The Walton County Snowbirds will hold its first registration event of the season on Monday, Nov. 19, at Faith Assembly Fellowship Hall, 306 South Geronimo, from 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Soon after, on Wednesday, Dec. 5, the snowbirds will gather for the first general meeting of the season beginning at 10 a.m. at the Destin Life Center Building of the Destin United Methodist Church, 200 Beach Drive, where great door prizes and entertainment await attending members. The featured entertainer is vocalist Michael J Thomas. Many find it worthwhile to arrive up to an hour early to visit vendor tables, renew old acquaintances and make new ones.
Registering with the Walton County Snowbirds provides a great opportunity for first time and returning snowbirds to hit the ground running upon their arrival on the snow-free Emerald Coast. Those who miss the Dec. 3 registration can catch up on Dec. 5 during the first general meeting.
The Walton County Snowbirds mark the new season with a wide variety of activities keyed to those who favor an active lifestyle. Among the many opportunities for exercise and good old-fashioned fun is senior basketball played generally by rules set by the National Senior Games Association. The Walton County Snowbirds support a loosely knit local association of senior basketball players that flies under a mouthful of words — Emerald Coast Snowbirds Legends Basketball. The group welcomes seniors in Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Navarre Beach, as well as year-round residents.
It is not unusual to find players who have reached their 60s, 70s, and even later years still on the court, demonstrating a variety of hooks, jumpers and 20-plus foot set shots. Play is half-court, typically three-on-three during the busiest months, January and February, when between 12 and 20 seniors report in at the Destin United Methodist Church Life Center on Monday mornings at 8 a.m. Recent players on the courts included Loren Burzycki, Jon Nicholson, Ralph Smith, Steve Pecci, Walter Neuman, Terry Maxwell and Chris Gray. There are no fixed teams, no registrations, no fees; just show up for a “pick-up” game, white shirts against dark shirts.
Snowbirds may collect their storage items at Affordable Storage, 114 Sugar Drive (one mile east of County Highway 30A on U.S. Highway 98) between 3 and 4 p.m. Nov. 19, Dec. 3, 17 and 21. For January dates, refer to www.waltoncountysnowbirds.com/storage.htm.
Tom Mahar writes for the Walton County Snowbirds. Reach him at email@example.com. Chris Gray Contributed to this story.