Holidays on the harbor: Giving Trees, Boat Parade lead up to a year-end blast at HarborWalk (PHOTOS)

Advertorial Special to The Log
On Nov. 29, Santa makes his grand entrance on a parade float surrounded by costumed characters throwing sweet treats to all the children that welcome him to the Destin harbor at this Christmas season kick-off. Kids will enjoy free activities and can visit with Santa Claus. The event is free and open to the public. Santa will be on hand at HarborWalk on weekends Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22.

With the holiday season in full swing, there is no shortage of good times and good causes at HarborWalk Village.

As the calendar turns to December 14, the 7th Annual Santa "Cause" Pub Crawl makes its way through HarborWalk. This festive, progressive party kicks off at 9 p.m. and is an annual favorite, benefitting local charities. To learn more about the event find Destin Nights on Facebook.

The yuletide celebration takes a nautical turn on Dec. 15 with the Destin harbor Boat Parade. Pull up a chair at Harry T's or any of your favorite harbor restaurants for a night that's sure to light up the sky and the water. Boats will be dancing with holiday lights and cheer during this 27th annual event. There will be plenty of live music to get your toes tapping, take-home keepsakes, and hands-on arts and crafts for the kids. Grab a cup of complimentary hot chocolate or a fistful of candy and visit with Santa Claus from 12-4 p.m. The parade begins at 6 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by the Emerald Coast Community Band and excerpts from "The Nutcracker" will be performed by The Ballet Conservatory. There will be a fireworks finale to round out the night.

With a little more than a week until Christmas, stop by the ArtWalk on the harbor Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m to finish up your Christmas shopping. The event, which features local and regional artists and vendors, will stretch from HarborWalk Village to AJ's Seafood & Oyster Bar. The ArtWalk takes place on the third Sunday of each month and is free to the public.

After the rush of Christmas morning has come and gone, get ready to ring in the New Year at HarborWalk Village as you dine, drink and dance into 2014.

There will be a huge street party with plenty of opportunities to create a lifetime of memories. Not only will live music ring through HarborWalk from the main stage, but Village restaurants will also feature their own live entertainment. It will be twice as nice on New Year's Eve as two fireworks shows will light up the sky over the harbor. And don't forget the 6th Annual Ball Drop. The Andy Velo Band and Gypsy Riot will perform on the main stage, in addition to dozens of other music venues and street performers to entertain the crowds all night long.

Worried about driving? Make your reservations now to stay at the Emerald Grande. You're only an elevator ride away.

If you are looking for something a little different, check out the Emerald Grande Ballroom Party, which will showcase live music from the dance band, Cool Rayz. The Harborview Room will also be a hotspot as The Big Party gets under way, featuring Vegas-style gaming, dinner and dancing. Call 850-424-0622 for reservations.Both parties include party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. The cost for both parties is $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity.