SNOWBIRDS:‘It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...’

Sigrid J. Aeschleman
The Emerald Coast Community Band entertained snowbirds at meeting Tuesday.

The Emerald Coast Community Band, under the direction of Nancy Thiele, entertained the large group of Destin Snowbirds on Tuesday at the last membership meeting of the 2015 calendar year. The Band, one of the snowbirds’ favorites, played various Christmas medleys and concluded with an audience sing-a-long. The band was enthusiastically received and the merriment that resulted from the holiday music was evident to all as snowbirds raised their voices in song.

Registration prior to Tuesday’s meeting resulted in more winter residents joining the flock and bringing the total “birds” to 352. Of that number, 332 are paid members, 20 are Lifetime members and 46 are members new to the club this year. The BIG registration which will be held on Monday, Jan. 4, from 1-3 p.m. will result in a large climb in membership. NO registration will be held prior to the two meetings on Jan. 5 which will take place at 8:30 and 11 a.m.. David Hall will be the entertainment at the Jan. 5 meetings and these two meetings mark the pattern of double meetings each Tuesday through the months of January and February. Tuesday is just plain ol’ Snowbird Day.

Members may pick up storage items from the locker on Saturday, Jan. 2, from 8-9 a.m. and on Monday, Jan. 4, from 2-3 p.m.

The Destin Snowbird Club supports and donates to various charities and two of those were honored at the meeting on Tuesday. President Tom Franklin, Lori Joyner of Harvest House and Tim Jolley from the Waterfront Rescue Mission. The charities were each presented a check for $200 from the Snowbird Club which will be used toward meeting the various needs of both groups.

The first of two annual Craft Fairs was held Tuesday and members were able to complete a little Christmas shopping before the meeting. Items that were hand knitted, painted or beaded appeared to be of special interest. The next Craft Show will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Of course, local vendors were present as well and those serving food or treat items or giving discount tags or coupons are always a favorite.

Looking for something to do in January? How about two nights in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras 2016? Join in the fun of two parades on Friday night and five parades on Saturday, Jan. 29 and 30. The trip is only $206 based on double occupancy ($35 deposit due at time of booking) and final payment is due Jan. 4, so don’t delay. Contact Don Cooksey at 850-837-3637 to book your spot or to get your questions answered.

Snowbirds remaining in Destin for the holiday season will be treated to numerous events that help to make the season bright. The annual Christmas parade will step off from the Old Time Pottery parking lot at 10 a.m. Saturday morning (so finish reading this article and get moving) and will conclude at the Community Center on Stahlman Avenue. The Holiday Harbor Boat Parade will also be a highlight of holiday entertainment for snowbirds as they gather early at the Crab Island Cantina on Sunday, Dec. 13, for a buffet meal and a prime seat in order to view the lighted boats as they move through the harbor. Whatever the event, either public or private, the activities help to make the holiday cheer even more delightful for snowbirds who are away from home.

Our “Snowbird Highlight of the Week” shows the big haul caught on the Sweet Jody on Black Friday by “Snowbird sons” Aaron, David and Evan Frank. Visiting their parents Cynthia and Herb Frank from Delaware, the siblings came from Atlanta, Buffalo and South Carolina respectively to enjoy the beach and the sun over Thanksgiving. A good time was had by all … and a lot of fish was enjoyed.

Look around … there are many things to do and see. Enjoy the sun and fun and take part in some of the many local holiday events and concerts that are available to celebrate the season. Volunteer, perhaps. Pay for a meal for a military person or family that you see in a restaurant. Pay it forward in some way and be glad and grateful that we are here in beautiful Destin this time of the year.

Sigrid J. Aeschleman, publicity director, is from Illinois and can be reached at