UPDATED: Christmas on the Coast 2013

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Santa Claws

Bring a camera and snap your pet’s picture with Santa from 1:30-4 p.m. Dec. 14 at PetSmart in Destin. Donate $5 to benefit Feline Friends of Destin’s rescue program. Call 837-3869.

Christmas Parade

The City of Destin’s 28th Annual Christmas Parade, “A Fantasy Christmas,” will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 14. The floats will start at Downtown Destin Shopping Center and travel west down Harbor Boulevard (U.S. 98) to Stahlman Avenue. Stand on the north side of Harbor Boulevard to watch the floats. Call 654-5184.

Pancakes with Santa

Magnolia Grill’s annual Pancakes With Santa Breakfast will be held from 8-10 a.m. Dec. 14 at 157 Brooks St SE in Fort Walton Beach to benefit The Salvation Army’s Empty Stocking Fund with the Northwest Florida Daily News. Tickets are $5 and include pancakes, sausage and juice or coffee.  All funds raised and gratuities collected will be donated to the Empty Stocking Fund.

Yule of Yesteryear

Enjoy the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida’s annual Yule of Yesteryear — A Traditional Christmas Celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at 115 Westview Ave. in Valparaiso. There will choirs, ornament making for children, a visit from Santa, a bake sale, craft demonstrations and gifts. Witness a Civil War Christmas of 1861 with the Walton Guard. A Victorian Tea will be held at 2 p.m. Registration required at www.heritage-museum.org, 678-2615, or info@heritage-museum.org.

Jingle Bell Jog

The 35th Jingle Bell Jog will be held at 8 a.m. Dec. 14 at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach. Register online at www.sfa7.com or www.active.com for the 5K Fun Run, 5K Walk, and 10K Race.

Candlelight Open House

The annual Eden Gardens State Park Christmas Candlelight Open House will be held from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 14 in historic Point Washington. Enjoy the traditional walk through the luminaries, to the Historic Wesley House and its beautifully seasonally decorated rooms. Refreshments will be served in the Pavilion by the Friends of Eden. House tour and Park admission fees will be waived. Call 267-8320.    

Holiday Lantern Parade

The fourth annual Baytowne Holiday Lantern Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. This community event will feature commissioned paper lanterns in the shapes of iconic symbols of the holiday season. Individuals and groups can participate by making their own paper lanterns.

Tuba Christmas Concert

A free music concert held in cities worldwide brings together musicians who play instruments in the tuba family at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Events Plaza at Baytowne Wharf.


Ages 3-12 can create a gingerbread house from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dec.14 at Abrakadoodle Art Studio in Destin Commons. Under 4 must be accompanied by parent. Tuition is $30 and includes all supplies.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told

The Seaside Repertory Theatre brings back “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14, 18-21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21 in the Seaside Meeting Hall Theatre.

Tickets are $25 (discounts for students, seniors, and military) and can be purchased at www.seasiderep.org, Amavida in Seaside and Rosemary Beach, or call 231-0733.

Charity Gift Wrap

Sinfonia Gulf Coast and Shelter House have been chosen as the recipients of the Silver Sands Premium Outlets Annual Charity Gift Wrap through Dec. 24. Sinfonia and Shelter House volunteers will wrap holiday gifts while you wait or you can drop them off and pick them up later.  Donations for wrapping range from $2-$15, depending on the size or items wrapped. Hours are 12-6 p.m. Dec. 14-18; 12-9 p.m. Dec. 19-23; and 12-6 p.m. Dec. 24.

Festival of Trees - Freeport

The Freeport Town Planters’ Festival of Trees will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Freeport Community Center. The trees, decorated by individuals, organizations and business, are competing for the People’s Choice award to be presented at the end of the show on Sunday. Admission is $5 and  refreshments will be served. Call 588-9945.

Boat Parade

The harbor will be dancing with holiday lights and cheer during the 27th Annual Destin Boat Parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Boats will line up between 5 and 5:30. The parade can be viewed from docks and restaurants west of Grand Harbor Condominiums on Destin harbor. Enjoy live music, children’s arts and crafts and hot chocolate. Visit with Santa Claus from 12-4 p.m. A fireworks finale follows the parade. Rain date is Dec. 22.

Homemade Holiday Treat Exchange

Enjoy a festive evening of music, revelryand an assortment of delicious treats tobe exchanged from 7-8 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Walton County Coastal Library, 437 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. Holiday attire encouraged. Seating limited to 10 participants. Registration at katyln11@gmail.com ends Dec. 12. Admission is homemade goodies. All treats must be homemade; cookies, brownies, candies: 5 dozen; mini cakes/breads: 20.

Holiday concert

Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents the Orchestral Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Destiny Worship Center. The concert features holiday orchestral favorites and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s classic, “The Nutcracker,” featuring dancers from the Northwest Florida Ballet. To purchase tickets, $29.50 to $42.50, visit www.SinfoniaGulfCoast.org or call 850-269-7129.

 Holiday Extravaganza

The Volunteer Guild at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s annual holiday sale takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Dec. 20. Call 278-3032.


Ballet Conservatory and Destin School of Music and Dance present The Nutcracker at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 3 p.m. Dec. 21 at South Walton Beach High School Auditorium, 645 Greenway Trail,  in Santa Rosa Beach. Reserved seating is $15 and available at www.FloridaBalletConservatory.com. Tickets are door are $20 cash. Call 837-1133.

Holiday Baking Class

Chef Jim Shirah will hold a baking class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Destin Community Center for children ages 8-14. The fee is $40/residents and $45/non-residents. Each student will learn how to bake and will take home several holiday cookies, treats and more. Pre-registration is required at 654-5184.

12 Nights of Lights

Baytowne Wharf inside Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort hosts a holiday light show from 6-7 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays leading up to Christmas in the Events Plaza. Festive lights are displayed and set to your favorite holiday music.

Harbor Lights

Dozens of boats of all sizes will illuminate the Destin harbor boardwalk during A Very Emerald Christmas through Dec. 31.

Santa’s Wonderland

Create new traditions and lasting memories at Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland through Dec. 24. In addition to games, kids can visit one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa, color, make holiday ornaments, a stuffed Christmas owl and Santa, a candy cane reindeer, and even decorate Christmas cookies from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 24, all for free. Also receive a free 4x6 photo with Santa.

Santa will be in residence from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from12-5 p.m. Sundays.

Christmas Art Market

The Arts & Design Society’s members host the annual Christmas Art Market through Dec. 21 at The Gallery, 17 First Street, SE, in Fort Walton Beach. Works are all under $200, with most considerably less. Call 244-1271.

Running of the Elves/Christmas Gift & Farmers Market

The first Running of the Elves for the whole family from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Fort Walton Beach Landing. Dress like your favorite elf and have a ball as Roller Derby Santas with candy canes find out who's naughty or nice while jogging along a one mile course through downtown Fort Walton Beach. Also includes kids activities and a costume contest. Register online by Dec. 19. After party includes live music, food and drinks for all registered elves. Visit www.downtownfwb.com for registration info.

Holy Kidz winter camps

His Greatest Gift camps, for those entering kindergarten through fifth grade in 2014, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at Coastline Calvary Church on Mountain Drive in Destin and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 23 at Good News United Methodist Church in Santa Rosa Beach.

Children make gifts to give to family members and friends for Christmas. Then we end the day by having a birthday party for Jesus. Call 586-8264.

Emerald Coast Christmas Miracle

United for a Good Cause Inc. will host its second annual free Emerald Coast Christmas Miracle Children’s Fiesta from 2-7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Christian Life Center of First Baptist Church, 21 First Street SE in Fort Walton Beach. The event will be a fun-filled “Latin-Flavored” party open to needy children/families regardless of race, ethnicity or creed.

There will be food, games, DJs, singers, church choirs, clowns, magicians, dance contests for bikes and more.  Santa and his elves will arrive aboard powerful Harley Davidson motorcycles courtesy of the Bikers Against Child Abuse Hurricane Alley Chapter. From 2-3 p.m. is only for families with special needs children.

Monetary donations and volunteers welcomed. Also, business sponsorships, donations of new toys, clothing and gifts. Visit www.unitedforagoodcause.org for information on our sponsor levels. Call 850-305-3686 or 850-368-3505, or email estela.elias@embarqmail.com or dt4alexis@gmail.com for information.

Festival of Trees

Grand Boulevard’s fourth annual Festival of Trees showcases a dozen uniquely decorated Christmas trees from area non-profit organizations through Dec. 25 in Grand Park. The tree with the most votes will win the People’s Choice award, which will be announced by Santa Claus at 2 p.m. Dec. 21 in Grand Park.

New Years Eve Celebration

Dine, drink and dance into the New Year throughout HarborWalk Village on Dec. 31. Enjoy live music in the restaurants as well as the HarborWalk Village Main Stage. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m. and midnight. The sixth annual Ball Drop descends over the harbor to make this celebration Destin’s most exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve.

Baytowne Countdown

Dance the night away and enjoy live bands and breathtaking fireworks as they light up the sky over the lagoon at midnight during Baytowne Countdown at 8 p.m. Dec. 31 in the Events Plaza at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Event is free.

Kids’ Night Out

A Kids’ Night Out New Year’s Eve Bash will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at WaterColor Inn & Resort. Cost is $75/child; reservations required at 534-5975.

Polar Bear Plunge

The annual Polar Bear Plunge takes place at 9 a.m. Jan. 1 on WaterColor’s Beach. T-shirts available for purchase.

Outdoor Ice Skating Rink

The largest ice skating rink of its kind in Northwest Florida will line the Village Events Plaza through January, transforming the Village into a tropical winter wonderland