Music and excitement filled the air May 18 at Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin as Thos3Guys took the stage to kick off the inaugural Rock United Music Fest, presented by Gulf Power, and hosted by United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties. The event brought together donors, advocates, and volunteers to show the impact we can make when we all "live united."

Local talented arts and craft vendors were abundant and a kid’s zone that included art projects, games and face painting provided entertainment for the little kids. Music continued throughout the day and featured the talents of Jacob Mohr Band, Mojo Breeze (a Tom Petty tribute band), Casey Kearney, Rowdies Rock and the Moos Bros. Online voting was available to name Fan Favorite band, which was awarded to Rowdies Rock! Performances by Eleanor J Johnson Dance Divas, Liza Jackson Dance Project, South Walton High School Jazz Ensemble and the demonstration team from Kevin Mathis Martial arts kept the crowd entertained between band sets.

The event also featured the announcement of the United Way's total community impact funding for 2019-2020.

“Through the generous donor investments trusted to United Way, we awarded $741,000 in total, including grants, designations and programs to help solve the greatest needs in our community," said United Way of Okaloosa & Walton Counties CEO Rick Owen. "We envision a community where resources are aligned to ensure people are healthy, families are strong, and youth and adults are engaged in strengthening social bonds.”

Last year alone, United Way impacted 18,480 people in the area of health, 4,990 with educational opportunities, and made nearly 41,000 people more financially secure. More than 2,000 volunteers packaged 100,000 meals for the hungry and performed over 3,500 hours of service to the charities and activities in the community. This group also includes the volunteer mentors who read to 4-year old students in the voluntary Pre-K centers, helping these children better prepare for kindergarten through social and behavioral development, and literacy improvement.