We greet New Year’s Day in a variety of ways. In Portugal and Spain, celebrants eat 12 grapes to ward off bad luck in the coming year; the Scots purify their houses while the Dutch burn Christmas trees in the streets and the Japanese laugh aloud at the stroke of midnight to encourage good cheer in the New Year.
A different tradition reigns in North America. Snowbirds pack their duds and head for the Emerald Coast where companionship, great food, and recreation are the order of the day. Snowbirds that arrived early, some in October, were on hand on Wednesday, Jan. 2, to greet the winter migration of fellow snowbirds, numbering in the hundreds. The warm welcome recurs each Monday beginning Jan. 7 between the hours of 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. at Faith Assembly, 306 Geronimo in Miramar Beach.
Here’s good news for David Seering fans — see him live on stage where he combines excellent music with exuberance and vitality that brings audiences to their feet. It takes place at 10 a.m. during the snowbird’s general meeting Jan. 9 at Destin Life Center Building of the Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive. It’s free to members of the Walton County Snowbirds. Bill Neidel, the club’s information officer, advises members to come early — 45 minutes to an hour. He points out, “The vendor tables are staffed with people who are knowledgeable about the region and who are particularly interested in snowbirds. Each one has useful information that improves the enjoyment of the Emerald Coast.”
Helen Hayes, legendary star of stage and screen reminded us, “… when books are opened you discover you have wings.”
But, reading books is only half the fun. The other half comes during lively discussions about them and that occurs when the book discussion group gets together. First up on Jan. 17 is “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert, facilitated by Karen Moosekian. Next, on Feb. 14, it is “The Calligrapher's Daughter” by Eugenia Kim Susan and on March 7 the group will discuss “Shanghi Girls” by Lisa See, facilitated by Linda Muston. For details, contact Dee Trolian at email@example.com or Valerie Beall at 837-8624. The Book Discussion group meetsat 1:45 p.m. at the Conference Room of the Terrace Building at the Pelican Beach Resorts, 970 U.S. 98 East in Destin.
Calling all sopranos, altos, baritones and basses. The Snowbird Singers will get the season underway with a new director. She is Katie Ott whose music résumé includes many years as the principal harpist for symphonies in Pensacola and Mobile in addition to, among others, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Northwest Florida. Rehearsals begin at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 11 at Santa Rosa Community Church, 3524 U.S. 98. For additional information, email Mert Thomasma at Mert2@gmail.com.
Opportunities galore await snowbirds interested in quilting, crocheting, knitting, or lacing. Contact Carol E. Burrows at 837-8552 for details
Golf activity is ramping up with the start of the Tuesday golf league on Jan. 8 and the Thursday league on Jan 10. A new 9-hole league is getting underway at Shalimar Pointe. Seven weeks, $126 (includes cart) on Monday afternoons. Begins Jan.14. Get details on these and other golfing opportunities at http://www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com/Golf_PFWS.html.
Returning snowbirds may retrieve items from 3-4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 and 16 and Feb, 4 at Affordable Storage.
Tom Mahar writes for the Walton County Snowbirds and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Snowbird information, www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com.