Bay Buzz May 2023


Niceville Children’s Advocacy Center Reopens
The public is invited to attend and celebrate the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s (ECCAC) grand re-opening of its center in Okaloosa County with a ribbon cutting and the official re-naming to the Julie Sacco Porterfield Children’s Advocacy Center, 401 McEwen Drive, Niceville, at 10 a.m. Friday, May 5. This center experienced a fire and significant water damage last summer that flooded both floors of the 13,000-sq.-ft. building. The center had to be completely vacated with staff and services continuing to provide services for kids in various other donated locations in the area. With the help of many, the center has since undergone a recently completed major renovation and restoration. Guests can tour the center, meet the team and learn more about the programs and services offered to the children and families it helps. It will be a celebration with music, food and beverages.

Paddle at the Park
Grab your paddle board and head to the 11th Annual Paddle at the Park, sponsored by HCA Florida Destin Emergency. With a new location and date, this standup paddle board race will take place in the Gulf of Mexico behind The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island on Saturday, May 6. It features 1- and 3-mile recreational races, a 6-mile elite race and a kids’ fun out-and-back paddle, to be followed by awards. Kayaks and inflatables are welcome too. Registration is now open on For details:

It’s Tequila & Taco Fest Time
Tequila and Tacos Anyone? May 12-14, the Village of Baytowne Wharf will come alive with local restaurants and food trucks competing for the Best Taco on The Emerald Coast with a first-place prize of $2,500 – and you will have a say in the People’s Choice Award! Sample many types of Tequilas and Margaritas from Blancos, Resposados, Anjieos and even Mezcals while indulging in some of the area’s best tacos. For tickets:

FORE! The Love of Animals Golf Tournament
Calling all animal lovers and golf enthusiasts! Alaqua Animal Refuge will host the Second Annual “FORE! The Love of Animals” Golf Tournament Saturday, June 10, at The Links Golf Club at Sandestin. Presented by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort® as the Top Dog Title Sponsor, the Tournament welcomes teams of four plus. 8:30 a.m. check-in; 10 a.m. shotgun start, scramble format; breakfast by Chick-fil-A and a Bloody Mary and Mimosa bar; 18 holes of golf with a cart; boxed lunch; two drink tickets; and a fun after-party. Registration is open at; $250 per golfer or $850 per foursome.

Coffee and Conservation Anyone?
A new program exploring conservation in our local area meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month for eight weeks, featuring open discussion on community conservation ideas and issues over coffee and refreshments. Aldo Leopold’s book, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, is being used and Forestry Agent Ian Stone facilitates the discussion each week. Free to attend, an RSVP is requested to get an estimate of potential attendance through Eventbright.

Okaloosa County Included in Recent State Broadband Projects
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced more than $22 million awarded to eight projects across eight Florida counties through the Broadband Opportunity Program to expand broadband Internet access in Florida’s underserved communities and impact more than 33,200 unserved residential, educational, business and community locations. These awards are in addition to $144 million the governor awarded in February, bringing Florida’s total investment to $166 million for the expansion of broadband Internet in Florida’s rural communities.

In this set, the city of Laurel Hill, unincorporated Deerland and Svea, and unincorporated Okaloosa County ($853,000) were included to add 103.5 miles of fiber optic cable to their existing network to provide 831 unserved locations within Okaloosa County with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 1GB.