SNOWBIRD NEWS: Holiday activities keep snowbirds busy

Mary Pierce
Entertainer for the day Rich McDuff explains a story behind his rendition of "Danny Boy." [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

It has been about five years since McGuire’s Irish Pub headliner Rich McDuff entertained the Destin Snowbirds, but on Tuesday, Dec. 5, he had everyone hand-clapping and toe-tapping to his lilting Irish tunes plus several other favorites just as in days gone by. He prefaced his stirring rendition of “Danny Boy” by telling the story of how it had been played for 500 days in a row for the 9/11 crew working at historic St. Paul’s Chapel near Ground Zero in New York City.

The morning also offered many unique gift-buying opportunities from the club’s talented crafters. Small, lightweight purses recycled from men’s ties, wood carvings and jewelry were among the hand-made items on display. If you missed this event be sure to mark your calendars for Feb. 6 when the artists will be displaying and selling their novelties again.

If you’re not yet immersed in the holiday spirit, be sure to attend the 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, meeting, the last meeting in 2017. The Emerald Coast Community Band, an assembly of gifted musicians from Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay counties, will be sure to have you feeling jolly and joyful.

Seven past presidents of the Destin Snowbird Club were honored at the 23rd annual past president’s banquet on Dec. 6 in a private banquet room at McGuire’s Irish Pub. They were Jeanne Boyd (1992-1993), Addie Selid (1997-1998) Ken Yee (2002-2003), Grace Frostmeier (2003-2004), Don Cooksey (2005-2006), Tom Franklin (2015-2016) and Dean Harper (2016-2017). Current board members on hand to extend their appreciation were Charles Cassell, president; Jackie Roberson, first vice president; Ted Spring, second vice president; Cindy Varnell, secretary; Linda Zukonik, member-at-large;Dean Harper, member-at-large; Mary Pierce, publicity director; and Ken Lamire, acting treasurer.

Saturday, Dec. 9, will be the Christmas Street Parade. Destin Snowbird Club members are encouraged to join the festivities. Walkers will meet at the Old Time Pottery on U. S. Highway 98 between Main and Beach Streets at 9 a.m. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and proceed to the Destin Community Center where shuttles will be available to take walkers back to their cars.

Sunday, Dec.10, the snowbirds will be gathering at Crab Island Cantina at 4:30 p.m. to enjoy the Harbor Christmas Boat Parade. Tickets must be presented to attend the event. For information on ticket availability contact Ray and Cindy Varnell at 865-742-9348.

Be sure to check the Destin snowbird webpage,, for up-to-date information on all developing activities and events.

Mary Pierce, publicity director, is from Toledo, Ohio, and can be reached at 419-250-9377 or She will be writing the weekly column for the papers, so if you have something to share contact her.