EVENTS

What to know before you go to the Destin Christmas parade and boat parade

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

In just a couple of weeks, Christmas will be on parade in Destin, by land and sea. First will be the marching bands, floats and Santa on a firetruck down U.S. 98, followed by a lighted boat parade on Destin harbor. 

Here's a rundown of what's to come: 

By land 

On Dec. 10, the 38th annual "Elf on the Shelf" Destin Christmas Parade will roll out at 10 a.m. down Harbor Boulevard (U.S. 98) to Stahlman Avenue. The floats will begin at the Downtown Destin Shopping Center and travel west. Spectators are asked to stand on the north side of Harbor Boulevard to watch the parade. 

"Safety is our main goal," said Lisa Firth, Destin's parks and recreation director.

The Destin Christmas parade is set for Dec. 10 at 10 a.m.

Members of the Destin Rotary Club as well as the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Posse will walk along the parade route to help keep people safe. 

Longtime resident, former city councilman and past school board member Lloyd Taylor will serve as grand marshal for the parade. 

Photos:Destin Christmas Parade - 2021

More:Christmas Boat Parade 2021

Miss Destin Ella Kathryn Campbell will be riding a horse in the parade, and members of the Fort Walton Beach Viking Band as well as the Destin Middle School Marlin Band and Destin High Shark Band will entertain along the route with Christmas music.  

Councilman Dewey Destin hands out candy during last year's Christmas Parade. The parade is set to roll at 10 a.m. on Dec. 10.

The McGuire's Irish Pub Pipe Band, which won the Noel Award last year, will be back in the lineup for the parade. 

Last year, the parade had 77 entries, including Santa and Mrs. Clause atop the Destin Fire Rescue truck. 

For those who would like to participate in the parade, an application is available at cityofdestin.com

Applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Dec. 1, and can be dropped off in person at the Destin Community Center, faxed to 850-654-8998 or emailed to recreation@cityofdestin.com.

The McGuire’s Irish Pub Pipe Band, that won the Noel Award last year, will be back for this year's event.

In lieu of an entry fee, each applicant is asked to donate a toy. Firth said the toys will be given to Shoreline Church and Destin United Methodist to give to those in need. All donations can be dropped off at the Destin Community Center.

Entrants will be judged and up for awards such as the Noel Award/Band Award, sponsored by Destin Rotary; Elf Award/Children Service, sponsored by Jim Liufau State Farm; Santa's Helper Award/Children Commercial, sponsored by AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar; Civic Club/Civic Award, sponsored by Mike Cheney Allstate; Chamber Award/Commercial, sponsored by Destin Chamber of Commerce; Angel Award/Religion Award, sponsored by Emerald Coast Knights of Columbus; and Crowd Pleaser, sponsored by City of Destin. 

The winners will be recognized at the Dec. 12 City Council meeting at City Hall. 

By sea 

The 36th annual Holiday on the Harbor Lighted Boat Parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Dec. 11 on Destin harbor. 

Registration is now open for the boat parade sponsored by the Destin History and Fishing Museum. 

The Destin Holiday Lighted Boat Parade will light up the harbor on Dec. 11 beginning at 6 p.m.

The parade is for all boats, shapes and sizes, from private to charter boats, tour boats to sailboats. Last year, nearly 30 boats paraded.

Entry fee is $25 per boat. People can register by dropping by the museum at 108 Stahlman Ave. or visit destinhistoryandfishingmuseum.org

Prizes will be awarded in 10 categories including Best Overall and the city of Destin Heritage Award for the boat that represents the historic harbor. 

The Destin Holiday Lighted Boat Parade registration is now open. Entry fee is $25 per boat.

The lighted boat parade will begin on the east end of the harbor and cruise past Margaritaville at HarborWalk Village where judging will take place. The parade will be visible from docks and restaurants along the harbor west of Grand Harbor Condominiums. 

The parade will wrap up with a fireworks show over the harbor sponsored by HarborWalk Village. 

People lined the harbor and restaurants last year to catch a glimpse of the lighted boat parade.

For more information or to register, call 850-837-6611.