Destin Snowbirds are back, opening of "The Roost" is set Dec. 5 at Destin Community Center

Mary Pierce
Special to The Log

Greetings Destin! 

On behalf of all the Destin Snowbirds, thank you for welcoming us back to your beautiful piece of paradise. 

Mary Pierce

We will officially begin our season on Monday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m., with the annual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Destin Community Center (The Roost) located on Stahlman Avenue. Destin’s newly elected mayor Bobby Wagner will be there to welcome us along with members of the Destin City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and snowbird president Ruth Beckett. Registration will take place immediately following the ceremony until 3 p.m. Fees this year remain at $12 per person. 

The official first meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 10 a.m. at The Roost. Singer Dean Sadowski will open the entertainment this season with his repertoire of easy listening favorites that so many of us have come to enjoy weekly at Camille’s at Crystal Beach. 

Snowbird friends enjoy gathering before the season officially opens. Meeting at the Beach Camp for refreshments and comradery are, from left, Linda Zukonik from Michigan, Cindy Varnell from Tennessee, Diane Sikkenga from Michigan, Ann Haley from Ohio and Ted Spring formerly from New York but now a Florida resident.

The prize committee, under the leadership of Gene and Sandy Holzer, has already gathered a generous supply of gifts from Destin vendors to be distributed. Few will walk out empty handed. 

A total of 10 Tuesday morning meetings are planned for this season. Unlike past seasons, there will only be one meeting per week and all will start at 10 a.m. Membership registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. each Tuesday before the meetings. 

As usual, the club will be offering a variety of activities that include golf, tennis, basketball, bowling, softball, and pickleball. Billiards is being considered. Cards/games will include poker, euchre, pinochle, possibly bridge, and Mah-Jongg. The Friendship Club for singles will meet for lunch every week, and craft and quilting clubs will be offered. Several trips are already planned and, of course, the very popular T.G.I.T. (Thank Goodness it’s Tuesday) parties will continue to mesmerize the masses. You will not find a bigger “bang for your buck” anywhere. And that doesn’t even include the amazing friendships waiting to be developed. 

Gene and Sandy Holzer from Minnesota will serve as the prize committee chairpersons again this season. Gene will also serve as a member of the board of directors as the position has been added to the board.

The storage lockers, at 193 Stahlman, will be open every Saturday from 8 to 9 a.m. Snowbirds are asked to bring their receipts with their box numbers for verification before picking up their stored items. All of this information and more, can be found on the website, Also, the Destin Snowbird group Facebook page now has over 2,000 members. It’s a great place to meet up with fellow snowbirds to share interests and activities. 

Brenda Murphy of Michigan and Ken Campbell of Illinois are new members of the Destin snowbird board of directors.

Too often, it seems, we start the season without one of our well-loved familiar faces. This past year, pancreatic cancer claimed the life of Ed Zukonik, husband of registration chairperson, Linda Zukonik. While everyone who has registered over the past decade knows Linda, Ed was always at work in the back room counting the money and making sure the amounts collected matched the number of registrants. He was a quiet man, but his constant smile spoke volumes. As a retired, experienced Fire Captain from Ecorse, Michigan, Ed was an appreciated and highly respected hero in our flock. 

Ed Zukonik passed away this past year.
Kitty Cassel, a former snowbird, passed away this year.

Another sad loss was that of past first lady Kitty Cassell last February. Her husband Charles was club president during the 2017-2018 season and Kitty could always be seen in the front row of every meeting offering him loving support. As a retired schoolteacher, Kitty was often the editor of most of Charles’s reports, and the speech writer for many of his memorable dialogs. 

Both will be sorely missed. 

Mary Pierce is the publicity person for the Destin Snowbird Club.