Santa lights 50-foot Christmas tree at Destin Commons, kicks off holiday season

Devon Ravine
The Destin Log

Thousands of people gathered Friday night at Destin Commons to watch the annual parade, the arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the center's Christmas tree.

Children enjoyed face-paintings and families posed in front of Destin Common’s iconic Christmas tree with Frosty and Rudolph characters as they waited for the arrival of St. Nick.

Rebecca Runnels and other children watch as fireworks burst over the Christmas tree at Destin Commons Friday evening.

The Fort Walton Beach Marching Band played as Santa arrived in a parade atop a bass fishing boat with some of his elves. With the help of a countdown from the assembled crowd, Santa lit Destin Commons’ 50-foot-tall Christmas tree to kick off the holiday season. Following the tree lighting, viewers were treated to a fireworks show above the tree.

Venera Sonkina holds her daughter, Eva, as they pose for a picture in front of the Christmas tree at Destin Commons Friday night. Thousands gathered to watch the annual parade, arrival of Santa and Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday night in Destin.

From there, Santa made his way to Bass Pro Shops to begin hearing Christmas wishes.

Santa makes his arrival for the annual parade and  Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday night at Destin Commons.

"Christmas is quite simply the most magical time of the year. The looks on the faces of children are priceless when they see Santa Claus coming down our Main Street,” said Destin Commons Marketing Manager Brook Zannis. “Santa's Arrival and Tree Lighting is the perfect way to ring in the holiday season with family and friends.”