SNOWBIRD NEWS: Off to New Orleans for fun, games

Mary Pierce

Many senior citizens would have hunkered down with a good book or a movie when the forecast called for thunderstorms, but not the Destin snowbirds. More than 100 boarded two busses in the threatening rain at 5 a.m. last Sunday morning for an excursion to New Orleans to view the Mardi Gras parades and enjoy a little gaming fun in Biloxi on the way home. Their “never-give-in” attitudes were rewarded with sunny blue skies. Slickers and jackets were replaced with baubles and lots of beads. The trip was such a huge success that another 100 plus snowbirds will board two busses this Sunday to enjoy a repeat expedition. Both trips were completely sold out.

Not only are the snowbirds a hearty group, but their creativity knows no bounds. The second and final craft show of the season was held at The Roost last Tuesday to the delight of the nearly 2,000 who attended that morning’s meetings. Everything from jewelry to wood carvings, knitted scarves to quilted purses and more was on display. Not only did the snowbirds have an opportunity to purchase remarkable one-of-a-kind creations, but many found out that, through the club, they could also learn how to make some of the artifacts they were admiring.

Three creativity-inspiring activities deserve recognition.

The Wood Carving Club was just initiated a week ago. Ernie Henkel from Wisconsin thought there might be other snowbird carvers and whittlers who would like to share their experiences. They will meet at the community center every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. There is a weekly $2 fee to cover the cost of renting the room. From beginners to professional craftsmen, everyone is welcome to attend.

The Quilting Club has been meeting for nearly a decade but still may be, for many, one of the snowbird club’s best kept secrets. They meet every Wednesday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the community center. And, while no quilting actually takes place at these meetings, they have a program coordinator who schedules weekly speakers and informative, interesting presentations. Each meeting ends with a “show-and-tell” segment where quilters share their latest projects and offer tips on newly discovered time-saving techniques or other tidbits of useful information. Chairwoman Mary McFarland’s contact information is listed on the activity sheet that can be picked up at next Tuesday’s registration from 7:30-8:15 a.m. and 10-10:45 a.m. or found on the website at

The Creative Writing group meets every Friday in the Destin Library. Many of them are published writers and they share their experiences with one another. On Friday, Feb. 23, they will host a free program, “Snowbird Voices — From Pen to Paper to You,” from 1:30-3 p.m. in the library’s Calhoun Room. It will highlight the works of the Destin snowbirds in short stories, art, poetry and music. A reception with refreshments will follow. For more information about this program, contact Chairwoman Pat Hager at

Reminders for your Calendars

The Singles Friendship Club will meet at the Indian Bayou Golf and Country Club immediately after Tuesday’s 11 a.m. meeting.

The Soundsations Benefit Concert is Feb. 18 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at 2 p.m. If you attended last Tuesday’s snowbird meeting, you were treated to a preview of the talent and energy these students have to offer. We encourage you to buy your tickets at the Tuesday morning meeting. That way, even if you find that you’re unable to attend, your ticket purchase would still be a generous donation to a very worthy cause.

Next Tuesday’s entertainer will be the extremely popular Crystal Gage. Her bio is too extensive to share here, so newcomers might want to Google her. She will also be the headliner for that afternoon’s T.G.I.T. (Thank goodness it’s Tuesday) party. Men, if you happen to be bald, you may want to bring a hat or cap. You’ll find out why when Crystal performs. Ladies, this is definitely one you won’t want to miss.

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