It's that time of year when our winter visitors return.


The Walton County Snowbird Club is gearing up for its 23rd season on the Emerald Coast. Club president Tom Schwichtenberg anticipates an excellent turnout of new and returning snowbirds when the club opens its doors to the first registrants on Nov. 26.



He said the club’s activity roster continues to blossom with excitement as new activities are added while yet maintaining those that have enjoyed long popularity. He was referring to ballroom dancing, basketball, bicycling, bowling, golf, tennis, fishing, and aerobic exercise classes. He said those seeking mental stimulation will find plenty in the arts and crafts departments, book discussions, cards, a creative writing workshop, a general discussion group, a computer club, and bus trips to Biloxi where members may test their favorite theory of probability.



Music makers may enlist in the ranks of the Snowbird Singers or for instrumentalists, the Snowbird Ensemble. Exercise enthusiasts will be glad to learn the club has added three new exercise classes — Pilates, rumba, and Taoist Tai Chi. All this for a $9 membership fee good for the entire season. Keep current with up-to-the minute information at the club’s updated and easier-than-ever-to-navigate website waltoncountysnowbirds.com.



Walton County snowbirds tend to gather at Faith Assembly Fellowship Hall at 306 South Geronimo. What a great place to catch up with old friends or make new ones or to make contact with committee chairs to discuss activities or sign on to volunteer for one or more of the club’s three dozen or so activities.



Membership registration takes place there from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, 10, and 17 and continues each Monday until Feb. 11.



Past President Bonnie Schwichtenberg recently said the club will have an all-new board this season. She added that many opportunities exist for volunteers to take a leadership position in the club’s activities. Here is the line-up for the new season:



President – Tom Schwichtenberg
Past President – Bonnie Schwichtenberg
Secretary – Irene Hinds
Assistant Treasurer - Pam Misenick
Information Officer - Bill Neidel
Member-at-large – Jeannette Diggins
Member-at-large - Ron Donkers



The board is seeking volunteers to fill vacancies in the first vice president, second vice president and treasurer slots.



Speaking of volunteers, the Prize-Collection Committee offers a unique opportunity for snowbirds to meet with local managers of retail stores and other businesses that welcome the winter migration of snowbirds to the Emerald Coast. Volunteers may call Jeanette Diggins at 850-424-6162 or inquire at diggins2001@yahoo.com for information on how to take part.



The club’s annual festive Christmas Dinner tickets will be available Nov. 26, Dec. 3 or 10 at Faith Assembly Fellowship Hall. Celebrants will gather at the Embassy Suites on Old 98 for elegant dining and the exchange of gaily-wrapped “white elephant” gifts and contribute a nourishing non-perishable food item for the less fortunate. Look for information on the club’s website.



Jerry Barton and his gang of jolly volunteers will be on hand to assist returning snowbirds who wish to claim items from storage. Dates and collection hours are Dec. 3, 17, and 28 between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. Those who care to volunteer may call Jerry at 847-400-6166 or email him at jbarton@cass.net.



Tom Mahar writes for the Walton County Snowbirds. He can be reached at tkmahar@aol.com. For Snowbird information, www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com.