Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival in Destin Sept. 20

watershedOn September 20, 2014 Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House of the Destin Harbor will host the inaugural Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival; a benefit concert to promote the health and sustainability of local waterways via the mission and objectives of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College.  The 8 hour festival will consist of non-stop music from 5 different artists, all for the wristband price of $20. There will also be a silent auction to raise additional funding for CBA programs, consisting of a BOTE paddle board, an electric guitar signed by the performing artists and more. All proceeds from the sale of wristbands and silent auction items will go to support the goals and mission of CBA.

The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance is a watershed organization that focuses its efforts on educating the community about local waterways for the optimum utilization of these natural resources.

Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival line-up features artists such as Flow Tribe, Los Locos, Stokeswood, Dismal Creek, and Von Brain. There will be two stages that will alternate the performing artists, all which are visible from the outdoor decks, tiki-bar, sand beach and docks of Boshamps. Better yet is the backdrop of the venue, provided by one of the most notorious local waterways hot-spots, the Destin Harbor. Parking for the festival will be designated by signs at various locations surrounding the venue.

For more information about the Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival and the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, please visit To schedule an interview, please contact Sarah Davis at (850) 585-7926 or

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Alaqua Animal Refuge hosting Puppypalooza at Aaron Bessant Park Sept. 20

puppyloozaThe inaugural Puppypalooza to benefit the Unconditional Love Program of Alaqua Animal Refuge will be held at Aaron Bessant Park in Panama City Beach on September 20, 2014 from 1 – 9 p.m.

Puppypalooza will feature a DJ, inflatable bounce houses, retail, beer, wine, and food booths, a huge raffle, a jail, a dunking booth, dog agility shows, Unconditional Love Program dog performances, face painting, and tons of games for children. Beginning at 6 p.m. Cadillac Willy will rock the park. Bring your blanket or chairs and relax in the park.

Puppypalooza Sponsors are the Panama City Beach Police Department, The City of Panama City Beach, Ink Trax, Ron John Surf Shop, WorkSource, The Geo Group, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pineapple Willy’s and Chaste.

Food vendors include Shore Dogs, Smokin’ Butts, Dovalina’s Wood-fired Pizza, Sweet Henrietta’s, Fishale Taphouse and Grill, and Captain’s Lady Café and Sno Balls. Retail vendors include Pink Narcissus (Lily Pulitzer), The 30A Gear Truck, Cedar and Cypress Woodworks, Peaches to Beaches, Jam Berry Nails, Thirty-One, Scentsy, 30a Beach Girl, Ron John Surf Shop, Glas Designs, For Tails Only, Tastefully Simple, What’s Up Dog?, Shabby Wraps, Magnabilities, Beach Zinnia, Pure Romance, and more. Alcohol vendors include Pabst Blue Ribbon and CHASTE No. 850.

Since 2011, the Unconditional Love Program has provided inmates in local jails and prisons the skills needed to train and provide care to Alaqua’s canines. Two of our three prisons are located in Bay County, and the majority of the dogs from the program are pulled from Bay County Animal Control. Alaqua chooses dogs that may otherwise have a hard time getting adopted.

This program adds value to the inmates’ institutional lives and provides job skills as they prepare for re-entry into their communities. The inmates learn empathy, patience and respect while teaching the dogs basic skills and potty train them. After graduating, canines are either adopted as family pets or continue on into a second phase and become therapy dogs that we give away free of change to individuals or families who could benefit from one.

Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill animal refuge located in Northwest Florida. The refuge has placed over 10,000 animals of all kinds since it’s inception in 2007, and has grown to become a recognized leader in animal welfare and animal cruelty prevention. The refuge is located about 20 minutes north of the Emerald Coast’s sugary white beaches, which each year draw millions of visitors from around Florida and surrounding states.

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Take a guided tour of Lake Powell Sept. 18

lakepowellTime: 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Hosted by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, Discover Roads Less Traveled eco-tours will introduce you to some very special places in Walton county.

We will meet at the Watersound Village Common area and caravan to the Watersound dock on the Western Horn of Lake Powell. Discussion topics will include dune lake dynamics, local history centering on Camp Helen, forestry activities. Paddle around Lake Powell shore to the Gulf of Mexico. Paddle is around 4 miles round trip.

Moderate or higher exertion level, depending on wind conditions. Participants are asked to bring at least a quart of water, snacks if desired, forecast compatible clothing and personal comfort items (i.e. sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). Kayak rental included in the cost of the tour. Paddle board options upon request.

Space is limited to 8 participants. Minimum of 4. Location: 530 Pathways Drive, Watersound, FL 32413

Fee: $30 for kayak/ $20 if supplying own craft

Click here to learn more, then call to reserve your space at 850-200-4160.

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Learn surf fishing at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 19

surffishingTime: 9 – 11 a.m.

State Park Surf fishing is a popular sport along the beaches of Topsail Hill. This program will teach you what types of bait will work, what times of year certain fish can be caught, and common fish you can catch from the beach. Fishing gear is optional as the park has fishing gear to use. This program will take place at the beach access, park in the day use parking area and catch the 9 a.m. tram to the beach. The program will take place once the 9 a.m. tram arrives at the beach.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Bluewater Bay Marina hosts cardboard boat races Sept. 21

cardboardboatBluewater Bay Marina is hosting its Annual Cardboard Boat Race on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014.  Registration begins at 3 pm.  Races begin at 4 pm. Entry fee for adult division is $40.00, junior division (12 and under) entry fee is $20.00.  Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st and 2nd each division, Best Design Each Division, and Titanic Award (Best Sinking).

For more information, rules or to pre-register, call (850) 897-2821.

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Celebrate World Paddle For The Planet on Lake Powell Sept. 13

worldpaddleIn celebration of Wold Paddle For The Planet, join local paddlers on Lake Powell at 12 Noon Sept. 13. Come with a purpose and enjoy fellow camaraderie.

Launch will by  at the public park north of Panama City Beach Publix. To get to the launch point, from US 98 in PCB, take Lake Powell Drive north; turn W on Lakeview Drive, and go to the park at the end of the road.

Arrive in time to launch at 12 Noon into Lake Powell as a group, paddle one mile northwest and west to Camp Helen State Park. Come ashore and enjoy a simple lunch of cold chicken or cheese and fruit and water, spend some quality time on shore with the rest of your family and friends if they drove to Camp Helen, and then paddle back to the put-in. The return paddle will be unstructured, since some may want to play at the park longer than others.

The mission of WPFTP is for each of us to pick a change that will better the way we live on this planet, and paddle for that change. We will try to get media coverage of all the changes we are paddling for, so try to have your change picked out before the day of the paddle. Paddlers all across the globe are launching at noon in their time zone, just like us, all paddling for change. We are helping to send a wave of change around the planet.

All paddle craft welcome – SUP, kayak, canoe, anything paddle-powered!

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Learn about monarch butterflies at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 12

Monarchs feeding on milkweed (Asclepias) at Grayton Beach State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Monarchs feeding on milkweed (Asclepias) at Grayton Beach State Park. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Time: 2 – 3 p.m.

Soon the monarch butterflies will visit the park on their migration southward. Many butterflies pass through but only one is as regal as the Monarch. In this program Ranger Tammy will discuss the amazing life of the butterfly and will culminate with a craft project were you can make your own butterfly. Park staff will direct you to the clubhouse where the program will be held.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Learn about exotic plants at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Sept. 10

chinesetallowTime: 3 – 4 p.m.

Come learn about our non-native visitors. You may have some right in your own back yard, this program will teach you how to identify and get rid of plants that do not belong. Lots of time and money are spent on eradication of these plants, find out how you can help. Enter the park through the main gate and the staff will direct you to the park’s clubhouse.

A $6.00 entry admission per vehicle into the park. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459. For more information, call (850) 267-8330 ::MAP::

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Free entry to Florida State Parks September 8

kidswithbooksThe Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Park Service is celebrating National Literacy Month with special events at state parks. The month will be celebrated in conjunction with International Literacy Day on Monday, Sept. 8 and National Library Card Signup Month.

Any state park visitor who brings a library card, a library book or who donates a new or gently used family friendly book will receive free* entrance in honor of International Literacy Day on Monday, Sept. 8. (*This offer does not include Skyway Fishing Pier State Park)

“Literacy is very important for people of all ages,” said Florida Park Service Director Donald Forgione. “We are excited to celebrate reading and provide the best spots in the state to curl up with a good book to enjoy nature and the great outdoors.”

For a complete list of Literacy Month activities at Florida State Parks, click here.

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Safety event at Freeport Community Center Sept. 15

UFextensionThe 2nd annual Safety First for All event will take place this year on Monday, September 15 during National Child Passenger Safety Week. Hosted by the

There will be several community partners with various safety information for all ages.
Child passenger safety – UF/IFAS Extension
Bicycle Safety – Citizen Services Unit
Water Safety – Walton County Beach Patrol
Fire Safety – Freeport Fire
Financial Safety – Army Aviation Center Federal Credit Union
Safe Senior Driving – Council on Aging
Electrical Safety – Chelco

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held Monday, September 15, 2014 from 2:30 – 5 p.m.
Freeport Community Center
16040 US 331 Business
Freeport, FL 32439

For more information, contact Ricki M. McWilliams, University of Florida/IFAS Extension Walton County at (850) 892-8172

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