Winter Community Programs, at 10 a.m. Wednesdays from Jan. 2 through Feb. 27, are designed to have educational and entertainment value as participants learn about our community and neighbors.

These programs are sponsored by Friends of Coastal Branch Library. For more information, call Linda Thompson 850-267-2809. The Coastal Library, 437 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beac, is behind the South Walton Government/Education Complex on Hwy. 331 South. Free for the public with limited seating.

History of Walton County Sheriff’s Posse

Chick Huettel gives this presentation on Jan. 2. It covers the early 1800’s up to today’s modern Posse history. It is a story of dedicated lawmen, coupled with violence and quick justice. The era of cattle rustling, lynching, thieves, killers and bootleggers comes to life in this slide presentation by members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Posse. This presentation contains some adult graphic material.

The Story behind Handel's Messiah

Maestro Dr. David Ott will present a live musical presentation, “The Story behind Handel’s Messiah," on Jan. 9. Ott is an internationally recognized American composer and conductor of classical music whose impressive works have been performed and recorded by some of the most notable orchestras in the United States and Europe. Ranking at the top of post-World War II born American composers, Ott’s works are among the most frequently performed of any American of the era. He has been cited as “one of the greats of American symphony music composers of the last quarter of the 20th century.” Once nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music by renowned cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, he has composed a large portfolio of compositions in musical genres ranging from large-scale orchestra works to short overtures. His works have been performed by the National Symphony and by orchestras in over a dozen major American cities. Visit www.panamacitypops.org/conductor/ for more information about Ott.

Musical Performance by Demetrius Fuller

Innovative and energetic conductor Demetrius Fuller is garnering critical acclaim at home and abroad. A versatile conductor, Fuller has been chosen to work with some of the world’s most prestigious conductors and orchestras. He is an award recipient from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts, the Werner Foundation, and the International Music Foundation. He is entering his 12th season as music director of Florida’s Sinfonia Gulf Coast, which he founded in 2006. He is an inventive and dynamic conductor who has gained critical acclaim at home and abroad. He has transformed the symphony experience for the Northwest Florida region offering uplifting and moving performances, while giving back to the community. Fuller will present a musical performance Jan. 16.

Walton County History with Stories and Songs

Historian Ronnie McBrayer, author of "Wild, Wild, Walton" and "Down by the Riverside," will speak on local Walton County history through stories and songs Jan. 23. The beautiful sugar-white beaches of the Florida Panhandle are the result of erosion of mountaintops in Georgia that were washed all the way down to the sea. Before making his home in Walton County, McBrayer was born in Georgia and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Today having “washed down” to the sea, he is the author of several books and publications, a local pastor, a musician, a playwright and a nationally syndicated columnist.

History Mystery - Miramar Beach Was Once Shoals, Florida

Destin historian Hank Klein tells the story of a town that once existed where Miramar Beach is today. The area that we know as Miramar Beach was once known as Shoals. Today nobody seems to remember Shoals, not even the history buffs. Learn about the long-lost cemetery, as well as who actually named that area, on Jan. 30. Klein has long been interested in the history of Destin, and has a monthly “History Mystery” column in The Destin Log newspaper.

More on the February events next week.