It doesn’t take much to know that Destin is in the thick of snowbird season. The increase in traffic on the roads and in stores is enough to show you that there are more people here now than there were just a couple of months ago.
Currently, there are 1,949 registered members of the Destin Snowbird Club, which is 40 members less than this time last year. But that doesn’t concern Destin Snowbird publicity director Mary Pierce, who said she expects those numbers to increase during the month of February.
“Some people only come down for the month of February, so I think we’ll get some more members,” Pierce said.
Last February, membership jumped from 1,989 to 2,132 snowbirds, which was an increase of 112 members over the 2017 season.
“The numbers might look the same but it’s forever changing,” Pierce said. “I think we have a lot of new members and they’re definitely getting more involved.”
The Destin Snowbird Cub offers various group activities such as basketball, bowling, golf, poker, quilting and tennis. But the activity that Pierce said has really taken off this year is golf.
“We cannot accommodate all the people who want to golf and that’s a first,” she said. “We have had 60 to 64 people show up each time and we might have to turn people away from our upcoming activities because we’ve taken it to capacity each time.”
Special events are also organized by the club, such as harbor cruises, a New Orleans bus trip for Mardi Gras and TGIT (Thank Goodness It’s Tuesday) parties.
“Last year was the first time they had to turn people away because of capacity limits and we had to do it at both the (TGIT) parties they’ve had so far this year,” Pierce said.
The TGIT parties are held at the Seascape Conference Center and include live entertainment, refreshments and a dance floor. Pierce said she hasn’t been able to make it to one of the parties yet, but she hopes that will change this month.
“They really seem to have a good time,” she said. “I swear they’re talking about the conference center maybe having to be torn down and it’s probably because of all the stomping from some of these TGIT parties. They’ve probably shaken a few rafters loose.”
The snowbirds that only come during February might miss out on some of the fun though. Pierce said almost all of their special events are sold out.
“The Mardi Gras buses are sold out, the fashion show is sold out, all three of the harbor boat cruises and the Valentine’s dinner dance are sold out,” she said.
The only event that hasn’t sold out yet is the Soundsations Northwest Florida State College Benefit Concert at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, but Pierce believes it won’t take long for that to sell out too.
“New people are coming in as some of the older people are unable to return, so the interests change all the time,” she said. “It’s just a fun group to be associated with.”