A community's reunion

Residents gathered Saturday for the 20th Founder's Day celebration

The Destin Log
Miss Destin Rachel McMullen congratulates the oldest living founder to attend this year's Founder's Day celebration, 92-year-old Claire Parrott. [ABRAHAM GALVAN/THE LOG]

Dozens of people gathered at the Destin Community Center this weekend to reconnect with old friends and family members and remember the past.

Ever since 1997, the community has come together to honor the founder families of Destin and Saturday was no exception during Founder’s Day at the Destin Community Center.

The day is celebrated with a huge fish fry, dessert competition and prizes for the oldest founding family member in attendance and the family member that came from the farthest to join the reunion.

“There is a lot of history in these people and we want to carry on the legacy, where the original people can mingle with the new people and talk about Destin history,” said Dot Jones, one of the committee members of Founder’s Day Committee. “If (the younger generations) doesn't get to know them, then they won’t know about our history.”

Jones, who has been living in Destin since 1955, said there aren’t many of the original founding families left and it’s important to keep having these get-togethers to continue the legacy.

“It’s nice to keep it going and see who is left…Now we are the old timers,” she said.

Helping organize the event, City Councilman Cyron Marler said he was probably related to 90 percent of people attending the event, either by blood or chain of blood.

“Now (Founder’s Day is) also for people who have been living here for 50 to 60 years, including the original founders,” Marler said. “There are all walks of life in here…some retired and some not who have gone on to do great things.”

At 92-years-young, Claire Parrott, who lives in Panama City, took the prize as the oldest founder at the event.

“She is actually the great-great-granddaughter of Leonard Destin,” said Patty Sikes, Parrott’s daughter.

Sikes said she her family makes sure to visit every year during Mother’s Day weekend so they can spend time with Parrott and attend Founder’s Day.

“It’s nice to see our cousins every year…It’s like a family reunion and has become a tradition” she said.