expectations, the entertainment at our weekly meetings has been so exceptional that we come expecting to be enchanted. Jabbo, Krissa and Krissa’s husband Mark did not disappoint the standing-room-only crowds at last Tuesday’s meetings. Their easy-listening selection of melodies will be hard to match, but if anyone can do it, it’s Bobby D., next Tuesday’s performer.

He may not look old enough to have been “around the block” a few times, but Bobby D. has been around Northwest Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana for nearly 40 years. There’s isn’t a snowbird song request that he can’t fulfill.

Who is your favorite, Elvis? Bobby can give him to you. Sinatra? You’ve got him! This is a must-see performance. However, if fate keeps you away, don’t worry; he will also be performing at the season’s first T.G.I.T. (Thank Goodness It’s Tuesday) party at the Seascape Conference Center from 3 to 6 p.m. Plan to get there early. Last year the crowds were so large that folks had to be turned away.

So, yes, it begins, and if you miss the meetings you won’t only miss an incredible performance and a chance to win a vendor’s prize contribution, but you will also miss opportunities to purchase tickets for the Harbor Party Cruises, Valentine Dinner Dance, Fashion Show Luncheon, Soundsations Benefit Concert, New Orleans Mardi Gras trip, Snowbird Cup Golf Tournament, Ladies Golf Scrambles and weekly casino trips. Registration will be open one hour to 15 minutes before each meeting. Who would want to miss all that? Hope to see you there.

Mary Pierce is the publicity director of the Destin Snowbird Club. She can be reached via email at