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October 27 was a great day for Walton County children experiencing the ordeal of abuse, abandonment or neglect. Amidst great fanfare, including a $1-million donation by the Pierce Family, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) held their official ground breaking for a new center in DeFuniak Springs, expected to open in early 2016.

Since 1998, the Advocacy Center has been working to help children impacted by child abuse and neglect from their 13,000-square-foot facility in Niceville. The new center in DeFuniak Springs will help the group reach more children in Walton County. The new 15,000-square-foot facility will house a team of child-protection personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, Department of Children and Families officials, therapists and Advocacy Center staff, much likes its counterpart in Niceville. The new center will also feature an interior courtyard and a saltwater aquarium. Continue Reading…

PrintAn array of home-made, hand-baked and hand-crafted items will be on sale at the Made with Love Bazaar and Bake Sale on Sunday, November 23.

The event, just in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays, benefits the Tree House Episcopal Montessori School in Santa Rosa Beach.

“We are thrilled to bring back this delightful bazaar and bake sale in its third year and open it up to the community as a resource for stocking pantries and freezers in anticipation for the holidays,” said Maureen Paine, the school’s director.

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Jack Gardner Photography

Jack Gardner Photography

Rosemary Beach will kick off the holiday season in grand style the weekend after Thanksgiving.

On Saturday morning, bring the kids for Breakfast with Santa at Santa’s workshop. Enjoy a bagged breakfast and get photos with Santa and other goodies. From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. $15.

Then, explore the Old Town Holiday Market at North Barrett Square and the eastern and western lawns. Forget the hustle and bustle of the mall and browse through booths filled with unique gifts and treats you can’t find anywhere else including hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, painting and holiday decorations. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


PicMonkey Collage

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, WaterColor Resort will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

The Old Florida Holiday and Winter Market is a full holiday extravaganza complete with falling snow, horse-drawn carriage rides, a bonfire with s’mores, pictures with Santa Claus, lighting of the tree, live music, and beautiful luminary lights throughout the WaterColor community.

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The Market Shops located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort will celebrate their extensive multi-million dollar renovations and brand new merchants with a Grand Opening event on Thursday, November 13.

The 52,000-square-foot center was built in 1985 and this is the first renovation it has ever undergone. Construction began in March and includes major exterior repairs, redesigned courtyards and walkways and an expansion of the lawn on the east side of the property to host festival and other special events.

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Photo by Dawn Chapman Whitty

Photo by Dawn Chapman Whitty

The 2015 Alaqua Animal Refuge Hunks and Hounds calendar will be officially released at a beach bonfire party on Wednesday at The Bay.

At the bonfire, Chef Ben Steeno will serve up delicious hors d’oeuvres while The Courtyard Saints with special guest Kenny Olivero of Dread Clampitt perform on the restaurant’s patio.

What could be better than that? Well, hunks and hounds, of course.

Meet some of the guys from the calendar and get a sloppy kiss from Mr. January himself, Droopy T, the basset hound.

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Goode Greene Photography

By Sheila Goode

The Nutcracker ballet will be performed at Seaside Amphitheater on Saturday, November 22nd, kicking off the season with what has become a treasured holiday tradition.

This year’s performance, which is free and open to the public, for the first time will feature young dancers from Northwest Florida alongside the usual crew from the Alpharetta Dance Theatre in Georgia. All dancers are between the ages of 8 and 18 and will perform both acts of the dance, set to a score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Rose Barile, director of the Alpharetta Dance Theatre, choreographed and will direct the performance. Barile is an honor graduate of the Julliard School, former Prima Ballerina of the Atlanta Ballet and has danced the Sugar Plum Fairy for decades.

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Turn on the Town at Seaside, by Shelly Swanger

Seaside will ring in the season on Saturday with a parade down 30A, visit with Santa and celebratory illumination of the town’s thousands of holiday lights.

The parade kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday in front of Seagrove Plaza and heads 1.5 miles west towards the Seaside Town Center. Grab your spot along the route early or join in the fun as locals and visitors, decked out in their holiday best, march down Scenic Highway 30A to ring in the season.

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