SNOWBIRD NEWS: A marathon of fun for snowbirds

Mary Pierce
It's fun to dance to Y-M-C-A at the Valentine's Dinner Dance. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

Last weekend will be remembered as the events marathon of the Destin snowbird season. The Valentine’s Dinner Dance, the Soundsations Benefit Concert, the Fashion Show Luncheon and David Seering’s Children in Crisis Benefit Concert all took place in the three days that included the Presidents’ Day holiday.

The Royal Palm Grill in the Surfside Resort was the site for the Valentine Dinner Dance last Saturday. For many years this event was called a “mixer” and usually had a theme attached such as “Country Hoedown” or “Favorite College Teams.” Last year it was changed to celebrate the cherished sweethearts’ holiday and became an instant sensation. Once again, tickets were sold out shortly after being offered. Bobby D’s music packed the dance floor where Cupid had ample opportunities to sling a few arrows. Chairman Dean Harper and his wife Debbie of Tennessee put a lot of work into making this event a spectacular success.

The performing arts students of Northwest Florida State College have been sponsored by Destin snowbirds since the days when their school was known as Okaloosa-Walton Community College. According to Division Chair Dr. Jeremy Ribando, over the past 25 years the snowbirds have raised more than $160,000 for scholarships and other student expenditures. The annual Soundsations Benefit Concert is a performance by the students expressly for the snowbirds to express their appreciation and showcase the results of our generosity. Last Sunday’s performance in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center was an entertaining, upbeat mix of melodies that included a “Swingin’ Jukebox Review” with songs from the Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald and Andrews Sisters era. The NWFSC Jazz Band will be the entertainment for the March 6 snowbird meeting.

In addition to performing arts, NWFSC athletics are gaining attention with the snowbirds. Athletic director Ramsey Ross, along with the men’s and women’s basketball coaches Steve DeMeo and Bart Walker, came to a meeting to personally invite members to a basketball game. They donated free tickets to a home game and many took advantage of the offering. Both the men and women teams have had a tremendously successful season and snowbird interest and participation will, no doubt, continue to grow.

Mary Ellen Franklin of Florida and Sigrid Aeschleman of Illinois chaired this year’s highly successful Fashion Show Luncheon. It was held last Monday at Louisiana Lagniappe for a sell-out crowd of lady snowbirds who came to check out the latest fashions, enjoy a delicious lunch and share in a camaraderie that is uniquely feminine. The models who presented a variety of soft, colorful, free-flowing fashions that are exclusive to Chico’s included Deb Harper of Tennessee, Marilyn Feindt of Wisconsin, Brenda Murphy of Michigan, Rose Bean of Massachusetts, Jan Lanaville of Wisconsin, Pat Prince of Ontario, Cynthia Frank of Delaware, Elise Eggert of Wisconsin, Jackie Roberson of Maine, Evelyn Lemire of Ontario, Carole Norton of Michigan, Sheila Kruger of Illinois and Susan Buckalew of Ohio.

With little time to rest after the fashion show, many of the ladies grabbed their significant others and headed to the Village Baptist Church on Matthew Boulevard to join several hundred of their friends for the David Seering concert to benefit Children in Crisis. David, a snowbird superstar, has been performing this benefit show for nearly a decade and each year seems to be better than the last. This year’s performance included the talented Amanda Holmes and the Bobby van Deusen trio. Hits by Frank Sinatra and Neal Diamond among others delighted David’s many fans but the high point of the evening was his delivery of the Phantom of the Opera hit “Music of the Night.”


The Singles Friendship Club will meet at Tommy Bahama’s immediately after the 11 a.m. meeting on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s performer will be David Hall. David was the entertainer for two of the three harbor party cruises and has established a large fan club within the snowbirds. Much like Jabbo and the Boys did last Tuesday, David will get you hand-clapping and toe-tapping with a lot of old familiar tunes. You won’t want to miss this show.

Safe travels to all our snowbird friends who are returning to their northern nests at the end of this month. We’ll look forward to seeing you again next season.

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.