Holiday and New Year activities around Walton

Christmas Reflections in DeFuniak Springs through Dec. 31

Christmas Reflections in DeFuniak Springs runs from 5 – 9 p.m. nightly Nov. 24 – Dec. 31. See how six million Christmas lights multiply to 12 million when reflected on the perfectly round lake which is the centerpiece of the DeFuniak Springs Historic District. This incredible display on the original grounds of Florida’s Historic Chautauqua has no equal. $3/person, Season Passes $35, ages 6 and under free. Enter at Live Oak Ave. and Circle Drive along the lake.

Carriage rides by High Horse Farm LLC will be available for an additional fee. Sponsored by the Christmas Reflections Committee of the City of DeFuniak Springs.

For more information call Carolyn Mora at 850-892-3950.

Baytowne on Ice through Feb. 3 – Baytowne Wharf – Sandestin

The Community Broadcasters Ice Skating Pavilion is a 40 ft. by 60 ft. ice rink enclosed in a tent at the event plaza of the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. Operating hours vary per day, with extended hours on the weekends. For pricing and schedule click here.

Wednesday concert and visit with Santa at Baytowne Wharf every Wed. through Dec. 20

Every Wednesday this December enjoy a holiday edition of the Wednesday Night Concert Series at Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin. Each concert will feature a festive choreographed light show and visits with Santa starting at 6 p.m.

Seaside Pops concert Dec. 16

Holiday Pops concert featuring Pensacola Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Seaside Amphitheater.

South Walton Children’s Chorus Winter Concert – Dec. 17

Christ The King Episcopal Church will be hosting a Winter Concert featuring the South Walton Children’s Chorus at 1 p.m. Christ The King is located at 480 CR 393, Santa Rosa Beach.

Bands of 30A concert in Seaside Dec. 17

Bands of 30A brings the talented musicians of our area together to raise monetary help and awareness to charities who need community support. This event will be benefitting Food For Thought Outreach, an organization fighting child hunger in Walton & Okaloosa Counties. A $10 donation is requested for the fun filled family day enjoying local music at the Seaside Amphitheater from 12 – 5 p.m.

The lineup includes The Graytones starting at 12 pm, Casey Kearney, Jacob Mohr, Will Thompson, and Luke Langford Band to finish the day.

Santa will be coming in on the official 30A mascot Land Rover “Truman” ready to take photos with the little ones. Great Southern is offering half price drinks when you present your official “Bands of 30A” cup available for purchase at the donation table

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

Baytowe Wharf – Enjoy our family friendly evening from 6-8 pm with face painting, kids activities, and LIVE music form DJ 30A on the Baytowne LIVE stage, finishing off with a fireworks display at 8 pm. Ring in the New Year with an evening to remember, with two breathtaking fireworks displays at 8p & midnight. Dance the night away with LIVE music from Bantum Rooster until 1 am, featured on the Events Plaza stage.

Seaside – Countdown Seaside with music, activities, and fireworks. Enjoy festive hat making and face painting while Future Thieves and The High Divers play on the stage followed by a fireworks spectacular over the Gulf of Mexico to ring in 2018 at midnight.
7 -11 PM – Face painting & crafts
8 PM – Midnight –  Live music on the Seaside Amphitheater Stage
Midnight – Gulf of Mexico fireworks show

Pier Park in Panama City Beach festivities begin on New Year’s Eve at 5:30 p.m. and will feature a family celebration complete with live music, street vendors, stilt walkers, balloon artists, face painters and the popular countdown to 8 o’clock, featuring a ball drop of 10,000 beach balls onto Pier Park Drive.

This is followed by the midnight celebration with live entertainment, a spectacular fireworks display and the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop that features an 800-pound LED illuminated beach ball.

The Beach Ball and Celebration Tower constructed by the Panama City Beach CVB is a holiday favorite, as well as the digital lounge that is open to the public. Guests are invited to kick back and enjoy the soft seating, digital photo booth and jumbo LED screen broadcasting the live main stage entertainment. Bring the whole family and ring in the new year at Pier Park!

5:30 p.m.- Family celebration begins
5:35 p.m. – The Barry Fish Band performs
7:30 p.m. – Kids countdown to 8 p.m.
8 p.m. – 10,000 beach balls drop over Pier Park Drive
8:15 p.m. – Terry Brock and Friends perform
10 p.m. – 12 – South performs
11:55 p.m. – Final countdown to Midnight – Midnight fireworks ring in the New Year from City Pier

Pier Park, 600 Pier Park Dr., Panama City Beach, FL 32413

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Wildlife photography program in Santa Rosa Beach Jan. 3

Osprey with speckled trout catch of the day. Photo courtesy Walt Spence

The Walton County Coastal Library is hosting “Winter Community Programs” Wednesdays, Jan 3rd – Feb 28th 2018 at 10:00 am. Winter Community Programs are designed for our adult community and families having educational and entertaining value while learning about our community and neighbors.

January 3, 2018Wildlife Photographer – Walt Spence

Walt’s earlier photos have appeared in publications such as Southern Living and Florida Living, and mostly involved human subjects and situations. But Walt had always harbored a latent desire to pursue nature photography. The stimulus to do it seriously came in 2006 when he and his friend Doug Buck realized that no one had ever produced a truly comprehensive photo survey of the wildlife of the local bayou country. They embarked on a prolific multi-year effort to record the amazing diversity of species that lives there. The Boggy Bayou Birds project has since captured thousands of images, many from a canoe, and its focus has been on educating and entertaining the local public. Walt’s nature photos have received multiple awards in the Mattie Kelly Environmental Institute’s nature photo contest and are featured in the Institute’s annual calendar. He is Past President of the Choctawhatchee Audubon Society, and is a founding member of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance.

The events are sponsored by Friends of Coastal Library. For more information call Linda Thompson (850) 267-2809. The Coastal Library is located at 437 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach behind the South Walton Government/Education Complex on HWY 331 South. Free for the public with limited seating.

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FWC approves several changes to Gulf cobia management

At its December meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) took final action to approve several changes to the management of cobia in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

These changes are based on stakeholder input and concerns from anglers, and will further promote sustainable management of this fishery.

Approved changes will go into effect Feb. 1, 2018, and include:
• Creating a Gulf/Atlantic management boundary defining all state waters north of the Monroe-Collier county line as “Gulf state waters” for purposes of managing cobia.
• Making the recreational and commercial bag limits for cobia in Gulf state waters the same by reducing the commercial limit from two to one fish per person.
• Reducing the recreational and commercial vessel limit in Gulf state waters from six to two cobia per vessel, per day.

The current 33-inch minimum size limit will not change.

For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

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Walton County fishing report for Dec. 7

Fishing is good

Bay: Still a decent trout bite, black (mangrove) snapper, sheepshead, black drum, and redfish. Fish biting on gold spoons and live shrimp.

General gun season opens this weekend.

Click here for fishing forecast

Bay and river report brought to you by Copeland’s. “Where the locals shop and the tourists are welcome.”

Click here to find out more about Copeland’s.
Copeland’s Gun and Tackle Shop
17290 U.S. Hwy. 331 S
Freeport, Florida 32439
(850) 835-4277
Store hours:
Mon. – Fri.: 6 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sat.: 6 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun.: Closed

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Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance seeking volunteers for native plant garden Dec. 16

Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) will be planting new native plants in their Demonstration Garden and Trail on Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and are seeking volunteers to lend a hand.

They have tools and gloves, but feel free to bring your own and remember to dress for the weather. If you would like to donate native plants from your garden, they would love the new additions. Bring the whole family, as there is something to do for everyone. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. Come see how beautiful native plants can be in your garden.

For more information contact Ali Jean at jeana1@nwfsc.edu or call 850-200-4175.

CBA is located at 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach.

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30A Songwriters Festival Jan. 12 – 15

The 9th annual 30A Songwriters Festival is set for January 12-15, 2018. The festival, held in venues along scenic Highway 30A in South Walton, will feature main stage performances in presenting partner Grand Boulevard’s Town Center by esteemed artists Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, The Zombies, North Mississippi Allstars and Lee Ann Womack. Also confirmed for premier nighttime performances are Charles Kelly of Lady Antebellum, Patty Griffin, Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls with her solo Murmuration Nation band, Shawn Mullins and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame members Mike Reid and Craig Wiseman.

Among the 175 stellar songwriters who will perform at the 2018 Festival are Tommy Stinson (the Replacements, Bash & Pop), John Gorka, Gretchen Peters, Jeffrey Steele, Kim Ritchey, Mary Gauthier, Jeff Black, Will Kimbrough, Dan Navarro, The War & Treaty, Wyatt Durette, Farewell Angelina, Griffin House, Levi Lowrey, Gabriel Kelley, Michael McDermott, Peter Case, Charlie Mars, Peter Bradley Adams, Chris Stills, Emerson Hart (Tonic), David Ryan Harris (John Mayer Band), David Hodges (Evanescence), Erick Baker, Heather Horton, Jesse Terry, Joe Crookston, Old Salt Union, Peter Karp, Randall Bramblett, Robby Hecht, Don Dixon and Marti Jones, Becky Warren, Alex Guthrie, Jemina & Selina, Mary Bragg, Blue Jays, Josh Osborne, Jaren Johnston, Mark Irwin, Jonathan Singleton, Jeremy Stover, Matt Dragstrem, Adam Hambrick, Jacob Davis, Austin Jenckes, David Berkeley, Davin McCoy, Matt Hires, David Robert King, Eliot Bronson, and Michele Malone.

The 30A Songwriters Festival production team transforms amphitheaters, town halls, restaurants, theaters, bars and covered patios into unique music venues ranging in capacity from 75 to 500 seats indoors and 5,000 outdoors A variety of festival weekend passes are now available starting and can be purchased at www.30asongwritersfestival.com.

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