Bay Buzz June 2023


Grady Brown Park Grand Opening Ceremony
The Walton County Board of County Commissioners will host a Grand Reopening Ceremony for Grady Brown Park on Monday, May 1, at 10 a.m. Visitors to the park will find a larger beach area, a new, extended retaining wall, an 80-foot lit flagpole and well-defined navigation for vessels, among other improvements.

Walton High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps members will raise the new, 20-by-30-foot American flag to commemorate the reopening. Grady Brown Park is located on the north side of the Choctawhatchee Bay at the Clyde B. Wells Bridge, 20940 US Highway 331 S, Freeport.

For more information, contact Public Information at (850) 892-8155 or

Foundation Pledges More Than $45,000 in Support for PAWS
To kick off its third year of partnership with the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society, Bit-Wizards’ Be the Magic Foundation (BTMF) is doubling down on its support. On Saturday, April 29, BTMF presented PAWS Executive Director Ashley Degraaf a check for $20,000 and spent the afternoon volunteering on site. In addition to the cash donation and more than 40 hours of Wizard volunteer time, PAWS will receive $20,000 in hardware and skill-based services.

PAWS recently launched the Kennels for Canines project to improve the lives of the pets in their care through a Kennel Rebuild Initiative. Various parts of the kennel are up for sponsorship. BTMF pledged to support the rebuilding of an entire wing for the facility. Along with the new wing donation, Bit-Wizards’ Managed IT Services team donated and installed a new server to assist with PAWS’ day-to-day operations.

The Freeport Republicans June meeting will be Tuesday, June 13, at the Hammock Bay Clubhouse, 1850 Great Hammock Bend, Freeport. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.; meeting at 6-7 p.m. The June speaker will be Gordon Porter, who will speak on Freedom, Liberty and the Constitution.

The Walton County Republican Executive Committee will meet June 19 and July 17 at the Hammock Bay Clubhouse, 1850 Great Hammock Bend. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m.; meeting 6-7 p.m. These meetings are open to registered Republicans in Walton County. Come join us and find out about becoming a Precinct Committeeman/woman. The REC meets monthly on the third Monday of each month at the same location and time.

Boy Scouts of America Gulf Coast Council Announces 2023 Friends of Scouting Campaign
The campaign provides an opportunity for the community to invest in the success of its members throughout the Emerald Coast and southern Alabama.
Providing one year of programming and support for one Scout in the Council costs $500, and half of that funding originates from community support through the Friends of Scouting campaign and other fundraising initiatives. Funding will be used to increase recruitment efforts, promote accomplishments and efforts, support the Council’s Troops, Packs, Ships and Crews, and enhance the camp experience through special projects.

Attention Golfers, Sponsors and Alaqua Lovers
Fore!: The Love of Animals, Alaqua’s 2nd Annual Golf Tournament, promises to be fun. One-hundred percent of the proceeds go to help comfort and feed all the animals at the refuge and those yet to experience a second chance.

Golf at Links Golf Sandestin on Saturday, June 10, is $250 per player and $850 per team.
Registration, 8:30 a.m.; Shotgun Start, 10a.m., Yappy Hour and awards, 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Sunset Bay Café Pool Deck across from the course.

HCA Florida Twin Cities Hospital Introduces Pet Therapy Program
HCA Florida Twin Cities Hospital has launched its first pet therapy program in partnership with the nonprofit Dog Harmony.

Patients and staff got a special visit recently from 6-year-old Goldendoodle Maya to wrap up National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week. Maya stopped by each department. including the laboratory, respiratory therapy, surgical services, the emergency room and intensive care unit, giving kisses and lifting spirits.

Maya is one of three certified service dogs who will visit the hospital weekly to help relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

The 7th annual Miss Okaloosa County and Miss Niceville pageants were held Saturday, May 6, at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium.
Baby Miss Okaloosa County Blakely Echols, Crestview
Baby Miss Niceville Chloe Brown, Niceville
Itsy Miss Okaloosa County Andi McDorman, Freeport
Itsy Miss Niceville Knoxley Gundy, Crestview
Tiny Miss Okaloosa County Emma Kelley, Crestview
Tiny Miss Niceville Saylor Martin, DeFuniak Springs
Little Miss Niceville Mila Hope Palero, Fort Walton Beach
Junior Miss Okaloosa County Vivian Berry, Niceville
Young Miss Okaloosa County Macy Phillips, Niceville
Teen Miss Okaloosa County Jessi Powers, Crestview
Teen Miss Niceville Bailey Scheel, Fort Walton Beach
Mr Okaloosa County Rhen Tetreault, Shalimar

Little and Miss Okaloosa County Queens will participate in the National Peanut Festival in Dothan in the fall.

Volunteer of the Year is Amanda Morgan, Santa Rosa Beach.

Dog-Harmony Launches “Love is in the Air” Calendar Contest
Show dogs how much you adore them by entering the 2024 Dog-Harmony calendar contest themed “Love is in the Air.”

World-renowned photographer, Jane Shirek, whose work has been featured in major publications such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, will capture winning dogs looking their most “fetching” at the elegantly romantic Hotel Effie Sandestin.

Scenes the camera could capture in this spectacular venue include being a pampered pooch at Spa Lilliana, whining and dining, enjoying a muttmosa in the Lobby Bar and canine couples exchanging vows.

To be a canine calendar girl or boy, a dog must fetch enough money to be ranked in the top 12. It also must be available to strut its stuff at the photo shoot July 16-19.
The contest runs June 1-30.

To enter, register at or email

Come to the Royal Oaks Community Garage Sale at 700, 800 and 900 Bay Drive in Bluewater Bay, Friday June 3rd and Saturday June 4th, 7 a.m. until Noon.

You’ll find appliances, clothes, shoes, wheelchair carrier, lots of furniture, christmas decorations, linens, dishes and much more!