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Thursday, February 28th, 2013

All Hail the Kings and Queens of Winter Fun!

The end of February has arrived and with it will come the start of the northerly migration for thousands of winter visitors here on the Emerald Coast. By the end of March, sightings of vehicles from Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Ontario, Canada will be rare.

There are so many things to do here—this is a growing location for visitors seeking relief from the harsh winter climates of their northern homes. The Destin Snowbird Club strives to enhance the experiences for these folks. Of the 1,949 members this year, just over 27 percent were new to the club. This is what they experienced…

The club membership enjoys weekly live local entertainment, at the Destin Community Center while gathering to hear about club events and activities. This past season, the club also held many special functions. The popular harbor cruise excursion aboard the Southern Star was sold out in a matter of hours at the large January registration.

The club added a second cruise, and it also sold out early in February. Both cruises featured entertainment—David Hall on the first and Chuck Lawson aboard cruise number two—as well as spectacular scenery and a dolphin show provided by Mother Nature herself. If you haven’t seen the Destin Harbor and Choctawhatchee Bay from a boat, you are really missing a great treat. Thanks to all the volunteers who do the legwork getting these cruises organized.

Another popular club event has been the TGIT (Thank Goodness It’s Tuesday) parties at Seascape Conference Center. Three such events were held this past season, with entertainment provided by JW Adams and Christian & James. At each event, a crowd of over 200 snowbirds enjoyed music and fellowship. Thanks to all who pitched in to help with these successful gatherings.

The annual Fashion Show & Luncheon was held on Valentine’s Day. Tables were decorated with red coverings, red carnations and chocolate hearts. A barbershop quartet from Emerald Coast Chorus serenaded the ladies with popular love songs. Following lunch, entertainer Pat McAlpine provided more themed songs and stories.

Naturally the stars of the afternoon were our snowbird models—Kitty Phelps, Sandy Holzer, Betty Chambers, Gail Carson, Vivian McAlpine and Carole Norton. The ladies each modeled two outfits from Coldwater Creek, enhanced by the makeup magic of Bare Minerals and hairstyles from Becca & Co. Congratulations to Elise Eggert, Judy Willson and all the volunteers who helped with the show.

This area has a great number of golf courses attracting many golfers to the area. Thanks to golf coordinator Mike Kreuger, club members have been able to find special rates just for them at many area courses. The ladies of the Destin Snowbird Club have an annual event, a scramble style tournament, held this year at Bluewater Bay Golf & Country Club. Sixty nine ladies enjoyed the day on the links, as well as the luncheon following the game.

Penny Eddie did a wonderful job of organizing games and prizes for a fun filled event. Pauline Albert, Pat Lasin, Marilyn McLeod and Rhea Moore took the top prize for lowest score. In second place were Miriam Norvell, Roberta Schilling, Annamea O’Brien and Judy Kilpeck. Special prizes were also awarded for the longest drive (Marj Wilson) and closest to the pin (Judith Waddell).

The Destin Snowbird Club strives not only to enhance the winter vacation experience for its members, but also to create bonds with the local community. The last event of the year, the Jack Kline/Lise Walsh Cancer Play Day is also at Bluewater Bay, and the funds raised at this event will be donated to the local branch of the American Cancer Society. The final article of the year—in the March 14-27 Beachcomber—will focus on the club’s connections to the Destin area.

Nancy Hewitt serves as Publicity Director for the Destin Snowbirds.