Bay Buzz Events February 2024

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Sealight FestivalThe SeaLight Festival Debuts at Seascape Resort
A dazzling world of light featuring more than 1,000 handmade Chinese lanterns comes to the Panhandle following roaring success in New York City, Atlanta and Washington D.C. The SeaLight Festival is making its Florida debut following three consecutive years of sell-out runs in New York City, Atlanta and Washington D.C., where it welcomed more than 500,000 guests. On Thursdays – Sundays from 5-9 p.m., Feb. 1 to March 31, 2024, Seascape Resort will undergo a breathtaking transformation into an extraordinary world of illumination. This captivating spectacle will feature over 1,000 handcrafted Chinese lanterns and lights, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. Tickets, all ages, start from $17.99 children and $25.99 adults. Purchase at sealightfestival.com.

Wear Your Favorite Heels at Habitat Walton County’s Hard Hats & High Heels Feb. 2
Make plans for the annual women’s empowerment luncheon, Hard Hats & High Heels, bringing together a cross-section of the Emerald Coast’s professional, social, and philanthropic leaders, Fri., Feb. 2, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tickets are $60 at eventbrite.com/e/2024-hardhats-and-high-heels-luncheontickets-739785005867. This year’s event showcases a keynote speaker, a silent auction, games, prizes, an awards presentation, seated lunch, complimentary cocktail (21+), Wine & Spirits Pull and more. Visit WaltonCountyHabitat.org.

Seaside Prize Weekend Feb. 2-4
The highly anticipated 2024 Seaside Prize weekend takes place Feb. 2-4, with a variety of events and symposia themed, “New Urbanism: Frontiers Remain.” For the 30th anniversary of the Seaside Prize, the SEASIDE Institute will recognize Victor Dover and Joe Kohl, founders since 1987 of the Miami-based town planning firm, Dover, Kohl and Partners at the awards ceremony on Feb. 3 by Seaside Founder Robert Davis at The Chapel at Seaside. The Seaside Prize is an annual award presented by the Seaside Institute to individuals who have made significant contributions to the fields of architecture, urban planning and community development. Recipients are selected based on their exceptional achievements, commitment to design excellence, and their positive impact on communities around the world. Register at seasideinstitute.org.

Camellia Festival Feb. 10
The majestic grounds of Eden Gardens State Park in Point Washington have more than 370 camellias and many will be in bloom for the annual Camellia Festival on Feb 10, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Every February, The Friends of Eden Gardens State Park and guests pay tribute to the Camellias, provide an array of educational displays and presentations, and invite visitors to stroll through the Camellia gardens and grounds. There will also be Camellias for sale as a fundraiser for the park! Between the months of November and April, the Camellia bushes bloom. The camellias at the park were strategically selected and planted to provide blooms throughout the cooler months. The event is free with paid park admission ($4 per car). Additional parking is at Bay School with tram service. There will be educational stations throughout the park and camellias available to purchase. Summer Kitchen will be selling delicious food and drinks near the pavilion and Bo Adams will be playing music from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the Bayou stage.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Feb. 11
It’s the Annual Mardi Gras Parade on Sun., Feb. 11, 2 p.m. at the Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestion. No cost to attend, the Village streets will be filled with costumed dogs and their humans along with unique and colorful floats, golf carts, vehicles, pick-up trucks and Mardi Gras cheer. Let the good times roll with dressed-up marchers in their Mardi Gras best and Mardi Gras music filling the air as four-pawed friends and parade participants shower parade-goers with a barrage of beads, moon pies and other trinkets. Baytowne is looking for Krewes to join in the Mardi Gras festivities. To participate, register by Friday, Feb. 9, at 5 p.m. at baytownewharf.com. Participants who register by Feb. 5 will receive five points added to their score.

Register for the Seaside Race Feb. 16-18
Benefiting the Seaside School, Inc., public charter school, the Seaside School Half Marathon & 5K, presented by SEASIDE®, launches its 22nd Race Weekend, Feb. 16-18. Registration for the 5K is $95 and the half marathon is $130. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Seaside School Foundation. Exclusive VIP experiences for both racers and spectators are also available for $125 with dedicated parking or $95 without parking. Kids can also take part in the VIP experience for just $25 [limited to two kids per adult. Weekend parking passes are also be available for purchase. Military personnel, first responders and teachers are eligible for a $20 discount upon presentation of valid identification. The half marathon (13.1 miles) starts at 7 a.m. and the 5K (3.1 miles) at 7:30 a.m., on Sun., Feb. 18. Both races – the half marathon and 5K – start in the town of Seaside with an out-and-back run along the coastal dune lakes of Scenic Hwy. 30A. To register, visit runseasidefl.com.

Tropical Reunion Wedding Vow Renewal at LuLu’s Feb. 17
Looking for the perfect romantic Valentine’s Day present for your spouse? Celebrate your love and commitment by officially renewing your wedding vows at LuLu’s Tropical Re-Union on Sat., Feb. 17, 1 to 3 p.m. at Lulu’s at the foot of the Mid Bay Bridge. Couples should pre-register at the restaurant or LuLu’s website, so LuLu’s can have special Certificates of Reunion ready. There will be complimentary champagne toasts, wedding cake, flowers for the “brides” and photos for the couples. Prizes will be awarded to the couples who were married the longest, shortest and dressed the most festively. To register or for more information, visit www.LulusFunFoodMusic.com/destin or call (850) 710-5858.

Pursue the Roux at the 35th Annual Sandestin Gumbo Fest Feb. 24
Gumbo Anyone? This winter festival favorite is back for its 35th year at The Village of Baytowne Wharf on Feb. 24, 12-4 p.m.! Gulf Coast restaurants will compete for the title of ‘Best Gumbo on the Emerald Coast.” Vote for your favorite as the “People’s Choice” winner as celebrity judges deliberate over who will take home the top prize. The afternoon will also feature live music and children’s activities.

ECCAC Presents its Signature Gala & Golf Events March 8 and 10
The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) is putting on its annual
signature Gala & Golf events this year March 8 and 10. The Gala features a cocktail hour starting at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Guests will enjoy dinner and live entertainment by the popular Will Thompson Band and DJ Chris Henson; exciting live auction by famed auctioneer Dawn Marie Kotsonis, also known as The Gavel Girl; as well as a featured guest speaker. The Gala proceeds benefit children by providing services at no cost to help identify, treat and support child victims in abusive situations.

The Golf Tournament, also to benefit ECCAC, will take place on Sunday, March 10, at Kelly Plantation Golf Club with registration and a cookout meal from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. to be
ready for a tournament shot gun start at noon. An Awards Ceremony will follow the tournament. Tournament cost is $400, which includes two tickets to the Gala. Gala tickets only are $250 per couple. Please make reservations on-line at eccac.org. Sponsorships are still available. Contact Lee Curtis at 850-400-3488 or email Lee@eccac.org.

Wear Shades of Pink! Women United Brunch & Bubbly March 9
Join the ladies of Women United for Brunch and Bubbly presented by Florida Power & Light. Sat., March 9, at 10:30 am located at The Venue at Beach Weekend 109 Brooks St. SE, Fort Walton Beach. Contributions support the work of United Way Emerald Coast and Women United to provide mental health resources, access, and education to local women and girls. Tickets available for purchase at united-way.org/womenunited.

Dust Off Your Boots and Get Ready to Rodeo! March 22-23
The 5th Annual Westonwood Ranch Pro Rodeo returns March 22-23 to the City of Freeport Sports Complex. The professionally sanctioned rodeo benefits Westonwood Ranch, an organization whose mission and programs serve teens and young adults with Autism and related developmental disorders.

Come watch some of the nation’s top cowgirls and cowboys compete. Contestants will compete in events including bareback riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, breakaway roping, barrel racing, team roping and bull riding. Rodeo gates open at 6 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. each night. Come early to enjoy live pre-rodeo entertainment at 6:30 by David Gautreau, food vendors, children’s inflatable play area and more! Tickets for the Westonwood Ranch PCA Rodeo are sold at the gate: $20 adults; $15 children 12 years and younger. Free admission for children ages 2 and under. No ticket presales. Want to become a business sponsor? Email admin@westonwood.org or visit westonwood.org.