Record breaking $30,000 raised at Bloody Mary Festival

Special to Gannett
The sixth annual Bloody Mary Festival raised $30,000 for Habitat for Humanity - Walton County

MIRAMAR BEACH — The Market Shops, located at the entrance to Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, hosted its sixth annual Bloody Mary Festival on Oct. 23.

The annual event, powered by Step One Automotive Group, raised $30,000 for Habitat for Humanity - Walton County, a record-breaking amount for the festival. The sold-out event welcomed over 1,000 guests and featured unlimited tastes of the Emerald Coast’s most creative and inventive Bloody Marys made with Distillery 98’s local Dune Laker vodka served by 17 restaurants, bars, and catering companies in Northwest Florida.

Guests were greeted upon arrival with festive tomato-themed balloon décor, courtesy of Mingle, before entering the bustling courtyard and grand lawn, each full of restaurants, vendors, and merchants from The Market Shops. Event goers made their way around the tents sampling each Bloody Mary, complete with over-the-top accoutrements, served in specialty cups.

Upon check-in, guests received a token in order to vote for the coveted People’s Choice Awards for the “Best Bloody Mary in South Walton.” At the end of the event, votes were counted by Hill Coleman, CPA, and the following local restaurants were chosen as the winners:

1st Place People’s Choice Award – The Beach House

Combination of house-made mix, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, fresh lemon and lime juice, olive juice, hot sauce, and a spice rim. Garnished with fresh shrimp cocktail, a blue cheese stuffed olive, pickled green bean, and applewood smoked bacon.

2nd Place People’s Choice Award – Cannery Lane Cantina

Carlito’s Zesty Pao Pao Bloody Mary Mix made with 100 percent natural tomato juice, fresh horseradish, pickle juice, lime juice, and lemon juice.

3rd Place People’s Choice Award – Camille’s at Crystal Beach

Signature, classic house-made Bloody Mary garnished with the restaurant’s most popular menu items including a fried green tomato, Cubano, and peppadew pepper stuffed with espresso bacon jam and goat cheese.

A panel of select food critics and local celebrities also judged each Bloody Mary and selected the following winner as their most delicious and most creative:

Judge’s Choice Award – Signature Catering of 30A

Greek inspired Bloody Mary made using fresh, local arugula from Greenman’s Garden, fresh dill, Meyer lemon juice, and Texas extra virgin olive oil served with dry ice. The chemical reaction from the dry ice helped enhance and infuse the olive oil and fresh herbs into the Bloody Mary creating a palatable experience.

All awards were custom made by local artist Maxine Orange.

Vacayzen and TSC Productions transformed the Grand Lawn into the ultimate tailgating experience with plenty of lounge seating and flat screen TVs live streaming college football, sponsored by Insurance Zone. Headlining the event was a live performance from TKO and Uncle Duke, on the main stage sponsored by Carter and Company, CPA.