NEW YEAR’S EVE
Club L.A.: will host “Shadow of the King” with Ron Adams as Elvis and the Emerald Coast Blues Brothers for a special New Year’s Eve Spectacular party. Doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $20. Tickets include a champagne toast at midnight. Club L.A. is at 34876 Emerald Coast Parkway. Tickets available at ticketweb.com.
Three events: Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village in Destin will host three New Year’s Eve events at three venues. A Grand Gala is at 8 p.m. at the Emerald Grande Ballroom with a chef-prepared dinner, live music, champagne toast, ball drop countdown and fireworks show for $125 tickets. Cocktails & Countdown is at 8 p.m. in the Harborview Room, featuring an hors d’oeuvres buffet, live music, champagne toast, ball drop countdown and fireworks show for $55 tickets. To purchase tickets, call 424-0622. Street Party, a free event, will take place in the HarborWalk Village starting at 7 p.m. The Street Party will feature a live concert from Flow Tribe and Departure: The Journey Tribute Band, fireworks and a ball drop countdown.
For children: Lulu’s Restaurant will host its second annual Noon Year’s Eve celebration for children at 10 a.m. Dec. 31. The event will feature a sandcastle building contest, arts and crafts, inflatables, face-painting, live music and more on the sandy beach. It will also feature a countdown to noon with child-friendly sparkler “fireworks” and a huge Beach Ball Drop. Young country singer Caroline Kole will perform. LuLu’s is at the foot of the Mid-Bay Bridge, next to Legendary Marina in Destin. For more details, visit www.lulubuffett.com/destin or call 710-5858.
Dinner and music: The Henderson, a beach and spa resort in Destin, will host a New Year’s Eve dinner and celebration 5-9 p.m. for $135 per adult and $30 wine pairing available. The events include dinner, a glass of champagne for the after-party and live music. Reservations are required. For reservations, call 424-4453.
Polar Bear Club: The Destin Fire Rescue Foundation holds the New Year’s Day “Polar Bear Club” swim to raise funds for the Destin Beach Safety Junior Lifeguard program, an eight-week program for ages 8-17. This year’s swim is New Year’s Day with registration at 10 a.m. and swim at 10:30. It takes place at the Crab Trap at James Lee Park in Destin. The first 100 people get a free T-shirt. A $20 donation is requested. Lifeguard will be on duty for the rain-or-shine event.
Fireworks and music: AJ’s Seafood & Oyster bar on the Destin Harbor will have Austin Jennings on the Bimini stage 4-8 p.m. and Black Eyed Blonde 9:30-2 a.m. Fireworks shows at 8 p.m. and at midnight. Live music on the Jumbotron Stage from Atlanta’s Kontra Band 8 p.m.-midnight. Free champagne toast at midnight, free party favors and no cover.
Downtown FWB: The Landing on Brooks Street in downtown Fort Walton Beach will host New Year’s Eve at The Landing featuring many activities. Run With It will present “Blingin’ in the New Year 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run.” To register or find more information, visit http://www.active.com/fort-walton-beach-fl/running/distance-running-races/blingin-in-the-new-year-2016?int=. The Landing Party will begin at 7 p.m. with music from B-Boy Productions, which will continue until 1 a.m. between other entertainment sets. Heritage will perform from 8 p.m. to midnight in front of the large Christmas tree. At midnight, the Downtown Fort Walton Beach Organization will host a countdown and the “FWB Treasure of the Emerald Coast” treasure chest drop. Afterward, the City of Fort Walton Beach and Community Broadcasters LLC. will host waterfront fireworks. Complimentary shuttles will run until 2 a.m. with regular stops at the Boardwalk, Uptown Station, FWB City Hall and the Landing. For more details, visit http://fwb.org/nye/.
Fireworks: AJ’s on the Bayou in Fort Walton Beach will have Raised On the Radio at 8:30 p.m. with no cover, free party favors, fireworks and free champagne toast at midnight.
Free champagne toast: AJ’s Oyster Shanty on Okaloosa Island will have Superfaced at 9 p.m. with free party favors and a free champagne toast at midnight.
Pelican Plunge: The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island will host its first Pelican Plunge. Participants will take a dip into the Gulf of Mexico at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 1 to support the Emerald Coast Foundation. Participation is $20 a person, and registration begins at 10:30 a.m. The Crab Trap will open at 10 a.m. for drinks and host a post-plunge party after. Plungers can pre-register online at theboardwalkoi.com.
Holiday dance: Let’s Dance 8 p.m.-midnight at the Holley Navarre Seniors Center, 8476 Gordon Goodin Lane, Navarre. Open to everyone over the age of 50 years. Music by DJ Dave. Pay $5 at the door. Bring a favorite snack to share. Coffee and tea will be furnished.
Penguin Plunge & Paddle: Juana’s Pagodas Sailors’ Grill in Navarre Beach will host the 8th Annual Penguin Plunge & Paddle on Jan. 1. At 12:30 p.m., participants can show off their paddle skills in a stand-up paddle board adventure course. At 1:30 participants will take a dash from the beach and plunge into the Santa Rosa Sound. Afterward, participants can “chill” and enjoy complimentary food, drink, live music, awards and buy raffle tickets for a chance to win prizes. Proceeds will benefit the Santa Rosa Kids House and the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. Entry fee per person for the Plunge starts from $20 and the SUP Adventure starts from $30. All participants will receive a long sleeve T-shirt. Register online at juanaspagodas.com/penguinplunge.htm. For more information, to donate raffle prizes, or be a sponsor, call or email Kim Henderson at the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center at 850-833-9237, ext. 283, email@example.com.
Beach Ball Drop: Visit Panama City Beach will host the ninth annual Pier Park Beach Ball Drop from 5:30 p.m. to midnight New Year’s Eve on Pier Park Drive. The event begins with a Family Celebration with live music, food vendors, stilt-walkers, a Snow Zone, balloon artists and the Kids Countdown to 8 p.m. with a release of 10,000 beach balls. This leads into the Midnight Celebration with more live entertainment and the New Year’s Eve Beach Ball Drop featuring a new LED illuminated beach ball and fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico. For more information, visit shoppierpark.com.
Night on Bourbon Street: The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and guest artist Wycliffe Gordon and his International All-Stars will perform “Celebrate the New Year: A Night on Bourbon Street.” The performance is at 7 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Saenger Theatre in downtown Pensacola. Tickets start at $22. For more information, visit pensacolasymphony.com or call 435-2533.
Pensacola Pelican Drop: The free New Year’s Eve celebration, Pensacola Pelican Drop, is packed with live entertainment and fun for the entire family. The Pelican and MainStage are returning to Government Street with a full slate of live music including the White Tie Rock Ensemble to ring in the New Year. A list of music and activities can be found at www.pensacolapelicandrop.com. The children’s Little Pelican Party includes the bubble stop and Pelican lighting at 8 p.m. with activities beginning at 6 p.m. Festivities, including fireworks, continue until 1 a.m.
New Year’s Eve cruise: SunQuest Cruises in Miramar Beach will host its annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks, Dinner and Dancing Cruise on the Solaris yacht from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31. The cruise is an all-inclusive event for $125 per person, including a 4 1/2-hour cruise, five-course meal, live entertainment, fireworks, party favors and champagne. All guests over 21 are welcome to attend, and reservations are required. Visit SunQuestCruises.com or call 650-2519.
Polar Bear Plunge: Gulf Place will host the fourth annual Polar Bear Plunge on Jan. 1 at Ed Walline Beach Access, located across the street from Gulf Place on the corner of Highway 393 and Scenic Highway 30A. Registration begins at 11 a.m., and the plunge is at 1 p.m. Before the plunge, attendees are invited to take part in the event’s costume contest. A $20 donation is suggested, and all proceeds will benefit the South Walton Fire Department Relations Committee. The DRC purchases fire and life safety items for community-based educational programs. This event is open to all ages, and attendees are encouraged to bring a change of clothes. After the plunge, guests will enjoy food, music and a bonfire.
First Day Hike: Join Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for a First Day Hike on Jan. 1 from 9 to 11:30a.m. Enjoy the first day of the New Year leisurely exploring the north side of the Turpentine Trail with a Ranger to learn about the park, its wildlife, and the turpentine industry that thrived here in the late 1800’s. The Turpentine Trail is about 2 miles round trip and is relatively flat with roots, rock and dirt. Wear weather appropriate clothing and closed-toed shoes. Bring water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Check in at the Ranger Station for starting location. Program is free with regular park admission. Visit www.floridastateparks.org/park/Topsail-Hill or www.topsailparkfriends.org. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is at 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach (main entrance located .25 mile south of Highway 98).
Cowboy Mouth: The band will be in concert at 8 p.m. Friday at Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S Palafox St., Pensacola. The band released a greatest hits album in July, which contains fan favorites from their 26-year career as well as a number of new tracks. Tickets are $20 for the all-ages show at www.cowboymouth.com.
Winter Concert Series: The Market Shops, located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, presents the Winter Concert Series. Beginning Jan. 8, every Sunday in January and February will feature a different local or regional artist or band. The Winter Concert Series is free and open to the public. Rain or shine, concerts are 1-3 p.m. on The Market Shops lawn. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. In the event of rainy weather, the concert will be relocated to the covered patio outside of Bijoux at The Market Shops. Scheduled in January are: Jan. 8, Chris Alvarado; Jan. 15, Scott Rockwood Trio; Jan. 22,; Jan. 29, Donnie Sundal.
Jazz quartet: A swinging jazz quartet, featuring the piano and vocal work of jazz artist Crystal Joy, will take the stage at The Place in downtown Panama City at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10. The quartet will include Pensacola saxophonist Joe Occhipinti, bassist Steve Gilmore and percussionist Fred Domulot. The Place Restaurant is at 429 Harrison. For reservations, call Larry or Amy at 784-2106, or call Bob at 258-4022. Limited seating. Gulf Jazz Society members $10, others $12. Pay at the door.
Alan Jackson: Alan Jackson brings his Honky Tonk Highway Tour with special guest Lee Ann Womack to Pensacola Bay Center on Jan. 27. Tickets are $96.50, $71.50, $46.50, $36.50, plus fees, on sale now at Pensacolabaycenter.com, Pensacola Bay Center box office, Ticketmaster.com, and 800-745-3000.
ADDITIONAL LIVE MUSIC
“Little Big Paintings”: Atlanta artist Joel Barr is back for his annual New Year’s Eve Day exhibit at Newbill Collection By The Sea in Seaside noon-4 p.m. Dec. 31. Always a storyteller on canvas, Barr’s latest works include what might be called “short stories” — smaller paintings with lots to say. Meet Barr and talk with him about his art and these newest paintings. Newbill Collection By The Sea is at 309 Ruskin Place in Ruskin Place Artist Colony. Call Annette Newbill Trujillo at 231-4500.
Geek Lights: Season 9 of the Geek Lights on the Corner Christmas lights and music show runs nightly through Jan. 1. The free performances take place at the corner of Bluewater Blvd and Antiqua Way in Bluewater Bay. Shows begin on the hour and half hour starting at 6 p.m., with the last show starting at 9:30 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and at 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Get schedule information at FaceBook.com/GeekLightsOnThe Corner. The USO Northwest Florida is this season’s donation recipient. There will be a collection box in the viewing area. The show is the technical wizardry of Jeff and Wendy Werner.
A Lionel Christmas: The West Florida Railroad Museum will present “A Lionel Christmas” Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 109-year-old Milton Railroad Depot, 5003 Henry St., Milton. In addition to normal historic displays, the depot will feature multiple model railroads running indoors and out, train rides for children, holiday lights and hot chocolate. Admission and parking are free. Donations are accepted. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.wfrm.org.
New Year Family Movie: Celebrate the New Year with your family at 11 a.m. Friday at any Santa Rosa County library with a whimsical movie where Baby New Year runs away from Father Time and Santa sends Rudolph after him. The system has libraries in Gulf Breeze, Jay, Milton, Navarre and Pace.
30A Songwriters Festival: The 30A Songwriters Festival, a four-day music festival during Martin Luther King weekend, Jan. 13 – 16, will feature more than 175 songwriters and over 200 performances in various venues in South Walton County including Gulf Place and Grand Boulevard. The schedule is not available until closer to the festival. For details and updates, visit www.30asongwritersfestival.com.
Pensacola Mardi Gras — The season officially begins with a Pensacola Mardi Gras Kick-Off Celebration “parade in reverse”: a high-spirited celebration in the tradition of a 12th Night Party that takes place at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 6. More than 40 krewes and their floats park along Pensacola’s waterfront. The floats don’t move. Rather, people gather in the streets and go from float to float to collect beads and other throws. A Catholic priest blesses the floats, declaring them ready to participate in Mardi Gras. The celebration continues until about 11 p.m. when the krewes cut Pensacola’s first, official king cake. Pensacola’s parades are packed into a single weekend, Feb. 24-26. A complete listing of Mardi Gras events, times, and locations can be found at www.visitpensacola.com.
Choctawhatchee Audubon Society: The monthly meeting on Jan. 5 will include a presentation on the Complex Social World of the Brown-headed Nuthatch by Jim Cox, director Stoddard Bird Lab, at the Tall Timbers Research Station. The meeting will be in Room 130 of the student services building (BLDG 400) at the Northwest Florida State College-Niceville campus. Socializing begins at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Call or e-mail Dr. Don Baltz at 225-252-2760, email@example.com. On Jan. 14, Malcolm Mark Swan leads field trip around Hurricane and Karick Lakes in the Blackwater River State Forest. Meet at the Armament Museum parking lot at 7 a.m. or the Crestview Whataburger south of I-10 off SR 85 at 7:30. Call 210-343-9082. On Jan. 28, join wildlife photographer Walter Spence for a walk through Valparaiso and Lincoln Park searching for a variety of aquatic and upland species of birds. Meet at the Mattress Depot in Bayou Plaza in western Niceville at 8 a.m. Call 582-7064.
Open mic: The Crestview Public Library’s next free monthly open mic for poets and musicians to read, perform, improvise and play together is Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Call 682-4432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rick Sanders at 585-6399. Robert L.F. Sikes Crestview Public Library is at 1445 Commerce Drive.